The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Dreams of a Dead God
by Naching T. Kassa
There is nothing more frightening than madness.
And yet, I assure you, I am entirely sane.
I am a poet.
My work sold well commercially, but the critics found it bland. They called my verse cliché, my meter jarring. Their words stung and haunted me. I prayed for their approval, and when one god would not answer me, I turned to another.
He came to me in dreams.
The first, took place on a beautiful desert island, a place of lush green foliage, azure sea, and golden sand. The sea sparkled and undulated around me. The fine sand clung to the soles of my feet.
When my new god entered, I saw only his enormous shadow. I could never see his true form, for it blotted out the sun. He whispered to me, speaking a strange language I had never heard and would never forget.
When I awoke two days later, I found myself on the floor, surrounded by pages of ink-bound verse. The weakness, which often accompanied a fever, lay upon my bones. I dragged myself up from off the floor and collected the pages.
My agent called them brilliant.
The critics lauded them. I had finally achieved the adoration I so craved.
The night of the book launch, I slipped between the satin sheets of my bed and drifted off into slumber. Seconds later, I found myself on the island, the shadow rising above me. This time, I glimpsed the fearful countenance of my god. His mouth, a collection of tentacles, writhed as he whispered to me. And, against my will, he filled my head with words.
This time when I awoke, the comfort of my bedroom did not greet me. I lay upon a broken bed in a shabby room, a moth-eaten blanket covering me. It smelled of sweat and urine. A rat scurried across the floor.
The clean pages, covered in red ink, awaited me on a table near the window. I rose to gather them and almost tripped over the body on the floor. He stared past the ceiling with sightless eyes. A quill lay in the blood pooled near his left wrist.
I don’t remember killing him. I’m not convinced I did. I guess it doesn’t matter what I think. The police believed otherwise.
They pled insanity at the trial. My lawyers believed the move would save me from the death penalty. They sent me to Dunwich Asylum, my new home.
Donna, the orderly, was kind. She loved my poetry. I guess she was a fan.
Six months ago, she started smuggling books in for me to read. It was here I discovered the name of my god. He is Cthulhu the Dead God Who Dreams.
I wish I had not learned it. I wish I had never prayed to him.
I had the dream five days ago. Once again, I stood on that accursed island, my body chilled by the shadow which towered above me. And as before, he drove the words into my brain. The more I resisted, the worse my agony grew. It seemed as though a fire raged within me, burning and charring everything in reach. The lush vegetation burned in a great, swirling inferno, the sand grew black, and the sea boiled.
I awoke this morning in the infirmary, my hands charred black. Around me, on the clean white pages, symbols were scrawled. Only I can read them.
When the doctors come to visit, they tell me I tried to set myself alight—immolation, they called it. They said Donna tried to save me, but the fire took her life, and I used her ashes to write my poetry.
They’ve given me new medication. If it works, the dreams will cease.
My dreams will cease.
But I don’t see how this will help.
If he still dreams of me.
Fiction © Copyright Naching T. Kassa
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Naching T. Kassa:
Crystal Lake Publishing proudly presents Arterial Bloom, an artful juxtaposition of the magnificence and macabre that exist within mankind. Each tale in this collection is resplendent with beauty, teeth, and heart.
Edited by the Bram Stoker Award-winning writer Mercedes M. Yardley, Arterial Bloom is a literary experience featuring sixteen stories from some of the most compelling dark authors writing today.
With a foreword by HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Linda D. Addison, you are invited to step inside and let the grim flowers wind themselves comfortably around your bones.