If You Go Into The Cold

At 6 P.M, Christmas night,

When there’s no shadow on the frozen ground,

It’s better to stay inside with coffee and cream

Than to risk being seen out of doors in this town.

The weather alone is enough to have caution,

The first things we find are often their winter clothes

Followed, not far away, by whatever else they wore,

And finally, the body, often half buried in snow.

It happens every year, but we couldn’t tell you why,

Only that it’s irrelevant where one’s supposed to be,

It’s 20 below freezing just an hour after dusk

And there are hours more waiting before anything can be seen.

They stagger, it seems, to the woods from the roads,

The thickets leave cuts, which make them easy to find

Following the broken twigs stained with blood

To the places where the victims inevitably lay

An old tree, bent and rotting, where we find them reposed,

Or by the bridge, in the stream, where their skins turn pale blue.

Sometimes they seem to drop somewhere randomly,

And only rarely are there signs a struggle ensued.

What we mean, is you’re welcome to stay if you must,

We’re aloud to be festive, if we don’t leave our homes,

But Winter is the master of the elements tonight

And if you care to see another year, you’ll stay out of the cold.

Why It Eats Them

If it exists

It can be eaten.

A body that needs and a mind that percieves

Never ceases to breed new cravings,

From bitter seeds to fields of weeds

And entire populations.

For pleasure and the fear of death

A war for peace against distress

And harvests passed through mouths and chests

To pacify those needings.

Where emptiness meets the scent of flesh,

The freshness of unspoiled aeons,

The yawning consciousness of ever-dark

Yearns endlessly for freedom.

Its shadow veils the infinite stars,

Collapses galaxies and consumes their dust,

And for everything it cannot have

It holds a knawing, grating lust.

The dry and brittle bones of worlds

Stripped of their luscious, inebriating fruit

Fall from looking out with awe

To pits of their self too deep to see through.

A space-less shape beyond these dimensions,

A mind with too much trouble unseen,

The common core of all creation,

A child with candy on Halloween.

Jane’s Therapy

It must be said that I don’t expect this story to be in any way believed. That being so, it doesn’t trouble me one way or another. I’m not hoping to convince anyone or solicit any kind of sympathy. I’m only hoping that the act of writing will provide me with some kind of catharsis. Some way of processing everything I’ve seen. Maybe by the time I’m finished, I’ll have found some release from this,… moral terror, that I’ve been feeling.

