DREAM MY EYES, AND WE WILL FALL TOGETHER
by DEREK PLYMYSSER
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
“Dream my eyes…” She said.
“And we will fall together. That’s such a weird name for a painting, don’t you think so? Babe? Howard? You listening?” Linda’s voice was very high in pitch and nasally, and she spoke very quickly. She had gotten the name around town as the “Fran of Arkton” and she hated the nickname, she wasn’t from Nebraska and she hated the town of Arkton. She always babbled on the phone to her sister about how stupid all the farm folk were, even though she knew there was only one farmer in the town, far out near the old brewing plant. Howard always had to remind her that Nebraska wasn’t just a bunch of cornfields.
“Isn’t it a weird name?” She repeated it aloud, watching the painting with an odd stare, almost as reassurance to herself that the painting was actually titled what it was. “Dream my eyes, and we will fall together, so weird. I think your aunt needs to take a class on literature, because I don’t think this title makes sense.” She giggled to herself, in the smug way she always did while insulting people she thought of as lesser humans. “What did she call the girl again? Goth? Or gof? Something like that I think, I know it stared with a ‘g’.”
Howard Phillips, who was normally a decent very calm and collected person, was now getting very angry with her. And he had gradually been getting more and more angry with her since he had first seen the painting at the psych ward in Omaha where his aunt now lived. He was very tired of hearing Linda speak, her voice had become just another one of the horrible disturbances of the world that stopped him from doing what he liked, such as admiring this painting.
“She called the woman a Goyf, and it’s not very hard to say. If you grew up here you would know what it is. It is pretty much an old folklore thing that parents used to scare their kids into listening, like ‘Oh Johnny boy, make sure to be back by sundown or the Goyf is gonna get ya’. It’s about the only thing my aunt paints. She says she sees them, that they come to her in the night and she paints them the next morning. Why do you think she lives in the damn loony bin?” He was angry and Linda could tell; she didn’t like this sudden change in attitude at all.
“Well she said the, whatever the hell it’s called, lures people out. What did she mean by ‘out’?” Howard was growing even angrier. He was tired of her questioning him, she always questioned everything. He just wanted, no, needed to sit and look at the painting.
“I don’t fucking know what she meant Linda! Okay? Now why don’t you stop asking me all these dumbass questions and let me find a spot to hang the painting in my office, huh? Is that okay, bitch? Or do you want to know how much the sun weighs?” He stood out of his chair and slowly moved towards her. “Do you want to know how a computer works? Or how trees grow? Do you just want me to answer every goddamn question imaginable?” Howard didn’t notice, but he had been screaming loudly. She was shocked, Howard had never spoken to her like that before. She tried to speak but was unable to, she just began sobbing quietly.
“Oh I bet I know what it is. It’s cause the girl in the picture is a beautiful young girl, isn’t it?” Howard’s heart was nearly beating out of his chest. “And you look at the painting and think, oh well I’m just a shriveling old worthless pile of shit. Get the hell out of my office.” He pushed her into the hallway and slammed the door in her face. He yelled through the door at her, to make sure she would leave him alone. “Oh, and Linda, while your downstairs why don’t you question the cat about why he shits in a box?” Outside the door he could hear her crying openly now and he waited and listened for her footsteps as she went downstairs.
Howard was wondering why he was so angry, he normally was very nice. Yet at the same time he found the sight of his wife crying to be amusing, almost to the point of arousal. But that didn’t matter to him, what mattered was sitting on the floor, leaning against the side of his desk. The painting, and the girl in it. He sat and stared at it for a moment, the wall clock read 12:37pm, just half past noon. He would have a short time to admire this amazing piece of art before he had to start doing any work.
In the painting, there was a young woman sitting on the stump of a tree that had been cut down. Behind her was a large amount of foliage, she could be sitting in a park, or maybe even the woods. All the trees were a bright green. Well actually, he thought they were, at least he knew they had been, earlier. Now the leaves on the trees were slightly orange and brown. But Howard didn’t care, it must just be a scene in the fall, he thought. The girl was wearing a very clean, and very bright white sundress. Her skin was pale, her hair was dark black, and it fell smoothly over her shoulders. Her eyes were a dark brown, very dark brown. And they were open very wide, yet he still could barely see the whites of them. She was a very disturbed looking person. Howard was a bit frightened to look at her, but once he looked into her eyes, he couldn’t look away.
