Shahyeim Oliveira studies creative writing in Orlando Florida, he enjoys spending his free time protecting the universe from the threats of the unknown… with his pen , you can follow him at @shahyeimolivei1.
The house of 1000 Dreams
I wasn’t exactly sure I was dreaming. I found it strange that last I remember I was laying down in my bed, eyes fixed on the darkened ceiling of my bedroom only occasionally shifting to look at the red numbers displayed on the alarm clock. But here I was now standing in front of the concrete walkway that led to my front door, the bright afternoon sun shining down behind me, I looked around without leaving the spot I stood at my strangely barren neighborhood.
A place normally so filled with life now sat empty like a ghost town, a former shell of what it once was, I took a cautious step my foot making contact with the pathway. The cement squirmed and shifted beneath my feet like a startled serpent. I quickened my pace, now very anxious to reach the safety and comfort that was my home. The concrete snake of a path below me extended and moved violently as if to keep me from reaching my door.
My hand finally clasped around the cold metal of my door knob. The path behind me gave one last burst of motion before returning to its static state. I gave one final look over my shoulder, my eyes catching a glimpse of something unsettling, a faint flicker of motion from a neighbor’s window and a feeling of being watched. Turning the knob, I entered my home closing the door firmly behind me.
Breathing a sigh of relief, I find myself in the front hall of my home, everything appears to be in order that is until I see him, or perhaps it would be a better term for the entity that stood opposite me at the end of the hall, my eyes blink multiple times as I try to mentally grasp what I’m seeing. The best way I can think to describe this creature would be as a living shadow, it stood about my height but was featureless, it was as if the very essence of darkness its self-had taken the shape of man to walk the earth. The figure appeared to be occupied with the various photographs that decorated the walls, it ran its jet-black fingers along the glass of a picture before appearing to look in my direction. Instinctively I step back a bit, my back making contact with the door behind me, the entity seemed to disregard me as it turned and walked through the door that leads to my dining room once again leaving me alone.
I make my way down the long entrance hall looking at the multitude of pictures that line the walls, each one showcasing a moment long since forgotten or a family member who’s face I just can’t place. I press my hand against the wall tracing the frame of a particularly large portrait, bringing my hand to the cool glass the frame suddenly crashes to the ground creating a near deafening sound. I step back as more of the frames begin to fall the noise so loud I must cover my ears, the frames on the opposite side of the wall also come crashing down violently.
I run down the hall towards the door that leads to my living room but for some reason it doesn’t seem to get any closer, the walls stretch on ahead of me pulling my destination farther away from me, the noise from the shattering glass bombards my eardrums causing me immense pain , I run as fast as I can down the ever expanding hall my eyes clenched shut and my hand covering my ears as blood drips from my perforated eardrums, after what felt like an eternity my shoulder crashed into the door frame of the living room. The loud noise from the hall has ceased, a glance over my shoulder reveals that the hall has returned to its normal state the pictures all back on the walls. I look down at my hands expecting to see the blood but they are dry. I face forward expecting to see the worn-out furniture of my living room, the television that I had spent countless hours watching or the old beige couch that I had spent many lonely weekends on. However instead my eyes are met instead with the harsh reflection of florescent lights off of white tiled floors, I look around confused by my situation what was once my home now resembled an office building, large grey desks spread out across the floor like metal tombstones. Situated at each a faceless figure typing away on blank screened computer monitors, I quickly recognized this place as my office building a place at which i had spent more time then I cared to remember.
In the center of the first row of desks one sat empty its lifeless monitor unmanned, I knew it was mine an un seen force was drawing me too it. Before I realize it, I’m walking towards the desk my shoes clicking against the linoleum floor, I arrive and take my seat letting my fingers glide over the key boards surface. I’m about to start typing when a noise draws my attention elsewhere, the door on the back wall that leads to my boss’s office swings open creating an audible thud as it hits the wall. As if on que one at a time the monitors around the room would activate, its faceless user would get up and line u at the now open door.
