Underneath the Surface

Ever have a nightmare where you've been greeted by one or many dark entities that immediately speed your heart rate up and send chills down your spine? Well, so has Raiden, but on a much larger scale. These creatures started coming only in his dreams, yes, but now they've fought their way into his reality, and all Raiden can do is hope that there is a light at the end of the dark, torturous tunnel he's been in ever since he was little.

Warning: contains some explicit language

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1. Introduction

Remember when your mom or dad would always calm you after a bad dream, wiping the tears from your smooth face as he or she would tell you that it none of what you just witnessed was real, that you were just imagining things? They'd tell you that the creatures that were creeping in your consciousness were harmless and, most of all, fake. You'd try to contradict them, pleading for them to scour your room for these ‘fake' entities. You'd watch them with fear stricken eyes, clutching your blanket in your trembling hands. They'd investigate and show you all the empty spaces, insisting that you were safe. You'd let them get to you, and your blanket would slowly move down and surround your body again. Your parents would gently put you back to bed, and smile before leaving you. Despite the search, your mind would not let go of your dream, no matter how hard you tried. You would still be frightened, convincing yourself that whatever you saw was out there, even though you couldn't see them or feel their presence like you could before. You'd search your room with crusted eyes, making sure not to take your eyes off of a single potential hiding place. You may have done this for some time, or maybe you only did this for a night. Nevertheless, you always managed to forget about it after surveying your room for yourself and finding nothing. The memories would soon fade away, and you would be back to enjoying the calmness of your room at night.

I've never reached that calm state for myself, and I probably never will. Why? Because the creatures I see in my dreams are there every time I sleep, no matter how hard I try to change my mind's landscape for the better. Never once have I had a carefree sleep since I was roughly four years old, and I have a feeling that that's not going to change for awhile. I just pray that one day, I’ll be able to escape from these creatures, because they’re not just inside my mind anymore, and I’m scared to death.

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