Last year Big Cat Country used to do a Saturday or Sunday off-topic piece during the lull of the offseason. As such, I thought I'd post a story that came to me one day, and I just had to write it. I hope you enjoy (the picture will make sense when you're reading the story)... Without further adieu...
Jeremy always had been different. Since childhood, he had known there was something unusual about his dreams, something… disturbing, yet beautiful. His dreams had an uncanny knack for coming to fruition.
Jeremy stood silently on the rolling hill that overlooked his family’s plantation. The grass was cool under his bare feet and the breeze teased his anguished cheeks. Noticing a large rock formation below he had never seen before, Jeremy decided to check it out. Climbing effortlessly down hill, he reached the rocks quickly, but was shocked to see the rock formation actually was the opening to the mouth of a cave.
"How could I not have noticed this before… I know every inch of this land." Jeremy quietly mumbled.
He was in no mood for suprises. Not after the week he’d been having…
One Week Ago.
Jeremy sat across from his therapist and fidgeted anxiously. He was alternating between picking his nails and shaking his leg, and it was apparent his mind was burdened. Dr. Reisenberg had been Jeremy’s therapist since he was 7 years old, and Jeremy looked to Dr. R (as he affectionately called him), as a confidant, friend, and guide. Dr. Reisenberg has been practicing Psycho-therapy for years and he specialized in dream therapy and interpretation.
Jeremy’s parents approached Dr. Reisenberg when Jeremy’s terrifying dreams first began manifesting themselves into reality. Occasionally Jeremy would have vivid hallucinations from experiences he had while sleeping. Unlike most people, Jeremy never forgot a dream, he couldn’t even if he wanted to. Dr. R helped Jeremy to work through his hallucinations with a special form of reality testing he perfected for schizophrenics he worked with in the past. Jeremy was given a special pair of rose colored glasses and he was instructed to put them on whenever he was having a vision he wasn’t convinced was real. The glasses’ impact was two fold, first, Jeremy would have to take his eyes off his vision to put on his glasses, secondly, the glasses acted as a psychological reminder of perception NOT being reality. "
"Everything looks red when they are worn, but as soon as you take them off, everything is back to normal again, just like your visions, they may appear to be real, but they’re not." Dr R asserted.
Jeremy’s abilities first manifested themselves when he informed his mother and father of his sister’s impending death. He was almost 7 at the time and had been noticing for awhile that dreams he had would come true. He’d dream about dinner, and the next day it would be served to the family. He dreamed for weeks about a small white poodle, and sure enough, his father showed up one day with a white poodle. It was great fun and Jeremy loved his unique ability, then one day it all changed, and Jeremy stopped liking it…
His first recurrent dream about the death of his sister started out vague, just like all of his dreams, and became more vivid as the impending event approached. Jeremy never knew precisely when something would happen, but he could guess based on how much more vivid his dream had become. He would have the same dream nightly until the event occurred, and it was no different with his sister’s demise.
The first dream had just been his sister Micha’s terrified screams, her banging on walls, and her relentless sobbing. Jeremy had the experience of sight in his dream, but all he saw was blackness; all he heard was the horrified shrieks of a beautiful, innocent, 8 year old girl. Jeremy had hoped that the dream was a fluke, that the voice wasn’t his sister’s, or that he’d been mistaken; that it was anything other than what he feared most. Unfortunately, as the dreams became clearer, all doubt was erased.
Jeremy would see his sister Micha crying and screaming while she clawed and clutched at stone and wood, without success. As the dream became clearer, Jeremy’s sister’s sobbing became fainter and fainter. Then… silence… darkness… and Jeremy awakens.
Jeremy had never shared with his parents the fact that his dreams often became reality, but he felt he had no choice. He had to try to help his sister. Jeremy went to his parents and told them everything. All his dreams, when they happened and how they came true. His Mom and Dad humored him and pretended to listen intently. However, when Jeremy told his parents about his visions of what he assumed was his sister’s death, the mood turned solemn. Immediately, Jeremy was grounded and sent to his room. His parents were clearly shaken by the whole ordeal and the thought of losing their firstborn was one they didn’t want to fathom.
Two weeks later, Micha didn’t come home for dinner. It was summer and Micha frequently spent the day exploring the 500 acres of land her parents owned. She loved the outdoors, but father had strict rules about being home for family dinner, and Micha always made a habit of respecting her father’s rules. A search party was dispatched and the whole town pitched in, unfortunately, no trace of Micha was ever found.
The family was devastated and Jeremy was hit especially hard. He held himself responsible for his sister’s death, and his parents sought out a dream specialist to help him through the issues he had surrounding his sister’s death and his dream-visions.
A few months ago Jeremy began taking a new kind of experimental medication called Ana-Rem. Ana-Rem works by making it difficult to remember any dreams, and severely inhibiting the brain’s ability to create cohesive dreams. The medication has been a huge success for Jeremy. It was originally designed for people suffering from night terrors, but was perfectly suited for Jeremy’s unique condition.
Since starting the medication, Jeremy hadn’t had any dreams that he could remember, until last night. It began very faintly, as all his dreams do, and involved an incessant knocking but no vision. Jeremy was confused. He didn’t want to know the future anymore, but something about this dream was especially unsettling to him. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but this dream put a pit in his stomach.
