This is another of my stories I posted here without getting a review first, so, as with the other, any help/critique is much appreciated. I'm looking on making it more 'SFW' and reducing the emphasis on repressed sexuality and more on the mortal nature of human anatomy itself. Also have an idea for a scenario for one of the characters having dystychiphobia (fear of accidents) and he ends up trapped in a pocket-dimension similar to the protagonist, Alison's, experience where the walls and ceiling and surroundings turn into a bunch of malfunctioning power tools like circular saws and nail guns and what have you, but I'm definitely looking for what needs the most improvement on this one before diving in to edit. Cheers! -D.
There is another place. There is another time. It lies between the waking world, and the place of dreams. We catch glimpses of it; moreover those like me who suffer from what the doctors call ‘sleep paralyses’. The most common symptom is being unable to move while your body is asleep, but your mind is awake. But few others, still, have told of beings, pillars of shadow and darkness, who visit them during this time. I am still searching for the answers to this darkness, and a mentor of mine – Professor Baltes – believes he has found the penultimate solution. The dream world is the absence of measureable time, yet space itself is amplified. Scientists the world over postulate that there are ‘other dimensions’ of time, rolled up within a tight bundle within the fabric of space itself. His team, with dream control, believes they can travel through time, and defeat nightmares once and for all.
We call them, ‘Temponauts’.
These were the last few sentences Alison Marsden wrote in her journal as she approached the steps to her ‘sleep paralysis survivors’ meeting, the last place she would go before being confined to face off her worst nightmares and would thus never write again.
Ali struggled to avoid the oncoming human traffic, but – nonetheless – the hooligan rammed right past her.
“Hey, watch where you’re going…!”
But there was no response. As the tall, thin man in his leather jacket, with his piercings and chains entered the dilapidating house dwarfed between the hulking industrial building to its right, and the apartment high-rise to its left, Ali caught a whiff of chemicals. She gave him the finger just as he disappeared through the rotting threshold, holding it erect for an extra thirty seconds just in case he happened to look through one of the dirty windows and see her defiance.
Tim heard Peter slam the door, just like he told him not to, from the upstairs bathroom. This meant he was quite likely drunk. “Honey, I’m home!”
“Dude,” Hank’s disembodied voice rang out. “What?”
“You smell like beer and you can’t get any if you smell, take this…uh…hold up… TIM!”
Tim leaned out and over the railing. “Yep?”
“Can you toss down the, uh, Aqua Velva!”
When Ali arrived the most devout of the group were there and had started without her – there were Becky, Sho, Ben and Greg. There were usually double the amount, but this particular session had been short notice.
“Oh, hi! Ali, good to see you again!”
“Hiii, Becka, sorry,” she began as they hugged, “some creep ran into me on my way here and traffic has been worse on the road, ugh.”
Pete, the oldest of the three, shot Hank a weird look. “Aqua Velva!? Da fuck? Isn’t that, like, after-shave?”
But Tim had already sent the small plastic container descending through the air into Hank’s hands. A few minutes later, Tim was finished shaving and sliding into his favorite pair of Tripp pants, which he had converted into shorts.
Pete had a sudden urge to piss, only he had to go downstairs to use it because Tim was still in the upstairs bathroom. He marched down the hallway to the kitchen and, in his drunken stupor, the first thing he saw was a Porno Magazine Titled Milf Gutter Slut Hunters 9, and he had undoubtedly barged in on Tim’s kid brother Tommy spanking the monkey.
“Sorry,” wailed Pete as he backed out of the bathroom and closed the door.
A few minutes later, unfortunately, Hank had some terrible news. “Dude, Pete’s passed out, I think he drank too fast.” Tim threw up his hands and choked the air in frustration. “Should we wake him up?”
“I… dunno, I guess let him sleep for like… ten minutes but it’s already fucking–” He looked at the clock to see the party began in a half hour. Tim shrugged. He felt like he was having a dream.
In fact, he was almost certain of it.
Sho shared her most recent experience. “This time, the tapping stopped. And that only confirmed what I already knew,” she said. “It was a pattern, but this time, it stopped, and I felt myself come fully out of the paralysis episode.”
That was the last Ali heard, having been there only about ten minutes before her phone buzzed. She looked at the text to see it was from none other than Professor James Baltes, her college parapsychology professor, and the father she’d never had.
On the text message were two words; ‘It’s time’.
