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Thread: Like A Mirror's Reflection

  1. #1
    Registered User DRayVan's Avatar
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    Like A Mirror's Reflection

    Dim light and deep shadows obscured many details of my surroundings. Bewildered and unsure, I stood in the darkness trying to make sense of this place. I didn’t know where I was nor how I arrived here. My slightest sound echoed ahead and behind me. I stumbled sideways until encountering a barrier. Its surface felt rough and irregular like the wall of a tunnel or cavern. Feeling for anything recognizable, I shuffled along and tripped on the uneven floor yet managed to keep my balance. But not making much progress, I stopped.

    A faint noise came from somewhere and quickly died away. Was it a footstep, movement, or a breath? I couldn’t decide. For several moments, I didn’t hear anything, but soon there were more noises. Turning, I tried to listened for their direction. From deep in the passages, vague sounds echoed off the walls. Before I could focus on them, they too faded.

    An uneasy quiet settled over the tunnel, disturbed only by my pounding heart. Concentrating, I listened for anything that would tell me what made the sounds. A whisper of movement caught my attention. A rustling in the distance frightened me. Sounding like the deep, throaty breathing of a large animal, a disturbing noise unleashed waves of anxiety crashing against me.

    My imagination ran wild. What kind of beast is here with me?

    I didn’t know what to do nor which way to go. My courage dissolved when the sounds of footsteps and breathing became more distinct. I realized whatever it was, it moved closer with each step.

    My brain yelled, “Run, run,” but my legs wouldn’t move.

    I tried shouting, hoping my legs would respond, but the words stuck in my throat. Instead, my lips flapped in the air escaping from my lungs, and I managed a loud, guttural, “Rumph, rumph.” This strange sound startled me, and I woke up. Terrified, I stared at the ceiling until sleep overcame me once again.

    Apprehension and fear kept me awake the next night. I didn’t want to be in that tunnel with a dreadful beast. I tossed and turned, until I finally fell asleep.

    The foreplay of the chase was over. The beast lumbered down the tunnel toward me. Its breathing was deep, raspy, and gruff and much closer than before. The sound of its feet scraping the ground unnerved me.

    What kind of beast is chasing me? I racked my brain for answers, but answers eluded me.

    I tried sprinting, but I was running in slow motion. No matter how hard I tried, the beast was catching up to me. The cadence of its pursuit matched the rhythm of my feet pounding the ground; the sound of its breathing was closer and closer. Before long, I was dead tired and out of breath. My legs were on fire. I sensed the beast would soon reach me and overpower me. Regardless of my efforts, I felt incapable of escaping. A feeling of hopelessness overwhelmed me.

    It’s going to get me. I can’t get away!

    I awoke. The bedroom was quiet and peaceful except for the thumping in my chest. The nightmare took its toll. All day, tired and emotionally drained, I relived the dream: the tunnel and the beast chasing me, again, and again.

    A couple of nights passed before the nightmare returned.

    A faint glow illuminated the tunnel. I tried running, but it seemed like I was slogging through thick molasses. Over my shoulder, I saw the vague outline of the beast, gaining with each passing moment. I tried making my legs move faster, but they ignored me. A hundred yards ahead, sunlight streamed through a fissure in the tunnel’s ceiling. In the middle of the sunbeam, a ladder hung from ceiling to floor.

    I have to reach it. I just have to!

    Still the beast closed the gap between us. On my heels, the sound of its breathing was just behind me, louder than ever. My legs ached. My lungs burned. I was on the verge of collapse when the beast touched my shoulder. Like a lightning bolt, a shock ripped down my spine. I woke up, panic-stricken, heart hammering, and breathless.

    The nightmare haunted me all day. It was difficult to think of anything else. Convinced the beast would catch me next time I dreamed, I didn’t want to sleep. I reasoned that I had to face the beast. I kept telling myself, “It’s only a dream.” But I doubted my courage.

    The nightmare returned a week later.

    Ahead, sunlight streaming through the opening in the ceiling illuminated the ladder and surrounding tunnel. Without hesitation, I leaped and bounded toward the ladder like a lunar astronaut, lightly touching the ground with each step. I soared as if gravity had suddenly lost its grip on me. The beast followed close behind, gaining, its feet pawing the floor. Its breathing deepened: louder, throatier, and gruffer. The sound of its breathing became more maddening with each breath, unleashing a flood of fear. I didn’t look back; I couldn’t look back: the dread of what I might see prevented me. I didn’t care how close the beast was as long as I reached the ladder before it overtook me.
    One last leap and I should be there!

    But the beast pounced and seized my shoulder. I managed to twist free, and with one swift kick, jetted the remaining few yards. I grabbed the ladder, swung around, and planted my feet firmly on the floor. I stood by the ladder and waited for the beast, heart pounding, panting. This seemed the best place to make my stand. The shadowy form of the beast was visible in the reflected light, but it hesitated, remaining in the darkness, shuffling from one side of the tunnel to the other. All the while, the sound of its hoarse breathing was draining my courage.

    “It’s only a dream,” I pleaded with myself, but the scene persisted, surreal, yet so vivid: the beast, its breathing, and my gnawing fear. I tried encouraging myself, and bolstering my weakening resolve: “Confront your fear.” But ‘twas easier thought than done.

    Out of the shadows, the beast charged and grabbed my arm. I reached and seized its other arm. Scuffling across the floor, we tugged and pulled, bouncing off the ladder, gliding above the ground. Locked in a fierce skirmish, neither gained the advantage. For a while, we were evenly matched, but my strength waned, giving the beast the upper hand. Tumbling in and out of the light, a chance sunbeam illuminated its face, and I looked into its eyes. Our battle abruptly ended, and we plummeted to the floor; gravity was re-exerting its grip.

    In the bright sunlight, I stood and faced the beast. Like a mirror’s reflection, I was looking at myself: the face, the eyes, and the form of the beast were all mine. My psyche contorted, unable to comprehend the implications.

    I sat up in bed, bewildered. Why was I the beast of my dreams?
    Last edited by DRayVan; 07-05-2018 at 06:55 AM.

  2. #2
    TheFairyDogMother kiz_paws's Avatar
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    Excellent story, you had my heart pounding as I read it.

    You captured the description of the inability of running in nightmares brilliantly. And what an ending... never guessed that for a moment! Thumbs up to you, Jack.
    Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty
    ~Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    Registered User DRayVan's Avatar
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    True story - glad I was able to capture what I dreamed and felt.

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