The Web: At Night

by Mitch Harding
written on 5/8/00

No, I'm not drunk.

It's 2am. I just bolted upright in bed, perhaps uttering a cry of some kind. If I did cry out, it was brief -- most likely the beginning of a longer phrase which was cut-off when I realized that I was waking up.

I had been dreaming, although I hesitate to call it a dream. It felt like I was half-asleep and half-awake. It felt like most of what was going through my mind was based on what was going on around me, and not a dream generated by my brain.

My "dreams" had been feverish. The same sort of experience, repeated again and again with only slight modifications. I do not remember them well. Sitting here typing, I think they were boring. No strong emotions were associated with them. Maybe frustration. But no deep emotion.

I make that last comment because the final iteration of the repetitive sequence was not the same. I think part of each iteration involved a list of some kind. I do not know what was being listed. But I do know that the final list was awful. It terrified me. When I sat up, I was scared.

I first looked at my left foot. I don't know why, but the fact that it appeared normal was important. I looked around my room. Everything looked different. As I kept looking, it went back to normal...reluctantly. As though it had had the option of remaining otherworldly, but for some reason relented. My next instinct was to locate my cats. At first I couldn't see them in my room, but then I saw Frankenstein's sleeping form in my computer chair. I put my hand on her. I realized I had been dreaming. My bed was soaked with sweat. I lay my forehead against the cool plastic arm of the computer chair. "Christ," I muttered.

I remained like that for a short period of time. My strange feelings lifted. I was just dreaming. But it had been so vivid. I was tired, and I almost went back to sleep. But I wanted to record this. And so I am.

Sitting here, I want to note two final things. First, 8 hours ago I was hit in the face by a softball. The bat hit the ball, I saw I could make the play, so I ran for it. Moments before I was to catch the ball, the sun blinded me. Moments later I was spitting up blood and a tooth. After a trip to the emergency room I have some vicadan (and a need to see the dentist tomorrow). I had taken two of the vicadan before I went to sleep tonight. They probably play a role in tonight's adventure.

The second note is the reason I'm not looking forward to my return to bed. I am now seeing bad things out of the corner of my eye. Most commonly this involves sinister shapes looming in the shadows of my bathroom door. When I turn my gaze upon them, they (like my bedroom earlier) reluctantly give way. But they seem to be more reluctant each time, and I am concerned that they will cease giving way altogether...but not too concerned, because we all know that they can sense how we feel, and react accordingly. Of course this is just happening because the light from the computer monitor is making my eyes unaccustomed to the dark, and when I look over to the bathroom, they take time to adjust. I am an adult, or at least I'm on my way to being an adult, and adults find this sort of thing silly. An adult wouldn't even turn on the light for a while. I know my father wouldn't. He's seen things in war that make the darkest shadow seem benign.

I'll figure out a way to deal with it. Maybe I'll be an adult, maybe not. But even if I banish these things with the light (and God help me if light doesn't banish them), then I'll just have to turn the lights off later...and that can be much worse. Perhaps this is what comes of sleeping with several books of Lovecraft's stories next to your pillow. And why did I ever play the games Darkseed and Darkseed II? Why did I study the art of Giger? Does my brain need the additional ammunition?

Rasputin just walked up to me and meowed. His eyes are glowing at me in the relative darkness. I'll close this now. I hope I have captured this experience sufficiently well that when I read this in the morning, I won't be able to dismiss it all casually. But even as I hear an unsettling noise from outside my bedroom, I know I will be unimpressed by this in the morning. Daylight hides the darkworld, during the sun's illusory reign.

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