It helps, I suppose, to start with the person I was before.
When I first left my childhood home, I was admittedly of poor experience in matters of love and intimacy. In fact, the first “real” relationship I had as an adult was also the first time I ever felt for sure “in love”.
Jane was a kindhearted person with a gentle soul. A pretty good match for someone as inexperienced and tender as myself. Of the two of us, I was perhaps the more hardened. There were times I thought of her as oversensitive or even naive, but I always kept such things to myself and thought little of them. Whatever flaws I may have seen were eclipsed by the sincere adoration I had for her.
I was intoxicated.
The sensations of physical affection, vulnerability, and explicit trust were new and magical to me. For weeks we spent nearly every spare moment of our lives together. We went out occasionally to movies, or restaurants, or any other place young couples are supposed to go. The best times though, were when we were alone. As soft, or perhaps as pitiful, as it may seem, I absolutely adored those occasions. I had never been more content than when it was only the two of us and nothing else in the world.
As the months began to pass I learned more and more about her. The more I learned, the more I realized how much tragedy she’d seen through her life. It soon became apparent that she was exceedingly more familiar with suffering than I was. I learned that she’d been diagnosed with severe depression at a young age, that she’d once been addicted to opiates, and that she’d been estranged from her parents for several years. She rarely went into details about her past, preferring to explain things only in the broadest sense. I quickly came to understand that there was a lot about her she wasn’t prepared to discuss, at least not for the foreseeable future.
The brief illustrations I had of her troubles left much for my imagination to piece together. Often, the things I imagined were so horrible I wasn’t sure if I’d be prepared to know the truth. I was concerned for her, and also curious despite my misgivings.
Perhaps my ignorance had blinded me initially, but once I knew about her past I began to notice things I had never previously perceived. Though she was almost always cheerful while we were together, I began to notice brief instances in which she would appear almost paralyzingly dispirited. On two separate occasions, she appeared to me with a face so pale she could have easily passed for dead. She drew no attention to this fact and acted as ordinarily as she ever did, but there was no concealing that there wasn’t a drop of color in her flesh. The matter cleared up within the hour, her face returned to normal, and I said nothing.
The third time this happened, I could no longer hold back my disquietude. Tentatively, I asked if she was alright. Her answer came with a most re-invigorated smile.
“I’m good,” she responded simply.
I could scarcely believe she was sincere.
“There isn’t any color in your face,” I said. “Did something happen?”
She looked at me strangely, as though pleased with something, and laughed casually. Her reply was not to worry and that everything was alright. When I persisted, she told me she had only just returned from therapy and that this was to be expected.
“What kind of therapy makes you so pale?” I asked.
“The only kind that’s ever worked for me,” she responded. “Trust me, I always come away looking a little sick, but I feel great.”
She refused to elaborate any further on the matter. For my part, I couldn’t imagine what kind of therapy could make someone feel good while making them look so unwell. However, her cheery attitude did seem genuine. Perhaps my concerns had been misplaced, though my curiosity was far from abated. I continued to question her but received no further information in return. At length, I was forced to concede that she was unwilling to share any more.
It was easy to restrain my concerns for a while. As long as we were happy together, I felt I could remain reasonably secure about her secrets. Several times afterward she appeared to me as pale and sickly as she had prior, but as she always seemed more elated than depressed, I said nothing. Eventually though, her moments of disparity began to tally, and I could hardly pretend I didn’t notice. It seemed her therapy, however helpful it may have been, couldn’t keep her from succumbing to depression time and time again. It was agonizing to see her in this state, and even worse to know there was nothing I could do. Anytime I ventured to comfort her, she would only respond with disinterest or tell me not to worry. It came to the point where I couldn’t stand it anymore. I couldn’t stand to watch her being miserable and feeling helpless to do anything about it. I told her that the next time she went to therapy, I wanted to go with her.
She smiled mournfully after I said it, and sighed.
“Would that make you feel better?” she asked me.
“It would,” I responded. “Whatever you’re going through, I’ll go through with you. You don’t have to suffer alone.”
Her lingering smile was one both pitiful and amused. My ignorance must have been all too plain for her to see, yet I’m sure she believed I meant what I said. In fact, I did.
“Alright,” she told me. “You can come if you want to.”

