The Hollow Nightmare
Ghosts, vampires, and cannibals are all a superstition that arise from the ignorance and some unexplainable and baseless fears that lead by the nose those who believe in supernatural forces that have power over the whole universe. This is the notion that proved wrong as time elapsed, and this is the idea that constitutes a turning point in my life. Everything started when our neighbour showed his intention to vend his antiquate house whose history goes back to more than one hundred years. Several tales have been made up about the first dwellers of this house which was situated in the midst of a small group of trees that would always give the creeps to passers-by because they shaped in a very frightening form. Rumours have it that multifarious crimes against clean-handed people were committed by an unhinged and unbalanced felon who escaped from an insane asylum after he had trespassed on those who were in charge of monitoring him, and that their souls are still roving inside the house’s walls looking for their slayer, that's why most of the people I know would rather die than enter such a disagreeable house. The owner of the house was a shabbily dressed man with a curled black hair which he used to cover by a very old hat that had never been taken off his head, and he had a blotchy face with an aquiline nose as thin as a rake. The man could hardly been seen strolling around the village or chewing the fat with someone of his neighbours that all people thought and spoke ill of him. If memory serves me, I talked to him only one time and from his tone and his way of speaking, he seemed to be a very kind man, but when it comes to the reason why he wanted to sell his house he turned into a hard case. After the man found a purchaser, he took all his stuff and left the village. One day I spent the all night long watching some horror movies about vampires and some evil beings that rise at night to quench their thirst of human blood; despite the fact that these kinds of movies would freeze the watchers' blood, I find it much pleasurable to watch such a sort of stories. I still remember that I was very weary that I switched the light off and I went upstairs to get some shut- eye. All the members of my family were profoundly asleep that I moved carefully so as not to wake them up. When I got upstairs, I slowly pushed the door of my room whose windows were facing the old house that had just been sold to a new dweller. I stepped into the room, and then I made for the window to air my bags before going to bed. I poked my head through the latticed window then my eyes caught sight of something that made my flesh crawl; I saw our new neighbour carrying a big box like the one in which the corpse is usually buried or cremated. The man was escorted by two fuzz-face men of about thirty or thirty two years who were following him. They all were wearing long black coats that covered their bodies from their shoulders down with rounded black hats over their heads that made it somewhat hard to recognize accurately their features. I hastily stepped back lest someone of them should find out that I was secretly watching them. I felt my heart beating too fast insomuch that I heard its pounds in my ears as if it was about to get out of my chest when I sat back on the bed, and I could not help quivering for an overwhelming feeling of trepidation and anxiety started to infiltrate into my heart. No one knows what the daylight means to someone who is going through a bad trip that makes his life turn topsy-turvy. I buried my head into the pillow with my whole body trembling as if I were amuck. I made a flash back trying to guess what the man was carrying in the box for it seemed to me like the coffin in which vampires lay in horror movies that I used to watch; I spent the whole night thinking about it but I found no certain response; movies are just a semblance of reality and it would be a kind of inanity to think that such evil creatures can be found in real life; this is how I convinced myself not to give the damn about what other
people do. The next morning transfused a new lease of life in me for I was really waiting for the crack of dawn as if it were the last time I would see it. I had my breakfast as usual and I went to school but what I had seen was still stuck to my mind. I was tenacious to take the story of the man to the street, but I got frustrated as my friends started to doubt my mental abilities. I gave my friends the freeze for I was, to a great extent, convinced that the man was hiding something that was not cracked up to be seen by anyone. After I got back home, I went upstairs and I kept staring at the house from the window in the hope of seeing something that can bear my story out but everything seemed to be normal. It was about 2:00 A.M when I woke up and went to the lavatory, and while I was coming back to bed, in the peripheries of my eyes appeared the man with a young topless girl; they were, by all appearances, preparing themselves to have a night that would never pass from their minds. Seeing them flirting with each other made all my fears vanish for I finally saw something that has something to do with human traits, but as I left the window making for my bed, I descried something that froze my blood in my veins; I saw the man bowing his head close to the girl’s neck opening his wide mouth making as if to bite her. He had long, curved, and sharp teeth that protruded and rested on his lower lip; I was stark taken aback that I stayed put as if I were chained to the window front of which I was standing, then I saw the man’s hand closing the window with a baleful smile over his reddish lips that were contaminated with blood. I was sure he saw me that I prepared myself for the worst. I hastily went downstairs to ask for help; I woke my father up but he falsely thought that I was just seeing things created by my wide imagination. My father vehemently clasped my hand and took me back to bed then I started to yell that our new neighbour was a vampire and that he would take an innocent girl’s life away if we did nothing to save
her, but my father did not bother to check the accuracy of my claims that he went back to bed. The following day was not far removed from any other day; this is how it seemed to be when the daylight met my eyes in the morning, but when I went downstairs to have my breakfast as a general rule before going to school, I got flabbergasted to see the man sitting down at the table having breakfast with my parents. They were laughing stridently as if they had been watching an acrobatic show. They unexpectedly stopped laughing and turned straight-faced as I came within the earshot, then my father pointed at me with his finger saying:
“Let me introduce my little son to you Mr James”.
