The Silver Stalker Dream

Standard

flat

Famous last words. Or at least, famous last Facebook posts. It was stupid of me to post it, but little had I realised at the time that a maniac had been watching me.

We’d just moved into our new flat, and it was perfect. I had been joking about the security measures on Facebook, as they seemed fit for an underground base with the amount of door codes and keys needed.

I was hands deep in washing up bubbles when I sensed I wasn’t alone. I span on my heels, raising my dripping marigolds defensively.  I turned to find a man stood over me with a knife. I’d never seen him before. He was grinning from ear to ear, short silver hair sticking up neatly, perfectly groomed yet still grungy looking. As I turned he lowered his weapon, still smiling and never once blinking. We stood in silence for a painstaking moment. Then he opened his mouth, canines glinting.

“Next time.”

I stood looking at him, perplexed. “What…”

“Your Facebook post?” He tilted his head to one side, looking at me as if I’d called him over and forgotten five minutes later. “You said your flat was impenetrable. And I just walked in.” There was an air of smugness in his voice.

I leant against the work surface and felt around in the washing bowl behind me, desperately searching for a knife. “Well, that was stupid of me, but you can’t just…”

“Oh no, I’m not done here,” he grinned. “I’m not here just to prove I can break in, no. This was too easy. I need to show you just how wrong you were.”

He sheathed his knife in his belt and drew his long brown overcoat back over it.

“Next time,” he repeated.

Before I could say another word, he was out the door, moving surprisingly stealthily for a man over 50. I ran to the door and locked it.

I couldn’t sleep that night. Every noise outside made me think he was out there, waiting for an opportunity to get back inside. Rain tapped at the window. The floorboards creaked in the flat downstairs. I stared through the darkness at the ceiling, listening to my boyfriend’s gentle breathing.

The next morning I poured a can of Red Bull down my throat and we went out to town, careful to lock the door behind us. Walking along the busy Saturday pavements of the city centre, it was almost impossible to keep my cool. At every turn I was looking around for an unseen assassin, expecting a blade in my back. Jack said I was being paranoid.

I sensed someone watching me, and sure enough, wading through the crowds not ten metres away was my new homicidal friend. His eyes never left mine as he pushed people out of his way. His knife blade flashed briefly under his open coat.

“That’s him!” I whimpered, stopping dead on the street. Jack turned to look and saw a man striding with purpose towards us. Maybe it was the gleam of murder in his eyes. Maybe he saw the knife. But suddenly Jack believed me.

“Run!” I screamed, and we both did just that. We didn’t stop running until we reached our flat and had bolted ourselves in. Five minutes later, we saw the glint of grey hair directly outside our window, framing a broad, victorious grin.

We drew the curtains and sat in the dark. After half an hour we were seemingly alone. I rang up a few friends and carefully let them in when they arrived. They joined us in a discussion of war as we sat in a circle in the dark. We were on the floor in the spare room, just the four of us. We had decided to run to a safe house.

Before we could so much as move from our position, there was a knock on the window. On our first floor flat window. Between the slats of the blind, I could see a pair of eyes looking in on us. He tapped a hook on the window. It was where his hand should be.

This wasn’t our silver-haired stalker.  This was someone else. Not a minute later we heard someone try to open the front door.

He’d brought friends.

Our front door was strong, but these people were insane. Before long they’d have broken it down and would be coming for us. Not only had I endangered my life, but I’d put three of the people I was closest to at risk as well. There was no choice now. We’d have to fight, or nobody was leaving this building alive.

I tiptoed to the kitchen and grabbed as many knives as we had. Jack had taken the shade off of a lamp and was wielding it like a double-ended lightsaber. The rest of us divvied up the blades, just as the door broke down and three psychopaths tumbled into the hallway.

We charged at them, screaming for our lives.

The Hazardous Hospital Dream

Standard

Zombies again. For someone not into this particular genre I sure as hell do dream about them a lot. This time there were about fifty of us hiding in an abandoned hospital. The zombies had trapped us in a large room with nothing but graffiti and debris. There were the usual violently colourful tags on the walls and an unusual skull shape painted on the floor. But to be honest, we weren’t being overly judgemental of the décor.

Beyond the skull was a corridor that bent in a way that was impossible to see what was coming. As the somewhat designated leader of this band of survivors I had to check it out. I raised a hand to ensure everyone stayed quiet and didn’t follow me.

