Blood drips from the walls, “Awaken.” Blood drips from the walls as shadows dance above me. They take the form of hooded nightmares, “Awaken.” They chant over and over for no reason at all until I obey. Shaking I reach for the glass on the nightstand. Straight whiskey and straight down. The whiskey makes me what to puke, even after all this time, to the point that I don’t know if I have or it is only the burn of the liquor. I light a cigarette as I sit up in bed. I can still hear their words just as I did as a child. “Awaken,” they chant but why? Why always the same nightmare from my past. The darkness of the room subsides as I put out the half-finished cigarette. I want to sleep but I want to reach for the light just as much. A darkness resides in me. A darkness I am no closer to understanding even in adulthood. I begin to drift asleep once again.
The blood drips down the walls of the hall. I hesitate before continuing the cold sticky feel with every step. A low light at the end of the hall grows as I get closer. The blood drips into pools as my eyes focus on the light. I enter the room at the end of the hall. Lite with candles I can see the bodies lying in the corners of the room, but I can’t make out their faces. Living or dead I do not know. I can feel my pajamas becoming saturated with blood as I stand there in horror. Panicked I drop to the floor. The figures rise and come towards me as I scream. “Awaken,” they chant as a deep rhythm comes from beyond them. I scream louder and louder until I awake to the sound of my neighbor pounding on the wall. “Awake the fuck up you freak,” he shouts. My pissed soaked pants clinging to my legs. “Fuck you,” I shout back. “Fuck you,” I whisper under my breath.
My therapist says that I should keep a sleep journal. Write down my thoughts and dreams. How I feel. Scared I feel scared and confused. The images don’t leave my mind I tell her every time. A sleep journal is pointless, but all she says is that it will help. Help what? Relive the same nightmare over and over again. My brain hurts from the hangover. My brain hurts from all the thinking. I want to drain my skull and forget it all. Hit start over and watch it drift away. Can’t sleep without the drink. The drink is what got me in trouble. A cycle of bull shit. I wish I knew where this started. Wish I could remember so I could forget. The day goes on but it is the night that I fear.
Work is hard to come by for a drunk. Another lost job doesn’t mean much when you live in a shit hole, to begin with. I trade my food stamps for cash. Be easier if they only feed my addiction and not my stomach. I have another interview for some shitty job later today. The interview is easy. It is easy to get the job, but keeping one on no sleep and a deep hangover is the hard part. Even worse when the days bleed together as they have lately. Is today the interview? Or is it tomorrow? Taking another drink. “What does it matter anymore?” I ask no one in particular. A radiant silence feels the room. One more couldn’t hurt.
“Awaken for we are here. Awaken,” the voices chant. A wetness hits my head. Drip after drip, “You must awaken. The demon calls for a sacrifice. Awaken child for it is time.” I awaken as a drop of liquid smacks the center of my forehead. I wipe it clean and even the moonlight that lights my room I can tell that it is blood. Scared I scramble to sit up in my bed. Another drop smacks the top of my head. I look up at the ceiling and scream as I fall out of bed. A large dark spot rests over my bed. I begin to weep as I sit on the floor. What has been done? “Why are you so weak?” A voice from the corner asks. I can see a shadowy figure but can’t make out the features in the dark. “We had so much hope for you. You only failed us in the end,” the figure continues. I want to reach for the light but I am too scared. “Maybe it is because you were the last of them. Could that be why you are so weak? Could that be why you never fulfilled your purpose? Your brothers were no better. Dying in wars or failing after a few murders, but at least they embraced what they were,” the figure pauses. “What,” I finally bring myself to say. The figure ignores what I said, “You seek help and use alcohol like a crutch. So weak you have become. Could it because you are my son? Were we not hard enough on you as we were the others? I question our actions every day. Did we do the right things? Too much faith in one’s actions leads them to failure.” I wipe the tears from my face and only find more blood, “What happened to my neighbors upstairs?” “Don’t you know that after all this time you have awaken?” The figure asks. The scream of a little voice pierces the night air. “It would appear that you have missed one,” the voice states before laughing. “My child the failure.” “I am not your child,” I shout back. “Are you not? Rise and finish what you have started,” the figure shouts back. The screams upstairs have turned to loud sobbing. Without thought I stand up. I try to fight my actions as I grab the bloody knife off the nightstand and leave the room. Slowly ascending the stairs the knife drags against the wall leaving a trail to where I am going. The knife follows a similar path as before. Bloody footprints descends the worn out stairs. My footprints retrace my previous steps. How can I not remember this from before? Entering the apartment I look down the long hallway at the light at the end. A shadow dances from within the room as I continue my march along the path. Bodies line the sides of the wall execution style. A child wanders around the room crying unable to console herself, unable to understand what has happened. Unable to see the hooded monsters that surround her. From behind me I hear the figure say, “Finish what you have started.”
“I didn’t start this,” I tell the voice. “Of course you did,” the figure laughs. “Who else could have done something like this?” The figure says in its cryptic voice. The unaware child is now aware of me. She walks to me, eyes red from the rubbing, from the tears. She stands before me scared, but unsure. “You can’t fight what you are destined to do. Fate has a place whether you believe or not. Best to do what needs to be done,”the figure’s voice is somber but unapologetic. My body and soul on rails does what I tell it to not. I grab the child by the neck and push her to the ground. Her little body fights it but she contains no equal strength to my own. She hits the hardwood floor with a thud. Terror washes over her face. Even she can sense the danger she is in. I cut the child’s eyes out of her skull. I weep for my sins. As I listen to her screams it becomes so clear that everything has led up to this. I slit her throat and watch as her little heart push the blood out of her throat until there is no more strength. Flashes of the past enter my mind. Face after face, I realize the monster I have become, the monster I have always been. “In the darkness child is when we learn what we truly are. In the darkness is when our true self awakens,” the cryptic voice lingers in my mind. “Awaken.”
Awaken will be featured in my forthcoming book Running Into Traffic… When that will come out who knows, but hopefully this year… It will be my second short story collection… It will cover a wide variety of topics… Similar to my last one, but with less emphasis on serial killers this time around… Horror in general really…. well it depends on your definition of horror… If I haven’t sold you on the book yet it ain’t getting any better… But I am excited about it… I think it contains some of my best work so far… and it also means that this other story that has been in my head for years will finally be done… told you…
Look for Running Into Traffic at a Kindle store near you… at some point….
Oh… If anyone wants to collaborate on a cover… I don’t have one set in stone so let me know… or if you have a cool idea for a cover… I was thinking of continuing using my paints for covers (See A Lie)… but I was told they don’t really convey a story or incite a riot… Whatever the fuck that means…