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Title: Facing the Monsters in Dreams Submitted By:Yossarian

Every night Victor would have the same dream. He would always be running, always through something especially long or confusing and usually very narrow, and he was always terrified. Something was chasing him.

Sometimes he would be running through a neatly hedged maze, the walls just barely wide enough to accommodate his broad shoulders. Other times it would be an alleyway littered with sharp things such as nails and broken glass and he’d end up sprinting between tall ominous planks of rotting wood. The worst ones were when he found himself running through darkened maintenance corridors and air delivery shafts. That version of the dream scared Victor the most because he could never remember which way to turn, or how to break through the stone walls to escape whatever was chasing him. If the chase ever became too intense he could always knock down the rotting fences and get a few splinters or in a terrified frenzy rip through the brush of the maze at the cost of several scrapes and a few gashes. Breaking the chase always woke him up.

Victor wasn’t sure exactly who was chasing him or why, though he was sure it was a who. He had looked back one time to see, and never did so again. One particular night he found himself running through a thick forest trail, a place so dark that the bark of the trees was black and the leaves were silhouettes against the small amount of light that managed to make it through the upper branches. He was breathing heavy and squinting to avoid the wooden fingers that seemed to jump out of the darkness scraping his cheeks and arms. When he came upon a patch of bright light he slowed and in an instance of clarity looked back to get a glimpse of what was chasing him, of what tormented him night after night and usually culminated in him screaming in his sleep.

What he saw was the frail figure of a short man with bony features and a loving, friendly smile. The man was bald and short, he looked underfed but not malnourished, fragile but still limber and quick. The man showed no sign of having chased Victor for the last hour or so, he stood with his arms across his chest.

“I see everything Victor, I can see everything.”

The strange man said, and a third eye broke the skin and peeked out from the man’s forehead. Victor woke up screaming that night, as he did every night when he ended up seeing this man, for even though he no longer looked back, the menace chasing him always found a way to get ahead of him, always tricking him into a dead end where the same man would be and always he would say,

“I see everything Victor.”

And Victor would scream.

He’d wake up in the same place, staring at the same ceiling, sweating that same cold sweat, tucked in the same warm bed. His room was dim and comfortable, and though his massive frame seemed a bit large for it, Victor considered it a rather cozy accommodation.

It was a very nice place to be, the mental health ward of the Marathon’s medical facility. It was safe and familiar, bright and clean. All of the doctors, nurses, and crew knew Victor by name, as he was one of the friendliest and docile patients on the ward. He was polite, quiet, and always willing to lend a hand. Being well over six feet and 300 lbs., Victor was also by far the largest person in the hospital. And though he was a full-grown man, his mind had suffered much since the accident in the aft engineering section, turning him into a simpleton devoid of most thoughts and emotions, excepting his nightmares.
Victor usually found things to do to keep himself occupied, there were all kinds of activities available for those who had the capacity for them. Often times he would play checkers or ocibma with another patient, help the staff, or browse through the pictures the doctors had picked for him especially, those featuring bright open spaces of Earth places or beautiful cosmic images. Victor liked to keep himself busy before his scheduled bedtime; it was easier to sleep when he could tire himself out.

Again this night Victor had his nightmare. This time it was slightly different. It started with him looking out of his room door, now open and completely black. He knew he was dreaming because the lights outside in the corridor were always on, even before he had come here, he supposed. From the darkness came a cold breeze assaulting the warm atmosphere of his room. He stepped slowly from his bed, taking light steps across the room where he peered ever so cautiously from his doorway into the corridor. Pitch black. His heart began to beat faster, as Victor knew what kind of turn this dream was about to take. From far away he thought he saw movement down the corridor turning right. Victor sprinted left.
He ran down the corridor, through the abandoned day room. He couldn’t see anything at all, but he’d been there long enough to know the placement of furniture in the dark or with his eyes closed. In dreams its easy to avoid tripping over things if you try really hard. Victor wasn’t sure if he could hear footsteps behind him or not, but he wasn’t about to stop and find out. He ran through the entrance, usually locked and bolted this hour though now fully ajar like his room door. Now in his dream the smaller white corridors and offices that the nurses and doctors used were lit with the occasional dim ceiling light, giving him illumination to run by.

Refusing to slow he ran through what appeared to him be the lobby. Running full speed he slammed into the glass doors, shattering them without thought. Small shards sliced at the bottom of his feet but still he ran, oblivious to the pain and blood flowing from under him.

Victor ran for several minutes through this dream he hated so much, he ran down halls he’d never seen, past unfamiliar doors, and up strange spiraling staircases. All the while he knew it was behind him, biding its time. He ran until the corridors got smaller and smaller, when the turns came quicker and sharper, until his lungs burned and his blood flowed through his veins and arteries making them want to burst. Victor was close to collapse when the dream reached its inevitable conclusion.
There, standing before Victor in the short and narrow corridor, was the frame of the little old man, the only presence of evil in Victor’s life, the one who could smile and see all yet remain in Victor’s mind the sole source of fear.
And Victor screamed.

Screaming did not end the dream however, and though he screamed until his already taxed lungs would allow him to do it no more, he could not wake up. His mind became a frenzied swirl of confusion, pain and fear. Only one thought made itself clear to Victor through this anguish, the idea of opportunity. For the first time since the accident he considered using his size and strength to his advantage.

The pfhor fighter could do nothing as this huge human forced its fingers through its eyeballs, rupturing them with an obscene *sploosh* sound while trails of fluid flew from its face. It was still very much alive as its skull was gripped through its eye sockets and it was flung side to side against either of the corridor walls, limbs and organs snapping and rupturing as it flailed helplessly waiting to die; though it could feel no more by the time Victor was stomping at it under his bloody feet.

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