Another ten minutes went by before Tim decided he couldn’t wait anymore. “Did he say how he wanted to be woken up?”
“Nope, he just said to wake him up about ten minutes before the party.” Tim laughed maniacally. “Oh, yes! I have been waiting so long for this!” He cackled. Hank followed reluctantly. “What?”
What unfolded next was almost too much for Hank to handle, he couldn’t keep a straight face if his life depended on it. What Tim had done was stack a pile of dishes and other kitchen utensils on top of his head and chest. He then tickled the sole of his foot, and the duo watched the sparks fly.
“Yo… what are you…”
But it was already too late, just as he began to scream in holy frustration the Eiffel Tower of porcelain cascaded down upon him. He shielded some of the blast with his arms, but there was no escaping the horror and mocking laughter of his friends. Peter tackled Tim out into the hall and the two wrestled for a few seconds before remembering they had a party to go to down the street.
Needless to say, they were sharp and slick when the time came to walk into the rave like they were heroes out to save some college bimbos from their sobriety.
Ali and Gregory observed Baltes as he set up the equipment. “This is what we call a ‘dark energy generator’,” he began.
Tim was shy, so he posted up at the bar taking shots until he felt liquid courage take hold. Naturally, Pete saw him and decided to annoy him. “What’s the matter, feel the ants in your pants?”
Tim sucked in his lips as he took a shot. “No, not exactly.”
“Oh, come on, its simple,” Pete said, jumping off the bar stool and posing. “All you gotta do is think, the Pizza Man in every porno.” He walked up to Tim and stuck his tongue out, stroking his nipple.”
Tim jumped up and recoiled. “What the fuck, dude!”
“Sorry, my inner bisexual comes out when I’m drunk,” he cackled maniacally. Tim shoved him. “Fuck you, dude.”
“Oh come on, I’m not getting any today with the way I smell,” said Pete through maniacal laughter. Hank came up and put his arm around Pete’s shoulder. “In about thirty minutes, it won’t matter what you smell like.” They smiled and French-kissed. Pete playfully bit at Hank’s nose. “Go get her, tiger,” Pete hissed, referencing the woman who was gazing over in infatuation.
Hank danced with her, showing off his intricate dance moves. And soon, the two were strolling off into the darkness to have sex. Tim sipped his beer and shook his head. “I’m telling you, it’s nice over here,” said Pete. “Yeah, well, the grass is always greener on the other side.”
Pete slapped his shoulder and went to go dance, repulsing people like he usually did, even when not drinking. Tim couldn’t help but love the guy, but dammit – when would he realize he couldn’t have him? Like, for fuck’s sake, he had enough problems with girls even without this bisexual horndog trying to bed him every night.
Meanwhile, Professor Baltes was having some issues with his dark energy generator. “It’s like its trying to emit dark matter instead of dark energy.”
Gregory scooted closer. “You sure you know what you’re doing?”
Baltes fidgeted as he continued work on the generator. “I’m friends with the head team at CERN. They promised this technology could produce dark energy which is what I need for this sleep experiment to go off without a hitch. The only way dark energy can interface with the ultramelatonin is when a big group of people are in one space. But it keeps emitting frequencies that react like dark matter, not dark energy.”
“Well, like you said in class, sometimes an outlier is needed to prove the constant. Perhaps the dark matter readings are that constant,” inquired Ali.
“No, nightmares are not physical constructs, unlike matter.”
Meanwhile, Hank was having the time of his life watching the beauty before him strip-tease. He giggled childishly as he sipped his beer, while she flexed her brow and went down on him. The best feeling in the world came over him as she began to suck him dry.
But then there was pain.
A lot of pain.
“HEY! OW! WHAT THE FUCK!?”
The beast presented itself – feminine lips enveloped by hairy tentacles and phallic members. He was about to be raped by an interdimensional monster straight from his mind’s darkest regions.
“You don’t like us women very much, except for sex, do you?”
Right as this happened, the trio accompanied by the three temponauts got a reading of dark matter outside of their testing blister.
“What the fuck!?”
“Get everyone out. NOW!”
The temponauts, in their FBI gear, did so, firing tear gas and blanks from their rifles and grenade launchers. The crowd dispersed, with Tim and Pete the first out of the side door that led into the ally beside their house.
Once inside, the screaming of people could be heard spilling into the alley.
Tommy heard the door slam, followed by a heated debate.
