Saturday 11 – Sunday 12 August 2018
Nyssa screamed herself awake. Her mind raced. What was the last thing she remembered? The terror of the previous night flooded back and sat heavy in her chest.
‘Oh God,’ she cried. Sitting bolt upright in bed, her hands crawling over the bed covers, her breathe caught in her chest and a cold sweat breaking out on her face, Nyssa prayed she was alone. When her senses found nothing malevolent she relaxed.
‘Oh God,’ she repeated as she fell back into bed.
She swore it, he had been there last night, in her room. The beast. Nyssa couldn’t see him, but she knew he was there. She’d felt him, heard him, smelled him. But strangely, unlike in her nightmares, he didn’t tear her to pieces. Rather, she felt he’d stayed in the darkness, out of her sight, and just observed her.
When Nyssa finally succumbed to sleep, dawn wasn’t far away. Her restless sleep left her feeling worse for wear when she finally woke. The nightmares hadn’t been as bad this time. They had been, in fact, noticeably different in that she wasn’t being chased by her beast. He was, after all, somewhere in her room watching her sleep. But there was another presence in her nightmare. A human who, like her, had been dragged into the apocalyptic landscape. Nyssa had never known there to be another human in her dreams with whom she could communicate. It was a solitary suffering that she lived.
She felt he was nearby but never quite managed to get a good look at him. There were just stolen glimpses of his figure, sometimes in front of her, but mostly somewhere just behind her. She felt no threat from his presence, so she assumed, correctly or not, that he was one of the good ones. Whatever they were.
‘God, I hope I’m one of the good ones,’ she mumbled.
Nyssa threw her legs over the side of the bed and suddenly realised her beast could be under there. She pulled them up to her chest as fast as she could, and quickly contemplated leaning over the bed to have a look.
‘Nope, nope, so much nope. Not that stupid. Seen enough horror movies to know that it’s probably still under there.’ She leaned over the side of the bed ever so slightly and called out to it. ‘You hear that, you fucker? Not. Going. To. Fall. For. Your. Tricks.’ A moment’s thought crossed her mind – how the hell am I going to get off this bed?
* * * * *
Vincent pored over every site on the Internet that he could find detailing dreams and nightmares. When he’d had enough of the research and the rubbish, he turned his attention to finding out what he could about Nyssa. He didn’t have very much to go on, only her name and what he could remember about how she looked. The closest he came to finding anyone remotely resembling his Nyssa was on the website of an art gallery. An artist’s portrait attached to the biography of the young woman on an obscure site for an even more obscure art gallery stuck out in the middle of Nowhereville. He printed a copy of the photo and biography, then continued his search for any trace he could find of Nyssa.
It was a college website that proved the most helpful. A recently posted article about the same artist he’d found on the art gallery site pointed him further in the direction of Nyssa the artist. There she was in glorious colour on his computer screen. The woman he’d been looking for was an up and coming sculptor. The college she’d attended only a few years before used her new-found fame as publicity, promoting her current work and the fact that she was one of their top art alumni.
‘Gotcha,’ Vincent directed at the woman on his computer screen. ‘Nyssa Carlton, sculptor, painter, photographer. Interesting.’
Now that Vincent knew a little about her, he searched Google for a way to contact Nyssa. He didn’t know what he was going to say or write to her, only that he needed to make contact. She was sure to think he wasn’t right in the head, a bit mental, but the nightmares were practically real, and as ridiculous as it was going to sound, he needed to find out if she had seen him in dreams too.
‘Email will make me sound more mental. Phone call, she’ll probably hang up on me.’
Clara called out from the kitchen, ‘What did you say, Vincent? I didn’t hear.’
‘Nothing important,’ he lied.
‘I’m off to work. I’ll see you later,’ she called.
Vincent heard the front door latch and the deadbolt clank into place. As he’d insisted, Clara deadbolted all the windows and doors in the house before she left for work. He was, in effect, a prisoner in his own home, and it suited him perfectly well. A year ago, he’d have gone stir crazy if he’d been locked inside for months on end. These days though, it was a sanctuary for him.
He waited until he heard Clara’s car disappear down the street before he picked up his mobile phone and dialled the number he’d found in the White Pages for Nyssa Carlton. The phone rang three times before her terrified voice on the other end.
‘Help me! Please, whoever you are, help me!’
. . . To be continued . . .