Within The Cracks: A Trip Into Silence part 2
Part Two: Dreams, Sleep, Dreams
He leans forward in a bent posture, foot crushing the accelerator with a mechanical force "MOVE!" He shouts at his vehicle; and as he does so, he brings his fist down on the dashboard in apparent frustration, cursing at the Jeep because it must be purposely refusing to speed-up. A plethora of thoughts bombard him, some irrational but most of them sensibly tell him that, of course, it isn't the car but his fear that is griping him. He asks himself, "But how can I know for sure, with the sense that the air itself is compressing about me? I can feel it reaching out and its claws are set to kill upon contact." Unfortunately, he doesn't get the chance to argue with himself on the matter because, as he comes within ten feet of the town line, his vehicle is violently halted and pulled backward with a force that jerks him forward. His tires squeal in defiance at the uninvited and unwanted tension tugging from behind his Jeep, like a tow line pulling from a scrap yard Tow Truck. In a vain attempt at self preservation, his arms fly outward trying to stop himself from becoming one with any number of fixtures about the vehicle, the most notable of which, are the front windshield and the steering wheel. Rolling with the motion, his head snaps up and down but instead of smashing his face against the steering wheel or becoming a windshield mash-up, the seatbelt slams him back into place leaving him a little shaken but not broken.
A little dazed, he looks forward and notices that the town line is now just within a few feet. He also takes notice that his back tires continue to spin and that smoke is now starting to rise from the friction. Fed up and just a little bit more than freaked by the situation, he blurts out "Oh, Forget this shit!" then slams down on the accelerator, pushing it until it touches the floor. The Jeep slips forward settling on the ground. He moves closer and closer to the town line with each second feeling like an hour's time. Inch by inch, closer and closer, and all the while a scraping sound can be heard going along the blacktop outside. Looking through the driver's side mirror, he sees the road being ripped apart. It looks to him as if a giant invisible jigsaw, attached with the wrong blade, is forcibly and randomly ripping at its prey. At the string end of his sanity and on the verge of a mental break, he throws out a guttural throaty scream that leaves his head pounding. Thankfully, as soon as the sound pierces the air the Jeep shoots forward and passes the town line. Behind him, he watches in disbelief as the lines that were just ripped into the blacktop and the tire treads left from his Jeep start to fade away, leaving no trace of his experience just moments ago. After the proof of his encounter is completely wiped from physical being, he notices that there are now no people, no cars, no animals scurrying and no movements in the air. Behind him the trailer park is back to being as normal and rundown as any other forgotten place in America. He on the other hand, is left with a nagging sense of dread and fear.
After a few miles of driving, he once again regains his normally sensible self; well, as sensible as you can be when nonsensical and illogical happenings decide to bombard your consciousness. Tired and drained, he pulls over to the side of the road, locks himself inside, shuts the Jeep off and flips back his seat. Staring at the ceiling of his vehicle he wonders "What in the hell was that?" After twenty minutes or so, and still unable to explain what he just went through, Steven falls asleep. As he rests, his sleep is guarded, his breathing is rough, a sheen of sweat rests upon his face and every now and then he wakes to look around. While in his dreams, he is haunted by figures weaving in and out of sight. They hide in a still darkness that surrounds him. Yet, he is not consumed by it or them; the darkness only creeps right at the far edges of his vision, almost out of range of viewing and teasing him with its promised blindness.
Willing his attention away from the shadows, he focuses his eyesight on the area around him and tries to make sense of it. In every direction, there are lines of ancient trees standing tall, like silent giants protecting the gates of an ancient castle. Each of these massive giants protrudes from the ground with a width and circumference comparable to that of a grain silo. Steven shakes his head in disbelief at the immense size of them. He then quickly gathers himself, just to find that he is walking along a moss covered, rocky riverbed that from what he can tell, cuts its way through the forest in random twists and turns. Although, he is able to see and determine his surroundings, everything is filled with a colorless gloom of grayish tint, which leaves Steven with a growing sense of hopelessness and trepidation. He decides that he can't just stand there and do nothing, so he begins to move forward, looking for any way to leave this place. After a few moments of travel, he notices that his footsteps end in dull thuds upon the ground with no echo to be born from them. It is as if every sound wave is unapologetically absorbed into the nothingness around him which then feeds on the careless waves with vampiric delight. A bit confused by this, he begins to wonder at the phenomenon; although, as soon as he completely halts to digest the thoughts, he can again sense the figures dancing about him in the shadows. So, not wanting to falter into fears trap, he continues on, but every now and then, he can feel a rush of hot breath on the back of his neck as if something behind him is daring him to turn around.