“Oh man, what if they find where we are? What if they find those 100 hits of LSD in my bag that I left?”
“We can go get it after,” then Tim caught himself, “What!? HOW MANY!?”
“It-it-it was just a bad joke, I’m sorry.”
“It better be,” but before Tim could continue, there was a raucous banging on the front door. Tommy emerged from his room.
“Oh, gooooood…….” Pete winced in fear.
“J-just stay here.”
“I’ll-I’ll handle it.”
Tim hovered over to the door and kept the chain in the slot, cracking it.
“Do you have a warrant,” were the first words to exit his lips.
The Agent was panting. “Look, I’m sorry about that back there, but we found someone dead…”
Then it all hit him at once. They had left Hank.
His eyes widened in horror. The Agent presented the wallet, which only further confirmed Tim’s fears. The picture on the ID, the name - Hank Trimoth, it all came together. Suddenly, Tim became very angry.
“What the FUCK is going on!?”
He calmed himself once he realized the Agents were afraid, looking over their shoulders. Soon, a shorter, older man, parted his way and came to them. “My name is Professor Baltes. I believe that we have made a terrible mistake. Can we come in so that we may talk this over?”
The Temponaut leader, Agent Heiler, chain-smoked and recounted the events. “We’ve been through some pretty crazy dreams before, but nothing like this,” he began. “This is an entirely new level of ‘weird’.”
“So,” started Pete. “What you’re saying is, although you didn’t find his body, you didn’t find ANY remains, you’re certain these things killed him.”
Heiler raised an eyebrow. “You don’t really understand, do you?”
“OK!” Shouted Baltes from behind them. He was handed a coiled map by a younger female companion. He unfurled it and, displayed, were not locations, but a timeline. Below it was a sketch of something truly Lovecraftian; with tentacles, and teeth, so on and so forth.
“What... the hell is that?”
Baltes didn't at first respond to Pete's question, merely pointing at it. He then said, after a sigh and some hesitation, “You ever heard of 'shadow people'?”
Pete and Tim exchanged an uncomfortable expression. They'd heard Hank talk about seeing them his whole life, being frequently subjected to sleep paralysis and night terrors.
“You mean... like night-terrors?”
“Yup,” said Heiler, continuing to chain-smoke. “When they breach the dream-world, we see 'reflections,' if you will, of them inside our own. That's just one of the forms they take, but I've seen some pretty terrifying incarnations of these things. What they really look like is virtually anything on the spectrum of your most fucked up and worst fears.”
“For as long as humans have recorded history,” he began, “there have been tales of Demonic forces from beyond our realm. They have impacted history,” he displayed a copy of the portrait, ‘The Nightmare’; a grisly recounting of a woman unable to move with a blood-red demon sitting on her chest.
“Throughout these major time periods, The Nightmare has intruded upon stories, upon histories. They impacted the partition of the Roman Empire, led to the rise of Nazi Germany and Hitler. They are behind everything.”
The young woman whispered something to Baltes, and he immediately turned to his cohorts. “Give it a clean sweep.”
Heiler nodded and directed the other two Agents to follow him. They split up, with one searching the ground floor, and the other two searching the upper levels. Agent Paxton entered the upper floor bathroom.
Once they were gone, Alison turned to Tim. “The boy,” she began, nodding toward Thomas. “They’re going to converge here in pursuit of his imagination. A child’s mind is their most powerful weapon.”
Almost as soon as Paxton entered the bathroom, his walkee began churning white noise.
He pressed the call button. “Heiler, Sanders, I’m getting some interference, do you copy? Over.”
“Something is blocking the interference,” said Ali.
“Maybe it’s the weather,” added Pete.
Nothing added up about the situation.
Paxton was now beginning to get migraines. He began searching the cabinets for migraine-relief. As he flung open the shower, he moved next to it, and foot-long claws snapped out of the cubicles next to the shower.
Paxton screamed in holy agony as the talon gripped his head, revealing a large eye surrounded by teeth that it was attached to. It blinked nonsensically as the talon continued to tighten around Paxton’s head.
By the time the others had arrived – Paxton was dead, lying in a pool of his own blood with his head caved in.
“That’s how they get you,” said Marsden.
The Temponaut looked at her sourly, clutching his Photon Rifle gingerly. “You’re,” he gulped. “You’re fucking shitting me, right?”
