Sweet Dreams


by Nathan Wright

Every day for the past year, I woke up flailing my arms, letting out blood-curdling screams. My nightmare is always the same: a killer monster chases me through a haunted house and is just about to eat me alive when I wake up gasping. If only I hadn’t agreed to explore that abandoned hospital with my daredevil friends last Halloween. My therapist says that my visions will get better. 

 She’s been telling me that for 364 days. 

Dreading the same nightmare, I have been trying to force consciousness with anything. Coffee. Caffeine cubes. Light shining into my eyes. Water dripping on my forehead. Every time, my body’s exhaustion overpowers me. 

Today is Halloween, precisely one year after my abandoned hospital adventure. I gingerly climb into my sweat-soaked bed. I should really wash these sheets soon. When I turn on my phone to absorb some blue light, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the screen. Bloodshot eyes stare back at me, and eyebags adorn my sleep-deprived face. Messy hair as black as unpolished obsidian tumbles down my shoulders. I remember with deep longing when my hair was perfectly curled. Unfortunately, the blue light does not keep me awake for long. As soon as I drift off to sleep, the fun begins.  


Through hazy vision, I approach the abandoned hospital with my friends giggling beside me. As we get closer, the hospital morphs into a dilapidated medieval house, and my friends vanish. Suddenly, I am all alone. No, I am accompanied by eerie silence punctuated by leaves crackling and wind howling past dying trees.  

Creeping into the house, I take in the sight before me. Cracked mirrors hang from paint-peeled and nail-scratched walls. Ancient wooden planks stick up from what was left of the floor. A grand staircase rises up three floors, but the last floor is practically destroyed. A giant beetle scurries over my bare feet, and I can barely stifle a scream. 

 Thump. Thump. Thump. 

Loud thumps echo in my ears. My heart is racing uncontrollably. As I step over debris, the thumping intensifies, sometimes racing, sometimes pausing. Thinking I was having a heart attack, I clutch my chest, but my heart rate is constant. I stop walking. Something tells me that this deafening thumping isn’t my heart. Faster and faster, I dash down the hallway, and serve around a corner, and the thumping follows. I sprint up the staircase, and almost fall through a gaping step, and the thumping is right behind me. I spin around to face my assailant, and there it is: a hideous purple monster with red eyes and mouths dripping fresh blood. One mouth opens wide revealing thousands of dagger-like teeth. Soon, my world is draped in darkness and an unbearable stench. I try to scream, but nothing came out.  

Suddenly, a pang shoots through my body. This wasn’t supposed to happen. The dream was supposed to end now. The pain rips the breath out of my lungs. I have to find a way out of this dream. If only I hadn’t visited that abandoned hospital. If only I were young again…


It is now year 5068. Technology has advanced so much that scientists have created a device that can read dead people’s last memory. In the scorching sun, a few archeologists sift through a burned village when they come across a fully preserved body. A rarity. Wasting no time, they attach electroencephalogram wires to the head. What they see shocks them but also brings a smile to their face. It seems like a memory from a happy childhood.  

On their 512K reading screen, the back profile of a little girl skips down a lamp-lit street with a bag of candy swinging from her arm. Her curly midnight black hair shone in the moonlight. She was dressed as a cute purple monster. At least this woman died happily.