Just a Dream
by "Splatter" Joe Solmo
David sat up in the cold darkness of his room unable to breathe. His Superman Underoos were soaked with a cold sweat. He listened in the darkness, wide-eyed, but heard nothing. He tried to scream but nothing came out. It must have only been a dream he thought as rational thought returned to his eight year old mind.
He laid back down on the bottom bunk, finally able to breathe. His older brother William started to snore above him, at least his sleep was undisturbed. This was the fourth night this week that David woke in this manner. He looked down on the floor over the edge of his bed adorned in Thundercats bed sheets.
On the floor he saw his stuffed owl he named Woodsy. Woodsy had a small radio embedded inside its stomach and when he got scared in the darkness he could turn the radio on low and hear another human voice. It helped sometimes. The radio kept him company until light started to shine through the window.
He was already awake when William’s alarm went off. It was summertime, but William took a summer job working with the neighbor, helping on his farm. David watched as his brother climbed down the wooden ladder built into the foot of their beds.
“William?” he asked.
“What are you doing up, it’s five a.m.” William said running his hands through his hair. “Bad dream again?”
“Yeah, this time it was worse. They made it inside,” David said.
“Don’t worry. Even if they get inside they can’t hurt you. I won’t let them,” William said smiling at his younger brother.
“Your snoring sounded like KITT from Knight Rider,” David said in response.
“And I am sure that would scare them off, see. No problem,” William joked and headed for the small bathroom attached to their room to get ready for work on the farm.
“So reassuring,” David said pulling his blanket off the bed and walking out to the living room. He climbed on the couch and closed his eyes. Tonight maybe I will sleep out here, maybe the dreams can’t find me, David thought as sleep overtook him.
When David’s eyes opened the first thing he noticed was how bright it was. The T.V was on and the godawful show Guiding Light was on. HE could smell French toast being cooked in the kitchen and knew his mom was making breakfast.
He twisted his head around to look through the open arch into the kitchen. He heard clanking as he watched his mother set the table for breakfast, her eyes glued to their television. The cinnamon she added to the egg made his mouth water, and David got up and headed for the kitchen.
“Good morning honey,” his mother said with a smile. “Rough night?”
“Yeah. I had a bad dream,” David replied.
“Oh I am sorry baby. Did coming out to the couch help?” she asked.
“A little yeah. Can I sleep there tonight?” David asked.
“Not tonight, your father is having some friends over and they will be watching the game,” his mother said.
“It’s ok I can watch the game with them,” David said hopefully.
“Not tonight. I am sorry. Did your brother get off to work this morning?” she asked.
“Yeah he said he would be home for lunch today,” David said. “He wants bologna.”
“Did he really?” his mother asked with a smile. “Your brother asked for your favorite sandwich for lunch? I thought he hated bologna,” his mother said.
“Well he didn’t come out and exactly say it. It was kind of implied,” David said.
“Uh huh,” his mother said placing two pieces of french toast on his plate. “Eat up. I got to go to the store and you have to come with me,” she said.
“Do I have too?” David whined.
“Yes, you’re too young to stay by yourself,” She said.
After dinner David went to his room to play with his Castle Greyskull play set. His brother came in shortly after and turned on his radio that sat on a shelf opposite their beds. Soon Pat Benetar’s unique voice came from the speakers mounted on the wall.
“Do you have to listen to that so loud?” David asked.
“Sure do. Sorry,” William said climbing up onto his bunk. David sighed. He put his action figures into his toy box and closed up the castle. Sometimes his brother could be a real jerk. He wished they didn’t have to share rooms, but their house just wasn’t big enough.
He left their shared room to hang out in the living room. When he got there, it was full of people he had never seen before, all of them smoking, with drinks in their hands. The game was on the T.V. “What are you doing out here,” his father asked smiling.
“William is listening to music so loud I can’t hear my action figures talk to each other,” David said with a pout.
“Well I will have a talk with him. You shouldn’t be out here with all of us adults,” his father said putting out his nonfilter Lucky Strike cigarette. David let his father lead him back to his room. He knew he would get it from his brother once his father left the room.
“William, turn that shit down!” David’s father yelled.
“Come on, it’s not even that loud,” William retorted.
“You have to share your room with your brother, try to find a happy medium will ya? I got guests over and it’s a cloud of smoke. No place for a kid,” their father said.
“Alright fine, can I go over to Brians?” William asked. “He asked me to spend the night.”
“No!” David said.
“Yeah, it’s fine with me, just check with your mother. Why do you care, Davey?” their father asked.
“I would be all alone tonight…” he said. He didn’t want to show his dad he was afraid of the dark.
“Exactly, you can play as late as you want, I promise,” his father said and winked, like he was doing David a favor.
“Cool let me call Brian,” William said and left the room. David watched his brother leave the room, carrying his chances of a good night’s sleep. His father left to return to his friends and suddenly the shadows in the corners of the room seemed more sinister.
Three hours later David sat in his bed with a flashlight and a Spider-Man comic. His mom had tucked him in but he got back up. She had noticed the light spilling under the door into the hall so he had to pilfer the flashlight from under the bathroom sink.
He secretly wished Spider-Man was real and could save him from the bad dreams. He yawned as he turned the pages. It didn’t take long for his week of little sleep to catch up to him and less than twenty minutes later he was asleep.
David’s eyes suddenly flipped open. The room was completely dark. He turned his head and looked at the clock on radio across the room. 2:15. Oh no, he thought. It was the same time every night. He listened and heard the sound of the tires on the gravel driveway. He jumped up and ran to the window. He saw the black car with no headlights coming up the driveway. The car looked like an old hearse, with black tinted windows. There wasn’t a single color on the car besides, black. The bumper, lights, hubcaps, everything covered in black.
