Three months ago I was in a car accident.
It wasn’t great, I’ll tell you that. Legs got crushed, cracked some ribs, and it was touch and go for a while. But thanks to the advantages of modern medicine and several blood transfusions, I got wheeled out with the promise that if I got lucky I’d be able to get around with a cane.
It was a miracle when I started walking.
But miracles apparently don’t come for free.
I just wanted to continue living my life, if I’m honest. I’m an office worker, single, live in an apartment with a cat… which is far better than living with my mom, but it gets a bit drafty in the winter.
I started having dreams first.
I was alone in the hospital I was treated at. No nurses. No doctors. Just me in the impersonal white hallways. The pictures were replaced by black spaces. The lights would occasionally flicker but they didn’t go out. It was eerie. I preferred being alone though before he showed up.
When he first showed up, he was a bit like the paintings. His eyes and mouth were replaced with black empty holes, even though I could feel him staring at me. I felt like I knew him, or that he knew me. I’d run away, of course, I mean there’s a monster nearby in a dream, you run. He’d follow behind. I could hear him attempt to say something but it came out as a hollow rasp.
I woke up feeling like I’d run a million miles and I still hadn’t gotten away from him.
It wasn’t just dreaming I was running though. I started sleepwalking.
I had a problem with it as a kid, so many times mom would wake up to find me in the kitchen or standing at the foot of my bed, not really awake with my eyes staring blankly in front of me. This was a little more extreme though. I started waking up in seedy motels across the city. In the backroom of bars I’d never been to before. A couple times I even woke up in back alleys with a pounding headache.
The weird part is I clearly didn’t act like I was asleep.
I’d talk to the people around, the women that were on the other side of the bed, the bartenders, hell, I even made bros with the hobo that was in the alley near by. I’d play off I’d drunk a little too much and needed my memory refreshed. I was apparently quite a charmer, I’d gotten drinks for free, slept with women that were way out of my league (to put it mildly), all the stunts I’d never have the balls to pull sober… or awake.
I went to the doctor of course. This was a little concerning, to say the least. It was a headscratcher but not unheard of, especially if I had a sleepwalking problem as a kid. Stress, they told me. Stress about the accident, about the fact I nearly died. I got on some medication and told that in a few months I should be back to normal.
I feel like the sleeping meds made it worse. I would wake up back in my own bed, thank god. But I’d wake up fully dressed, and I’d have pictures in my phone that were taken the night previous.
I was a whole new man at night. Party crasher. Womanizer.
But in my mind I was trapped in the hospital with… him. Always running. I’d hide under cots and pray he couldn’t see me, but like a hound tracking my scent he’d always walk into the room I was in and I’d have to scramble away to keep his bony hands from reaching out and grabbing me.
About a month in I began to change.
I thought I had a fever when I woke up burning hot at around midnight. I stumbled to the bathroom and grabbed the thermometer out of the cabinet. When I closed it, I saw the man from my nightmares in the mirror, right behind me.
I screamed and spun around, nearly whacking my hip on the sink. Of course there was no one there. But when I turned back to the mirror, there he was.
He wasn’t reaching for me. He was just standing there, like a twisted guardian angel.
The thermometer beeped and I took it from my mouth.
My body temperature was 90 degrees. I was cold.
I didn’t go the doctor, god knows why, maybe I didn’t want to get checked into a psych ward when I brought up I was hallucinating an eyeless man watching my every move. I just crawled back into bed and prayed that this was going to end soon.
I woke up feeling like I had gone three weeks without food.
I cleaned out my kitchen, peanut butter sandwiches, several servings of pasta. It wasn’t enough. It was just as useful as throwing it out the window, it didn’t make a difference. Well, it did, kinda. I ended up violently throwing it all back up at work in my cubicle later. Talk about embarrassing. I was sent home and told that next time I was sick to call in.
Nothing was satisfying. I was hungry, I was burning hot, and above all, I was starting to believe I really was going crazy.
That’s probably why I confronted the eyeless man in my dream a few nights ago.
I stopped running. I turned around. And I screamed at him to leave me the hell alone. Stop showing up in my reflections. Stop following me in my dreams. Just leave me alone.
He stepped forward. I screamed at him again. He took another step, and another, until he was centimeters from my face. He leaned in next to my ear and he whispered a sentence into my ear.
“You’re finally ready, my boy.”
I woke up the next morning soaked in blood.
My entire apartment was fucked up. TV was knocked over. A glass was smashed in my kitchen. Furniture was lying on its side. Also there was a dead girl in my closet.
I didn’t know who she was. I probably had met her last night sleepwalking. The name Aurora sounded right. Her throat was entirely shredded, like a dog had attacked her.
But I was finally full.
Tonight I’m at the bar. The house has been cleaned the best it can, but now I’m looking for him.
He’s a lot different looking from my dreams. For one, he has eyes and a mouth. He looks a bit younger than me, has a great smile. Very charming. Women are all over him.
But he looks at me and I know he’ll be over to talk to me soon.
And I want to finally meet the man who made me.