I watch as slowly the room becomes more and more empty, my eyes occasionally shift to my own monitor wondering when it will activate and I too will be drawn into the mysterious room. When the last person enters, I’m left alone my monitors screen as lifeless as when I first arrived, I’m left feeling uncertain as I sit there the large desk like a prison holding me in my place. I hear the sound of a closing door and look up to see the shadow entity from earlier standing before the one open door, only it isn’t the same being from earlier. Though similar in appearance I can tell that this figure is not the same as before, it seems to stare at me as it stands there unmoving. After what feels like an eternity it moves, walking in a quick stride the entity crosses the room to a door I had not noticed before now. It opens it and walks through leaving the door ajar behind it.
I place my hands against the desk in preparation to stand but instead feel the desk collapse beneath my touch like a dismantled cardboard cutout, I look in awe as the monitor stay stationary hovering in its place. Shaking my head, I stand and walk to the new door, giving it a slight push it swings open and I step through. The first thing I notice is the cool feeling of a summers breeze on my face, the next is the gentle chirping of birds in the surrounding trees. Looking around I see that I am no longer indoors but instead standing in the middle of a busy public park. A glance over my shoulder reveals that the door I entered through is nowhere to be found, I scan the park and see many faceless figures, some children at play others adults going on about their lives. A little bit away from me to the right is an old park bench and seated on it there is a woman, this woman unlike the others has a clearly definable face, a face that I couldn’t forget no matter how hard I had tried. As I made my way over to the empty spot on the bench my mind raced with questions I feared would go un answered. Taking the seat that I knew was meant for me I look at her studying the defined features of her face, she turns to me causing a small frown to form on my face.
Here I was again looking at a face that had once made me smile more than any other, only now, seeing this face brought me feelings of sadness, despair and the likes. Her lips move ever so slightly as she speaks, her face a portrait of the anguish I felt in my heart. Her mouth moves but no words exit, I am filled with words left unsaid and feelings I desire to express but lack the ability to speak. I could only sit in silence a deep sorrow settling over me as I watched her act out the motions, my heart seemed to break all over again as I watch her stand from that bench for second time, giving me one last look she walks away into the distance leaving me alone on the bench with only my regrets.
My eyes felt as though they are watering but when I touch my hand to my face it is dry, I glance up as it has started to darken the moon now sitting high in the night sky, I stand from the bench looking around until my eyes land on a very peculiar sight, I see what appears to be my kitchen situated not more than a few yards in front of me, situated in the solitary chair at my table was another of the jet black figures, he remains motionless as I approach his back to me. as my foot makes contact with the tile of the kitchen floor the figure rises from its seat before taking leave into the night,
Making my way over to my small coffee table it's empty save a lone cup filled with a mysterious black liquid, I recognize the cup instantly as the one I use every morning, the small chip from when I dropped it still ever apparent on the rim.
That is when I hear it, it's soft at first like words whispered from across a room but it's there, I can’t make out the words but the melody is strong and it seems to guide me. I sit down in the single chair at the table, the cup directly in front of me, my head seems to tilt towards the cup and I am looking into the black liquid within, the song seems to grow stronger with every passing second. The surface of the liquid seems to grow larger the longer I look into it, soon I can no longer see the table or the cup only the surface of the liquid.
Suddenly my feet are no longer on the ground and my back no longer against the chair, instead I’m falling from an unknown distance towards the liquid. I slam into the black substance breaking the surface like a glass window before slowly descending into the depths.
It was dark beneath the surface making it impossible to see, letting the siren like song guide me through the depths, it was warm all around him the kind of warmth that you felt when you were surrounded by friends and loved ones, in that moment I thought of everyone I cared for all the friends I had made and the experiences we had.
But it didn’t last, soon the liquid surrounding me became colder sending a chill through my bones, the cooled seeps into my body tainting my pleasant memories, all the while the song still echoing in my ears, I curl myself up as tight as I can in order to protect myself from the cold darkness that overtakes me. I feel something soft beneath me as I am no longer floating, opening my eyes I see that I am back in my bedroom, the darkness now replaced by the faint light of the alarm clock, letting out a sigh of relief I blink a few times, when my eyes adjust I realize I’m no longer alone, my bed is surrounded by shadowy faceless figure, I know them, they mean me no harm they exist only to remind me of their existence. I know their names depression, uncertainty, regret, loneliness, I have lived with them most my life, however it is only now that I have learned that I cannot escape them even in my dreams.
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