Alone in sleep

It has three heads.  The heads are Death, the Devil and Fear.  I know somehow they are one because of me.  It has bat-like wings, seemingly out of some awareness of convention, since it drifts motionless toward me like some Hindenburg of terror.  It is red, but the air around it is black, and blood drips to the floor below it.  I can’t see the heads with my waking eyes, for which I am grateful.  I know only that my mind shuts down when I try to confront that awful truth.

It has been hunting me for weeks now, from one landscape one night, to another impossible dream-scape the next.  At first it was a formless fear, my id spending the nights running through fields, forests, cities and oceans.  Impossibility means nothing in a dream, but escape was impossible.  I only knew to hide when I could.

Next was the horrors of the waking world, in all the distorted, childish horror lent it in dream.  Fear experienced in video games, in books, at work.  All took on new and terrible meaning, and I ran from them.

But then, I saw it.

What was most horrifying was how real it seemed.  Even after I’ve woken up, I can remember enough to make me wonder if I’m still asleep.

Last night, I only just escaped it by jumping and climbing into an oven exhaust.  Its claws scratched my legs.  That woke me up, no air in my lungs, skin blistered with stress.  I somehow knew that climbing into that ceiling was a portal to another world, that escape lay through it.  But I also knew that freedom was temporary, that the Beast would soon pass through. No trap would hold it, no hidden path would fool it, and the chase would start anew.

For now, I type frantically, and hold myself upright.  I’m holding off the urge to sleep now, but I’m tired, and it’s been so long since I slept well.

What will happen when It catches me?  I don’t know.  I don’t want to know.  How do I escape?  Where- how can I get away?

I’m going to sleep now.  I would like to- I can’t even pretend I’m going to fight.  I’ll run tonight, like I have every night this week, and I wonder if when it catches me, will I even wake up the same person?

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