This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
By Jeremy Kapp (2009) Author’s Note I wrote over half of this story with a notepad and ink-pen between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00AM
Part One: The note Floyd Brannon’s parents raced to the hospital when they heard the news. Floyd was your average nineteen-year-old, he lived with his parents, played video games, even managed to hold down a full time job at the Morning Journal newspaper factory. He’s like a Swiss watch, always on time and rarely straying from his usual routine. When Floyd’s mother Karen got the call from Salem Hospital, she snapped the phone down and mumbled for her husband to get his shoes on. “What was he doing on Route 344?” She asked, nervously drumming her fingers on her lap. “I don’t know Karen,” James answered as he put on his thick blue coat. “Maybe he knows a shortcut.” After arriving at the hospital, the doctor began explaining the situation as he led them to their son’s room. “He’s still in one piece, but he hit his head pretty good.” Before entering the room, Doctor Sengal turned to look Karen in the eyes. “I need to ask you two a serious question,” he said. After receiving a nod from Karen, he continued. “Is there any chance your son is suicidal? We found a hand-written note signed ‘Mom and Dad’ in his shirt pocket and that is usually the case in an event like this.”
Page 1 of 14
“What does it say?” Karen asked, her husband now supporting her as she steps through the doorway. “We’re not permitted to read things like this Mrs. Brannon, but if it’s a suicide note, we need to know so we can get him in a properly equipped room.” “He’s always happy,” James said. “He works, comes home in time for dinner, and then hangs out with his friends. He would never kill himself. And he gets a raise next month when it turns 2002.” James and Karen entered the room and saw Floyd laying unconscious in his bed. Soft static emanated from a small television-set hung above his bed and his left wrist was tied to his bedrail. Another television above an empty second bed had the evening news playing, still running footage of the terrorist attacks. “Oh Floyd,” Karen whispered. “Why were you driving like that?” “I’m going to leave you two alone with him for a while,” Said Doctor Sengal, as he flicked the television sets off. “Here’s his shirt and shoes, but he’s going to be out for at least the rest of the night, maybe longer.” Karen immediately pulled the note from the pile of clothes and looked at James. “I have to read it James.” Karen unfolded the two-page note and began to read.
Part Two: The Dream Papers Hi mom and dad, I’m writing this note to let you know what’s been going on with me lately. I wanted to tell you face-to-face, but I can’t bring myself to do it, so I’m writing you this note. It all started after I watched a program on TV a few months ago all about dreaming. It said the average person wakes up from a dream four times a night and is completely aware of what he is dreaming, but after falling asleep again, forgets the dream for good. I haven’t had a dream I could remember for years, so I was very interested in this. The guy said if you write down your dream on paper, you will remember it when
Page 2 of 14
you wake and read it, so I tried it. I set a notepad and pen beside my bed the very same night. I awoke the next morning with no memory of dreaming, but my notepad was full of writing. As I began reading the words, my dream began to return to my memory. In my dream, I walked through a circular clearing with trees, there was thin fog there and everything was pale as if lit by some inner light. At the edge of the circle was complete darkness like a wall painted with blurry black paint. I saw a young girl there about nine years old at the edge of the circle, crying under a tree. I asked the girl what was wrong and she said she was scared. She said she‘ll never walk the shadows again. When I asked her what the shadows are, she only cried harder and said there are monsters in there. As I walked near the edge of the darkness, I began to hear a small voice calling out in a strange language; it sounded something like, Ha! Reffa Yeem! As I struggled to hear the small voice, a larger voice called out from behind me. I turned to see a beautiful woman in a robe standing at the edge of the darkness, speaking to me. She said she has been trying to reach out to me from her world and she has been placing hints for me to follow. Smiling, she told me she caused me to stay home and watch the program about dreams on the TV. Her voice completely drowned out the small voice, but when I moved closer to her, I noticed something strange. If I shake my head left and right really hard, I can see through her. When I look through her, I can see a monster in her place, moving inside her and matching her every move. As I moved even closer, I saw long claws. She moved very fast, like a series of flashes from a strobe light. As I began stepping backward to get away from her, I tripped over a root and my head emerged on the other side of the wall of darkness. I saw three gruesome monsters reaching toward me and I began to scream. This is when I woke up. I wrote down my dreams on paper every night and couldn’t wait to read them the next morning, but they were always just more of the same, and they bothered me very much.
