Dark Dreams
K. Mason

We are all afloat in little ships over a deep, dark, raging sea called insanity, trying to keep from capsizing, trying to stay above the water. Some manage to keep steady on their course, but others are not so fortunate. And when you fall in, the darkness does not release you without a fight. So when you are seized by this beast, this monster, don your armor, raise your silver sword, and plunge it through the heart of your black ocean.

Act 1

"Who are you?" Jessica screamed.

"You don't know?" asked a voice that seemed to come from everywhere at once.

Jessica glanced around fearfully, but could see no one through the darkness.

"I am everything you created me to be," said the voice.

"Show yourself!" she cried.

"I already have. I'm all around you."

"I don't understand."

"I am this darkness that plagues your mind. I am the Satanic Bible you read last year. I am the depressing music you listen to everyday. I am the hate you carry inside of you and the anguish that never leaves you. I am your creation. You could have made me into anything, but you made me into this. So you see, you can only blame yourself for my existence."

Jessica wanted to scream at the top of her lungs. What was happening? Her body began to shake uncontrollably and she dropped to her knees.

"I am every curse that has ever come against you, I am every curse you have ever spoken against anyone else, and I am every curse you have ever applied to yourself. I am that little, tiny voice in the back of your head that makes you do the things you don't want to. I am all of your fears, all of your broken dreams, all of your hate, all of your depression, and all of your anguish."

Jessica huddled into a ball and shuddered on the ground.

"And there is nothing you can do to stop me. I will never leave you, and you have only yourself to blame for this."

Jessica threw herself forward and cried out. She opened her eyes and perceived her apartment coming into focus around her. She was drenched in a cold sweat and panting heavily. She propped herself up and stared out the window across the room. The moon shown brightly in the sky, with stars dotted all around it.

Jessica remained awake all night.

Come morning, she gathered her things and headed across campus to her first class: psychology. She arrived twenty minutes early, and sat down. She wanted to get out of that apartment.

As she took her seat and leaned forward, the professor entered the classroom. "Jessie," he said on perceiving her. "Is something wrong?"

"No," she replied. "Why?"

"You just look a little upset. Here, this'll cheer you up. I know you love reading, especially about religious sects," the professor said, handing to her a tiny red book. "I found it lying in the hallway."

Jessica looked at the book. On the cover, in golden letters was written: "The New Testament." She shrugged. "Why not, I've read every other religious book." She tucked the small volume into her purse. Just as she did so, the classroom began filling with students.

The day seemed to go by fast. When Jessica arrived at home, she kicked her shoes off and laid down. Afraid to go to sleep, for she knew what awaited her in her dreams, she searched fro something to occupy herself with.

Then she remembered the book her professor gave her and was overcome with a strange curiosity. She groped through her purse and removed the little book. She opened it to the first page and began reading. . . .

The clock display read "3:30" when Jessica finally passed out. She dropped the book on her nightstand next to the empty picture frame she kept there, its words still spinning through her mind. Slowly, even painfully, the world of her apartment slipped away.

She found herself standing in an open space. There was no sign of the darkness. She scanned the area and noticed a man dressed in a white cloak walking toward her.

"Who are you?" she said, retreating.

"There is a darkness that has grasped a hold of your mind," said the man. "I will help you destroy him."

"Destroy him?"

The man produced from seemingly nowhere a long silver sword with a golden hilt. He took this sword and presented it to Jessica.

"But--but I don't know how to use this," Jessica refused.

"It doesn't matter. This is the spiritual realm, you have freedom from all human restrictions. You are bound only by how much faith you have."

Jessie swung the sword a few times. "What am I supposed to do?"

"Take back your mind piece by piece," he said. And with that, the man in white vanished.

"Wait!" Jessica yelled, but he was already gone.

Jessica, with no idea where she was to go, chose a direction and began walking.