"Look Dr. R, I don’t know what this is about, all I hear is knocking over and over, and there is a deep sense of terror in the dream, but no vision… I want to have this dream."
Dr. R was very pleased with the immense progress that Jeremy had made since starting Ana-Rem, and strongly advised against Jeremy discontinuing his usage of the medication.
"Look Jeremy, there are side-effects like headaches and vertigo that can occur unless you wean yourself off the pills, and frankly Jeremy, you don’t need to see this dream." He warned.
Jeremy reluctantly agreed not to stop taking his medicine, but the dream continued to occur, although it was very unclear because of the Ana-Rem. All Jeremy heard was the knocking, all he saw was darkness, and all he felt was fear. Jeremy spent much of his school day trying to figure out who was trying to get in the door.
"Who is it that wants in, where are they trying to get into, and why do they want in there?" He wondered aloud.
He thought again about suspending his medication, but remembered the promise he made to Dr. R to continue his daily regimen. Jeremy was especially curious about this dream and he desperately wanted to know where the mysterious "knocker" was trying to get into.
Jeremy went about his daily routines, but every night he had the same dream again, despite the Ana-Rem he was taking. Jeremy found himself running through the dream in his mind for clues during his free time. It was beginning to consume his thoughts, and Jeremy didn’t like it. He was determined that tomorrow would be different, and that tomorrow he would go on a hike to take his mind off of the nightly visions.
Jeremy stood outside the entrance to the cave with wonderment. He had been over every square inch of his parents property, or so he thought, and he’d never seen a cave. Ever. Now he was standing before the entrance to a dark, ominous cave, and he was intrigued. Jeremy always brought his utility bag when hiking and this time was no different. He reached into his sack and retrieved his flashlight. Flicking the switch, he waved the flashlight and cut a deep swath through the impending darkness. Jeremy took a deep breath and headed into the mouth of the cave.
Once inside, Jeremy was taken aback by how cold it was even a few feet into the cave. The walls were moist and covered with a slimy green lichen of some sort. The floor of the cave was rough and jagged, and outside of a few scattered mushrooms, it was bare. Jeremy cautiously proceed into the shadows with his light in hand and begin to follow the cave’s linear path…
Deeper, deeper, deeper he trekked. Jeremy continued upon his quest, he was determined to satiate his desire to explore this unknown region. The cave was sloping downward slightly now, the path was still branchless, but the floor was no longer jagged and rough; now it was smooth and on more than one occasion already Jeremy had to catch himself from falling after he’d nearly slipped. He was about 1/3 mile into the cave now and when he looked back he could no longer see the sunlight shining through the entrance. Onward, something was compelling him onward.
Relentlessly, Jeremy continued through the ominous darkness, he was unafraid. Finally his light caught something in its beam. Jeremy inspected more closely, and saw a door…
"A door!" Jeremy exclaimed. "I wonder what could be behind it!?"
Jeremy brazenly grasped the knob of the gate to the unknown and gave it a firm twist. He mightily shoved the door open and barged inside. He realized his mistake as soon as he entered the room, the ground was like ice and he could already feel himself slipping again. Jeremy landed with a thud and his flashlight hit the ground with a hard crash. It flickered and went out…
Just then Jeremy heard a door slam, he knew which door it was, it was the only door around. Suddenly, and for the first time, Jeremy was gripped by fear. He stood and reached in his pocket for his matchbook. He began to try to feel his way around the room, looking for the door before striking one of the precious few matches he had left. Jeremy felt his left leg step on something hard and he heard a loud "crack", come from his foot. Jeremy struck a match to see what he’d crushed. As he lit the match, Jeremy was immediately comforted by the meager amount of light it produced. His relief, however, was short lived.
"AHHHHHHH!" Screamed Jeremy. "It can’t be! It just can’t be true! NOOOO!!"
Oh, but it was true Jeremy. Very true.
Jeremy squirmed as he looked down upon the skeletal remains of what he instantly recognized to be his sister. She was still in the same dress she’d been wearing all those years ago, on the day she didn’t come home for supper.
Jeremy frantically struck another match and searched for the door… He had to get out… and fast. Jeremy saw the door to his freedom, and raced towards it. He reached for the knob that he knew must be there… but his hand found no home, and Jeremy became deeply afraid. Suddenly the nightmares about his sister’s death made sense… Alone, afraid, screaming and clawing at a door to escape, it all was a perfect description of this room… this prison that Jeremy now found himself in.
He began to pound on the door, with kicks and punches furiously, but the door wouldn’t budge. He clawed, knocked he banged. Anything to get out or draw attention… After about 30 minutes of futility, Jeremy took a seat against the wall farthest from his sister’s decaying corpse. He began to sob as he lowered his head into his hands. Now he realized what his most recurrent dream was about. It wasn’t about someone trying to get in somewhere, but of him trying to get out of this cave. Jeremy already knew his fate was sealed.
In his dream, the door never opened despite a mighty effort, so Jeremy knew it would be the same now… He had resigned him self to death. He calmly wandered over to his sister’s corpse and laid down next to her. He waited… and waited… and waited… to die….