Edge of Nightmares
The Drys-dale Carnival had finally came to town. Everyone who was anyone had been talking about this carnival on social media for months, as somewhere you would want to be. We had been standing in this line for about forty-five minutes already. Waiting patiently for our turn to enter this mysterious door, that seemed to be a big hit.
A freaky looking short man with a long thin pointed nose, and very rotten teeth, stood by watching us closely.
"So, how are you making out with everything? You know what I mean, considering all that's happened." Misty asked, with genuine concern beneath her hazel colored eyes.
"I'm okay, it's not like I didn't expect this. We knew for years that this day would come." I replied.
"Yeah, I know. You are so strong to take it so well. It's so sad, you two have been through so much over the years. I had been hoping that he had finally figured out how to juggle both." She claimed,
I smiled halfheartedly, I pretended to be strong, but inside I was dying.
"You and I both." I said shaking my head. "He's tried though, his job is just too demanding. We have accepted the fact long ago that it's just too overwhelming for him to have both, and it's not like he can walk away from what he does. We live in two very different worlds, he knows he can't cross back over into mine, and he refuses to let us cross into his. I'm afraid there is no happy medium, as much as we wish there were." Misty pulled a face.
"It's still sad that you guys have to turn your backs on love and ignore how you feel about each other." she stated. "How's Matt taking it?"
"Children adapt faster to change." I replied, as something began to tug at the sleeve of my coat.
"Mom, whats taking so long!" He bellowed, and I chuckled.
"They just don't fare well in the patience department." I said, turning to Matt, "It shouldn't be much longer now."
"I hope not," Misty added, "Matt's right, this is taking a considerably long time."
The creepy guy slithered toward us, he tilted his head to one side. His messy hair falling in strings on to his forehead. With his eyeballs popped out at least two millimeters, a wicked grin spread itself unto his thin lips exposing his rotten teeth. The brown rags in which he wore for clothing, flowed toward the floor.
"Don't you worry your pretty mind my dearest." He said in a squeaky little voice. "Your party is going through next." He followed this with the creepiest laugh I had ever heard, in tones that sent trickles of ice down my spine.
However, within only two moments, we were in fact walking toward the door.
"Enter if you dare," He squeaked. "But adventurer beware. For the sight in which your heart will seek, may not be something you care to see." Once again that cold evil laugh flooded around us. I gripped Matt's hand tightly in my own, shot Misty a slighty worried glance and we stepped through the door.
Once we were on the other side, we were standing in a very tiny, dank, dark place. The conditions were much unhealthy and a rancid odor swirled around my nostrils. Water was dripping from the ceiling somewhere to my right. At the front wall stood corroded iron bars, and opposite this at the back of the cell was a window perched high to the ceiling beyond reach which had also been barred. It was then that I realized that Misty was no longer with us, but we were not alone. Along the back wall, just beneath the window a mans figure was chained to the wall. Food dishes scattered around the floor in front of him. As with his living conditions, he was filthy too. I narrowed my eyes approaching him, and when I got close enough, I gasped.
Gazing into his intense blue eyes in disbelief a panic washed over me.
"What are you doing in here?" I requested and his eyes darted to mine, flashed to Matt and then back.
"No, no, no." He cried, "You shouldn't be here, you shouldn't be here at all." There was a terrifying tone within his voice, that I didn't care for.
"We need to get you out of here." I insisted, trying to pry the chains off of him with my fingers. He pulled himself back, the sharpest of pain flickering across his face. He began to ring his hands together nervously.
"You must find it, it's the only way." he muttered. I looked at him curiously.
"What must I find?" I asked in confusion.
"The book," He whispered, "The book is the key, it will explain everything."
"Great," I replied, "Do you have a specific one in mind or will any ol' book do?" He began to pace the small space that the chain would allow.
"It's a very specific book. You'll know it when you see it. It holds the answers to get you both out." he stated, I looked at him in surprise.
"I'm not leaving without you." I exclaimed.
"You must! Promise me that you will not, under any circumstance come looking for me." He said.
"But," I tried to protest, but he shook his head.
"This is the fate that I have chosen, this is the truth behind the fancy façade. This is my life." He replied, "You can't be here, but I must remain."
"Okay." I finally promised.