The hospital was in a sorry state. The pipes along the walls had cracked over the years and trickled freely. Moss grew in every gloomy corner and the mouldy tiles squelched under my feet.

I sensed movement. Beyond the running water there was another gentle sound. I saw a shadow glide along the pipework to my right, heard the groaning as a great weight slithered along them.

As it grew closer to the light I saw the shimmering green scales of the snake. Its head fanned out in vibrant orange, a warning sign to prey. No, wait a minute. A traffic cone. Stuck with the smaller end around its body and the base framing its head like a last minute lion costume. I backed away. Just because his head couldn’t reach past the plastic to bite me didn’t mean it couldn’t crush me to death.

I crept back to the large room where everyone was talking amicably and discussing what they thought we should do next. They all shut up when they saw how pale I was.

“Guys,” I whispered. “Stay calm… there’s a snake.”

They all looked at me as if I was an idiot. A snake? So what? Zombies were the main threat. Someone giggled and the room returned to a hum of chatter.

Dougie, a good friend of mine, approached me with a pretty good sketch of the skull painting on the floor. “I’ve been studying this,” he said eagerly. “There’s something about it. What do you think it is?” I looked at the painting again. He was right, there was something odd about it. It wasn’t like the other graffiti.

I shrugged. It was important right now. I left Dougie to his musings and wandered around the room. I was surrounded by people from my High School, people from my past. I wondered which ones I would make an effort to save if the worst came to the worst.

I heard a yelp near the corridor and pushed my way back in time to see the snake. He’d followed me into the room, but rather than attack anyone he meandered straight for the skull. His elongated body traced the paint on the floor  and somehow sank into the skull, bringing it to life with a jolt of electricity.

For a moment we stood around it, wondering what it meant. We didn’t have to wait long to find out. Suddenly the skull shot white sparks to the ceiling and loud 80s music began to play. Disco lights shone in all corners of the room and everyone automatically started dancing. It was as if they’d forgotten their situation and were being forced to let loose. I’d never known Rick Astley had had that power.

I felt the rhythm try to take me and I fought it. This may have seemed harmless but we were attracting attention to ourselves. I grabbed a few of my closer friends and broke them out of their trances. We ran.

Before we’d even made it to the other end of the building we heard their screams. There was nothing to be done. If I’d brought too many with us we’d all be in danger. I climbed up the nearest flight of stairs, heading for the top floor, and my band of merry men followed.

We found a penthouse office that spanned the size of the hospital. The entirety had floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the sea. If you looked straight down you could see the cliff that the hospital had been erected into. This wouldn’t be an easy escape.

Floating like wisps of black silk on the skyline, the vampires were hovering. I studied them as they created new zombies below. Their cloaks were like rags floating on an invisible breeze, masking their hideously deformed faces. Long crooked fingers reached out towards their new armies, ripping out their souls and twisting the flesh. There was no way humanity was coming back from this.

Dougie joined me in the window. He’d been on one of the computers and had found the scheduled deliveries timetable.”There’s a boat leaving in ten minutes heading for the mainland. If we can figure out a way of getting past the zombies and finding a way to the port, we could make it.”

Before I could even begin to hope that this was a plausible plan of action, the big white cruise liner sailed out of our eyeline. Dougie sighed. “Guess we’ll have to wait til the next one. If there even is a next one…” Dougie leant against the nearest desk with his head in his hands. Everyone else slumped in the desk chairs. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t just sit and wait for either death or an opportunity to find me. I had to make an opportunity.

“I’m going for a walk,” I muttered. Nobody so much as reacted, let alone offered to join me. So I walked. I walked through endless abandoned corridors and dirty white rooms until I lost track of both time and direction. Soon I became aware I was well underground, and hadn’t once encountered a zombie on the way.

Walking down an unfamiliar corridor, I noticed how considerably colder it was getting. In a moment of disbelief I realised it was fresh air. The corridor began to curve upwards towards a trapdoor. Taking a deep breath, I pushed it open.

I was in my garden. My garden, several counties away from the hospital. It was as if I’d stepped into a parallel universe; no vampires, no zombies, nothing wrong at all. Like I’d stepped into a page of my own history.

I walked cautiously through the house. It was all so neat and modern, nothing like the real thing. My parents had evidently been renovating whilst I’d been running for my life. My parents were sat on the sofa, casually watching TV. They didn’t seem particularly surprised at my entrance after being away for several days.