Not willing to let whatever it is behind him make, this despondent forest on steroids his final resting place, he runs. Running through the stony riverbed, he falls and rolls on an area of jagged rocks, he gets back up, blue jeans ripped at the shin and thigh, a bit of blood begins to slide down his sweaty leg and on he runs. Behind him, he hears the soft dead thuds of something gaining on him. Above him, a tree branch falls, seemingly desperate to try and crush him. Yet, its task goes uncompleted as he ducks and doges under it, causing it to miss him by mere inches. His breath is now short and quick and his lungs are stinging in pain. He falls again, this time slicing the palm of his hand open from right below his pointer finger to the bottom left edge of his hand. He stares at the flesh hanging open and the dark fluid seeping out like a volcano. He can't move it now, the hand is useless. Lifting himself up by bracing his left arm on the ground and cradling his right into his chest he rushes off again. As he is running, he rips at his shirt sleeve with his teeth but to no avail. His pursuer is so close now that he can feel the vibrations from its approach in the earth itself. Giving up on the shirt, he picks up his pace again. When he gets to what he feels is a safe distance away, he stops running and quickly removes his shirt. Sprinting over to a broken tree branch to his left, he hooks the shirts neck line in place and pulls until the shirt rips enough to create a rough strip of fabric. He wraps his wound and ties it tight with his teeth, completing the task of bandaging up his hand. Turning back to the riverbed his heart stutters, as a large shadow jumps from the trees. Not giving himself time to, or even caring to examine his pursuer, he turns around and flees into the forest itself.
As he enters into the forest proper, he is immediately frozen in place and unable to move. The air becomes so heavy that every breath is made with an intense effort. His arms are pulled outward by unseen assailants and wrapped tight in rope or vines, he is unsure which. He calls out in pain as his wrappings are ripped from his hand and the wound is laid bare. Screaming again, he whips his head to the right to try to see his attacker, but he can't see anything in the dark. There is something digging into his wound, he feels it drilling deeper and deeper. A breeze comes from a flurry of movement within the trees and he knows that his time has come. He closes his eyes and lets out one last scream, but he doesn't get to experience his fate because his body reacts in defiance to the attack and his eyes open to a familiar sight.
He wakes so swiftly, that he slams his knee into the steering column, leaving it numb and bruised. His chest is drenched with sweat and his heart is pounding with a panic he has never felt before. Quickly checking the area around him and finding no threats, he tries to get a handle on this sudden burst of fear induced adrenaline. It takes him about ten minutes of processing and rationalizing the after images from the dream, before relief finally begins to set in. Regardless, he is still unable and unwilling to go back to sleep. He turns on the radio to a late night broadcaster ranting on and on about cracks in the fabric of time and aliens stealing babies for testing. "Don't believe me?" He says "The governments been hiding it for years now. You know what I'm talking about, their secret tests, in unmarked bunkers, with confiscated alien technology, technology that has opened up all kinds of hell upon this world. And what do we do? We sit around eating freaking Burgers and Pizza, shoving the lies into our pie holes and loving every minute of it." Steven quickly changes the channel "No need to drive myself even more insane with Mr. Loony Toon yapping in the background" after a few moments of scanning for something to lift his mood, he shuts the radio off "Nothing on at all, I hate that radio sucks so bad." He looks through his CD case and pulls out a Chopin CD. "Ah, a little bit of calming sweetness to put me right again." He lays back, closes his eyes and within two compositions of listening, he is calm and now reassured that he is in no danger. He gives in to the physical and mental exhaustion and allows himself to fall back asleep; all the while hoping that tomorrow brings a bit of normality back into his life.
© 2014 Warren Curtis Daniels Jr
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