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When I was a kid I consistently had overwhelming night terrors. They would get so bad I would wake up screaming drenched in a cold sweat most nights. Only one night terror ever repeated it self, and this one repeated itself almost every night. In this dream I would find my self in a world just like ours except with an odd grayish filter over everything. The dream would be full of several people going about their normal business with their heads down. However try as I might I could never approach someone at an angle where I could see their face, if I talked to them they wouldn't look up when they replied and everyone seemed somewhat vacant like a npc in a video game. Just kind of going through their routine. I always was struck with the greatest curiosity about why I couldn't see anyone's face, so I would spend the better part of the dream trying everything I could. Even though I knew I didn't really want to see them the dream was never really in my control. It was more of a movie, the same movie that I hated watching night after night. Eventually in my dream I would come up to a man who didn't have his head down. He was tall and thin with dark black skin, not black like a man, black like the night. I would always find this black skinned man sitting on a bench with one leg crossed and a curved smile on his face. He would sit there as I came near him and just watch me and smile at me from behind a massive pair of big black sunglasses. Big like the kind you get a novelty shop. My dream always took a turn from surreal to uncomfortable when I would find the man. Everything about him made me uncomfortable. From the color of his charred looking skin that just seemed a little too dark, to his long slender fingers that seemed a little too long, right down to his massive black sunglasses that just seemed a little too big. Everything about this man wasn't the way it was supposed to be. But what got me most of all was his big curvy smile that seemed just a little too wide, like it was hiding too many teeth for a human mouth. But the movie had to play to the end and I had to watch it. So I would approach this strange man like I did every night. When I got near he would gesture that I sit next to him and I would. I remember he would always be wearing a firmly pressed suit that somehow reeked of mildew, when you smell something in your dream it sticks with you. After a couple moments of silence he would turn his head to me and begin to speak. He would always say the same thing.

“They say a mirror is a window into another world, but you know better.” which I didn't, I didn't know anything ever. I had seen this movie every night and I still didn't know anything.

“We know that a mirror is a so much more than that. We don't wait on the other world…” Something about this man referring to he and I as a we really bothered me. I didn't want to be grouped with this man for any reason.

“The other world waits on us.” Then the man would take his massive sunglasses off to reveal two massive black eyes that shined like a polished mirror. He would turn and lock eyes with me and in his eyes I would see my reflection, but not me as I see myself, I had dark black skin, a long curved smile, and fingers that seemed a little to long. As I would stare into his massive eyes I would feel like people were looking at me. I would rip my head away and see that everyone else in the dream finally looked up. And I could see their faces now. And I could see their massive black mirror like eyes. And in every eye I saw the same thing, me, but not like I see me. Then a million black skinned arms would shoot from the eyes of the man and grab me firmly on each arm. They would then start to pull me slowly towards his eyes the whole time the me in the reflection would continue to smile. I would open my mouth to scream and one of the million hands would clasp firmly on my mouth as I struggled to get loose.

Wriggling like a worm and trying to force a sound out I would get pulled into one of his eyes like a pool of water until nothing but my head hadn't been pulled in. Then I would wake up, usually screaming. My mom would run into the room and ask what was wrong and I would tell her that the man tried to pull me into his eyes. And she would hug me and hold me tight and tell me that it was just a dream and try to lull me back to sleep. Typical loving mother behavior. I started having this dream when I was eight, over the years the frequency increased exponentially and so did the psychological affects it had on me. By the time I was twelve I had borderline insomnia and an unreasonable fear of reflective surfaces. It got so bad that my mom had to remove every mirror from the house because when I looked into a mirror it would remind me of the dream and give me such bad anxiety. Well every mirror accept one, my older sister had an antique full length mirror that our grandmother had given her. And she would have let me have a trillion nightmares before she got rid of that thing. Her vanity was always a source of scrutiny in our family. My sister was fourteen and she didn't care about my night terrors, hell she didn't care about much other than looking in the mirror. For the most part my life was fairly normal, I was always tired and mirrors freaked me out but I lived an average kid life. I went to school, made friends, skipped homework, all around average twelve year old stuff.

One week my terrors had been so bad I hadn't slept in about four days. It had gotten to the point where I was having the nightmare five times a night. And every time the same thing would happen and I would wake up screaming. Missing sleep because of nightmares is a vicious cycle, I was always skittish because of my nightmares and once I added no sleep to that I got even more skittish. So that night I was too paranoid to sleep so I stayed up all night again. Then I got more paranoid and couldn't sleep again. And before I knew it it had been four days and I was a wreck. Twelve years old and I had massive bruised bags under my eyes and the disposition of a hornets nest. I would get lost in weird insomnia dazes where everything would fade out around me and I would get tunnel vision on whatever was in front of me. That started innocent enough, I would miss out on alot in class and wasn't a joy to talk to but the insomnia hadn't done much yet.