The car stopped about twenty feet from the house. He watched as the doors opened and four beings stepped out. They were tall and skinny, wearing what looked like tuxedos, but without a shirt underneath. Their pale skin almost shone in the moonlight. He couldn’t make out their faces. It wasn’t that they didn’t have one, it was just…fuzzy, like when the reception goes out on their T.V. and his father swears and has to adjust the rabbit ears fuzzy, except for their mouths. They didn’t have lips, the mouths were almost a complete circle, lined with sharp, glistening teeth, rows of them, like a sharks mouth, only round.
They didn’t make a sound as they lined up next to each other in the driveway. They more glided then walked towards the house in complete unison Swirls of fog flickered with red, yellow and orange lights, parted for them as they closed the gap between car and house. He watched as they came straight towards his room, not the front door. He ducked under the covers.
David started to shake. It had to be a dream, it’s only a dream, he thought. WAKE UP he yelled inside his head. There was no sound from outside the blankets. He wanted to peak so badly, but couldn’t muster up the courage to do so.
A minute passed, then two, still no sound from outside the blankets. He looked at the Thundercats on his sheets and wished he had their courage. He tried to calm his breathing, fearing that the blankets moving up and down would alert them to his hiding place. He imagined them in his room looking in the toy box for him and checking the small bathroom.
He moved his arm slowly, as slowly as he could, hoping they wouldn’t notice the movement if it was slow enough. He held his breath for a second, still no sounds came from the room. Was it possible they couldn’t get inside his room? The dream never went that far. They would peer into his windows, like he was on display for them, like some kind of zoo.
Suddenly the blankets were yanked off of him. He looked up at the top bunk of the bed, no longer against the wall. Mist filled his room, flickering red, orange and yellow light reflecting on the white wisps. On each side were two of the beings, people, aliens, demons? whatever. They bent their pale heads under the top bunk. David was paralyzed with fear. He couldn’t move. He felt his pajama top rise up and tuck it’s self under his chin.
His eyes opened as wide as they could as the one closest to him on the right side reached into a pocket on the black suit it wore. David’s imagination ran wild with what it had in there. Some torture device? He followed the movement of the things pale hand, the only muscle he could move, as it pulled something out of the pocket.
He saw a flash of yellow before the creature hid it behind his pale palm. What the hell was that? David thought. It looked like…It couldn’t be? Could it? David’s look grew confused as the creature put the item in its right hand. It was! It was the yellow screwdriver from his Fisher Price tool set, his dad bought him when he tried to help his father fix the furnace one year.
The creature brought the plastic screwdriver out and over his stomach. All four of the creatures tilted their heads to the side at the same time, making a shiver run down David’s spine. The creature with the screwdriver drove it down into his flesh and pulled it down, essentially making an autopsy incision in his chest.
He watched in horror as a creature on each side peeled back his skin. Another creature from the right side pulled a fisher price hammer from his pocket. It’s oversized red plastic head on the end of the dowel looking maroon in the darkness.
It swung the hammer down into David’s chest cavity. He felt the impact on his bone. He heard a crack on the second swing. He tried to call out for his parents, but only the sound of air escaping his mouth came out. A tear formed on his left eye.
He watched as the other two began to poke and prod inside his chest cavity. He felt them tug on things inside. He tried to struggle but was either paralyzed with fear or some other means. He couldn’t do anything but watch. The creatures never spoke, or communicated with each other in anyway. They just worked on him like they had done with a million times.
A moment later David heard another sound. The sound of a car on the gravel outside. The creatures heard it too. They all looked up at each other in unison and dissipated into a white mist. Suddenly David could move and he sat up straight in bed and screamed. A real honest to goodness blood-curdling scream.
Within seconds his mother was in his room flipping on the light. “What’s wrong honey,” she said with concern in her voice. David sat there, panting, covered in sweat. “Honey?” she asked. She ran to his side and put her hand on his head. “Are you ok?”
David came out of it a minute later and felt his chest. There was nothing there, he was normal. He heard a knock on his front door and turned towards his mother. “What’s going on?” he asked.
“I don’t know, stay here I will find out,” she said and started to leave.
“No, don’t leave me,” he said. His mom’s face showed the struggle between concern for David and curiosity at the door. They both heard David’s father grumbling as he headed for the door after the second knock.
David left the bed and headed for the window on the driveway side. There was a police car there. He thought about telling the police about the creatures, but then felt silly. It had to have been a dream, his chest was fine.
He snuck out of his room and hid behind an end table to listen to the conversation the police was having with his father.
“Come on Dad, I am sure you did the same thing when you were a kid,” he heard William’s voice, but it sounded weird, like in slow motion.
“You are sixteen years old, and you lied to us. You told us you were staying at Brian’s,” his father said angrily. He thanked the officer and he heard the door slam. David fell back to the doorway, just in case they came this way. His brother looked dizzy as he made his way towards the bathroom, David’s father leading him.
His mother came over to the doorway, making his position. “Honey, come on back to bed. William will be joining you soon. Your brother will keep the bad dreams away,” she said.
“It was so real this time. They got inside,” David said, but she wasn’t listening. She led him back to his room.
“Joan, William is going to sleep on the couch tonight, I don’t want him falling out of bed drunk,” David heard his father say. He reluctantly climbed into his sheets and his mom ducked down next to the bed and began to tuck him in.
“Don’t worry honey, it was only a dream,” she said.
“I know mom,” David said to appease her. He felt something under him on the bed. He reached under as his mom shut out the light and began to close the door. He looked at what was in his hand, expecting the flashlight.
It was the yellow screwdriver. A graven cold settled into David’s bones. A bead of sweat broke on his brow and he tried to pull the blankets up over his head, but he couldn’t move. His room began to fill with white mist…
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