Fear

A short story in which a young man named Owen Conor discovers his normal life isn't all that normal. When his dreams begin to show him vivid and horrifying images, he knows something is wrong.

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1. Unwinding

It was a Thursday night in London. Owen was driving down the dusty road in the backstreets, his car bumping over pot holes. This was a journey he was so familiar with, one that cleared his head. The evening was warm; as he took in deep breaths the humid air filled his lungs. This road was never well lit; hence why he liked it so much, he liked to be alone. However, tonight the moon shone down like a diamond, and his hair blew in the soft wind. Tonight his mind was elsewhere, clustered with thoughts of worry. His mind wasn’t on his driving. All of a sudden, something pulled him out of his daydream, the noise he had always dreaded to hear when he was driving. The distant sound of the dreaded siren. He had always feared the police, the sight of the police car. Thoughts of worry filled his head as he looked in his wing mirror, seeing the flashing blue lights glide swiftly towards his vehicle. Holding his breath, the man slowed down. Shutting his eyes for a brief second, hoping for some sort of relief, he pulled over. Then, as if by some miracle, the speeding car he apprehended went past him. Sighing, a wave of remission passed over him. He glanced in the rear view mirror to check he was okay to go, and at this his heart stopped. Owen has seen something, he was sure of it...

As he stepped out of the car, the dim lit streets and navy black skies seemed much more daunting. I have to check I’m not losing my mind. The man slowly walked around his car to see if there was anything there. Even though he wanted nothing to be there, part of him didn’t feel this way. Owen had been seeing things in the corner of his eye for weeks. Movement. Hearing things for weeks. Laughing. He was sure he was going insane. When he reached the back of the car nothing was there. Just the usual empty streets. Tears stung in his eyes and burned the back of his throat, but he couldn’t give in to weakness yet. Minds were made to play tricks on you he reassured himself.

Owen arrived home an hour later. The small, suburban house was comforting. He stood on the porch turning the key in the rusted lock, the scarlet paint chipping off the door. He climbed the dreaded stairs to bed and got changed slowly. This was a time of night he wasn’t fond of; recently his nightmares were becoming more vivid. This fear always stuck in his mind, the fear of being faced with the horrible images that were so real to him disguised as dreams. As soon as his head fell on the pillow, his eyes shut. The pictures swam before him, changing, developing fast. Creatures he could not put a name on. As small as a fairy, but as powerful as the sun. The tiny mysterious beings were presented in front of him. The first images he saw could almost be pleasant, beautiful creatures in petite white clothing, which seemed to glow. Instantly the image changed. The critters then shown to him shared some likeness to the ones in white garments, however had none of their pleasantness. These beasts were clothed in black. Their eyes like blood diamonds. The image grew bigger and bigger. Just then the being opened its mouth to reveal razor sharp teeth dripping with deep red blood. All of a sudden the image went black and Owen was falling into darkness, into unknown. 

He woke with a start, his body covered in a light sheen of sweat. He sat up in bed, panic setting in. The man’s breathing slowed, and he began to calm himself down. He slowly closed his eyes. However when he opened them again, he wasn’t expecting to see what he saw. It was the creature from his dream. In front of him. He blinked to make sure it was real, although after repeated blinking the being was still there. It was the one dressed in white garments. The pixie like creature stared up at Owen with beautiful, human like eyes. It looked so innocent, but he couldn’t understand why something so unreal was taking presence in his boring, mundane life.

