Title: “Dreamscapes et al.”
Summary: Sel was a lonely guy.
Genre: Horror, Supernatural
Rating: Restricted (for sexual and violent themes)
Written in 2009
Sel was a lonely guy.
It never occurred to him to talk to the landlord about anything else but rent, (the old man was fair, and maybe a little talkative. Spelled occurred wrong; occured was scrawled in black ink on his written news post on the apartment board) nor did he stop to greet the ‘fruit man’ on the sidewalk outside the building (Bald but for a carrot-coloured strip of a goatee, well structured face. Handsome. He offered what seemed like a rare smile on some days when Sel passed by. Occasionally, Sel would smile back) and only acknowledged the old lady feeding pigeons with a nod or a grunt whenever she called him ‘good laddie’ on his way to the store. (She had one eye, he noticed. At times, when he sat by her, eating breakfast, she would say she was a witch in her old country. She was the cursing kind, and those ‘bistards’ would never see it coming. Of course, people’re pleasant in this area, no need for an old biddy’s silly curses)
Sel’s speech based itself on necessity. Otherwise, he said nothing. In his head, more people ran about than those he met outside.
They were strange people. Not people. Non-people? At times, there were animals. Anthropomorphous. Things. And once again, people.
They looked at him with darker than black white eyes, with hostility or indifference. He was afraid that if he spoke to them, they would rip his vocal cords out. Maybe even take his voice away.
He was scared, more scared than any child in the monstrous fantasy powered by a big sibling’s necessary verbal torture. He never had monsters in the closet. They were always wearing his clothes out on the town, as if challenging him to take them back.
He never looked under his bed for the bogeyman. Said man would simply crawl into bed with him and rake jagged nails against his hips till morning came and he wiped dried blood off the ochre flesh.
And he never spoke. Whimper, and the non-people would laugh delightedly, then hands would find their way under his clothes and draw blood at every crevice of soft skin that had yet to be calloused by healing scars. Scream, and they would do worse.
He never tried to speak. He was too afraid to know what then.
In the morning, the spell would break. His fear seemed to him an alien thought. He washed up, went down, got greeted by the landlord as he passed the table.
Hostility was gone in the morning. Just… indifference.
He sat by the old lady that day.
“You be a quiet lad. One’d think you’d be scared dead.” Said she in that unfamiliar accent, spreading bread blessings.
“I am, at night.” Sel murmured. Another word, he thought, the landlord misspelled. Murmured, murmurred. Not used as often, though.
“Ah, so you speech t’en? Issa good thing to tell, tell grannie what ails you. They be quite mean-spirited.”
“Hostile.” Sel said, noticing vaguely that he spoke without actually needing to.
“Yes yes, indeedy. Grannie sees. T’ey come from your dreams, t’ey do. Soil your awake with nightmares. T’ey dreams, good laddie. Dreams corrupted by man in its city-pollution, sulphurous prime. T’ats why I like t’is place. Not so cityous. Few people to speak of.”
‘Grannie’ paused to watch a one-legged bird pick at a piece far from the others. Sel looked at the same one, which limped farther from its ravenous relatives.
“You’ll wanna share your bed with someone other t’an the boogies and scares. Some luvin’ll do you good, laddie.” The old biddy laughed roughly, stomping her feet in delight. The pigeons hopped away, waiting for the woman to calm down, before returning to feed.
Sel looked down, seeing reflected dark white eyes in the water.
Walking towards the store, Sel glanced at the fruit man with his carrot goatee, realized that he was watching him the entire time. Not even breaking glances, Sel walked on till he reached the store.
The nightmares were there when he came through the glassy door, the store heater blowing.
One made a violent grab at his face.
“Hey, buddy, you okay?” The store owner looked at Sel concernedly, and it was then that the brunette noticed blood on his cheek.
“Sorry. Must’ve caught some… metal…” He didn’t even finish the sentence, wiping the blood off and taking some hydrogen peroxide from the shelf, as well as some gauze strips of every size and shape.
The store owner was looking at his wrists as he came to the counter, scratched up and purple as the rest of him, hidden under the winter clothes.
Now sporting a wound on his face, Sel felt exposed as the winter chill stinging on his cheek. Bag of medical supplies and that day’s brunch in hand, he passed by the fruit stand once more.
Winters were never too cold, summers never actually warm, and fruits were an all-year-rounder. Sel watched some teenage girls hanging by the wood stall and buying some strawberries, for purposes, Sel guessed, were less than innocent.
One unbruised apple sat on the concrete. Sel picked it up, dusting it off and wiping it on his clean sleeve. Putting it back on the display, Sel was tempted to say something. Purchase a fruit, maybe. Halfway through the teen girls’ giggling, he lost his nerve.