"How did you get here anyway?" He asked, and I shrugged.
"Some ugly little man with a pointed nose." I answered.
"Sabastian?" He gasped his eyes fixated on mine. "Do not make any deals with that man, do you understand?"
"I wont," I said. "But I can't walk away and leave you here I just can't!" I exclaimed, tears beginning to flow down my cheeks.He looked at me pain washing over his face and the echo of that slashed my heart as if his pain were my own. He brought his left hand up, brushed my hair behind my ear and then placed his palm against my cheek. Like mine, his eyes were over flowed with tears. Silence fell around us in that second, then he placed his forehead against mine the intensity of his eyes piercing mine like sharp tipped daggers.
"Find the book and make sure the two of you get out, do not try to come back for me." he whispered and for a half of second I thought our lips may touch as I felt his warm breath on my face. However, at that moment Matt exhaled and he looked toward the sound.
The iron gate was slowly creaking open, the echo of this had surrounded us. I glanced back at him in desperation.
"Mark." I breathed. "Go now, get the key and make sure you get him out." He said.
I took Matt's hand once more and headed toward the gate, turning back only once.
"Go on." Mark insisted. With a sigh I reluctantly proceeded through the gate.
To our surprise we did not end up in the hallway of a prison, or even back to the carnival. Instead we found ourselves standing in the center of a living room of a tiny house. The house had been neglected for many years, the furnishings dated back at least to the 1930s and every piece had been covered in a thick coating of dust.
Matt looked at me, excitement beneath his eyes. "Do you think that the book may be here, mother?" He asked.
"It's possible." I replied. "Let's take a look. Remember it will be a very old book." Matt glanced around the room, then looked back up to me.
"There isn't a single book here." he sighed, and I smiled. "Just because it isn't in this room, doesn't necessarily mean it's not here. Where do we put things at home that we want to keep but don't need right away?" I asked. He looked up and his eyes got wide with excitement.
"The basement!" He replied.
"Well then, lets see if we can find that basement." I giggled, taking his hand. I lead him into the kitchen and down a flight of rickety old stairs. The old basement had an infestation of cobwebs, the light shone from the a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling.
We found ourselves surrounded by boxes which like the furniture above was covered in dust. As we began digging in these boxes it didn't take long to discover that the book was not here. However, still interesting was the fact that every one of these boxes were filled with old photographs. All of which, seemed to depict myself and Mark at various points of time. Matt pulled a random photograph out of a box.
"How strange." he noted, "This looks exactly like Mark."
"May I see it?" I asked. He handed me the photograph, and it was unbelievable. The picture was of a soldier from the second world war. The soldier resembled Mark in every way and as I gazed at this picture feelings of sorrow and loss crept up in me and rested in the center of my heart. As it did the photograph disintegrated in my hand to a fine dust, and blew away gently. Yet the feelings that this picture had given me lingered.
"It's not here." I stated. I took Matt's hand in mine and lead him back up the very same rickety steps. Yet instead of arriving in the kitchen in which we should have, we found ourselves at one end of a long, dark, and windowless hallway. In the far off distance stood a door. As we began to descend down this hallway, I noted that the walls were adorned with old portraits, each depicting more variations of myself and Mark at different points in time. Some going back at least a hundred years. As I passed each one of these portraits deep feelings encircled me, love, sorrow, loss, pain, happiness, angry, resentment. Each of these expanded from within a strength in which I never knew I had.
At long last I placed my hand on the doorknob of the door at the other end of the hall and slowly began to turn it. The door opened out, to reveal a pretty english garden with bright colored flowers of every variety blooming behind many cobblestone walls. Two feet in front of us on the matching cobblestone path stood a little boy dressed in white. He smiled and spoke.
"I am Peter, what can I do to assist you today?" He asked, and before I could respond, Matt had replied.
"We are on a quest for a book." he told the boy, who had pulled back his head and began to laugh.
"Indeed you are, my good lad." He added, "And I can help you along the way."
"How?" Matt asked.
"Are you familiar with what they say?" Peter asked, and Matt shook his head, the boy chuckling softly. "If it is answers that you seek, just follow the white rabbit and they shall speak." Peter recited. I looked to the boy with scrutinizing eyes, as he continued. "So if you dare, follow me, and I shall help you see." Peter continued to chuckle as he turned on the cobblestone path and darted off.