I was expecting to find a more professional looking establishment when we arrived, but as it turned out Jane’s therapy took place in a house. The reason for this, I was told, was that her therapist preferred to work in a more intimate setting. A lavish flower garden and perfectly trimmed lawn greeted us as we made our way to the door. The house itself was relatively charming and rather well-preserved compared to others in the vicinity.
Our host stood waiting for us as we entered. My initial thought was that she looked quite young for her profession. Her hair was curled in shimmering strands of blond and she wore a soft and glistening black dress. She and Jane greeted each other like old friends, sharing a warm and prolonged embrace on the spot. I was offered a handshake for my turn, at which point she introduced herself as Adreena. Just Adreena.
“I’ve heard a lot about you,” she told me smiling. “I can’t tell you how much good your relationship has done for her. She’s been coping much better than she ever has.”
I offered her a smile in return, somewhat reassured by her pleasant demeanor and attitude towards our relationship.
Jane and I were quickly led into the living room where the three of us settled into a matching set of chintz chairs. So far, the entire place seemed both lavishly decorated and exceptionally comfortable. I found no difficulty in relaxing there, the three of us chatting casually as though this were nothing more than a social outing. I’d assumed from her appearance that Adreena must have been around our age, but it soon became apparent that she must have been quite a bit older. I learned that she’d been practicing psychiatry in her home for several years, that she had worked briefly as a professor, and had even developed her own techniques in psychotherapy. My concerns for Jane rapidly evaporated as I came to understand that she was in the hands of a genuine prodigy.
At length, Adreena asked Jane if she was ready to get started, to which Jane animatedly consented. I was asked to remain behind as the two of them left to a more secluded room upstairs. In consideration of my solitude, I was left in the company of Adreena’s assistant who introduced herself to me as Aeris.
She too looked much younger than I would have expected. Her hair was jet black, with vibrantly red lips, and curiously bright brown eyes. She also wore a dress, this one a sparkling scarlet reminiscent of a film noir. So far, she and Adreena both seemed more like movie stars than therapists.
I’d assumed that Aeris must have been a student, but I was vastly mistaken once again. It turned out she already had a masters degree in psychology and had worked for two years as Adreena’s assistant.
“I was a good student,” she told me in response to my amazement. “I was even offered a university appointment after graduation, but I chose to work for Adreena instead.”
“Why?” I asked, brimming with curiosity. “Why be an assistant? Surely you could have accomplished more at a university.”
Aeris smiled.
“Because of Adreena,” she said. “I may be talented, but I’m practically inept next to her. I don’t think I could’ve learned more anywhere else than I have here.”
“That’s astounding,” I replied earnestly. “I know Jane really depends on her, but I never imagined she’d be this impressive.”
“She does things no one else can,” Aeris said. “Her patients are lucky to have her.”
“What’s it like?” I asked eagerly.
Her cheeks flushed feverishly, as though she experienced a rush just thinking about it.
“Like nothing you’ve ever experienced,” she said.
I was reminded of the way Jane looked whenever I saw her after leaving these sessions. How depleted she appeared and how wonderful she reportedly felt.
“I can’t imagine,” I said at length. “I’ve never thought of therapy being so intense.”
Immediately after I said this, Aeris rose to her feet.
“Maybe you’d like to experience it for yourself?” she asked.
Her forwardness drove all other thoughts from my mind. At that moment her offer felt more than enticing, as though it were a rare treat in which I’d been privileged to indulge.
“Can you explain it to me?” I asked, doing my best to at least appear sensible.
“You’d understand better if we just tried it,” she said. “It starts by placing the patient in a state of deep trance. I assure you it’s very relaxing.”
“You can do that?”
“I learned from Adreena,” she said. “I could take you through the entire process right now if you want to.”
It wasn’t exactly what I had come for and despite my inclination to accept I almost refused. Some lingering sense of responsibility made me think I should refrain from getting involved, that it would be irresponsible without consulting Jane first. Then I remembered, as though bidden, that I’d promised her I’d go through whatever she went through. It seemed like the opportunity to prove myself had come.
“Alright,” I said with conviction. “I’ll do it. What must I do?”
Aeris’s smile grew immensely as she leaned forward, our faces so close that our noses nearly touched. Her eyes stared warmly into my own, welcoming my consent.
“Lay back,” she said, pushing a hand to my chest.
I did as she bade, laying as far back as I could in the chintz chair. Her face followed my own, hovering just inches away with her eyes completely level with mine. Within moments my breathing fell into synchronicity with her own deep rhythm. I felt my heartbeat slowing, palpable through her hand resting gently over my chest. When she spoke, it was barely louder than a whisper
“I want you to relax,” she said. “Let all your thoughts drift away, all your worries and fears fade, like smoke rising into the clouds. Be at peace with yourself. There’s nothing to worry about, no places to be or things to do. There isn’t anything here to hurt you, or control you, or make you do anything. There’s only you, me, and this place. Nothing more.”
My eyelids were already drooping. It was easy to listen, to follow her suggestions and forget everything else for the moment. The atmosphere had already left me more relaxed than I’d been before we arrived, and now I was practically soaking in it.
“It’s alright for you to close your eyes,” Aeris said. “Rest as deeply as you like. I’ll be here to watch over you, to guide you through this trance. Leave everything to me. Close your eyes. Rest.”
My eyes were shut. Already her words seemed more from a dream than reality. I could still feel her presence hovering over my body, enveloping me like a soft blanket, and I could still see her eyes as though they had become ingrained within my own mind.
“I’m here for you,” she said. “There isn’t any need to stay awake if you don’t want to. Everything is perfectly alright as long as I’m here. Let yourself go, your mind free to wander as it pleases. Sleep, my precious one. Sleep.”
Those were the last words I can remember hearing.

