That Mask I Found

Prazosin. It’s a urinary drug you take primarily for enlarged prostates; a high blood pressure medication with the usual side effects. It’s also given for those who suffer from insomnia, nightmares, and PTSD because of its benefits of primarily not dreaming and if you do dream, you’re not supposed to remember them. I both dream and remember them. Quite vividly. Let me tell you about the one I had last night.

 

I was in an older High School Building, lockers lined the walls with various classroom doors, windows with crisscrossing metal through them, the sporadic water fountain wall indentation, red paint and black overhead and the forgotten details of nightmares spread everywhere. There were many other people there, too. Maybe 30 or 40. Little kids with balloons in their hands, mothers with ribbons tying their ponytails, men in suits for business or shorts and flip-flops for a picnic in a park.

 

I was running through the halls, we all were. Some of them were crying, all of us were screaming at the top of our lungs. My heart was pounding, racing faster than I was. Sluggish nightmare slow knee pumping running, every single one of us. Each person a distinct, separate personality and I knew it with certainty; it was a fact. Each one with my face, even the maniac wielding the axe.

 

He was running eerily fast, chopping into people with that axe, their screams blood-curdling as they gurgled out the remainder of the air in their lungs. His face pure determination and malice. His overalls were spattered in old and new blood, soaked through almost all of it; the blue was hardly seen anywhere but the back of it. His body was thick and bulged out at the hips, too cartoonish to be real, too real to be anything but. His hair was stringy and greasy and weighted down from the blood soaked in. His eyes were fire and squinted. His hands bore welder’s gloves and his feet wore thick rubbery galoshes. He was absolutely horrifying.

 

I watched him chop up several people with mechanical progression. First a few chops into their body, then chopped off their legs, then their arms, then several chops into their face, then cut off their heads, finally a few more chops into their bodies. I tried to stop screaming, I couldn’t. I knew I was dreaming yet couldn’t control it. I tried desperately to wake myself up and couldn’t. My only choice was to run and hide, so I did. I ran into a room that was the principal’s office with a PA system. I screamed into it, “Run and hide! Don’t make any noise, he won’t find you!” I yelled too loud and all that came out was feedback.

 

I opened the desk drawers and found a chain saw. I grabbed it as the room morphed into a small locker room with one entrance. A girl with my face appeared behind me, grabbing onto my legs as she clung to me in fear. That’s when the door cracked open and the dripping axe head came through first. I pulled the string to start the chainsaw and he smiled his hideous yellow and green toothed smile, the corners moving up too high to be human, his eye pits darkening too dark as the lights seemed to dim in his presence. I knew I had to kill him as certainly as I knew he was going to chop into me.

 

My chainsaw met his axe twice before he struck into my arm. I could see and feel the blade biting into the skin and bone of my left shoulder. The chainsaw dropped free from my grasp as the shrieks of pain left my mouth. The little girl with my face ran out of the door, pigtails streaming in her wake. He swung again and struck me in my chest, blood flying outwards towards those greenish teeth from my left breast. He pushed his foot into me, pushing me down as he pulled the axe out of me. He struck again and again, into my legs, into my arms, and finally into my face.

 

I couldn’t wake up. I couldn’t stop him. All of the people stared at me with my face on their body, all of them in a line. All of them in a circle. All of them wearing my face. None of them was smiling except the maniac with the axe. He seemed to grin deeper and more severely with each blow.

 

I finally woke with the grogginess of a hangover, swinging my legs over the edge as I stared through the slats covering my window, outwards to the gray Seattle sky. It still feels as if the waking state I’m in is the dream, and the dream was my waking state. I sat on the floor and cried for several hours, not knowing why I felt like I wanted to die. Not knowing why I wanted to grab my kitchen knife, sharpen it, and stab myself in the neck over and over until I couldn’t anymore. The suicidal ideations so real in my head as I closed my eyes in futile attempts to push them away.

 

I’m going to the hospital now.

 

©Ramon Sturdivant

 

 

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