The girl’s stare was the deepest possible thing Howard had ever felt in his entire life. He felt as if she was staring at him, yet into him. This glare was so intense he felt he had never truly been viewed upon by any other set of eyes until this point. Her eyes were horrific, but more beautiful to him than any woman he’d ever seen. He didn’t have any idea why he had a need to stare at her eyes so deeply, but it took nearly all his strength to pull his vision from the painting. Wait, why should I have to look away? What if I don’t want to?
He smelled ammonia, and upon noticing the smell also noticed he had pissed his pants. It was something that had not happened to him in over thirty-five years, since he was a very young child. And his whole body was riddled with gooseflesh. As he was getting up to go change and wash up he swung a quick glance at the clock. It read 6:28 pm. Have I really been sitting here for nearly six hours?
“Dream my eyes…” A voice broke the clatter of his confused thoughts. It was a very soft and calm voice, a very feminine voice. He was immediately drawn back to the painting. Howard fell back into his chair, and a quick shrill of fear surged up his spine.
The painting was different, at least he thought it was. His mind was hazy. Had the trees all been dead? The trees in the painting were dead, all of them. And the leaves were now scattered across the ground, beginning to decompose. And, in front of the molding, dying leaves, was the girl, standing. She was sitting on the stump just a moment ago, wasn’t she? Howard thought about it for a short period of time. No. This is how the painting was, this is what he was looking at.
No. He was wrong, his mind was playing tricks on him. For a second, not even that just a fraction of a second, her dress and arms and face were covered in blood. Now that wasn’t right, was it? Howard was trying to think of what he was doing, how he had gotten here and where this painting had come from. But he just kept drawing a blank. He had yelled at Linda, and now he was here. His temples were throbbing. He closed his eyes and began rubbing his head and stretching out his neck. After a bit of trying to adjust his neck, he let his head hang forward, propping his elbows on his knees, and he opened his eyes to see his shoes. Old and faded, the leather was already due for another polish. And underneath his shoes was his dirty-carpeted floor, nothing could just look perfect, he thought. Nothing!
Her eyes. Those were perfect.
As Howard lifted his head he noticed something odd about the girl in the painting. Something he knew had to be different than before, because she was now sitting on the floor in his office only a few inches away from his face, staring directly at him. Once his eyes met hers, he had no hope of looking away. But now he didn’t want to. This was the only thing he wanted to do; to look and stare and have dreams, just about her eyes. Her beautiful eyes, big eyes, black eyes. He loved them, he loved her. He wanted to go around back to the shed and get the half full can of gasoline, and he wanted to watch the house, his wife, and the entire world burn.
The girl craned her head to one side in a quick motion, Howard followed her movement in a mocking, mirror like motion, making them seem perfectly in sync. She opened her mouth in a large grin, revealing her rotting, browned teeth. Her gums were black, and there were small holes in them that were flourishing with the movement of some sort of larvae. Howard noticed none of it, he only saw her eyes. His vision now consisted of black. The darkness that was her eyes had consumed him.
“No more questions, dream my eyes.” She was gone before her words were finished drifting through the air. Howard was now staring back at the painting. The stump was there. The trees and leaves were there. But the girl wasn’t. Instead, hanging in a tree above the stump, was blood soaked noose.
Howard was in a deep state of confusion and thought to himself, I need a goddamned drink. He looked at the clock and it read 11:48pm. The gap in time didn’t bother him at all now, but what did was the fact that when he stood up, his hand was weighed down by his revolver. When did I grab it? How did I get to it? I didn’t leave the room? It should be in the night stand by the bed.