I don’t know how long I slept, but I know it must have been immeasurably deep. My mind seemed to waken in slow steps, as though it were only realizing itself for the first time. By the time I was fully conscious of my body once more, I discovered that I had great difficulty moving. Every part of me felt weak and unresponsive, as though drained of all energy. It took some moments for me to even remember where I was and what had happened.
When I opened my eyes, I found myself looking at a white and unfamiliar ceiling. My body lay flat on its back with my head propped only slightly above it. I wasn’t in the same chair I’d fallen asleep in. In fact, I wasn’t in a chair at all. I’d woken up in a bed inside a room I didn’t recognize. Evidently, someone had moved me while I was asleep. With some doubt, I wondered if this was meant to be part of the therapeutic process or if something has gone wrong.
Turning my neck was uncomfortable, almost painful. Clearly, my physical condition was in a delicate state. I willed myself to sit up, but the effort was both futile and excruciating. I couldn’t move my arms or legs, I couldn’t move my mouth well enough to speak, and I could feel cold sweat dripping down every part of me. It was simultaneously freezing and blistering warm. Every muscle was alive and screaming as though each one suffered from its own insipidness. The longer I was awake, the more I came to dread my condition. It wasn’t long before I began to question whether or not this was hell, or simply death. Sleeping had been better, I reasoned. Sleeping had been painless. All the while, there was no one there to help or comfort me in any way. I knew I was alone, that I was in ever increasing agony, and I could see no way out.
Then, I saw the needle.
The thick, long, silver needle sticking out of my arm. A hideous broad tube stuck out from the end of it, with dark red fluid flowing perceptibly from its source. My blood was being sucked.
However terrible this realization may have been, it was nothing compared to what I felt when I noticed the other bed beside mine. There was Jane, laying flat on her back with her eyes closed and an identical horrid needle protruding from her right arm. Both of us were being drained of our blood by some machine between the beds I couldn’t clearly see. Instinct took precedence over all else, and I began to scream. Hardly a sound came out and the endeavor tormented my every nerve, but once begun it was impossible for me to stop.
My pitiful shrieks did not go unnoticed for long. Within moments the familiar trim of a certain black dress wandered into my field of vision. I could only manage to gasp and gurgle feebly by this point. My listless babblings were met with a sigh and the most dispassionate voice of the prodigy Adreena.
“Aeris, come and look.”
I heard footsteps, followed by the appearance of the hem of a shimmering scarlet dress.
“What is it?”
“He’s awake.”
The hem of the black dress moved closer and a sharp biting pain hit my neck. Adreena’s fingers felt like teeth puncturing my skin as she forcefully positioned my head back into place. I could see the pair of them staring down at me now. The one critical and the other coldly intrigued.
“I did everything you -”
“I know what you did,” said Adreena. “You put him under too quickly, you were impatient. Your hypnosis wasn’t strong enough because you didn’t take your time.”
I saw Aeris look away for a moment before cautiously stepping forward.
“You want me to -”
“No, I’ll take care of it. We can go over your mistakes later.”
Aeris bowed and turned away leaving the room. It was only the three of us now. Jane was still asleep and I had barely enough strength to keep myself breathing. Adreena’s fingers drummed irritably against my chest, each tap like a sharp piercing pin. I wondered if she understood how much the slightest touch tortured me, if she was idly toying with me like a cat would a mouse. At length, I watched her sigh and drag her fingers down my arm towards the needle. She pulled it out gently and began to treat my incision with rubbing alcohol.
“It’ll be at least another hour before you can move,” she told me. “Aeris is a bright girl, but she’s still a novice. Too young and eager to do a job properly.”
My incision disinfected, she reached for a cotton ball and some gauze from a nearby table and administered a bandage for me.
“It’s a shame for you I’m afraid. If the hypnosis had worked as intended, you need not have suffered. You’d have slept through the entire procedure and woken up feeling as refreshed as you ever had in your life. You’d have loved it, you really would. Jane could tell you how marvelous it feels.”
She gestured towards the other bed. My wounds now properly addressed, Adreena stood and sighed once more.
She isn’t to know about this, understand,” said Adreena pointing towards Jane. “If I were you I’d keep my mouth shut about what I’ve seen here. If you tell her anything, it could jeopardize everything I’ve invested in her, and she won’t believe you anyway. I like my patients to be satisfied with the results and coming back happily. If you say anything, if you try to keep her from me in any way,… well,… just don’t let that happen.”
With one final stare, Adreena turned away and left my field of view. Already, my nerves were burning as life began flowing through them freely once more. With some difficulty, I managed to turn my head just enough to see what was going on beside me. Adreena had removed the needle from Jane’s arm and was attending to her just as she had to me. After she was finished, I saw her tenderly stroking Jane’s hair. Her voice changed to that of a gentle mother waking her child from sleep.
“Jane my dear, it’s time to wake,” she said.
I saw Jane’s body stirring faintly, her eyes fluttering between consciousness and sleep.
“It’s time to wrap this up, my dear. You did an amazing job today. You’ve really made a lot of progress. When you leave, you’re going to be amazingly happy. Absolutely, positively, cheerful and at peace. I know you will, Jane. You always feel so much better after your therapy, don’t you? I know how much you love it. You just hold onto that feeling until the next time we meet, ok? Take your time and rest before you get up. I know how exhausted you get after your therapy. Take as long as you need darling, there’s no rush. No rush at all.”
I watched Adreena lean in and place a gentle kiss on Jane’s forehead before turning away. In a few minutes, Jane’s eyes were fully opened and she was smiling contentedly. After a yawn and a feeble stretch, her face turned to see me lying next to her in the other bed.
“You did it too?” she asked, beaming appreciatively at me.
I don’t know whether I was still too weak or simply too appalled to talk back. All I know is I could only stare back with my mouth agape and no way of communicating to her what had just transpired.
“Isn’t it wonderful?” she asked. Then she giggled, laying her head back and softly closing her eyes, soaking in gentle bliss.