“Are all the doors locked?” I asked, alarmed. My mum looked towards the nearest open door and shrugged. Doing a perimeter check of the whole house, I had to shut and bolt the doors, all of which were made of incredibly protective basic glass. The white curtains blew in the gentle breeze and I shut them too, desperately trying to keep the horror away.

I could sense the vampires swarming outside. They were surrounding the whole house, but they couldn’t come inside. I relaxed a little. If a door wasn’t open, they could not cross the threshold. So we sat and watched TV for a while, almost as if this were a normal night. I felt bad on the people I’d abandoned in the hospital, but if I went back for them I almost certainly wouldn’t be able to find the secret passage again.

That night I dreamt about them. A coach full of people was on their way to rescue them. At least, that’s what it would look like. One black guy with a long jagged cut from forehead to cheek hid amongst their ranks. He had the disease in his eyes; they were milky white with the departing of his soul. He smiled.

I woke up and instantly rang Dougie. Surprisingly, he answered on the third ring. I was surprised he still had battery.

“Dougie!”

“Yo, where’ve you been? There’s a coach here, we can go home!”

“No, Dougie! Do not go near that coach.”

“What? Don’t be daft, what else are we going to do? It’s our only chance of getting away!”

“One of them has the disease! He’s a black guy, long coat, big cut on his face…”

“Okay, Claire,” he said, but I knew that tone of voice. He wasn’t listening. “I’ll keep my eye out.”

That was the last I ever heard of him.

The Gifting God Dream

Standard

I was walking around in an inflatable penis costume at our work party leaving do. For some reason the suit had boobs and chest hair, but I’d done my makeup all pretty so I pulled it off. People had commented on my costume saying how unique and funny it was. Oh yeah. I was popular.

A colleague called me to the bar and shouted over the music, “Look who’s back!” I turned to see a group of guys in green T-shirts that looked vaguely familiar. In the middle of them was a guy with long, black, Loki-esque hair.

It was Tom Hiddleston. His green T-Shirt was tightly fitted across his muscular torso, and he was smiling with those piercing green demigod eyes.

I walked over to the group and said hello to each one in turn. When I got to Tom I made a kind of, “ahh!” noise and hugged him. “Long time no see!” He’d visited us a while back, and he seemed genuinely happy to see me again. He pulled me out of the embrace and stood me at a distance to admire my outfit.

Oh God. I was still in the penis suit.

He burst out laughing whilst my face grew red against the garish pink.

“I’ve never seen a costume with boobs and so much chest hair! Where did you even find that?”

“Internet,” I mumbled.

Before we could talk more the green shirts had to go for a meeting. I watched them through the blinds for a while before taking the penis suit off… with some issues. Rubber can really chafe! But it didn’t matter. I had the promise that I would see Mr. H again.

The next day our new halls of residence was finally built and ready to move into. Our flat was lovely, save for a couple of major downsides; we were on the ground floor (which everyone knows is a prime target for murderers and thieves) and the only way to get to the kitchen was through our room. I wasn’t happy. What if I was sleeping and someone fancied a late night snack? What if I was getting dressed and a flatmate needed his morning Weetabix? This wouldn’t do.

To take my mind off things I went for a walk in the field next to our flat, but I was so upset I forgot my shoes. In the middle of the field I found an old man, simply stood there, staring into the sky at nothing in particular. Maybe he was an alien waiting for his ride home. I was about to go over and ask if he was okay, but that was when I noticed the tent.

The closer I got to it, the more I began to realise this was something religious. There were artefacts hanging over the doorway and a hazy incense enveloped me. I had a bad feeling, but nonetheless entered. Central to the room was a large shrine with numerous candles and a portrait of a many armed God behind it. A large stuffed tiger lay proudly on top of the altar, surveying his linen walled palace.

I felt like I was trespassing and should pay homage to this God in recompense. I was glad I had no shoes on. That was disrespectful wasn’t it? I didn’t really have anything on me to give as an offering, so I took my contacts out and put them on the tiger. I was struggling to get them to stick to his beady eyes when I sensed a creature enter the tent behind me.

I turned slowly to see a monkey-like monster hunched over me with a many-eyed face and furry mandibles. It was dribbling. I felt an almost supernatural power emanating from him, but he made no move to harm me.

