I was going to bed. I was tired, just like you’re supposed to be. I laid down, turned the light off, and closed my eyes. And then I waited. Just like I was supposed to. Falling asleep is a little like standing on the shores of a beach, the waves lapping at your feet until suddenly you’re sinking beneath the wet surface.
Well, I was sinking.
No. I mean I was literally sinking.
I didn’t notice it until it was too late. I opened my eyes and felt panic. The walls of my comforter stretched high overhead. I was in a pit. A hole. An abyss made from my own bed. I tried to sit up. I couldn’t. I tried to grab the walls of fabric. I couldn’t. I tried to scream.
After my cry slithered from my lips, I realized I was still sinking.
Deeper…deeper…deeper…and I was unable to stop it or slow my descent. The cloth walls continued to elongate and soon the circle of darkness overhead was swallowed from sight. I was far, far down now.
It was then that I began to feel something press against the walls of my sinking vessel. It felt like hands. Groping, grabbing, reaching, poking. I battered them away, horrified and confused, another shriek finding my lips.
I descended past the hands. They vanished like they had never been. I tried to roll over. I couldn’t. I could only lay on my back and listen to the rustle of covers as they dipped and stretched, taking me down into whatever place this was.
My heart was racing. So fast. Alarmingly fast.
Next came the whispers. It sounded like there were people just on the other side of the fabric. They were conversing with one another in hushed tones, like they didn’t want me to hear what they were saying.
I’m not one hundred percent on this, but I could have sworn I heard one of them say my name.
Then they were gone as well.
Down…down…down…my compressed hammock of madness and impossibility continuing to elongate like a piece of warm taffy.
I called for help. What the fuck else was I supposed to do?
Of course, no one heard me because wherever I was wasn’t anywhere.
I remember thinking, at that exact moment, that I was trapped in a nightmare. I tried to wake myself up. My arms were working, which was good. I pinched, slapped, and even punched myself. I didn’t wake up because I already was.
I began to feel claustrophobic. The hot, cotton walls pressed in all around and I felt myself break out in a sweat. The air was hot and heavy with darkness. I think I started to cry.
That’s when I heard something above me.
Like something was crawling down toward me.
Whatever it was, it scuttled. Like it had a dozen legs all moving in quick unison.
Sk sk sk sk sk sk sk sk sk sk sk sk…
It was getting closer. I could hear it getting closer, shoving itself down after me, for me. I could hear it breathing. The ragged breaths came just as quickly as the other sounds.
Huh huh huh huh huh huh huh huh…
Something definitely said my name then. It was loud, clear, and directed right at me.
Except the voice came from below, where my hole hadn’t reached yet.
“STOP IT!” I shrieked, uselessly.
The thing above me hurried faster, pressing itself through the small throat of fabric. I waited for the inevitable hand at my throat, or perhaps claws. Maybe a sudden sliver of glistening teeth lunging for my throat.
The voice below me spoke again.
The scuttling ceased.
And my hole, my prison, continued to plummet.
“LET ME OUT!” I howled, thrashing about. I was panicking, I knew I was panicking, but Jesus Christ, wouldn’t you?
Exhausted, trapped, and now sweating profusely, I stilled. I sucked in thick lungfuls of hot air. I was crying. I felt like I was dying.
I jerked my head to the left and then the right. I needed something. Anything. I needed hope, something I was sorely lacking in that terrifying moment.
What was that?
It was a hole, just the tiniest of things. It was located where my left ear had been pressed against.
Adjusting myself, a pitiful cry escaping, I pressed my eye to it, out past the itchy walls of my comforter.
And what I saw…what I saw has led me to write this.
There were millions of us.
The world was gone. There were no houses, no roads, no hills, no mountains. There were no cars, no cities, no trees, and no fucking taxes.
An expanse of endless stars littered the vast eternity. But they didn’t twinkle with that slightly off-blue hue you’re used to seeing. No. These stars were purple. And they moved. They zigzagged and crossed one another. They rose and then fell. They raced and then slowed.
I felt my bladder release, an unfortunate accident considering the circumstances. On second thought, when is a good time to piss your pants?
Regardless, I observed the purple stars with overwhelming shock. I noticed that whenever they changed directions, they did so at a sharp, ninety-degree angle. That probably meant something, if any of this meant anything.