The Dream Puller

Andrew regretted his actions almost as soon as they’d concluded. In an instant he knew that he’d screwed up, that he’d let his emotions get the better of him and hurt someone he cared about. He’d gone from being truly mad to being guilty and ashamed. The consequences from his teacher and parents were nothing compared to knowing that he’d betrayed a loyal friend.
There wasn’t anything to do now but sleep. It was still early in the evening and the dim amber rays of the setting sun still shone through the blinds of his window, but sleep was the only thing worth doing. He’d already been sent home and sentenced to a weekend alone in his room for the crime he’d committed. It was just as well, as Andrew wasn’t in the mood to do much else. Until he could make up with Samantha in some way, he wouldn’t have the heart to do anything that would make him happy. Perhaps he would call her tomorrow, if she’d even consent to speak to him.
The memory of Samantha’s stricken face persisted into his thoughts as he laid in bed trying to rest. It simply wouldn’t leave him alone, as if deliberately reinforcing his guilty feelings. As his mind grew more and more dim, that face continued to confront his mind’s eye until he was scarcely conscious of anything else.
“Samantha, I’m sorry,” he whispered aloud to no one before finally drifting off to sleep.

It was foggy and gray, with a chill breeze blowing like a distressed whisper through the trees. Clouds of mist unfurled from the low wooded landscape up the side of the hill where Andrew now stood. Everything was quiet, without a bird or cricket or chattering chipmunk to disturb the serenity. The wood was thick and the trees were tall and imposing, like silent guardians of a sacred wilderness. Traveling through the brush would be difficult, but at the very bottom of the hill there was a narrow path which Andrew began making his way toward.
Once beneath the canopy, there was little enough light to see the path at all. What small amount of sunlight that persisted through the clouds and trees was barely enough to illuminate the forest floor. Andrew walked slowly at first, taking his time in descrying the path ahead of him. After a time his eyes began to adjust and he was better able to see the scenery he was enveloped in.
The trail was narrow but it was exceptionally clear. Not a single fern, or weed, or sapling stood in his way. In contrast, the forest on either side of him was thick with weeds, grasses, bushes, and immense towering trees. Their branches often interleaved with one another overhead, creating a sheltered archway for Andrew to pass through, as if the forest itself was a sort of wooded palace. The deeper he journeyed, the taller and thicker the trees on either side became. As far he could tell, Andrew was the only creature passing through those words. There were no other sounds but his own footsteps and slow steady breathing.
In the gloom just ahead, Andrew perceived a doorway with a stone arch barely discernable in the dim light. It was only a few feet away by the time he noticed it. At first, it looked like a relatively small structure but upon arriving at its entrance, Andrew realized it was actually massive.
A fifty foot tall stone tower stood before him, surrounded on all sides by near impenetrable forest. It was soon apparent that there would be no going around it. The trail ended here and the surrounding forest was much too dense. The gray stone stood out so peculiarly from the environment, that Andrew couldn’t help but feel curious about its place here. Clearly this was where the path was meant to lead, but what purpose could an enormous tower have in the middle of a desolate and deserted wood like this? Guardedly, Andrew grasped the wooden handle of the door and pulled.
Andrew was taken aback by what he saw next. There was a stairway here as he might have expected, but instead of leading up the length of the tower it went straight down. Lit torches adorned the wall every few feet but the bottom was too far down yet to be seen. He knew instantly that wherever this path led, it had to be somewhere deep underground. It was uncanny, and its appearance did not inspire much confidence, but it was still the only way forward.
Andrew had only taken a few paces down the stairway before he heard to door slamming shut behind him with a bang. The torches flickered and the echo reverberated ominously through the deep passageway below. Andrew swallowed and steeled himself to go on. He told himself that it had only been the wind. He walked on, wondering as he did if it wouldn’t be wiser to turn back. He couldn’t say, but he couldn’t help himself from feeling curious either. He had to know what secrets this trail might lead to, wherever he ended up in the end.