Then on my 5th day the hallucinations started. I'd heard that you would see things if you didn't sleep for a really long time but I didn't really understand what that meant, I was only twelve. So now when I would zone out and get tunnel vision I would have the same visual hallucination. The area I was focusing on would begin slowly become more and more radiant, finally sparkling like a white hot star. Then it would solidify into a solid luminescent surface, that would get brighter and brighter till everything around me would just fade completely and there would just be that shiny surface. Then I would realize that shiny surface looked a lot…like…a mirror. A giant all consuming mirror. And then the light would turn dark. I could still see that there was light but it was a black light, a heavy, dark, malicious light. And I would see my reflection, but not how I see me, I had dark black skin, a curvy smile, and slender fingers that seemed a little too long. And I would stare across at this alternate me and I would slowly see him start to look like me. His fingers would shorten, his smile would straighten and his skin would start to lighten. And then someone would say my name, or my teacher would yell at me for day dreaming and I would snap back into the world. God was I tired. I was so tired it didn't even scare me when I would hallucinate the mirror. For the first time in four years a mirror didn't scare me. I was so tired I couldn't be afraid of something I knew wasn't real. My hallucination was almost like sleep to me, my mind would fade and I could stop thinking for a bit and I would be at piece. I should have told my mom what I was seeing, maybe she could have gotten me sleeping pills, or pills that repress dreams or something. But I didn't tell her because my hallucination made me feel comfortable. I knew I wasn't going to sleep well if I slept at all, and when I was in that trance everything felt so much easier. The stress of my nightmare would fade away, even though I was staring at it. Over the next few days of insomnia my hallucination grew. Now it would be me staring at a reflection of everyone in the room with me, all with black skin and curvy smiles. And then if I stayed in the trance long enough I would see them all lose their smiles and turn lighter and start looking just like us. And if I stayed in the trance even longer I would see everyone on my side start to turn black, and grow curvy smiles, and long fingers. This was when my hallucination lost its comfort. Every time I would notice that me and my peers had turned into the nightmare I would snap our of it shocked and afraid. Finally I decided to tell my mom, she knew I had been missing sleep but she needed to know I had been seeing my nightmare while awake.

I told my mom and she said I had to see a doctor. So I did. While we waited in the main room for the doctor to finish with his patient I held tightly on to my mom's hand. I was shaking, I hadn't slept in eight days. I was a total mess, always jumping, couldn't understand what people said, and couldn't talk to people. And then I felt something I hadn't felt in what seemed like a life time. The heavy shades of sleep pulling my eyes closed. I felt my mom holding my hand firmly and faded slowly into my dream. It was just the same as always, the same gray world I had seen a million times, the same people with their heads down and the same bench with the black skinned man. Except this time I realized someone was next to me holding my hand, it was my mom. She was with me in my nightmare, and for once I felt like I was in control. I began to watch the dream like I did every night but this time I wasn't afraid. I knew my mom would keep me safe, and she did when the black skinned man tried to pull me into his eyes she pulled me out. And I felt invincible. I woke up back at home. My mom said I had dozed off and had been sleeping for hours. I had been so asleep we had to reschedule the appointment, she didn't have to heart to wake me. I told her about the nightmare, and I told her about her saving me. After that my mom would always sleep on the floor next to my bed and would rest her hand on the bed while she slept. I would hold on tight to my mommy's hand, and I would doze off feeling safe and happy. This helped me sleep for about three month's before my mom had to miss her first night. She had to go out of town for most of the day and I was unable to go with her. She told me how strong I was and reminded me to think positively like she was there. My first night without my protector. And I felt like I was on top of the world. I was ready for my nightmare, I had beaten it so many times now. And I slowly faded into the dream world.

This time was different, I hadn't seen a different dream in three months, but sure enough this one was unlike anything I had ever seen. I was in a large white room surrounded by mirrors. Every mirror had a me staring back from them. But a me from the nightmare world. I walked through thousands of mirrors toward a massive full length mirror in the middle of the room. It looked just like my sister's antique mirror. When I approached it I didn't see myself staring back, I saw the man. The tall black skinned man in the suit. There he was standing on the other side of that mirror. He spoke, his words a thick venom ebbing from his mouth.

“They say a mirror is a window into another world, but you know better.” He smiled bigger than ever. “Much better.” He smiled huge and showed hundreds of long pointed teeth poking from behind his lips. Suddenly he reached through the mirror and pulled me into it before I could do anything. I woke up in my room screaming.

I sat there and collected my self, everything was ok. Everything was just how it should be, my mom rested her hand on my bed clearly exhausted from her trip, light poked under my door, and the antique mirror my grandmother had given me gleamed in the corner. All was well, I grasped my mom's hand and started to fade away. My mom's long slender fingers wrapped around my hand and I dozed off.

One thing crossed my mind right before I lost consciousnesses, since when has my mom had dark black skin? Fiction


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