Marsden and Baltes shook their heads almost simultaneously. “No, she is correct,” said Baltes. “They can only kill you if they scare you at the same time. That is why they take the form of what we fear the most. They enter our realm through dark corners and from the angles of our perception, hence why we don’t often see them.” Baltes wrangled the Temponauts.
Tommy’s eyes seemed to glaze over in terror as he watched their exchange.
“The photon rifles won’t be enough to forestall their invasion. The photon walls proved instrumental in trapping one of them, but there will be more besides the one that attacked Marlin and the two in the warehouse that we managed to trap. The third of those is still in the house, meaning soon there will be other Nightmares that gravitate toward this location.”
“I had a friend,” Gregory began, “Who began frantically piling shit in corners and collecting TVs which he put on white noise over the course of two years. He was the worst case we ever had, and he was convinced that something was trying to kill him in his sleep. He disappeared barely a year ago. Do you think these… things… are literally 'nightmares', and that they might have killed him?”
Baltes shrugged. “We've been studying this sort of thing for the past ten years and we still don’t know.”
The ragtag group led by Ali began cordoning off the angles with as many objects as they could find, and every light in the house was collected in the mezzanine, where the survivors would camp and sleep in shifts. They also began the process of making a fire where they would burn what Baltes called the ‘fear fluid;’ or the secretions the creatures were beginning to leave around the house.
Baltes and Sanders began to get a reading on their presence-sensor coming from Tommy’s room. Tommy agreed to lead them to his room. A few minutes later, they were on the second floor, filing into his room. Baltes advised Tommy to wait outside the door. They entered the room, inundated in green light. Baltes poked his photon pistol into the closet, and Sanders edged toward the bed.
A split-second later, a long penile organism erupted from beneath the bed, and grappled Sanders’ ankle. He screamed, some of it inaudible, some of it screeching about an organism that could not exist. A massive, killer penis with massive fangs erupting from its sensitive regions.
It engulfed Sanders’ leg, inching past up to his own sensitive area.
In the blink of an eye, the massive, killer, toothed-penis had dragged Sanders beneath the bed into the darkness. Baltes screamed, and sprinted into the darker regions of the house. Tommy himself had lurched into the basement and locked the door behind him. Tim and Ali had spent an hour trying to get into the lower level of the house, to no avail.
Eventually, they had decided to look for Baltes, only finding him cowering and inaudible and crouching in the kitchen, rambling nonsense.
When Ali awoke, all of them were gone – save Tim. “Tim, what the…,” was all she got out before Tim had risen to complete sobriety and wakefulness. “What? What!? Where is everyone,” he got up and began frantically looking around.
“I’m here,” the disembodied voice of Tommy began. “What,” shouted Ali. “Where? Where are you?”
The teenager responded only with laughter. “Remember when you said, they want me for my imagination? I have so much to show you.” Just as that sentence left his mouth, a dull green glow emanated from the cracks of Tommy’s bedroom door. As Ali gathered herself, she began to realize the architecture of the house had shifted and changed. The bedroom door was warped into a curved shape, as was the ceiling, the stairs, the foyer. Everything.
“I’ll go first,” Tim offered, but Ali waved him off, holding her photon rifle at shoulder height. They eased down the crooked steps onto the ersatz second floor, and steadily towards Tommy’s bedroom door. Inside, they found his room shifted and misshaped. Abominable, even. The glow emanated from nowhere in particular, but the whole room felt as though it were radiating some unearthly force.
As Ali’s foot neared the bed, a massive penis-shaped abomination with teeth lining its ‘head’, lashed out and clasped her ankle. She screamed and unloaded the photon shells upon the creature. Its glandular skin undulated and convulsed mightily until it lie twitching upon the ground.
Ali stomped upon it to finish it off, but before she could celebrate, Tim yelped with fright.
Ali turned to see a Tri-Mouth spectre with its thick, fleshy tentacle wrapped around Tim’s neck, right arm, and both legs.
It bellowed a sound that sounded almost like a cry of agony as it yanked him like a ragdoll into the darkness.
Once she got the backdoor open, instead of the darkness of night she was greeted by a long tunnel of flesh. “We all have dreams, and we all have nightmares,” the child taunted. “But we also have fantasies.”
Ali gripped her photon rifle tightly, “Tommy STOP! This isn’t you. It’s the nightmares talking to you. PLEASE! Don’t LISTEN to them!”