Page 3 of 14
The dreams became repetitive; I always awoke in the clearing, usually alone, but sometimes with a young child or the monster disguised as a woman or some other harmless-looking person. Many children appear here while having nightmares; I really wish I knew a way to help them away from this place. Each night I had a similar dream, but one night something different happened. I arrived at the clearing in time to see a young boy trying his best to fight off a monster. I recognized the monster as the same one I had seen disguised as the beautiful woman, and the boy had a long branch, which he snapped from a nearby tree and held it out toward the monster. When the boy spoke, I recognized his voice as the smaller voice I had heard many times before. The boy said he was a messenger sent to help me. He said I must walk the shadows or many good people will die. Just then, the monster grabbed the stick in the boy’s hand and gave it a hard push, sending the boy flailing backward and staggering at the edge of the darkness. Large clawed hands then emerged and began pulling the boy in. He turned his head in my direction and spoke in a loud, calm voice. Walk the shadows! Find the Bell Tower and stop the war!
Part Three: Reality and a Long Drive As Karen finished the first page of the note, Doctor Sengal popped his head in the room. “Is everything alright in here?” He asked. “Well,” Karen began. “Everything seems okay, but how bad is he really hurt?” The Doctor closed the door behind him and sat facing them. “We won’t really know until he wakes up,” He said, watching Karen fold the notes up. “His brain damage could be anything from mild to severe, it’s just too soon to tell. At least he has no broken bones.” Karen sighed. “Visiting hours were over twenty minutes ago, and we need to do some scans on him. You’re going to have to leave for today, but you can come back tomorrow at
Page 4 of 14
8:00AM, or if you want, you can stay in the waiting room, but I would advise getting some sleep and coming back tomorrow.” James and Karen decided to leave and drive home for the night. After about twenty minutes of driving and talking about their son, Karen removed the second page of the note and asked if she should finish it. “The first half of that note disturbed me Karen,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief. “I hope Floyd hasn’t gotten himself into some kind of drug problems.” Karen snapped James a quick frown. “He might be having some kind of problems, but they’re not drug problems!” “I hope you’re right,” James replied quietly, eyes on the road. “I just can’t think of a good explanation for what he wrote.” Karen unfolded the second page of the note, pressed out the fold lines on her lap, and cleared her throat.
Part Four: The Bell Tower After two weeks of writing my dreams on paper, I began to remember my dreams on my own without the need of writing them down. I know the boy said I must walk through the darkness and find my way through a place called The Shadows, but this is easier said than done. There are frightening things on the other side of that wall of darkness, and they’re not friendly. After these two weeks of conditioning my mind for the journey, I finally found the courage to take that next step. That night I fell asleep and found myself alone in the circular clearing. I walked back and forth at the edge of the darkness, trying to ready myself for what awaits me on the other side. Trembling, I decided to hold my breath and charge through it. As I passed through the wall of darkness, I felt a chill as the temperature dropped a few degrees. The other side was not at all what I could have expected, I was in a huge place, or perhaps world would be a better word. The whole place had a smell like rich freshly tilled soil, which faded as you got used to it. Everything was
Page 5 of 14
in black and white, I could see no color there, not even my own clothes had color. The whole landscape received its light from the dimly lit gray sky, white cracks of lightning flashed occasionally in the spiraling circle of black clouds. Several shacks lining the road had a dim gray glow emanating from within. After I crossed over, I felt like I had a thousand eyes watching me. Monsters walked the streets, some with their wrists and ankles chained, guided by a figures in long cloaks of many poorly stitched patches. I saw one monster emerge from a path north of me and I hid behind a shack. The shack consisted of a straw-like exterior and crunched when I leaned against it. I heard someone exit the hut and head my direction so I darted down the road to the South. As I ran I noticed the clouds, the roads and everything seemed to circle above the place I crossed over. This should make it easier to find my way back out. I came to a four-way intersection and stopped for a moment to think. When I stopped, I heard the voice of that young boy I met before, calling me to come his way, which was to my East. He was very pleased to see me and said we needed to get to the Bell Tower soon. We walked for over an hour until we saw the Huge Bell Tower rising in the distance, the sight of it gave me Goose-bumps. It was him that left hints for me to find the shadows, not the lying monster-girl. The