I could not keep my nerves under control that I said:
“So the vampire’s name is James”
I took a gander at my father’s face and I was sure that his blood was boiling for I knew that he had not expected me to act that way. The man or our new neighbour was gazing at me as if he were sizing me up to know whether I was suitable to fulfil his insatiable desires and agonizing needs for human blood or not, then he slowly twisted his head saying to my father with his ordinary malicious smile:
“Don’t you think Mr Thomas that our children these days are liable to lose the good sense if they don’t stop watching some specific sorts of movies like the one that your son is strongly influenced by?”
I knew he was out to mislead my father and make him turn a deaf ear to all what I was saying, but at all cases I wouldn’t have relied on my father to bring the man’s real identity to the light, and, therefore, protect the people from his evil deeds. My father was always against my way of dealing with my courses that he stood in the man’s side backing up his opinions and views about the disparity of -as he called it- “the new and the old generation”. I showed no interest in what the man said that I made for the door to go to school, but as I extended my hand to unlock the door I felt the man’s hand clapping gently over my shoulder; I had nothing to fear for my father was still sitting at the table. I did not twist my head to avoid standing face to face with the man who was two times taller alongside of me, but I felt his thirsty breaths as he bowed his head close to my ears whispering:
“I know you are threatening my secret with discovery, but here is an advice for you dear Martin if you know where your advantage is; vampires never get into a house unless they are invited by his owner, and once they are invited, the house immediately turns into theirs and they, ignoring all considerations, get their hooks into it; in other words, I won’t need to get your daddy’s permission to call his dear son in whenever I wish. So keep your nose clean, and I hope you are quick on the uptake coz I won’t explain that twice, get the message?”
I felt that my legs were no longer able to carry me when I heard him talking with the great knowledge that his speech contained about these creatures and their lifestyle. I violently pushed the door slamming it behind me moving half-under with a great haste towards the school bus that had already been waiting outside. I used to be a horror movies addict that I was cognizant of some manners that can do the trick against such hungry creatures like hanging a cross around your neck, or digging a shovel or a wedge into their hearts when they are asleep in their casket at night, but I would not have done it by myself as I am not spirited enough to cut it. There was a widely known man around the village who lived in the wrong side of the tracks called John who was believed to have the ability of calling back dead souls to life and communicating with them; he was a poorly dressed man with a grizzled hair over his head and an emaciated bony face with a curved down nose in the middle of his sunken cheeks like the one of the eagle's beak. The man was ill thought of around the village that no one dared drew close to the place where he lived. I used to hear people saying that he (John) was not alright in the head because of some tragic events that drove him mad and turned his life into hell and- in all honesty- my heart would always bleed for him whenever someone mentions his name. I met some of my friends at school and I told them again about the man and what he had mentioned about vampires' lifestyle that morning in the hope of making them buy my story; I kept reciting the ins and outs of the story explaining the reasons why I had a down on him (our neighbour), then one of my friends called Christina said that she had heard of a man who can give me a hand and that we should visit him in his house to ask for his help. The man that Christina told us about was John whose life story was full of heartbreaking haps. We all decided to meet John in his house on the ground that he was our last resort despite the fact that !
I used t
o get frightened even of looking towards the destination where his shelter was situated. After school, I met Christina and we made for John's house. It was a small house bordered by a rusty chain-link fence with four hanging baskets over the front door, and an old brick chimney from which a cloud of black smoke hurled up to the sky with dirty drops of rainwater falling down through a corroded gutter that linked between the front wall and the roof that was built of slate. As we moved along the front walk, I noticed that in the garden yard was a swing dangling over a strong branch of a tree whose straggling branches spread out in different directions like tongues of flames. After we stood on the porch which was three stairs higher than the muddy ground, I saw that the door was half open and that there was no need to knock on it. I tightly clasped Christina's hand pushing the woody door that seemed to be of a great ancientness. Calling John's shelter a house was, in fact, a profanation of the word because I had never heard of a human being lived in such a filthy and messy place. After we found ourselves standing in the middle of the house, I saw that the walls were entirely smeared with nauseating dirt with some mummified bodies of scary beasts fixed against them giving therefore the beholder an uncontrollable desire to throw up. I questionably asked "is there anybody here?" but I got no response because there apparently was no one to talk to at home. I felt it was an invasion of privacy to enter a house without getting its owner's permission that I took Christina's hand moving carefully towards the door lest someone of the neighbours should falsely think we were encroaching on John's properties as well as we were not pleased with the stillness of the place because the quietness always paves the way for destructing storms , but as we pushed the door, I heard someone calling us to get back; I unhurriedly twisted my head then I saw a man standing still on the first stair gazing strangely at me; I could not re!