He swung a quick reassuring glance at the door to see that it was now wide open. As he placed the revolver down on the desk, a chill ran down his spine and his whole body shook in a rapid burst of fear. I need a drink, I need three fucking drinks. I need it now, I need dreams. I need her eyes. I need to dream her eyes. And with that thought he left the room in search of liquor, not noticing that his cat slipped past him into his office.
As he got to the bottom of the stairs, he turned through the doorway to the kitchen. All the lights in the house were off, his kitchen was lit up by the moonlight through the sliding glass back door, painting the room a dim blue. It was raining outside, but it looked like it was dying down.
The stench of sweat and urine clung to the air around Howard. The smell was strong and was beginning to make his eyes water. He was walking across the room to the liquor cabinet when he noticed Linda sitting at the kitchen table to his right. She was almost completely bathed in shadows, and she was still sobbing.
Next to her on the table was an empty bottle of wine, and in her hand a nearly empty glass, just one last drink to finish the whole bottle. Her cell phone was also sitting next to the bottle, so she had probably called her bitch sister and cried all day.
There were only two half full bottles in the cabinet, a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of vodka. Well two bottles is better than one, now isn’t it? He grabbed a bottle in each hand and without closing the cabinet turned around to go back upstairs. After a couple steps he was stopped in his tracks by Linda’s annoying squeal of a voice.
“So you’re just gonna go stare at that damn painting some more?” She questioned, “Well, you can fucking keep it cause I’m leaving tomorrow. I’m gonna go stay at my sister’s. Is that what you want Howard? Is that what you fucking want?”
The girl from the painting was now standing at the bottom of the stairs, directly in front of Howard, but out of view from Linda. She nodded her head to Howard in a reassuring motion and ascended the stairs in a mess of sloppy movements and crackling sounds. No more questions, dream my eyes.
“Are you even listening to…” Howard had brought the bottle of whiskey up to the side of Linda’s head. He wanted the questions to end, he wanted her to end, he wanted it all to end. The whiskey bottle shattered, and with a couple of clumsy thuds, Linda had hit her head on the table, knocked over the wine bottle and toppled out of her chair. She doesn’t deserve to speak.
Linda was now laying in a growing pool of blood, gasping for breath and seizing, bobbing around like a fish out of water. Is there a hint of spinal cord damage I see? Each gasp for breath was just another question to Howard. Why can’t I breathe Howard? Why did you hit me Howard? It needed to end. He placed the bottle of vodka on the table and got down on one knee.
“No, more. No more fucking questions!” He placed his left hand on the floor next to her head in the pool of blood, and brought the broken jagged edge of the bottle down into her neck, over and over. Each time the bottle shattered a little bit more, and he finally stopped when he felt the glass smashing against the linoleum floor. Dropping what was left of the bottle, he stood up, grabbed his vodka, and left the room without a single glance back.
By the time he reached his office there was almost no vodka left in the bottle, and what was left appeared to be red from the new color the bottle had adopted.
Howard was stopped in the doorway by the sight of his cat hissing violently and scratching one side of the painting to bits. Without hesitation, he grabbed the cat by the tail and began smashing it head first into the wall. The cat stopped fighting and making noise after the third or fourth hit, but Howard kept going until there was a bloody hole created in the drywall, with little dark red chunks of cat fur clinging to it. When he was satisfied that the cat no longer looked like a cat, he dropped it and returned to the painting.
The left side was almost all destroyed, but the stump was still intact. The girls wasn’t in the painting though. Where is she? I need to see her. I need to see those eyes. The noose was still hanging from the tree, but now there was a body hanging in it. It was his body. Howard was looking at himself hanging by a noose above a tree stump. He understood what it meant.
“We will fall together.” His home security alarm went off in a blaring ear-shattering screech. She’s leaving! No, she can’t leave. We will fall together! Howard grabbed his revolver from the desk and sprinted down the stairs out the door and into the night.