Deeper and deeper her descended as the torches grew further and further apart. The air grew hotter and heavier until it was almost difficult to breathe. The moist aroma of earth enveloped him, assuring Andrew that he was indeed completely underground.
The descent was so long and the air so thick that before long Andrew could feel himself slowly giving in to panic. His pulse quickened and he began to step faster and faster down every stair. His vision grew hazy and the walls began to look as if they were closing in, as if the passage was constricting, getting smaller and smaller, and that they would surely suffocate him if he didn’t make it to the end soon. He flew down the stairs, jumping several steps at a time, desperately hoping to reach the bottom before something terrible happend. Then, slam! His feet hit solid and level ground, the stairway ended and he was staring straight through an open archway several feet ahead.
Cautiously, still catching his breath, Andrew proceeded through the stone portal to find himself in the most dazzling room he’d ever seen.
A wide open chamber lit with dazzling golden chandeliers opened up before him. It looked like a palace out of some fantasy novel. The floor was marble white, stone gothic columns adorned the walls on either side, and ahead of him was a magnificent jewel encrusted throne upon an ornately sculpted marble dais. The air was much easier to breath here, and Andrew found himself unable to do anything but marvel at his surroundings for several moments. It was like waking up into a beautiful new world, so staggeringly gorgeous that it was a wonder why such a place would be hidden so far underground.
He wandered awestruck down the hall between the columns as if he’d been enchanted. It may have been several minutes before he even realized that he was not alone. Sitting in the throne at the end of the hall was a person whose eyes had been silently watching him this whole time. Her face was stern, and by all appearances she wasn’t happy to see him. Andrew couldn’t believe his eyes, but here she was, the person he most needed to see.
“Samantha!” he yelled, urgently sprinting towards the throne.
“Shhhhhhhh!!!” Samantha hissed. She stood and held a finger to her lips, glaring at him warningly.
“Sam!” said Andrew, lowering his voice. He ran all the way to the foot of the dais and stopped. “Sam,… I’m so glad it’s you! Listen, I need to apologize – “
“Shut up!” Samantha hissed dramatically. “Andrew, not now! Please, don’t say anything about what happened! It doesn’t matter!”
“Yes it does,” said Andrew earnestly, hanging his head in shame. “It does matter Sam, I shouldn’t let my anger control me like that. You’ve never done anything but try to help me. You’re the last person I should take my anger out on.”
“It’s okay Andrew!” said Samantha impatiently. “It’s okay! Just stop talking or they’ll hear you!”
“Just let me say I’m sorry, okay?” Andrew begged. “If you don’t want to talk to me after that I understand. I’m sorry for losing my temper and I’m sorry for hitting you. It’s just I-”
There wasn’t time to say another word. Suddenly, from every corner of the room came shadows. Dark silhouettes that sped towards his position until Andrew was surrounded. For a brief moment he could see them clearly, human-like figures clothed in black but terrifyingly inhuman-like in their features. Their faces were exceptionally pale and wrinkled. Their eyelids were shut tight as if they’d been sewn together that way. Gray tufts of thinning hair hung limply from their scalps and long dripping fangs hung from their grimacing open mouths.
Andrew was encircled by the things. Helplessly, he turned to Samantha who only looked down at him pityingly. In the next instant the were on him, jabbing, biting, pulling, and ripping. Every angle of his body felt like it was being torn apart at the same time and the creatures that were devouring him were all that he could see.
“I’m sorry Andrew,” said Samantha, her voice sad and possibly teary. “I didn’t want this to happen,… I’m so, so, sorry,…”
The pain was excruciating. Andrew could barely believe it was really happening, but his flesh and blood were flying all around him. The creatures dove hungrily into his skin and pulled away grinning maliciously as they devoured him. Andrew screamed loud and piercingly, until quite suddenly he was silent. Before long not a trace of him remained to be seen but bloody stains on the marble floor.

