Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Let's talk

I've fallen behind on keeping up with this thing. A lot of real-life drama is getting in the way, I'm afraid.

This real-life drama has led to some unfortunate health and sleeping issues. A splitting headache sent me to bed at 8 p.m. last night. I woke up at 10:45 p.m. and thought it was morning and I was late to work. Even worse, since Husband wasn't in bed yet, I thought he'd gotten up and left for work without getting me up. I didn't notice that the clock said "PM." I didn't notice that it was still dark outside.

It actually took me about five minutes, which included vaulting out of bed and getting dressed, for me to realize that I'd only been asleep a couple of hours.

Another fun side effect of real-life drama and the sleeping issues is nightmares. Seriously. I'm having them constantly, and not the "Oh, that was totes scary, but I'm awake, it's over, the end" nightmares. The kind where I wake up and I'm not sure I'm awake, and I'm still half-convinced that something's leaning out of the darkness, inches away from grabbing me and dragging me off to wherever those nighttime boogeymen live. Having Husband in bed with me doesn't help, either; there have been times where I was  convinced he was the boogeyman, or I've forgotten he was there at all, or in the nightmare he's already been eaten/killed/whatever.

I've found that writing these nightmares down provides some catharsis for me. They're on paper now, so they're out of my head.

And since I've been doing this a few times and picking my 'favorites' (can you have a favorite nightmare?) I thought I'd post one here. Obviously I took some artistic liberty; I don't like first-person scary stories, so I wrote it from third-person POV. It's different than my usual style, too; I worked it into a "creepypasta" (Google it if you get time) format.

The Shadows

Eva noticed the paintings the day she moved in. Just a few shades darker than the cream-colored wall, the paintings were no bigger than her thumb and depicted a dozen or so different animals. Though they were one flat shade, they were quite detailed. It was almost like a tiny zoo paraded along the hallway that ended at her bedroom door. Briefly, she thought about painting over them, but they didn't bother her enough for it to be an issue. Not at first.

Once she'd settled in, she could swear that at times, out of the corner of her eye, she'd see the paintings move. Not much, just enough for her to notice. The wolf would switch places with the bear, or the lion would slowly slink from one end of the hall to the other. Of course, if she ever turned and really looked, they were all in the right order.

The Friday before one of her rare weekends off, Eva trudged up the steps and carefully unlocked the apartment door. Her hands were full of last-minute paperwork, with a container of Chinese takeout precariously balanced on top. As she closed the door behind her, though, something caught her eye. She thought she saw a small, dark shape frozen beside the light switch. It was two-dimensional and shadow-like, and almost looked like it had a tiny leg extended, as if she'd interrupted it mid-stride. Eva rolled her eyes and reached for the light switch. Another eighteen hour shift had taken its toll on her sensibility, she thought. 

Just before her fingers touched the panel, though, the shape slowly turned its miniscule head toward her.

Eva jerked her hand back, sending the files and food in her arms scattering across the floor. It was looking at her, she thought. Looking at her. She darted into the kitchen, where the apartment's other main light switch was located. The apartment's entryway was suddenly bathed in bright fluorescent light. Trembling, Eva crept back to the door and examined the wall around the light switch. There was nothing there.

Down the hallway, she could make out the shadow-paintings, each one exactly where it had been when she left for work the night before.

Eva laughed, a thin, fluttering sound. She was going to paint that wall. Tomorrow.

After three coats of the best cover-up paint she could afford and a Saturday half-wasted by a useless chore, Eva was ready to scream. The animals would disappear as she applied the paint, only to be just as visible once it dried. If anything, they were a little darker than they'd been before. She slumped against the opposite wall, absently wondering if she was, in fact, going crazy. In the daylight, the animals looked anything but threatening. The incident with the light switch seemed as if it had happened months ago, and could easily be chalked up to too much work and too little sleep. There was no sense in ruining the rest of the day stressing herself out.

Eva spent the rest of the afternoon curled up on her couch, catching up on the television she'd missed during her working hours. Before she knew it, it was past eleven and she was reluctantly pulling herself off the couch and toward her bed. She hummed softly, her fingers undoing the loose braids in her hair as she reached the hallway.

Though Eva couldn't see it in the darkness, the animals along the wall no longer resembled zoo favorites. They were longer and more defined, with muscular, elongated legs and ears and sharper edges. Now they stood on their hind legs in a clumsy mockery of human posture, their forepaws extended like clawed, grasping hands. Like silent nightmares, they watched as she made her way down the hall.

It was too dark for her to see them, following her as closely as they dared, as she reached her bedroom door. They leaned toward her, their extended claws inches away as she walked inside the room and disappeared in the darkness.

The shadows filed inside behind her, their muzzles curled into nightmarish, toothy smiles.

The humming careened into a high-pitched scream.

That's what I get to watch at night. In the dream, though, she didn't hum; the shadows followed her into her bedroom, and then everything went black and all I could hear was roaring and screaming. While I was trying to write that, though, I started getting... anxious, I guess. It was stressing me out to write the last part, so I changed it.

I have another fun one that involves the Michigan Dogman. That's my own fault, because I'm all-but-obsessed with that critter, but that's a nightmare for another day.


  1. Wow, vivid nightmare--great, in a creepy way. I hadn't heard of the "creepypasta" format; neat!

    Thanks for visiting and following my blog, by the way!

  2. It's the vivid ones that stick with me. And the only way for me to deal with them is to write them down.

    I'm tempted to be grateful that you found it creepy. That means I did a decent job of getting it out of my head!

    No problem about the follow, too. I really enjoyed reading through it today!