Has This Ever Happened To You?

Only for the Terminally Weird

(To Portal, with love)

And to Dany Guindi
who will hate me for putting his name with this story
Another very bad night. The dreams. Waking every few minutes with a barely-stifled scream trying to rip my throat out. Laying in bed, shaking violently with fear until, weak from exhaustion, I fall back asleep, only to have the nightmares begin again.

Only 4 AM. But all thoughts of sleep are gone, despite my lack thereof for the past 4 nights. Finally, I can stand it no longer. Passing the window where I have been relieving myself since (it seems) time immemorial, my bladder demands a left turn. Fearful of the consequences if I wait, I go along.

Feeling not better, but somehow relieved, I walk (ever so slowly), almost on tiptoe, to the bathroom. For long minutes, I stand, hearing nothing but my racing heart, out of control, drowning out even the crickets and the sleepless whiporwills. I wrestle for control of my mind. Not quite nameless fears are doing their best to violently wrest the last vestiges of sanity from my grasp. I fear the worst, that the dreams so real ARE real.

Even now, the dread that steals parts of my soul away is tap dancing on my cortex, caressing my cerebellum, plucking my medulla oblongata like some huge electric bass string, slowly building a crescendo of pure, unadulterated terror within me.

Somehow, I steel myself, and begin to do that which I must. My hand, quivering like a bowl of jello on a massive power line humming in the wind, refuses to budge. Finally, I regain control over the recalcitrant limb that is my right arm, and lift it, bare nanometers per second it seems, towards the lid.

Fear strikes ever harder, and sneaks one past my defenses. To keep from passing out, I fall to my knees and lean on the commode. The scream escapes my lips! I don't care whether the neighbors hear! The horrible howling goes on for what seems like eternity, before, spent with exhaustion, I return to the reality in front of me, rather than the one in my mind.

The commode! My flesh crawls, tries of its own volition to jerk away from the thing. At last, the truth will be out, and I will either regain control of myself and live happily, at peace once again with the universe, or be reduced instantly to what appears outwardly to be a vegetable, but inwardly is a totally insane persona, running, screaming, down endless corridors with no exit, with deadly dead-end turns, and doors that never open, but only slow me down when I try them, crying helplessly in fear, until that overwhelming evil fear that relentlessly pursues me finally catches me, and consumes me, and I truly die.

Slowly, holding my breath, feeling my heart trying to beat my sternum out of my soaking, sweaty skin several hundred times a minute, I force myself to raise the lid. I am resigned to my fate. Now I will know, and what will be will be. There is no turming back. Inch by inch, the lid rises at my clammy hand's bidding. In the thin moonlight that wafts through the sheer curtains in the window, swirling dust particles scattering it on the night breeze, I stare inside.

The head! The severed head is STILL THERE inside my toilet!

Relief overwhelms me. I fall to the ground in joy, gladness, ecstacy! The nightmares are only that, bad dreams. So weak from relief and the recent fear that I cannot even laugh, much less scream the joy that wells up within me, I finally rise and look again. It's still there!

I fall back to the floor, and sleep the sleep of the dead for 18 hours straight. When I awake again, the world is fine. Laughing, I peek once more at the head, close the lid gently so as not to disturb it, and head towards the shower.

Last updated: 6 May 1994

Copyright 1989, 1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.

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