boy and I spoke during the walk; he spoke of a war, ancient earth and many other things. He told me his name is Ryan, and he seemed very intelligent for his age. The stories he told me could have been better than any movie I’ve ever seen. He said this place is Earth, but not in the same dimension as we are used to. He told me we were in the place the Bible calls The Abyss, and it is also the version of Earth that is mentioned in Mythology, where Zeus and Apollo once ruled. He said the other half of Greece’s ancient ruins are here, and He has seen Atlantis too. He told me when the old Gods died their souls became the Demons, and these are the monsters we see in the shadows. He said the reason humans only use thirty percent of our brains is because the other seventy percent is needed for the journeys to and from these other dimensions. Smiling, he told me sometimes a dreaming child will get trapped here and need help getting back to the physical world. That’s how he first found the place. He said many people have been waiting for me to arrive here and, after my brief history lesson, he explained my current mission. We were about to break into the Bell Tower and spy on the monsters. They have found a way to travel into our
Page 6 of 14
dimension of earth and are planning an attack that will leave many innocent people dead and a multitude as slaves. When we arrived at the base of the Bell Tower, we saw a guard watching the entrance. We threw a rock into some nearby bushes to get his attention, when he moved to check on the sound, we slipped in. The whole tower is made of old limestone blocks, stacked together with no mortar, it looked very ancient. As we started up the spiraling staircase, I noticed even the torches emit a dull grey glow. Looking upward, I noticed a massive iron bell mounted high above the center of the stairwell. Ryan knew the way to the Congregate Room, where the monsters would soon hold a meeting to discuss what their next battle plan would be. This room was on the upper outside edge of the tower and had many large openings for windows. The view was depressing, seemingly endless miles of gloomy land. I could see what appeared to be the top of a huge pyramid rising up from the distance, surrounded by a shocking blue glow. Ryan told me this was the Grund Temple, the center of religion and political control around here. They offer many things there, like color, and all of their technology and power is held within its massive bricks. The Congregate Room consisted of eight rows of pew-like stone benches and an elevated podium for giving speeches. Behind the podium were two huge wooden chests, one full of uniforms, and the other one empty. When we heard the sound of a crowd marching toward us, Ryan motioned for me to join him in the empty chest. We closed the lid and listened as the room slowly filled with monsters. After a painfully long time, the crowd became silent as someone approached the podium and began to speak.
Part Five: The Congregate Room Greetings comrades! Greetings to all who are part of this revolution! The time is near for us to rejoin the two lands! For over two thousand years, mankind has lived largely unaware of our presence, but like a thief in the night, we will return to take what was once ours!
Page 7 of 14
Using artificial bodies, several of our highest elders have traveled back to the physical earth to estimate the threat level of our enemies. Placing them under our control should not be difficult. We have recruited a small group of human scientists to assist us in the physical earth, these men are to be spared. These scientists have created the ships we will pilot once on physical earth and have also created more artificial bodies like the ones we have used for over fifty years. These robotic bodies have been sighted many times by men and are always mistaken for living beings. We have used this same design over the years so humanity will recognize only one alien race. Although the electronics inside change, the outer skin, shape of the head and large black eyes have remained our physical image. The recent breeches of our spiritual world have decreased our time to get ready. We must act now before these humans learn too much about us. The Prince has had another vision and we now know the human who has been chosen to save mankind. His name is Floyd Brannon and he must be stopped at all cost. I have assigned a crew to pilot the first ship to physical earth. Mission One is to hunt down this Floyd Brannon and kill him immediately, even at the risk of revealing ourselves. We have located his exit point used to travel to The Shadows and finding him should not be hard for our crew. The Prince has already met with the crew at Station Seven. He made a couple last minute changes, adding two additional crew members and making sure the ship’s weapon systems are on-line. We have eliminated the first threat in New York City and these men will soon start a war in the Middle East that will pave the way for the union of our worlds. Soon we will unite the lands and rule the masses as slaves! We will live as gods among these men and break the chains that bind us to The Shadows! Our land will resurrect from death and the sun will rise over Tartarus again!