We stepped out into this garden for the first time and it was then that I had discovered the only things alive were the flowers. The grass was dry and brown, where as the trees held not one single leaf and the trunks were darkened from rot. On the horizon were rooftops of many beautiful fairy tale cottages. All around us faint whispers swirled in the wind. In the blink of an eye, Misty materialized in front of us.
"There you are!" She exclaimed. "I don't care much for this place! It's so strange."
"I agree." I replied. "We need to get out of here."
"To do that we must follow Peter." Matt stated.
"Do you know which way he went?" I asked.
"He went that way!" Matt said, pointing towards the gardens open gate.
"Let's go." I said, nodding my head. I gripped Matts hand tightly in mine, and the three of us ventured up the cobblestone path to the garden gate and entered. Everything on this side of the gate was blanketed in pure white snow. This helped easily detect one set of soft foot prints leading down the hill. So we did what we were told; and followed. In no time at all we had reached the bottom of the hill and took the turn to the left. Finally, our first glimpse of the carnival from a distance.
We pressed on, and who was waiting near the entrance when we arrived? Peter sporting a grin from ear to ear. We spoke not a word but I drew a deep breath before we continued in. The strange man with that long pointy nose was waiting near the inside of the entrance.
"Have you found what you were looking for dearest?" He asked. I shook my head and he chucked that evil little laugh. "Thats too bad. A love that's true is a love that's blue. Hear the whispers from the past, you and him will never last." He squeaked, then mocked his words with that creepy pitch.
"Hey look up there." Misty shouted, I turned my head and noticed that there was now a board suspended in mid air, over a large black mass; the abyss. At one end of the board sat Mark, on the other all the things in life that makes him happy weighing down that end. One by one each happy thought was falling off the board and into the black mass. I knew that once all his happiness was drained that Mark would plummet into the abyss himself. A tear slid down my cheek.
That evil man looked at me, with a cocky grin upon his lips.
"I believe what you wish to find, may only be found within his mind." He then pointed us in the direction of the cell again. Taking Matt's hand tightly in my own we walked back inside the now empty cell, and suddenly the iron gate slammed shut.
"No, please wait!" I shouted, but the man laughed evilly and began to walk away. It wasn't until he was gone that I realized we weren't alone. The boy in white stepped out from the shadows a smile etched on his face.
"Peter!" Matt shouted, Peter winked, then gestured us to come closer.
"In my world," he whispered still smiling. "Nothings what it seems." He then bent down to the floor and gripped some sort of invisible handle. He pulled with all his might and suddenly the concrete floor beneath our feet began to rumble. A piece of the floor began to slide away to reveal a set of stone steps leading underground. Peter started down them and we quickly followed. At the bottom of the steps was a long, dark medieval tunnel. Peter lit a torch and we began traveling through to the other side. Feelings of hope began to flood my heart as we began to climb the second set of steps into the light.
We found ourselves atop a large grassy hill. People were gathered in little white chairs surrounding a black coffin, under a dark-grey sky. Mark approached me, with joyful sadness written upon his face. "You made it." he exclaimed, pulling me into his arms. He than gestured for Matt and I to take the two vacant seats on his left. As I sat down Peter came up behind me and whispered in my ear.
"The key is under your seat." I looked and to my surprise I found an old thick leather bound book. The pages were aged, and it was covered in a layer of dust. It was obvious this book was not looked at in many years. I opened it up and from its pages flowed a knowledge, that I finally understood.
A man suddenly stood up, and began to shout. "Look a plane!" I glanced up and with my own eye's I saw a circling plane with thick black smoke protruding from below its wing. As I watched it, I realized with each circle it was getting not only closer to the ground but closer to us. I turned toward Mark, I could feel the tears welling within my eyes. His filled with an equal sadness, no words spoken by his chiming voice. I looked back up to the sky for only a moment in search for the falling plane. A gust of wind surrounded me, followed by a deafening sound. It was coming in fast from behind.
There was a sound like an explosion and the ground rumbled from beneath. Gasps came from the left of us and I slowly turned around to my right. In the spot that only moments ago, Mark had been lay a pile of scorching metal, as tears trickled slowly down my cheeks.
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