The fruit man saw him as he walked away, unreadable stare following the unremarkable brunette to the apartment building.
The night was as before. Cold hands found their way to his unmarked ribs, brushing over his nipples and scissoring down his spine. Teeth, sharp ones, gnawed at his fingers. Small digits forced themselves inside of him, sharp, cold things stabbing at his anal cavity with harsh, deft strokes.
Long since, his cock was marked with superficial hatching lines and nightmarish patterns of gods-know-what.
In the morning, it was throbbing, reddened by the course of the late night.
He never knew when the nightmares allowed him to sleep. Perhaps he slept in regularity, never knowing the difference nor the transition in between.
A cold shower relieved him of thought for a few solid moments.
The bathroom was empty but for him. Apparently, nightmares weren’t voyeurs.
Sel shaved, though his face grew as much hair as a desert grew grass. It gave him something to do, to distract himself.
At night, he would think of slashing himself with the same blade. Find some way to die. Get it all over with.
But the intensity of that want would vanish when morning came. He would simply ponder on it for a second, dismiss it, and greet the thought again when night came.
That morning, he had no work. (Whatever his job was or is has no significance in this narrative)
He walked as any day, though earlier than any day. The landlord was asleep, not there to greet him. He passed some nightmares, all indifferent as he seemed.
Sel saw the fruit man setting up shop, nearly slipping on the concrete under the weight of the wood boxes.
Sel bent over to pick one up, handing it silently to the fruit man, who set it on the table.
“Thanks.” Said the other quietly. Sel shrugged. “You’re Seleck, right?” The seller continued, trying to initiate conversation.
“Ah. Yeah. I’m Leon.” Said the ‘fruit man’, (a label Sel used so long that it felt natural, if not corny) extending a hand in greeting.
“Hm.” Sel took the hand, smooth in his own calloused one. Leon stared at his face, and at his hand. “Not much of a talker.” He commented, as though Sel wasn’t there.
“Want a fruit? Apple? Banana maybe?” Leon asked, turning to set the stand for business.
“I figure you for the cherry type.” He hazarded, handing Sel some red spheres of fruit.
Sel said nothing more, sitting in a monobloc while Leon finished with the setup. “Saturdays are good business days.” Said the latter, glancing back every now and then at the brunette popping cherries into his mouth.
“You do this everyday?” Sel asked. Leon seemed dazed for a moment, mock shock on his face.
“So he does talk sentences.” He said in good humor. “Yeah. Fridays to Sundays, I clock out early. Get off at four. Guess you wouldn’t know that. Pass by a little after seven thirty everyday, back at three. I’m surprised you’re out early now. I don’t usually see you on weekends.”
“I usually don’t get up at all.” Sel said, no humour in his tone. Leon sat beside him, staring off at nothing as he was.
“You get lonely?” He asked. The questioned entailed nothing specific, but by the way it was said, Sel felt as if Leon had asked the most forward thing in the world. He looked away nervously, suddenly aware of himself more than he was used to.
Leon noticed the change. “I’m sorry. That was out of li-“
“Yes.” Sel said.
They stared at each other.
Some luvin’ll do you good, laddie.
The words, and the hacking laugh after it were remembered for a second as Sel climbed the stairwell.
The nightmares were watching him from the lower levels, from the sides of the steps. He closed his eyes in front of his door.
Leon cautiously put a hand on his shoulder. Sel shook his head.
The apartment door was opened. The room was fairly clean, littered only by the mess of old paper packs of used gauze and rings of used up medical tape.
Leon didn’t look uncertain as Sel predicted. He didn’t ask questions, he didn’t look at him the way others did.
He stripped Sel slowly, gently, caring kisses placed on healing scars. Even when Sel feared some questions of his condition would come, Leon was as wordless as he was, the only thing coming from his mouth being kisses on the marred flesh.
The light hand slipped into his pants, grasping the nightmare-marked cock, stroking it into life in something gentler than Sel had ever felt from anyone.
Leon had taken control, steering them to the bed, but he pulled Sel on top of him, pushing their wanting members together. Sel was aware of hissing, of anger, of the nightmares returning. He clutched Leon’s arm and buried his face into the other’s collarbone.
Leon held him close, sweet nothings murmured on his shoulder.
They came two or three times that night, each time together, each time with less dark white eyes watching with hissing rage.
Like any night, Sel couldn’t remember where waking ended and sleep began. But when morning came, his arms were wrapped around Leon’s smaller form. The other was already awake, pressing kisses to his chest, drawing playful circles around his nipples.
No eyes watched in hostility, not even in indifference. They were alone, the non-people absent as they never had been.
And as far as he could remember, that was the first night Sel spent in dreams.
“Dreamscapes et al” (c) Motzie Dapul 2009