Part Six: The Red Ink After the meeting, we exited the chest to an empty room. Out the windows, we watched the monsters march in two directions, several followed a paved road to the East, the others disappeared in huts or other smaller paths. I wanted to follow the
Page 8 of 14
smaller group down the paved road; Ryan warned that it leads to Station Seven, which is guarded by Prince Arba’s best warriors. I insisted on seeing it for myself, so we traveled off the road through thick forest to the Station. I didn’t dare enter such a well guarded place, but I managed to climb the outer first level and observe some of their operations through the stone window openings. Station Seven is where the robot bodies are made. The monster souls enter these bodies and can travel to our physical earth. Everyone thinks these robots are alien creatures from another world, but they are the spirits of dead ancient creatures in an artificial body, and they are from our own world. After spying on the Station, Ryan and I traveled back to the central place where I crossed over. We passed through a wall of thick fog back to the circular clearing. Ryan told me he would not see me again until I crossed back into The Shadows. He told me the future has been set and I have been chosen to save the whole world. When I asked him how I would do this, he just smiled and pinched me very hard on the arm. The pinch caused me to awake in our physical earth. I sat up in my bed and noticed it was almost noon. It felt good to be back home, but somehow I felt like I should be doing something important. I just didn’t know what. Four days passed and I did not have any dreams or travel at all. I set my note-pad back on my nightstand just in case I lost my ability to remember without it, but still nothing, no writing. I carry on each day as usual, go to work and come home. I haven’t told anyone about any of this because I am afraid you’d all think I’m crazy. It’s not just a dream, this is real. Something bad is going to happen to everyone, and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do about it.
The Monsters have found me. I worked through half my workday when a co-worker noticed a large shadow moving in the field across the road. I looked up and saw a huge circular ship hovering above the newspaper factory. The ship changed position about every five minutes or so, looking for me. I saw
Page 9 of 14
a thin cloud pass over the ship and decided to run for my car. I began carefully driving home, but I no longer saw the ship anywhere. It was very terrifying. I saw the ship again coming my direction, so I parked at McDonalds. I bought a drink and found this red pen, time to update my letter, I guess. I don’t know how the monsters found me, but I’m going to try to drive home. Since they know where I work, they may also know the route I take home, so I’m going to take Route 344 home today. My fingers are crossed, Love Floyd
Part Seven: First Encounters for the last time “Turn the car around James!” Karen screamed. “We’re not going to just leave him in that Hospital.” Without a word, James made a U-turn and began speeding back to Salem. It took about a half hour to drive back to the Hospital. They pulled the old Chevrolet back into the parking lot and shut off the headlights, but the large ship was already there. Crowds of Doctors and Nurses looked at the ship from outside the Hospital. Karen and James watched as two armed alien beings stepped into the Hospital. They ran inside and followed the corridor to Floyd’s room. The two aliens stood over Floyd’s body holding their weapons as they communicated to someone in the above ship. “Please don’t shoot us,” Said James, making eye contact with the beings. “Our son is not a threat, just leave him alone.” At that time, screams were heard throughout the Hospital and weapon-fire echoed from somewhere close. A third alien entered the room and readied his weapon.
Page 10 of 14
Part Eight: The Shadow Apocalypse Floyd exited the restaurant and walked to his car, over-exaggerating his cool. He hopped in and, after a few minutes of casual driving, he turned left onto Route 344. Knuckles locked to the steering wheel, he began to accelerate to fifty-five miles per hour. The large ship descended rapidly from the sky and hovered directly behind his car. Floyd accelerated over one hundred miles per hour, trying to make his way between the trees of the downhill slope. The ship buzzed and hummed with electric energy and fired one loud blast of blue lightning through the hood of his car, disabling the engine. Floyd tried to coast the car further down the hill, but a second blast took out the whole rear axle. His car hopped left of center and hit a small van head-on, taking them both off the road and leaving Floyd unconscious, upside-down and in the passenger seat. A local police cruiser traveling only two cars behind the van stopped immediately to assist with the crash. When the beings piloting the ship saw the crash and everyone assisting Floyd, they quickly ascended through the clouds and out of site. When the wreck rendered Floyd unconscious, he awoke again in the circular clearing. Unsure of his bodily condition, he tried to awaken himself, but his efforts were futile. At the edge of the darkness sat two young boys crying about the scary nightmares they were having. The boys seemed very happy to see an adult. “Are you here to get us out of here?” the younger blonde boy asked. Floyd paused for a moment to think. “Not exactly, but I might need you boys’ help.” he replied. Floyd helped the blonde-haired boy to his feet and leveled his eyes to both of them. “What we’re about to do is gonna be hard,” he said. “It will probably be scary too, but lots of good people need heroes right now and we are the only ones that can do it. Whoever is coming with me, raise your hand.” Both boys immediately raised their hands. “Okay then! Let’s go!”