The sound he heard next was one that pulled him from his thought track. It sounded like a heavenly song, with high pitch but almost inaudible volume. Owen listened hard as the creature spoke to him, trying to understand why this thing was here and if it was even real.
“Owen, you must listen to me very carefully as I cannot stay long and I can only say this once. What I say next has the potential to save you and the people you love. I cannot tell you what I am or where I came from. This is to protect you rather than me. Your friend, Yasmin, is in trouble. Her path is about to cross the paths of other people, people who are up to no good. I can save her but you must promise something to me. If our world saves the life of your friend, you must owe us one favour. This favour can be anything, and we can claim this at any time. For the life of your friend, this is a fair price to pay do you not think?”
A mix of emotions washed over Owen. Confusion, panic, dread, insanity. Surely this couldn’t be real.
“I-I-I don’t understand. I don’t know who or what you are. You can’t be here. I don’t believe it. This is my imagination… it must be.”
“Do you not want to save your friend, young Owen?” The angelic voice was beginning to sound more and more sinister.
“How do you know about Yasmin?”
“I do not have time for games. I want to know an answer. Yes or no?”
“You aren’t real. You’re not here! Go away!” The desperation and panic was seeping into Owen’s voice.
“Very well then.”
At this the creature began to change, the white clothes turned to black, the human like eyes turned clear and clouded, the sharp teeth protruded from the animal’s mouth. At almost the speed of light, the animal ran up to the man and bit him on the hand, then disappeared. Owen began to feel light headed and could see spots in his vision. He couldn’t take in what had just happened. All of a sudden he passed out.
 

As morning came, the sun shone through the gaps in the curtains, lighting up the room. The man opened his eyes and slowly sat up, feeling groggy. His hand jutted out towards the bedside table to reach his phone, and a loud crash filled his ears as something fell to the floor. Confused, he rubbed his eyes and reached down for the thing that had dropped. When he realised what it was, his mouth shifted into a small, crooked smile. Yasmin. He held the object in his hands, taking it in. It was an old silver photo frame that had seen better days. But it was the photo inside it that made him smile. Yasmin had been his best friend since he could remember. This photo of them was when they were teenagers, and they looked so alike. Many people had mistaken them for brother and sister. Their hair both as golden as the sun, however Yasmin’s hung long and wavy and his was unruly and untamed. The two of them did everything together and still did. He couldn’t imagine life without her. Then he remembered what happened last night. What the small creature was telling him, what it said about Yasmin and the fact it bit his hand. Looking down, he checked for a mark, to see if it was real or not. Relief passed through Owen as his hand was free of any marks. It was a dream. He was so glad. Hearing a knock on the door, he was pulled out of his revive. Smiling one last time, he set the frame down and went downstairs. He got to the old door and yanked it open. Standing on his porch were two of the people he dreaded, the ones he was terrified of.
The police.
“Are you Owen Conor?” The first man asked, expressionless. What were the police doing here? His head swam as he tried to think of a reason.
“Y-yes?” Great. He thought after he spoke. A stuttering voice will always make me sound guilty.
“We need you to come to the police station. We need you to identify a body…”
After that he heard no more. A buzzing filled his ears, his vision blurred, leaving him filled with distress and horror.

The station was too bright. Or maybe it was the fact that all he’d seen in the journey here were the backs of his eyelids. Owen had spent the whole car ride playing over and over in his mind whose body this could be. One name leaped out at him repeatedly, but he pushed it aside. He couldn’t bear to even imagine what he was thinking. In silence the police lead him down a long corridor. Everything was white, and seemed unnatural. He almost felt like he was in one of his reoccurring nightmares that he dreaded so much. After what seemed like an eternity, they reached the room. The two police men opened the door and lead him inside. It was the smell that hit him first, he didn’t know what he had been expecting, but it wasn’t this. The smell was clean, almost too clean, like a hospital. Inside here everything was white too. And then he saw it. A white sheet concealing the body. Without giving him any warning, the first police man pulled back the cover.
And his whole world came crashing down before his eyes.
It was Yasmin.

She looked so innocent. Her blonde hair looked as if it was glowing, alive. Her pale white face defined by her long, jet black eyelashes even though her eyes were closed. She looked like a fallen angel. The site of her like this was too much. She was gone. His closest friend. His reason to live. As if on cue, his vision went blurry. His head began to spin. His knees buckled before him and he crashed down on the floor, hitting his head violently on the edge of the desk as he passed out.

Just before he blacked out, he saw the creature that appeared to him last night run out of the door.

It wasn’t a dream.
 

 

 

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