The dream started normally enough.
It was the first day of a new semester. There was a lot of running around, registering for classes and the like, and it was only late in the day that I realized that there was something important I hadn’t registered myself for yet. I can’t remember what it was now, only that I reached out to my friend for help. Rozen, she was called, and I remembered that she was dressed oddly, like she was about to attend a grand function. It was either a red cardigan paired with a black dress, or the other way around.
Either way, she led me to the office, only when I entered it wasn’t one. It was some sort of a child care, wide and spacious, with bright splashes of red and yellow around. Rozen had gone missing so I decided to explore, and that was when I noticed the pianos.
They were eccentric to say the least. Antique masterpieces, looking as if hours of painful measurement and carving had gone into them. The strange thing was how though the woodwork was perfect, the piano keys were not. There would be a certain range of them, say two octaves, that were playable, but the other keys were crooked, jagged and bent, monstrous teeth that looked as if they had been crudely bashed in.
I was upset, because I couldn’t find a single piano that was not partially marred, and that I could play on. That was when another friend of mine, Ben was his name, came and told me that I didn’t need the entire piano to play a song. He went to the grandest piano he could find, where the keys that were not destroyed laid on the lowest two octaves. With a thumping, rich bass, he proceeded to play an old Chinese favourite, and I sat on the piano bench next to him, listening.
As I listened, my gaze drifted to the wall beneath the piano. My eyes caught sight of a hole in the wall, a tiny small hole. A color pencil had fallen on the floor, and even as I watched, fascinated, the pencil began to jerk, slowly then surely, into the mouse hole, where it promptly vanished out of sight.
I paused, waiting. The area around the hole began to crack, as if some tremendous force was pulling that part of the wall inward, and pretty soon the mouse hole wasn’t a mouse hole any longer.
A face glided into sight and I froze.
And when I said “It”, I meant It. As in Stephen King’s It. I watched as it hummed and swayed to the rhythm of Ben’s tune, shark teeth horribly gleaming, and next thing I knew it began to sing. Only though the melody was the same, the lyrics were terribly warped, a guttural call of seduction, of persuasion, tempting me to bend down just a little, just a little, and place my ear to the hole in the wall. so I could hear him sing clearer.
Well I knew better than to follow.
I got up, and the face snarled when it realized I wasn’t about to obey it, and that I was about to leave. It vanished as suddenly as it came and suddenly I was in a car, speeding along the highway. As the vehicle zoomed along I sensed it, its presence, always there, always lingering at the corners of my vision, never letting me see it fully.
And then there were the whispers. Soft callings. Gentle murmurings. Persuading. Coaxing.
We reached a shack in the middle of nowhere and prepped ourselves for the Fight, with a capital F. I saw Idlan in the crowd, donning his battle gear, face grim.
“Take this.” A guy I’d never seen before in my life approached me, handing me an old Polaroid camera. “It can help detect the Possessed. Photos of the Possessed always show a dark shadow standing behind the subject. That dark shadow is the vile spirit that now has full control over the person.”
I nodded. As the guy walked back to get his gear I held up the camera and pressed the button.
I looked at the photo that came out. Dang, that is one dashing profile –
“Watch out!” came the abrupt yell. There was an unearthly shriek from above and a jagged, saw-teethed boomerang swept out of nowhere. Idlan ducked, but it was too late; the boomerang made a sickening tearing sound as it ripped through the metal of his armor like it was nothing, red splattering on the forest floor as it carved a track through flesh.
I did not know if he lived or died, for at that moment chaos began.
Steel against steel. Human against inhuman. Fire with fire, blade with shield. Sparks danced. Screams abounded. And the taste and smell of blood saturating the air.
Suddenly we were in an old, abandoned mansion.
Two different races gathered on the second floor of that regal house, a swaying wooden bridge the only thing separating us. We waited, for each other to take that first step.
There was a sharp giggle, and from behind the inhuman there rose a giant wave of objects, that promptly cascaded down upon us like torrential rain. I raised my arms in instinct, feeling the objects bounced off my body and roll on the floor, presenting themselves for me to recognize –
Somewhere among the ranks of my allies someone yell, “That’s alright, we have a girl here who can control fruit!”
Everyone looked at me.
Me? I gestured.
Well, what was I supposed to do now, I can’t exactly just wave my hands and –
Oh. So that’s how you do it.
For some strange, unfathomable reason the oranges seemed to hurt the inhuman much much more than it did us, to the point where the leader cried out in agony, ordering a retreat. But before he left he and I locked eyes for a second, and through that venomous glare of his I knew.
He would be back.
With the inhuman beaten, we cheered, danced, and sang. I was hailed the hero, and raised on the shoulders of all my friends. The guy who’d given me the camera winked at me, and I blushed.
We separated into groups to clean up the house. I was on the second level picking up trash, and as I bent down to collect an orange I knocked the camera button against the floor.
I blinked from the glaring light, having accidentally taken a photo of myself. With spots dancing in my vision, I picked up the photo that whirred out of the camera.
There was a dark shadow standing behind me.
It was the back of someone’s head, someone with a short black bob.
Even as I watched, the shadow turned, and slowly, gradually, the face came into view.
My reflection looked at me, smiled and winked, placing a finger to her lips.
Author’s note : This is non-fictional. And no, I wasn’t drunk. Or high.