Everything seemed like a blur, but armed with the bottle of vodka in one hand, and the revolver in the other, Howard Phillips wandered the dark streets of his suburban neighborhood. Both his hands were completely red from a fresh layer of blood. The streets were only lit by the dull and partially broken streetlights, the fresh rain made a mist hover above the concrete streets with a putrid green glow. Drunken and stumbling, he kicked through puddles fiercely, as if they were all his enemies. The blank stare on his face was rigid and dark; the stare of a dead man. And his mind had come to the conclusion that his normal bodily functions were almost completely unnecessary. He had no need to blink.
Howard brought the rim of the bottle up to his lips and took another large dent out of what remained of the vodka. At the rate he was drinking, and by judging how much he had drunk, there was no wondering why his gums were bleeding. Instead of clearing his mouth of the ruby liquid and its iron taste, he just let the blood drip down his face and neck. His once white shirt was now a collection rag, full of his own blood.
“We will fall together!” He screamed in a blaring shriek, his voice echoing through the long and winding corridors of the houses that preceded him on his walk. As the wind blew through the trees that surrounded him, the leaves began to scream a fuzzy rattle of terror. As the horrific sound entered his ears he let out a cry of agony and dropped to his knees, breaking the bottle of vodka in the process. He leaned down on his hand, slicing it open on the broken pieces of glass. The physical pain meant nothing to him, and he was completely unfazed. Yet the screaming fuzz of leaves was too strong, rattling around in his head, like a can with a couple of loose beans in it. Moaning in pain, he brought the barrel of the revolver up to his right temple. The sound all around him began growing and becoming more vivid.
“I want to dream your eyes!” He exclaimed, and pulled the trigger.
The hammer of the gun slammed into an empty chamber, the sound created by the steel contacting steel had the power and force of a dictator commanding silence. And instantaneously the street obeyed; it was silent. It was the kind of silence that made a person’s ears ring.
“I want to fall!” Howard screamed, this time his voice created no echo. “I love you, why can’t we fall together?” He began sobbing, his tears rapidly striking the cold, wet concrete. Suddenly out of his peripheral vision he saw her, and her big black horrifically beautiful eyes, eyes that he had come to fear, yet love. In that moment, Howard came to the realization that she was what led him to kill his wife, and for a very odd reason, at this moment, he didn’t mind one bit. Her skin was very pale, almost a pure white, and she reeked of stale mold and death. She looked very different from the first time he had seen her. The girl began to speak, and Howard’s eyes immediately locked onto hers. His body became flush with gooseflesh.
“Dream my eyes.”
“I do, that’s all I want my love, I dream your eyes.” He tried to move closer, he extended his hand to try and touch her. And as he did, she began falling apart, piece by piece, and a gust of wind blew the pieces away like they were ashes. “No come back!” Howard screamed. He searched down the street and saw her standing directly under one of the street lights. Stumbling to his feet, he sprinted towards her in a drunken gallop. As he got close, the light blinded him for a moment, and when his vision was restored she was nowhere to be found. Howard began screaming random guttural sounds and spinning in circles.
“What do I need to do? Where should I go? Please help me, I need to dream your eyes!” As soon as he finished speaking he noticed a tree stump sitting in the yard right in front of him. He stumbled over the curb, sat on the stump and began crying, but soon after, his back began tingling. The girls arms wrapped around his chest from behind. She was here, but he couldn’t see her eyes, he needed to see her eyes. He panicked a bit, but was soon brought to ease when she spoke.
“Dream my eyes, and we will fall together.” Her voice was soothing and calming to Howard. She raised her left hand to his face and gently closed his eyelids. With his eyes closed, all he could see was her face, and more importantly her eyes. It pleased him.
He didn’t know, but she was no longer holding him, she was gone, and it didn’t matter anyway. He had done it, he could dream her eyes. Howard brought the gun to his temple again and spoke some words to break the silence of the night.
“And now we fall together.” He pulled the trigger, and this time the hammer of the gun didn’t hit an empty chamber.
Derek Plymesser is a horror/science fiction writer from Omaha, Nebraska. Some say Derek has an unhealthy obsession with reading. With his growing collection of 500+ books, he is slowly growing crazier, and may be an actual psychopath. He is also a book reviewer on the social networking site YouTube.
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