“Who are we compared to it? I don't know. But if what it claims is true, then we really are alone.
I first encountered it in a dream. It seems to permeate everything, and manifests everywhere. I have found it spoken of in google images, and in pictures from over fifty years ago. It shows up in television broadcasts from the 60's and in images from Mars.
It seems that there is no place in time or any medium where it cannot produce itself into a tangible form. But despite this, it refuses to reveal its nature. It simply wishes to critique our own, to declare our inadequacy in comparison to it. Reality as we understand it is not real. Time is not real. We might as well be a static painting that it observes, a finished product that fails to impress.
That is how it sees the universe, and it seems that no matter what form it takes, we are left with little knowledge of it. Of what it wants or needs, or if it even really needs anything at all. The ancients had a name for it, but that name is only a modern creation. In reality, it is far older, if age even is a thing for it.
I dreamed of my home town, in upstate New York. I was going to a movie with a girl I was familiar with back then. Her name was Melissa. She had a wonderful smell that reached me, even in the stink of the theater. She smelled of strawberries and cigarettes.
I didn't watch the movie. I was too caught up in her. She was close in a way that made you intimately aware of heat and sensation. I reached out for her hand, and I felt her fingers wrap around my own. My heart felt my heart leap in my chest as the softness of her hands, the heat of her fingers and the sweat of mine became my entire world. I looked up at her, looking towards her eyes, searching for a kiss.
Her face froze in a smile, and a waited for her to lean in. But she didn't move. Her eyes remained fixed on my own, but her body did not move. The dream...it wasn't a dream anymore. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched as the figure stood, three rows in front of me. Slowly, it made its way over towards me, its form like an overexposed photograph, and my eyes began to ache at the sight of it. A pain began to rise along the edges of my skull, as a dull ringing began to rise and fall in my ears.
I closed my eyes, but it did not help. Its image was imprinted upon my vision, like closing your eyes after looking into the sun. And yet I could discern no details of its body, and soon stopped trying as the effort caused my head to ache even worse.
“What pathetic dreams you have,” it stated flatly. “All the possibilities of the mind, and all you muster are the wishes of the past.”
It stood over me, heat like a furnace poring off it in waves. My stomach lurched as the smell of broken batteries and burning plastic overwhelmed me. I could feel its eyes on the side of my cheek, even as I tried to look away.
“What small minds. No wonder you have been abandoned..”
I felt my flesh blistering and splitting as its hand grabbed my face, forcing me to face it. I kept my eyes closed, but it didn't care. My refusal to look at it made no difference, because even behind closed eyelids the light coming off of it caused my eyes sting.
“I won't let you forget this. You must spread your pain.”
I felt its fingers push as my eyelids blistered and separated. I felt its fingers scorching and burning the sockets as I tried to grab its hands, to pull it away. But it only caused my hands to burn, its grip immovable.
I screamed for what felt like minutes, and then the burning stopped all at once. The cold of my room came to me as I woke up, my eyes scanning the room, looking for danger.
But there wasn't anything visible. Just a pain pounding in my skull.
You are going to dream of it. I know this to be true. It lingers in thoughts and ideas, and transfers from medium to medium. Every person it visits lessens my pain, and I know I am wrong to seek out more souls for it to torment. But I need everyone to see what I have seen. I need to tell people what it has told me.
We are alone in all of this. We have failed.
We are burning. These is our death throws.
The final shudders of life before it is all taken away.”
This letter, a set of photographs, and a strange sculpture are all part of one of the newest exhibits at the Wellington Street Historical. I asked my boss. He said it was okay to share. It's creepy stuff, but really interesting. Whoever put this together really had an eye for arrangement. It's another legend onto the pile, though I doubt I would react to it even if I could.
My medicine prevents my night terrors, but it also suppresses my dreams, or more specifically my memory of my dreams. Its been years since I remembered one, but that doesn't bother me too much. I had some friends in school who claim they use dreams as guidance and inspiration. They were fun, if a little strange. They wanted me to get off my medicine. But I can't do that.
People who don't have my conditions don't understand what it is like to wake up and feel like there is some terrible horror in your room. They don't understand just how much fear that creates in someone.
I'm glad to have finally received a letter from you. Germany must be beautiful this time of year. I never got to travel much when was in school. I hope you will send me some pictures while you are there. I hear the forests there are breathtaking.
So far I am really enjoying myself at my new job. I'm not used to being on my feet that long, but it is really amazing how much energy you have when you are doing something you enjoy.
I'll make sure to send you some more pictures of the neighborhood. With all that has been going on this week I have forgotten to keep up with it. Oh! So, a man came in with his service dog the other day. Turns out the place my dad and I have been living at the last few years used to be theirs. They were both missing an eye. Poor things. I suppose it works out that they were able to find each other.
Life is strange like that.