Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He wrote for IHPVA magazines and raced these vehicles with his father (who builds them).
From the depth of the darkness, two bright red dots broke the flat dead blackness that enveloped Jordon Franks. They hovered above with a sinister stillness that both stabbed Jordon with a sense of fear, as well as keeping him mesmerized. All the while his sense of hearing picked up on a plethora of muffled sounds he couldn’t discern. But, trying to figure out the din that came from the darkness was the least of his concerns…and terror.
Moments before this, Jordon was in a lush green heaven-on-Earth under piercing blue skies. He reveled in warm sunlight and a cool breeze. Then the darkness came, fast and furious and well before Jordon could react to it. Now, he was in a hell with back pinned to cold slab, all the while muddled by confusion and the unknown.
He started to breath heavily, drawing in and exhaling nervous breaths. Every second that went by it became hard and labored. While he struggled to breath, the blood-red dots glowed with more intensity. On top of that an invisible force accompanying the orbs pressed down on him.
“Who are you!” he attempted to say, but it came out as if his mouth was full of marbles.
The invisible force pressed harder on his chest. His breathing tightened as the fear within loosened. He had to get up. He yearned for it like he had never wanted anything more in his life.
Upon his garbled plea, the two dots responded by moving closer to him and casting an intense crimson glow upon his wide-eyed face.
Jordon felt a hot, wet wind upon his face. It also carried a decaying aroma that slammed Jordon’s senses. The desire to run away grew as he watched the two red dot reveal two black horizontal slits. At that moment, he came realize these dots were eyes and those slits were this entity’s reptilian pupils.
The moment worsened. The invisible force pressed harder on his chest. His breathing tightened as the fear within loosened. He had to get up. He yearned for it like he had never wanted anything more in his life.
Laughter from a distant source came through clearly before being drowned out by the mysterious din. This didn’t help matters; Jordon struggle in vain to get up. The failure only raised the frustration and fear within him.
He began to sweat – at least, he could feel it beading on his forehead. Jordon tried with all the fibers in his muscles to escape, but the orbs and the unseen entity it was attached to wasn’t going to let him rise.
He wanted to scream, but nothing came out. The pressure was so immense that the ability to speak, yell or scream had been cut off.
About this time, the mysterious din was replaced by a more distinctive and sinister sound. The growl was a low rumble, but it was enough to shoot panic through Jordon’s vein. He tried everything to get away; he tried to thrash and flail, but no matter how frantic he was, he couldn’t move. His arm stayed to his side; he couldn’t lift this legs. Nothing moved. Paralysis!
His eyes worked, however … much to his horror. They widened and began to focus on the orbs. His eyes adjusted to the searing glow, and slowly he began to make out the outlines of something sinister.
Again – despite the futility --- Jordon tried to fight! But, the demon held him down and was now pushing harder upon his chest. And the excruciating pressure kept going until Jordon felt as if the beast’s clawed hands had broken through his chest.
Finally, he screamed. This time it came from deep within in him and blasted with a screech. It also threw the demon off his chest. And, most importantly, it freed him. He shot up, still screaming.
Jordon found himself in the middle of the living room, laying on his favorite couch. The din of muffled talk also came into focus, He jerked his vision toward the source. The TV was barely audible, but made enough of a murmur. He shot looks to and fro as the change of scenery – to something very familiar – took hold of him.
“Daddy,” a timid voice said.
He flashed his eyes toward the source: young Ricky stood nearby and stared at him with sheepish eyes.
“Daddy?” Ricky asked again. “Aren’t we going to play?”
Jordon didn’t immediately respond. How could he? One moment he was in the darkness and now he was in the light.
“Ricky!” screamed Lilith, Ricky’s mother and Jordon’s wife. “What are you doing?”
Lilith came barreling into the living room from the hallway: “Let your father rest! He’s not feeling good!”
“But mom, I just wanted….” Ricky pleaded.
“Hush!” she said. Ricky lowered his gaze to his feet as the shame washed over him.
Ricky’s obedience was swift enough for Lilith to turn her attention to her husband. She came to his side, wiped the sweat off his forehead, and quelled his quivering body.
“Honey,” she whispered. “Be still.”
“But the eyes. Those eyes,” he stammered.
“Honey,” she continued, “It’s the fever. It’s making you see things.”