Page 11 of 14
Floyd held the hand of each boy and they all jumped through the wall of darkness. Once on the other side, they heard the sound of armies rallying through the streets. The soldiers marched from Station Seven, which had the two large wooden doors open. Floyd and the boys ran to the station and entered. The last of the three ships were readying for takeoff and powering up for the journey and the last of the monsters were stepping into their new physical bodies. The attack on physical earth would commence very soon. “Stay here,” said Floyd to the boys. As Floyd walked closer to the ship, he saw Prince Arba and several other monsters. The Prince was a tall slender being with yellow snakelike eyes and a ring of small stunted horns around the top of his head. While Floyd studied Prince Arba, two guards aimed guns in his direction and shouted. With his cover now blown, he ran to the line of robotic bodies and stripped two of their weapons. He slid the two rifles across the floor to the two boys. “Protect yourselves!” Floyd screamed. “Get to the clearing and get out of here, they know we’re here!” After arming the two boys, Floyd grabbed a third gun for himself and began to shoot at the monsters boarding the ship. The monsters hesitated in fear of the predicted chosen one and Floyd managed to vaporize six of them. When the remaining monsters began to flee for their lives, Prince Arba began to growl in anger. “I’ll take care of this human myself!” Prince Arba thought for a second, then turned away from the ship’s boarding platform and entered into one of the mechanical bodies before stepping through the gateway. The ship hovered in the sky for a moment and eventually left through a strange window filled with lightning that glistened above the station. Floyd and the boys now stood alone. “What do we do now?” asked the older boy, still aiming his weapon around. “Prince Arba is going to kill your body, Floyd!” answered the younger boy. “You have to stop them, and quick!”
Page 12 of 14
Floyd studied the row of artificial bodies for a moment, and then, stepped into one himself. After donning his new alien body, he turned to address the boys once more.” “Get back to your bodies, there’s nothing more to do here.” These were Floyd’s final words before disappearing through the gateway to physical earth. However, the boys did not go directly to the clearing, they decided it would be better to destroy Station Seven and the gateways around it. They fired their weapons until they nearly overheated. They shot each of the mechanical bodies, destroyed everything inside the station, and finally destroyed every portal except one, and then began firing at the station itself. Once satisfied with their work, they headed back to the clearing. Floyd stepped through the gateway and straight into the ship. With the other beings unaware of his stowaway into their ship, he ran down the ramp and set his new metal feet on the soil of his familiar physical earth. He watched two monsters in bodies enter the Hospital and head toward his room. He moved quickly after them to save his flesh body from certain doom, but before he could follow, a third monster finished an intercom conversation and entered his room ahead of him. Carefully, Floyd readied his weapon and fired one test shot into the air which caused several people nearby to run screaming. After a short run down the Eastern corridor, he saw the door to his room. When he arrived, the third monster was waiting for him and fired one shot, separating his arm holding the rifle from the rest of his body. Prince Arba began to laugh. “This is the end of the line for you, human!” Floyd reached for the rifle with his remaining arm, but that arm was met with another blast from The Prince’s rifle. With no time to spare, Floyd kicked his rifle across the floor and under the bed. With his next move, he kicked Prince Arba hard in the center of his chest, knocking him back a step. The Prince slipped onto his back, but managed to fire a third shot that separated Floyds head from his body.
Page 13 of 14
Before Prince Arba could stand back on his feet, the once unconscious body of Floyd sat up, grabbed the rifle under the bed, and fired it haphazardly at him. Floyd’s vision was not even in focus as he tore the mechanical body of Prince Arba to pieces with the rifle-fire. When Floyd found his way outside the Hospital, the ship had just returned to The Shadows. After several minutes of disorganized newsmen running around, one news reporter ran to him and held a microphone to his face. “Is your name Floyd Brannon?” he asked. “Uh, yea,” Floyd replied. “This call is for you,” said the reporter, handing him a cellular phone. Floyd heard the familiar voices of the two young boys on the other end of the line. “We got them Floyd!” said the younger boy. “We shot up the whole place. We even moved the last portal into Grund Temple! When their ship returned they plowed into it; now there’s color and everything there! They don’t have any more ancient technology to use and no one to help them. We saw you on TV here in California and I had to talk to you. We did it, we saved everyone!”
Page 14 of 14
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.