The noise that exploded around the young man rang in his ears, the earth seemed to tremble beneath the cacophony itself. The young man ducked as dirt flew, flinging him backward, pressure seemed to be building in his head, a great weight setting itself upon his conscience. Light brown hair lay matted against his forehead in thick, sticky strands, mud caching his hands and clothes. His face was barely recognizable beneath the endless layers of grime across his features, matching the earthy tone in his natural features.
The young man cried out as the explosions caused the trench to shake, sending the young man stumbling when he attempted to stand. He felt disoriented and unbalanced, his head felt far heavier than his body and seemed to pull it side to side. When he managed to stand and take a few unsteady steps he made his way to the edge of the dirty trench, peering up over the edge of it only to discover mass chaos. Across the horizon stood a platoon of men and machinery, firing relentlessly on the men in the trenches. The stretch of land that separated the two groups couldn’t have been far enough and yet the ground moaned in complaint as the painful battering continued across its torn surface.
The young man pulled his helmet back to get a better view of the warfare. He gulped, something was very wrong and he couldn’t seem to put his finger on it. He didn’t know what it was, only that the wrenching queasiness that contorted his stomach was unceasing. Squinting his eyes to survey the sickening chaos erupted around him like two heated flames seeking to drench the other in its heated vehemence, the young man’s dread only grew. It wasn’t until the ground beneath him groaned as something explosive impacted its scarred tissue and the young man flew a great distance, crumpling against the wall that he realized why this was all so wrong to him.
He glanced dizzyingly down at his twisted, mangled body, he gritted his teeth to bite back the pain. His tongue felt thick, his throat scratchy as the dust seemed to coat the inside of it, burning his mouth and nose.
“I’m not supposed to be here.” He whispered to himself, before succumbing to the excruciating agony that swept through his thin frame like a lethal force seeking to destroy his very being, seeking to wipe him from existence by means of painful torture.
The darkness that slipped through the cracks of his conscience and settled there proved to be a comfort, neither warm nor chilly, the blanket wrapped around his thoughts like a tempting farewell. It was right there, so why couldn’t he bring himself to grab hold? As if sensing his hesitance, the darkness lost all welcoming aspects, instead, imposing like a trespasser in his mind. He thrashed as the pain throughout his body spiked, a monster inside of him awoken and trying to claw its way from beneath his dirt streaked flesh. Crying out, his mind frantically searched for somewhere to retreat, someplace safe from the agony that ailed him. But there was nowhere. It was then that the darkness grabbed hold, taking the opportunity and crashed over his conscience like a massive tidal wave. The young man fought to uphold his vision and strength, but the shadows overcame him, crumpling his mind’s strength in one solid sweep. And like that, he was gone.
Alden Bowman was a young man of seventeen years with chestnut hair that teased his brow and hazel eyes that peered through a pair of thin, blocky, frames pushed against the bridge of his nose. In fact, today, a particularly unpleasant frown crawled across his features when he had finished accounting the events of his dream the previous fortnight, only it wasn’t a dream and he had tried to impress that fact upon the doctor that sat before him now, offering him only a long look of sympathetic understanding.
“Yes, I see. Alden, I’m afraid what you are suffering from is a form of narcolepsy, which would explain the disturbing and even vivid dreams that you’ve been having.” The doctor ran a quick a hand through curly blonde hair,
Alden groaned, “then explain why I have injuries much like the ones I have sustained in my dreams?”
“That is a little harder to explain, but I do believe it has something to do with your brains method of coping. You likely, either sustained these injuries before the dream occurred and the dream was a form of explaining the happening or you sustained the injuries while sleeping, something similar to sleep walking where your whole body is participating in the events being played in your mind.”
Alden sighed, there was no getting through to this man. This was the third time this had happened in the last few months and he wasn’t about to leave it up to some silly medical condition, he wasn’t crazy, he knew what he saw and felt.
“Now, I’m going to prescribe you with another batch of antidepressants and that should hopefully ease your discomfort.” The doctor spoke softly and the look in his sage green eyes was genuine. The man was only trying to help,
“Yes, of course Dr. Weisz.” Alden agreed, although his heart wrenched at the idea of taking medication. The doctor glanced at the man sitting in the corner, he was a gruff man in his thirties. Stubble dotted his chin, dark brown eyes surveyed the white tiled floor, and thick, calloused fingers drummed impatiently on the arm of the chair positioned in the corner, somehow lost in his own thoughts; he had yet to speak a word.
“Anything else I should be aware of?” The doctor inquired, the man didn’t look up though as if he hadn’t noticed them there. The doctor cleared his throat, “Mr. Bowman, is there anything else I should be aware of?”
Alden’s father still didn’t look up, merely shook his head, indicating that there was nothing more to be said. Dr. Weisz’s smile faltered slightly before regaining its strength when he turned back to Alden. Smiling widely, he patted him roughly on the shoulder, “thank you for coming in to see me Alden. Have a good one.” And with that the doctor was gone and Alden was left to meander back to the lobby with his father in trail behind him.
“A lot of help you were in there,” Alden commented bitterly, “he thinks I’m crazy, or mental or something.” When he glanced at his father to check if he was even listening, the man was still studying the floor as he walked, his hands stuffed deep into his pockets.
The silence is what seemed to weigh Alden down, his father was adept at leashing the soundless air and dragging it around with him. His father’s quiet disposition drowned Alden and pricked every nerve in his body, but no matter what Alden did, he could not solicit a heightened response from his father. And so the endless air of unspoken words followed them everywhere, a dog that was all to loving of his father.
Alden mentally chastised himself for thinking that though, his father had always been like this, although he didn’t know why, it was simply his father’s character. And it wasn’t as if his father never talked, his mother had quite the talent for drawing words out of his father’s mouth as if she had his thoughts tied to a stings and tugged them through his mouth. Alden only wished that his father were more—well, he wasn’t really sure. But any man who lets his son be pinned to the world of crazies without saying a word surely required an adjustment in character.
“Alden, will you please make sure to check on Cecilia this evening?” The question came from Alden’s father, his deep voice impossibly soft. “Your mother and I are going out tonight.”
Alden’s stomach wrenched at the reminder of his sister, “yeah, no problem dad.” His father nodded, returning his gaze to the sidewalk as they made their way to the parking lot.