Jordon glanced at Lilith; he went from shock, to realization, and finally to acceptance.
“The flu,” he said, in a low calm tone. “You’re right. I need to lay down.”
“Yes, honey, “she said assuredly. “Lay down and go back to sleep. You need to take it easy.”
Jordon sighed and chuckled before he said: “Yes dear. You always knew how to keep the demons away.”
He peered into the small downtrodden face of Ricky.
The kiss instantly eased Jordon to the point he instantly fell asleep. In doing so, she could feel the heat of the fever that was burning him up.
“Hey little monster,” he said affectionately. “As soon as I get better we’ll play.”
Ricky lifted his gaze to his father and smiled.
Then, Jordon lowered himself back onto the couch and closed his eyes. Lilith reached over and gave her husband a kiss on the forehead. The kiss instantly eased Jordon to the point he instantly fell asleep. In doing so, she could feel the heat of the fever that was burning him up. But she didn’t worry about it. She knew she was immune to whatever he had. And that this thing he had will pass. She will see to it!
But another thing worried her.
“Come on Ricky,” she said when she rose. She didn’t wait for him to respond: she grabbed him by the arm and pulled him toward the entrance to the hallway she had emerged from.
“Mommy,” Ricky blurted as two reached the hallway and headed toward his bedroom. “I didn’t mean anything by it.”
Lilith stopped in the hallway – and away from earshot for Jordon – and gave the boy a cross look that could blow the mind of any mere mortal. Her eyes burned with a fiery red glow.
“What were you thinking?” she said with a hiss.
“I just wanted to enter his dream and play,” he said sheepishly.
“He doesn’t know your powers as well as mine!”
“But...” Ricky tried to say.
“You know your father is a good man,” she snapped “But he is not like us. He can’t change into a beast. He doesn’t understand that and it can scare him like it… and will abandon us like any mere mortal would.”
“But,” he whimpered a defense that quickly went nowhere as realized this his mother was right.
She calmed down and her eyes returned to her typical human-like normalcy. She knelt on her knee to get close to Ricky.
“My little one,” she said in her most motherly way, “We know who we are, but daddy and the world don’t know. And what they can do to us will be far worse than anything we can do to them in their dreams. We must be careful at all cost. And we can’t betray your father. He’s a good man.
“Most importantly, we can’t harm him.”
She moved closer to Ricky until she was a few inches away from his face: “If that happens, then nobody knows what will come from the depth of darkness.”
Ricky wanted to cry. Not so much because his mother put the fear into him, but because the thought that he used his power to potentially harm his own father.
“Yes, mom,” he said under his breath. She rose and smiled at her little brood.
“Now, go off to your room, close your door and play and keep to the transformation to a minimum.”
“Yes, mom!” Ricky said, now smiling ear to ear as he headed down the hallway to his room.
Lilith stood for a moment, ruminating all that had happened. Eventually, she sighed and headed back to the living room. There she gazed upon her husband, soundly and peacefully asleep.
Still, she wondered if all was really well. Did this mean that Ricky would continue to enter his dream as a demon? Was he going to eventually cause great harm?
They were beasts. She knew it. And if they were discovered in the most hideous possible by entering Jordon’s dream as their true selves, they would be pursued in the most hideous way possible. She began to realize that there was one thing to do.
She strolled to Ricky’s room and stood at the entrance.
“Ricky,” she said. “There’s something we must do.”
Jordon opened his eyes and was met by blue skies and green hills. Heaven, he thought, has returned. Not only that, he was able to stand. He rose and looked around this new environment. A feeling of warmth and belonging swept through him, intoxicating him with joy he hadn’t felt in a long time.
“Daddy! Daddy!” Ricky screamed in adulation.
Jordon turned to see his son running down a hill and scrambling toward him.
“Hey my little monster!” He said as he opened his arms to embrace and lift him up.
The moment took an unexpected turn. A hand touched his shoulder. Jordon turned to see Lilith standing next to him, beaming a graceful and warm smile. For a moment, he wondered where she had come from. But, the moment of inquiry evaporated. It wasn’t important how she arrived. The fact he was there with Ricky and Lilith in a place that felt like heaven was the only sensation he cared about. And there was no need to wake up from this dream.
© 2017 Dean Traylor