Tentatively I stroked his head, avoiding his spidery black eyes. He was extremely soft, like a faux fur cushion. As I studied him he began sniffing and dribbling all over my hand. In a strange sort of way he was quite cute.

I’d been so engrossed in this anomaly that I hadn’t noticed the woman stood behind him. She was deadstaring a spot above my head, and she looked angry. She was like no earthly woman I had seen before; her hair was like tubing, tied up tightly on her scalp. Her eyes were fully black and distant in gaunt, pale skin. The flesh on her left hand was hideously disfigured, with small globs between her thumb and forefinger, not dissimilar to the creature’s eyes.

She saw me looking and flexed her hand, and I sensed the monster tense under my fingertips. The flesh on her thumb moved as if by itself. I realised now it was shaped like a mouth. She clenched her fist and I felt the furry mandibles of the creature swallow my hand. It started sucking. With much force I pulled away from it, but it pulled it back, sucking my whole hand in. I felt my bones crushing together, yet I was helpless and utterly stuck. I guess the Gods hadn’t been appeased with my offering.

“Please,” I begged the woman. She continued staring at the wall. “Please!” there was desperation in my voice. She said nothing, but I saw her palm release the tension, and instantly I was free.

I ran from the tent.

#NationalPoetryDay

Standard

Atop that friendless hill
sits the monarch of the trees.
The crumbling crown of a castle
wrought with misery.

In disregarded splendour,
that once fearful keep
becomes a blemish on the skyline;
a loss no mortal weeps.

His walls provided hope
to the soldiers of despair.
But once their plight concluded
they stripped and left him bare.

No longer his might is worshipped,
No more do they fall to their knees.
The only servant who bows to him now
is the wind in the boughs of the trees.

The Binned Bodies Dream

Standard

I got a job in Tesco (already you’re thinking, wow Claire, I’m gripped! Tell me more!) It was a giant store with two floors filled with absolutely everything, with a work force of over a hundred. It was such a big and awe-inspiring Tesco that even on my days off I’d turn up and just chat to the team, sitting on the railings behind the tills and munching on cola bottles. That was the life.

For several days I followed this routine, sitting in my spot and people-watching. One particular day I noticed a few shifty looking guys with full matching tracksuits and caps, scouting around the supermarket. For some reason the security staff didn’t seem to notice them. Lots of people in the area had gone missing lately – maybe they were in some way related?

After several days of these men coming in, looking around and buying nothing, I followed them outside (not an easy job when in uniform). One of them had a vicious looking pitbull on a metal chain, foaming at the mouth and barking at anyone close to it. I watched as they followed a woman through the trees across the park; heard the snapping of bones as the dog’s teeth went through her arm; her pitiful, hopeless scream…

Nobody so much as blinked.

The next day I went back to work on autopilot, still in shock. The men and the pitbull were nowhere to be seen, despite me watching vigilantly all day. There was a full bin bag where the dog was usually chained up and I dared not look inside.

At about 5pm the manager’s voice echoed over the intercom:

“This is an emergency announcement. Can all customers and all staff please vacate the premises immediately. A mass fumigation is underway.”

The entire building and surrounding streets evacuated, heading for the train station ten minutes away. I was one of the last to leave with two colleagues; Mark, who I had confided everything in earlier that day, and Dan, who laughed and joked, blissfully unaware of the danger unfolding around him.

A mist descended over everything. We could barely make out the road in front of us and the crowds we were following had long since vanished.

“Proper zombie weather, this,” Dan said. We remained silent. This was no fumigation. At least not of any pests. And this mist wasn’t natural.

The further along we walked, the more lost we became. There was nothing to see but the mist and several full bin bags littering the pavement. These rapidly increased in quantity until there were more bin bags than floor space. Hundreds of them lining the walls and up against trees. Around lampposts shining dimly in the foggy winter sky, they were piled in vile pyramids.

“Jesus, where did all these come from?” Dan kicked the nearest bag.

“Don’t!” I hissed. He looked at me as if I’d gone mad. “There are bodies in them.” I felt sick. He laughed, waiting for me to reveal a big prank. When I didn’t he looked at Mark, whose pale and trembling face held no comfort. Dan swallowed.

“If they really are bodies,” he said slowly, “Who’s killing them?”

“A group of men.” I started walking again, encouraging them onwards. “Although I’ve only seen three, and there must be more of them to kill this many so quickly. But I’ll know them if I see them.”