Samantha woke shaking from her bed. She grabbed her pillow and wept into it bitterly while curling herself into a sad ball. She hadn’t meant for it to happen, it wasn’t fair, but there wasn’t anything she could’ve done to stop it.
Her cries must have alerted her mother, who appeared outside the doorway of her bedroom worriedly.
“Sammy,…” whispered her mother delicately. “What happened…? Did you do it again?”
Turning toward her mother, Samantha sat up straight and nodded sadly. With a sigh, her mother walked in and sat next to her on the bed.
“Who was it?”
“My friend Andrew,” said Samantha, gasping quietly through her tears.
Her mother nodded solemnly, holding back tears of her own.
“The one who hit you today?”
“Yeah,” gulped Samantha. “I must’ve,… I must’ve been thinking about him before I fell as-s-s-sleep. That’s why he -sob- I pulled him in with me.”
Her mother stroked her hair comfortingly wearing the bitterest look of sorrow that a mother could.
“Mom,” Samantha gasped. “I-I-I’m so sorry! I didn’t want to hurt him! I just couldn’t control myself! H-h-he apologized and they just ripped him to pieces once they knew what h-h-he’d done!”
“No one will ever know child,” her mother said somberly. “Know one will ever know.”
It was what she’d always said, the only thing she could ever think to say. Indeed, no one would ever think of tracing his death back to Samantha. No one could have suspected that she had anything to do with the deaths of all those that had wound up in her dreams. It didn’t take much, just a slight annoyance was enough to decide their fate if she couldn’t keep them out of her mind. She was a danger to anyone that crossed her, and nobody would ever suspect it.
“Go back to sleep dear,” said her mother consolingly. “What’s done is done. Try not to dwell too much on what can’t be fixed.”
“Okay,” said Samantha resignedly.
Samantha watched her mother get up and turn out her light. The scars on the back of her neck served as a constant reminder of what she was capable of. Even my own mother fears me, she thought depressingly. Anyone who cares about me is going to wind up dead!