the man's features because of the pitch darkness that lowered the visibility as well as the house was messy insomuch that one may not manage to distinguish between furniture and its owner. I bowed my head close to Christina's ear asking whether it was the so-called John or someone else, but she -as per her answer- failed to recognize him too. We cautiously took steps forward; the man kept silent as we drew near then he extended his hand to switch the light on. He was a gap-toothed man with a dimpled chin and a broad nose that bridged his hairy cheeks over which rested a long curled black hair. The man was wearing a black waistcoat under which loomed a white scarf that made his stomach look much bloated than its actual size. All our fears faded when Christina called him by his name "Hi Mr John" said Christina; the man did not bother to give a response. He, with his enormous hand pointed at the chair asking:
"Please, have a seat"
We, with some kind of comfort, took the chair about four steps away from his taking for granted what all people used to say about his mental abilities. I was totally sure that he knew we were afraid of him and that was obvious through his way of asking questions. The man took a previously used cigarette out of his patched pocket saying in an interrupted voice:
"There is nothing I hate more in this stinking world than people who show no respect for others' privacy"
Then he interrupted me as I started to clarify the situation:
"I ask the questions you answer the questions; in other words, no bullshit. Is that clear enough for your empty brain?"
I would have said it was a reflection of his witty personality if we had been in a different situation, but in that situation I did not find it humorous in the slightest
"Ok, Mr John, I am all ears" said I
"Good, who are you, and what brings you here at a time when boys like you are supposed to be at school?" he asked.
I got astounded when I realized that he knew something called school for he, in comparison to his way of life, seemed to have no idea about education
"Well, you can call me Martin, and I am here to seek your help" I answered in a grave manner
"You may seem to be a bullshit artist, but I still think you are not good at making up stories or excuses. So why don't you stop playing the clever and tell me the real reason for which a fucking interloper like you gets into a house without permission" said he.
I felt that the conversation might have taken an unsought direction that I tried to calm him down and make him understand that we were not out to induce his house any harm and that we just wanted him to give us a hand. I, somewhat, managed to keep his nerves under control but I still needed to make ourselves clear
"In what sense you need my help?? “He asked
"Well, I have been told that you communicate with dead souls and I thought-if it is true-that you can give me a hand in sending some evil beings back to hell from which they came” said I.
The man did not have to tell me his frustrating answer as he started to laugh loudly at me and my story making inflammatory remarks about it:
“You see, I knew you are not good at making up stories"
Then he twisted his head towards Christina asking
"Is he your steady…? I don't understand how a froody gal like you accepts such a fool's friendship!!”
I no longer could stand his odd sense of humour that I angrily stood up making for the door, but I calmed down as I heard him saying:
"I am just kidding you, jackass; excuse the term coz I’ve just met you that I found no better name than it”
I sat back on the chair gazing exasperatedly at his face.
“well, what can I do for you Mr Martin??!!" he asked
"Would you please tell me some characteristics by which you can differentiate between a man and a vampire" I asked
"What this question is for??" he inquired
"lately, I have seen our new neighbour carrying a big brown box into his house escorted by two men of about thirty years; I did not exactly know what was in that box but I likened it to the coffin in which vampires lay down at night" I said
"Well, I see flaws in your story because we are not allowed to think ill of people just because they carry a box into their house!! Don’t you think so??" he asked
"I expected you to ask me this question for this is what all people say whenever I tell them about this, but do you think a man whose teeth are extended out and rested on his lower lip is a normal man ?!! As well as I saw him sucking a girl's blood from her neck after they seemingly spent an unforgettable night together" said I.
"Well, despite being unsure of what you have just narrated, I suggest that we should make a flying visit to your new neighbour to check the accuracy of your story; I think this is the present option at the moment as there is no other way to get this problem solved. So, are you coming??!!" he asked
“alright, I really hope to prove my views wrong as the only thing I would be pleased of now is to be a vampire's meal" said I.