As if on cue, a silhouette in the mist appeared from the treeline. I could just about make out the shape of a chained animal.

“Run,” I whispered, but they’d already seen us, undoubtedly had been hunting us the entire time. “RUN!” I yelled. Mark and I made good time, but Dan wasn’t as prepared as we were. The dog caught him easily and ripped him to pieces.

There was no time to stop, no time to cry or throw up or even think. We had to keep going with no direction or idea of any safe place. Everywhere we ran we heard the snapping of jaws and gleeful laughter. It felt like we were getting nowhere.

But the further we ran, the clearer the air became. Soon we could make out roads again and a glimmer of hope reached my heart. We’d come to a motorway where cars were running as normal, as if a massacre wasn’t happening only streets away. There we met a woman who we didn’t bother explaining to, we just told her to run, and to her credit she did.

Until her shoe fell off and the idiot went back to get it.

I turned just before the dog’s jaws clamped down over her head. It stood there, chewing, blood dribbling down its flews and insanity in its eyes.

We ran.

 

 

 

 

 

The Ludicrous Letting Dream

Standard

Moving house is never fun. There’s the packing, the sorting, the endless application forms and fees. But when you’re all sorted and the ordeal is over it’s usually worth it.

…Unless you move into an old cottage on the top of a block of flats with no roof on it.

I don’t know what I’d been thinking when I’d arranged to take it. Maybe I hadn’t arranged it – I didn’t remember doing so. There was something unique and cool about having a whitewashed cottage with original beams five floors up on a modern building. And a little odd.

I was handed a two pronged key, much like a cattle prod, and the final paperwork. Then the estate agent left me to it, probably ecstatic some moron had finally taken the troublesome cottage off of his hands. I walked up the several flights of stairs and arrived at my new abode.

Inside was a little derelict to say the least. Beams hung broken from the ceiling, there were holes in the floorboards and a thick layer of dust lay over everything. But hey, it had character! And bonus, the windows were all in tact. The whole house may fall down around me, or even on me, but at least I had windows.

I began tidying and unpacking my things optimistically, and it was long into the evening before I finished. As I stopped moving around, I noticed it was getting much colder. There was a considerable draught, and as I looked in the direction of its source the afternoon’s optimism thoroughly dissipated.

There was a ruddy great hole in the roof.

And ‘hole’ is an understatement. There was more sky than roof in the main bedroom. And bedroom is hardly the word. There was a raised bit of floor I’d chucked my bedding over to make a sort of bunk bed. I lay down on it and looked up at the stars whilst I reevaluated my life choices.

There was a knock on the door – the front door of the cottage that led to a large drop into nothingness. I looked through the door pane to see my friend, Beryl. She was peering through, so I waved and let her in.

“Hiya!” she said in her usual chirpy manner. She held her handbag tight on her shoulder as she walked around my new home. The longer she looked, the more forced her smile became. It disappeared completely when she clapped eyes on the roof.

“Oh Claire,” she said, “what are you even doing here?”

“It’s not that bad,” I said, smiling. Karma chose that point to make the sky rumble and pour torrential rain onto my freshly made bed. I watched helplessly and shrugged as my life fell further apart. Beryl just stared awkwardly at it.

“Aaaand over there you can see the bedroom and shower. I’m saving space,” I said, trying to lighten the mood and stop myself from just breaking down and sobbing.

Beryl didn’t laugh. We were interrupted by the side door opening. One of the guys from the neighbouring flats walked in. I hadn’t realised they had such easy access to my cottage. The man glanced briefly at the watering splashing all of my possessions, then demanded my rent payment. I blinked blankly back at him, then asked who the hell he was.

Of course this tosspot had to be the landlord’s son. Beryl chose this convenient moment to make her farewells and disappear, and I’ve never seen her more happy to leave. The guy shoved an invoice in my hands which showed an amount far larger than the agreed rent.

“What’s this for?” I asked, gesturing to the extra figures.

“We’re having a camping party, he said. “Someone’s got to pay for it.”

Sure enough, through the open door I could see several tents and a camp fire set up in the corridor of the flats. Tenants in sleeping bags lay on the floor, watching us eagerly.

“Am I even invited?” I asked.

He chuckled in response. Took that as a no.

I handed him over the money in a slight how-did-my-life-get-to-this trance and he smirked and left me to it. They began playing loud music and laughing at my misfortune.

Well, I told myself. Could be worse…