The Family Curse

Since the days of my youth, and as far back as I can consciously remember, my nights have been plagued by a single, recurring dream. Many nights the twisted nightmare has invaded my peaceful rest, horrified me with its terrible vision, and cast me from my sleep to the restlessness of lying awake upon my bed, my pulse and breath quickened from my state of horror, with one million thoughts and fears dancing through my head. Such experience has been mine to claim since the most innocent and carefree stages of my childhood. I say with absolute certainty that my very first dream, within the confines of my sometimes poor recollection, was and is the very same dream as the repeating nightmare which infects my mind to this day. Also, as it may help verify my earlier claim that the dream is in fact reoccurring, visiting with visits many and close between, I hereby state that this dream is also the last and latest which I can recall.

For a moment, allow me to revisit one of my earliest experiences of the dream. The furthest back memory I have is from my childhood, the morning after the nightmare paid its first visit to me. I remember clearly going to my father that morning, as the dream had greatly disturbed me the previous night. I told my father of it all, from the beginning to end. He heard my story, and when I was finished, I looked up at him. There, I saw that he had turned his head in an attempt to conceal his pale expression, but despite all his attempts to suppress it his shock was clearly visible. There was a tremble in his voice as he spoke the words to me, words which I would remember forevermore. "Speak of it never again!" he said. "It has passed, and there is no need to dwell on it."

On several occasions later, disobedient as I was, I once again brought up the topic of my nightmares with my father. Each time the same ghastly expression appeared on his face, and then he would turn away, shooing me to dismiss the dream and the evil creatures of the night. However, if the dreams I received were not enough to demand my full attention and curiosity, my father's reaction consumed the remainder. There was always a certain tremble in his voice or twitch in his motions which led me to believe that the details of my dream where disturbing to him. Always in my mind was the nagging question that asked "does my father know something about it that I do not?" My father passed away last autumn. It was then that I found my answer.

Deep in the great white mountains of New Hampshire was a house to which my father retreated often. In his last year, he had vacationed in them towards the end of summer in hopes that he might see the famous New England foliage in all of its beauty and glory one last time before he sold the house. He also held ambitions of using the quiet time and peaceful scenery to his advantage, as he planned finishing his final novel-to-be, a project which he described to me as his "last and greatest effort" and his "life's work." Such a home as his mountain retreat was an ideal work place for anyone who wished to make a concentrated effort. There, in the midst of his writing, his long and productive life finally came to a peaceful end.

My father must have not expected his passing to come as soon as it did, (or perhaps he was just too caught up with his novel to care) because he left no last will and testament. All of his belongings were given to me, along with the responsibility of sorting through his endless documents. Shortly after his death, I embarked on the long journey from my home in Chicago, IL, to his home in the mountains by way of train. Surely, at this point you must be asking why I chose to take such an inferior mode of travel. My answer is simple: For starters, trains are much cheaper. Also, I was still very much affected both emotionally and mentally by my father's passing, and saw the long journey as a perfect opportunity for reflection. I needed time to think. Taking the train would give me time.

Soon, and perhaps much sooner then I would have hoped, I arrived at my father's vacation home. Immediately, even as I walked towards the front steps before the door, I felt as if a strong, unnamable presence were emitting from inside the building. Disturbing as it is to recall, the presence felt remarkably like that which accompanied the restless state of being I usually entered after my reoccurring nightmares had taken their course. You, the reader, must dispel all cases in which I may seem insane, foolish, and not sober in reading this. Also, I beg that you not judge me by saying that my father's recent passing had gotten to me harshly and modified my physiological state during the events which I will write about in the following lines. Only if you give me the benefit of the doubt will you understand the truth in what I am about to say. From that house I felt the spirit of pure evil permeating and drifting through all things. I knew immediately that something dark and evil had claimed the house as its own dwelling, and I was deeply afraid to enter it.

Still, I persevered. Somehow, I fought my fear of the evil unknown inside and managed to enter the house despite every single part of my conscience and instincts demanding otherwise. Inside, I found very little to be scared of. My father's retreat home was vast, yet empty. The first floor was hardwood all around, and most of the rooms were empty, save the dining room and the kitchen which held the bare necessities of each, respectively. Not a single portrait graced the walls, nor did any rug rest on any of the floors.

Upstairs, however, was a different story. Immediately, the stairwell caught me by surprise. Unlike the spotless ground floor, the upper floor was in completely chaos and disarray. No description I can make can do the truth of what had happened justice, but I shall attempt to do so anyway for the sake of accuracy on my account's behalf. The walls had been painted on in strange black letters, unintelligible runes which I dare not reproduce on this page. Also on the wall paintings had been made of horrible creatures and events, as well as ancient quotations for which no intelligible source was provided.

It was in my father's private study, however, that I found the most horrible of all that I saw on that second floor. His desk was missing. Instead, the room contained piles and piles of endless documents. In the center of the room a wicked star of uncountable points had been burned into the wood flooring. Hesitantly, as one places one's hand towards a fire, I grabbed a single document. On it was sketched a scene extraordinarily familiar to me. Beneath the sketch the word "Xzarhagrahff" was written. I suspected the strange word to be significant, so I folded the paper and placed it in my breast pocket.

On that day in my father's study I found the contents of my dream scattered through out the house on various papers, walls, and floors. It was then that I realized my father carried with him a presence, a family curse, which had followed him wherever he was and caused the insanity of all those around him. For me, my nightmares were proof enough that, as the following was true in my father's case, it is true in mine as well. There is no escaping our family's curse, and I am positive that it will haunt me until my death day.

This realization led me to further investigation. I vowed on that day I would learn more about this supernatural occurrence and its relation to my family. With the word "Xzarhagrahff" as my only clue, I began my research.