We waited for John outside the house as he went upstairs to bring things that, according to what he said, are indispensable to do our job right. We walked for about two kilometres on a way strewn with clay until we found ourselves standing before a big and heavy movable barrier made of iron. The whole house was surrounded by fog insomuch that you cannot see your friend walking next to you. The atmosphere around the house was freezing cold that all what I could feel was my heart skipping a beat for every step I made forward, and among all intangible feelings of panic, only the sounds of owls and wandering wolves were solid. We pushed the heavy barrier then we stood face to face with a woody gate that signified the extreme oldness of the house out of which extended a big balcony. I asked John to knock on the door, and then appeared a tall man who wore on his head a black cloth cap and a brown V-neck shirt woven of fibres of cotton with his hands covered with a pair of gloves made of strong black leather. He courteously asked us in. The house, unlike Mr John's one, was dazzlingly together and the furniture was beautiful to a degree that dazzles the beholder, but one of the most eye-catching things in that house is that it was all lighted by candles instead of electrical lights and this is, to be honest, something that rubbed the salt into my wound because those candles strengthened my claims about the man’s identity. After about five minutes, we heard footsteps coming down towards the sitting room wherein we had been seated by the man who welcomed us into the house. I was sure it was him (our new neighbour).
"Oh dear Martin, I am honoured to have you as my guest,,,,,, So, aren't you gonna introduce me to your friends" said Mr James
"Hi Mr hhhh" said John
"James, you can call me James, and nice to make your acquaintance Mr John"
"Pleased to meet you too Mr James" replied John
”So; may I ask about the reason behind your sweet visit?” asked Mr James.
We were still sitting at the table when John took a small tube filled with water out of his pocket saying:
“This water is blessed by a priest and, as everybody knows, no vampire can, under any circumstances, drink blessed water no matter how strong he is".
After that Mr John handed the tube to Mr James saying:
" This little boy thinks you are a vampire just because he saw you carrying a box into your house and, to prove his claims wrong, he needs to see you drinking this water,,,,so; would you do him this favour Mr James?" asked Mr John.
“Of course Mr John; what pals are for if they don't help each other when help is needed ".
I really felt an indescribable state of ease when I saw him drinking that water because as Mr John said vampires' bodies cannot stand it. After I wised up to the fact that all my assumptions were baseless, I had to make an apologetic explanation to Mr James for thinking ill of him. When we were going out of the house, I descried that in the lobby there was a huge mirror dangled on the wall; the beholder could see anything in the room without twisting his head as everything was reflected on that mirror. It was something unbelievable that each one of us had a reflection on the mirror but Mr James whose image was not reflected though he was standing among us; I secretly whispered in Mr John's ear telling him to look at the mirror; I cannot coin words to portray how Mr John acted when he took a look at the mirror; he, in the twinkle of an eye, made for the door asking us insistently to do the same; I could not understand the reason why he acted that way, but I did what he said. When we were on our way back to John's house, I noticed that John was frequently twisting his head as if there was somebody after him. When we got to Mr John's house, he did not utter a word insomuch that I thought he had lost his tongue; he kept silent for a long time then he said:
"I wish I hadn't done that"
He repeated that sentence many times
"Doing what Mr John??" I asked
“The water that I gave to Mr James was not blessed, I thought you were seeing things, but I am seemingly the only one who is seeing things here” said John
"What!! What the fuck are you saying?!! b..b..b..but, why did you do that??" I asked
“I wanted to help you get these ideas out of your mind, I thought there are no vampires in real life, but I am apparently wrong" said John
"But how did you know you are wrong??" asked I
"the man was standing among us with no reflection on the mirror and this is something by which such freaking beings can be known; that is to say, their images are not usually reflected on mirrors; did u get the picture ?? " said John
“Are you saying he is not a human being??" I asked
“I am afraid he is not" said John.
“People did not lie when they said you have rocks in your head; that was our only shot and you put your dirty foot in it” said I.
What Mr John did burned me down and turned me into a bag of nerves that I could not stop myself from scolding him for his stupidity that bought us more troubles than we were seemingly swimming in. I was, to a great extent, frosted over that my girlfriend Christina did her best to stop me from getting in bad with John
“Stop handing me such bullshit and tell me how to extricate ourselves from this quandary” I angrily shouted at his face
The last thing I saw in John’s house was his finger being pointed at my face saying in a low voice
“Get the fuck out of my house while the getting is good, and never let me see your snotty face again, get the picture?”