I pulled my eyes away from the stars and focused on the other occupants of the sky. The millions. The millions like me. Millions of blankets, descending the forever space, dripping down, down, down through the cosmos like strands of multi-colored drool from the mouth of the universe. All of us cocooned in our own blanket of choice, our vessels in this strange, alien world.
I cocked my eye down below, down to where we were all headed.
If I had anymore piss to offer, my blankets would have drank it down once more.
Sitting cross-legged at the depths of the eternal, was an absolutely enormous entity. It was humanoid in shape, its colossal torso a pulsing mass of purple stardust. It glowed with an almost blinding radiance, an every shifting conglomeration of light pieced together by fragments reaching the trillions in number. Rising from its back was a titanic construct that I can only describe as a tree. Its trunk emerged from the alien figure and soared high over its head, its branches reaching and spreading to the very corners of existence. It appeared to be composed of the same, strange purple stardust, and endless blinking buzz like neon fireflies.
Hanging from the branches, like ornaments, were countless solar systems. Pink, green, blue, black, gold, crimson, every color ever seen. They swirled and spun and breathed and existed entirely in place, a buffet of spectacle like you’ve never seen before.
I retraced my eyes back to the entity.
Back to the head.
It was wrapped in black cloth, layer and layers and fucking layers of the stuff. Sliced along the mountains of fabric was a mouth. A mouth that exhaled great gales of purple smog that lazily drifted out from teeth the size of the sun…if the sun had been diced up, the pieces gathered, and then had been slammed inside the mouth of the most terrifying creature ever imagined.
The mouth was moving. And that was because the entity’s two arms were moving. I followed the miles of stardust that composed the limbs all the way to the end. All the way to the hands. The fingers. And what the fingers were holding.
Spoons. One in each hand. Enormous, shining, dazzling spoons, each one capable of hosting all the stars discovered by mankind.
I watched in absolute horror as the entity extended its arms and began to catch the dripping, hanging, descending blankets in the sky. It gathered them with caution, making sure each one landed in one of the great caverns of its utensils.
I was still very far away from this cosmic nightmare, which gives testament to its size, and another scream rattled my throat.
I was having a bad night, ok? Christ.
Unable to look away, I watched as the stardust being filled its spoons and then slowly brought them to its mouth, toward that quarter moon hole that had been cut in the midnight fabric that encased its head.
The entity emptied the spoons into its mouth and immediately its body pulsed with staggering light. I blinked and squinted, not wanting to look away.
When the creature swallowed, the stardust around its body surged and then drifted off, like it was shedding some kind of dead skin. The millions of lights that floated away hung in the air for a fraction of a second before suddenly blinking purple once more and then zipping off into space, jerking and moving at sharp right angles.
Before I could utter some obvious statement of disbelief, shock, or confusion, I was suddenly jerked violently up.
I screamed in surprise, the sudden movement interrupting my long, steady descent.
I gripped the sides of my blanket and another pull gave me whiplash.
Something was bringing me back up.
Something was taking me out of here.
I spun around and cast one last look at the entity below.
It was smiling at me, its sun shard teeth like knives in the ebony emptiness beyond.
When I woke up, a hot girl was making out with me. Ok. That’s not entirely true. She was giving me CPR.
What do you want from me, I’m a pig, ok? Fuck off.
Coughing, lunging upright, I breathed for the first time in what felt like years.
I blinked, wiped my eyes, and the hot girl was saying my name. I looked around. I was in my apartment. I was in bed. The lights were on.
I looked at the girl.
Oh. It was my girlfriend.
She had come over, a surprise sleepover, and found me already in bed and asleep. Well. Not quite. She had found me choking on something. She had found me seconds before I died.
You see…as I drifted off to sleep, a massive spider had crawled up onto my bed and down my throat. My loving girlfriend, performing an act of utmost bravery, had reached down past my lips, tongue, and teeth and retrieved the murderer. And then she had killed it, making her the murderer.
Realizing I wasn’t breathing anymore (something needed for living) my princess in shining armor had given me CPR and managed to pull me out of my slow plunge toward death.
Because at the end of the day…that’s what I think I saw.
I think I saw millions of people dying in their sleep, from one cause or another.
So…do yourself a favor. When you die? Die violently.