The Nightmare (the one page horror story)

A little girl has a bad night.

She slept best when she was listening to something. Tonight she picked a tape. It was 'Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator'. A little infantile, given her age, but it was familiar. It was something she always listened to as a little girl, and it always sent her off to sleep. She put the tape in, pressed play, and crawled back under the nice warm duvet before it started playing.

'Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator,' the narrator began to say. 'The last time we saw Charlie, he was riding high above his hometown, in a great glass lift...'

The girl snuggled further into the duvet, rubbing her feet together and getting comfortable. It was a warm night already, and the window was slightly open. She turned off her pink-glowing lamp and let the words of the Narrator wash over her. Within twenty minutes she was asleep.




The dream was ghastly. It started in that strange, hazy way that dreams sometimes did. She remembered walking along, glancing at windows sometimes and talking to people. She stared them right in the face... the face was closer than usual, and the voice was louder, and yet quieter. She felt nothing; these were people she'd known all her life...

She was walking through a stone cave with carvings until she met a giant cage. It was like a play area made out of bamboo. There were ladders and slides and ropes... but the ladders led up to cages with adults inside... adults doing things she didn't understand, while the bamboo started dripping this horrible white stuff. She tried to climb the ladder. Then just as she reached the top, she was at the bottom climbing again. It was like replaying a sequence in a film over and over again...

She crawled up a bamboo stick and sat at an auditorium... in front of her were frolicking lions, similar to a cartoon she'd seen once... a rug swung on strings back and forth in front of her...

Then she was out in the road, watching a truck pull up in front of her. The whole front of the truck came off, revealing... oh, it was awful. It was a man once. She saw ribs clotted with blood and sticky muscle... broken bones and yellow oozing stuff. The face had been blasted open. One eye remained, staring at her shoes. She remembered trying to vomit but only wailing. Then the driver got out... it was one of the people she'd met already, the kind blonde haired face... he opened the door of a house and a horrible old lady sprung out... her face was yellow and she had sharp teeth and wide, too-happy eyes. Her nightie was covered in blood and gore that made the girl wail again. The old lady approached the body and ate with relish, until the driver beat her away with a bit white stick...

She was behind the wheel of a car, learning to drive... her familiar faced dream parents shouted at her as she turned the wheel too far and crashed into a truck. Then it happened again. And again. And again. No matter how she tried to turn the wheel it happened again, exactly the same way...

She saw a tiny girl lying on her back on the sofa... her scarred arms and wrecked face. She was small and brown and helpless. Her mother stood over her, her hands pointing the wrong way as she leant over the sofa. She was staring at the tiny girl's bleeding feet. The girl watched this with a horrible feeling in the pit of her stomach... then the scene changed and she watched ghosts press their hands against a window from the outside. The tiny girl was asking to go to school, and the girl explained that she couldn't go to school because... because... the mother cried and wailed and rocked, clutching the tiny feet in front of her... the girl heard cracking noises and screamed...




The girl woke up. She was under the duvet, her sweaty hands clutching one of the corners. She didn't let go or try to wipe the sweat away. She lay there, thinking of the agony on the girl's face, even though she hadn’t seen the girl's face in the dream. She shivered, remembering things from the dream that hadn't happened.

The air was cold now. The window was still open as far as she could tell, but she didn't look out. She didn't dare.

The tape was coming to an end. She heard the narrator finish his talking, and then the tape was silent, but not finished. Her eyes froze where they were, thinking about the tape. In a few minutes it would turn itself off and suddenly SNAP! But she didn't know when. Would she risk getting out of bed to turn it off before it did its scary SNAP! Or would it snap while she was out of bed, standing alone in the old and dark?

Everything was quiet. The girl lay frozen in fear, trying not to think about how cold her feet were or how sweaty her hands were. She didn't dare look out from under the duvet, knowing she'd see hands on the window, or scary white stuff dripping from the ceiling, or worse, the tiny girl's agony face.

The tape came to an end.


After that there was only crying.


The End

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