What I was going through was really a bitter pill to swallow. After hearing John’s threats, I realized that staying in his house was no longer good for us that I clasped Christina’s hand leaving in the hope of finding someone who can stand by us and help us bring this incubus to a full stop. I was strongly convinced that our new neighbour was not talking through his hat when he said that he would call me in whenever he wishes that going back home was the last thing on my wish list
“Don’t be such a worry wart Martin; everything’s gonna be ok” said Christina
“You don’t know the half of it Christina, I am sure what John said was not a trial ballon so you had better believe it” I said in a low voice.
I was terrified to the max especially when I remember the bare-breasted girl’s screams when her neck was being torn by the vampire’s sharp teeth after they spent a part of that night French kissing each other. After spending the whole night hanging with Christina, I decided to get back home to get some shut-eye knowing that our new neighbour’s identity was as sure as hell. I would not have gone back home, but the present options were not in my side; I mean that I had no place to go that I found myself compelled to go back home. After I got home, I found my father standing at the door as if he had been waiting for my arrival; in his side stood Mr James. I felt my whole body trembling as I saw him standing side by side with my father. “Where have you been keeping yourself all the time Martin?” asked my father.
“ I was revising with my classmates coz tomorrow we gotta test; we will have to write an essay about horror movies and its bad impacts on children; I think Mr James, more than anyone else, knows these impacts, right Mr James?” said I.
Just after I replied to my father’s question; Mr James said:
“Alright, Mr Thomas, now that your son is back, I see no reason for my staying here not to mention the fact that my presence is unwished-for by your son. Am I right Martin?”
I was totally aware of the fact that Mr James was trying to instill as much panic as possible into my heart by asking such questions. I stepped into the house giving Mr James the go-by as if I had not seen him at all. As I was going upstairs, I heard my father saying:
“Come here Martin, we are not done yet”
I knew from my father’s tone that an irritating investigation was about to start.
“I have no stomach for talking now. I am overloaded with thoughts that are fucking my mind up that I need to switch off” I coldly responded to my father’s commend
“Where the hell did you learn to speak that freaking barnyard language?” furiously asked my father
“Why do you always make me look like a balmy boy? I don’t know whether it does make sense to you or no, but I believe that the man you are dealing with is not a human being; I don’t know how to make you get the picture, but at least try, for my sake, to stop him from visiting us; ok ? “I politely requested
“look, Martin; People are not as evil as they are printed in your eyes, and I am sure that you, more than anyone else, know that we should not judge a book by its cover; why don’t you just sit with the man and talk to him; you never know, he might be much better than the friends with whom you had been hanging before you came home”
It was something observable that my father was to a great extent taken with the man. I ignored my father’s advice going upstairs to get some rest. While I was walking in the lobby that matches the stairs with my chamber, my eyes caught sight of some shapeless shadows moving on the walls; the shadows’ appearance was coincided with some sounds like the sounds that we would hear whenever weather is windy or stormy. I had a freaky feeling that I was being monitored by someone because whenever I stopped walking, those shadows were consequently blowing over. The shadows I was seeing jogged my memory and made me consider what the man said about vampires in the first time I met him. I was still planning to run when I abruptly collided with Mr James who was wearing a black trench coat under which he was blotting out the ugliness of his body with a black scarf rounded around his neck. He eventually decided to bring out his identity. I knew that my luck had already run out when He stood across from me with ablaze swollen eyes; he violently pushed me against the wall with his strong arm then he started to sniff my neck with a great excitation whispering in my ears:
“You don't know the half of the plight you are in dear Martin".
I was thrown into a state of intense fear especially when I felt the thin point of his knifelike claws being thrust into my neck with his left hand shutting my mouth lest someone should hear my shrieks. I tried my level best to run for my life but he was with a great power fixing me against the wall that I barely could breathe. The last thing that I had on my brain was getting on the man's nerves coz I knew he would not have hesitated to slit my throat from ear to an ear if he touched any kind of outrage in my words, nevertheless; I cried out at his face
"I knew from the first sight you are rotten to the core and that you are nothing but a hungry body from the darkness of time ".
Just after I swore at him, he clutched his hand into a fist. I closed my eyes screaming at the top of my voice
"Help, help, help..."
Then I felt my mother's hands tapping on my back saying in her usual soft voice
"Come on Martin, wake up, the school bus is waiting...come on...”
I, in all honesty, can’t find the right words to depict how blissful I was when I knew that I was merely living in an incredible world of fantasy whose goings-on are derived mainly from the movies that I used to watch, but even if it was an incubus, it still has a positive point because it taught me how badly can children be affected on account of sitting solid hours across from the television especially those who are horror movies addict…
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Akka Khelelaine.
Published on e-Stories.org on 13.11.2008.