In breathless, unspoken words she called herself “The Traveler”.
She had appeared to me the past four nights in my dreams. The first night she stood at the foot or my bed staring, as if studying the way I slept. When I awoke to the vision of her, my heart was filled with such terror, that I simply started whimpering until awoken by my wife. Weeping at my own fear, I now recall the events of that night as if it all happened in a realm other than the one that exists when I close my eyes. Though they could hardly be called events in the “action: sense of the word, in that the entirety of the events happened in my own mind, even if she existed as a real world apparition, rather than the disjointed remembrances of a fevered mind.
When I first saw her, she was in all black and white as if her body was on a movie before color cinema. Her hair, suggested auburn color amidst as if color and monochrome existed in tandem, one not influencing the other, but remaining side by side, two sides of the same coin. Her hair was colored but not colored. Her eyes were black as onyx and just as lustrous. Her limbs and body were emaciated, partially hidden behind a layer of translucent fabric which would have passed for a funereal shroud, had it not been matted and torn with the passage of time.
She stared at me, and I was frozen with fear. I sensed a nameless chaos within her, dying to be released from her fragile form. Her eyes seemed to say to me, “You have been everything and now you will be nothing. It is by my leave that you exist, and to non-existence you will be delivered, surely as the day before you were born.”
I thought to myself that she must be a demon of some kind, or a spirit, though I myself do not believe in such things.
Her thoughts answered mine. “I have been called this. As well as other things.”
She smiled at my shock.
“Yes, I can hear you.”
She sensed my impending dread.
As a tiger sensing the coming kill, her face changed from a smile to a mask of malice and hate. I had seen this face a number of times and its result was always pain.
She opened her mouth all of a sudden, and with her unspoken voice, released a scream so primal that I thought I would die of fright. I felt the flesh slowly torn from my body, as a drunk would pull a label off a discarded beer bottle. I felt my life ebb away and the entire time I saw her face with mouth agape. The entirety of her mouth made a horrible oblong shape that was grotesquely longer than it should have been and this small detail only added to my acceptance of my imminent death. When I at last felt the pain dying away right before my death was to take root, I cried out with all my might, “Donna! Please help me!” I repeated it with all the intensity and desperation of the dying man I perceived myself to be.
It was then I realized that the Traveler was trying to shout over my voice. My wife could not hear me because of her! The other half of the terror of that moment was when I realized what she was saying.
“You have lived the feeble life of the unworthy! Behold, my gift of death and all of its glory! Behold, my works and see my power! Behold, your death and just how powerless you have allowed yourself to become! You are mine now!”
I awoke in a cold sweat, shaken by my wife and held until at long last I regained my composure and breath. I told my wife what I had seen, and she said it was only a dream.
Though as I write these words, the consolation of the apparition being a figment of my dreams gives me no comfort. I have felt since her visit, and have felt since being awakened, that I am living on borrowed time.