“You don’t understand,” he began. Ali began to sob. “They have entrusted me with this power. This responsibility. If anyone outside of this place were to find out, it would be the end of dreams and nightmares as we know it. What kind of a world is that? They are the Lesser Evil here. The temponauts want the government to be able to control the dream world. Again, what kind of a world is that?”
There was a bellowing, like a deep growling that emanated from the darkness beyond. Ali fired off a shot into the abyss, and at its end, the bolt of energy impacted with an eight-foot figure roughly humanoid in shape, but outlined by spines.
It appeared to do no damage. Suddenly, it morphed into a snake-like creature and raced at her, a maw surrounded by fangs and teeth. She felt the undulating mass of biology suction up past her foot and toward her knee, and the monstrosity suddenly turned inside-out as Ali was consumed by an ever increasingly-smaller vortex of organ systems and body parts. Carried through what could have been a digestive system, Ali was bathed in viscous black fluid as teeth and claws and appendages grappled with her, and just as it became such a small space that she began to feel pain pressing against her and crushing her into oblivion...
Ali felt herself being yanked out of her body and suddenly she was sitting upright with Baltes and Tim.
“Ali! You were trapped within a dream within a pocket dimension! Can you remember what happened?”
Ali shook her head, remembering only bits and pieces. “I remember… Sanders! Being sucked under the bed by one of the creatures.”
Baltes put a finger to his lips. “Yes… yes, I remember this. What else do you remember?”
“I remember… Tim and me saw you cowering in a corner, rambling about ‘time fractals… and…”
“And… a code. A sequence.”
There was a loud thumping.
“What is that,” Ali practically screamed.
Tim looked at her with wild eyes. “Tri-Mouth.”
Baltes lookd over to Tim. “Tri-Mouth? Oh, no…”
The back door flew open, and the trio were left standing there staring at the hulking, spiny, tentacled monstrosity.
In full view, it appeared to consist of bodily organs. Tongues, pulsating hearts. Intestines and fleshy appendages. The walking anatomy horror raced at them.
“Tommy,” whispered Tim.
Baltes looked at them.
“I remember the code, we need to get to the attic. NOW!”
Ali dove under one of the creature’s tendrils, firing up at it as she rolled into a crouching position. While the creature was distracted, Baltes and Tim hoisted the temporal manipulation device, and began scurrying up the stairs as fast as possible.
The Tri-Mouth snarled as it caught Ali by the leg with one of its tongue-arms, infuriated by its missing ligament.
Tim and Baltes rushed up the ladder, with the former using all of his body weight to push the cat-sized contraption into the attic.
Ali was now losing, backed into a corner, firing at the monstrosity.
The nonsense Baltes had been rambling about then began to come out as Tim activated the transmitter.
Her gun ran dry.
The beast came at her, injured, but still intent.
Tim felt the machine become part of his mind, as he felt himself pulled back into his body.
The beast vanished into a puff of shadow, billowing past her.
* * *
Tim awoke in a hospital, unable to move, and unable to speak. Doctors Trimoth and Marsden worked fervently on repairing something nearby him.
That is when he realized they weren't working on something nearby him, but inside of him. The pain began, an agony that knew no limits. It penetrated his body, his mind, and every cell of his existence. He tried to scream out to them, unable to make so much as a sound or a twitch of his finger.
Marsden noticed momentarily the heart-rate monitor was beeping quite fast, and the blood was beginning to obscure her work.
"Okay, I'm ready to sew this back up, but I can't see what I'm doing. Alison, check the drug dosage. Make sure its staying in his system," he said. "We don't want him waking up from wherever while we're trying to get positive results."
"Any idea when we can get the results back from this, I'm really eager to be the first to study the effects this drug has on the pituitary gland for future surgeries," Marsden half-stated.
Alison thought for a moment. "Not sure, three to four weeks at the soonest. I'd like to have at least two months to study the different dosages that it has upon DMT crystals in the human pituitary gland. I realize we've already done mammals and other species... but its simply too soon, in my opinion."
Marsden sighed irritably, glancing over the test subjects. James Baltes had agreed to be the first, along with Hudson, and then the rest of his team.
"Such a shame," he said, shaking his head at the comatose bodies.
Marsden put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"They knew the risks going in... but if we don't succeed and do this right, their sacrifices were in vain."
And all the while, Tim could hear the entire conversation.