The Sixth Dream: Red

Silhouettes as black as the night crept at the edge my vision through the smoke-filled twilight of my chamber. They spun their web of fear in my mind and whispered promises of what was to come. I sought to escape the dream that awaited me, to jump up from the sweat-stained sheets, but fear lay like ice in my veins and pressed me to the bed. And so I lay paralyzed and clutched my frozen soul until finally, I heard the sound of hooves and it began anew.

Red half-light breathed around me like the inside of a smouldering body. The stench of decay and blood strangled my throat and the heat bit into my numb flesh. A hissing, snorting and shouting reached my ears, dull and distant, yet omnipresent and perpetual like the sound of a huge fire. Now a sobbing sounded from the red fog and I saw a girl in a red-stained shirt, not far from me, cowering over a blood-covered bird that lay there. Again, she sobbed and her whining cut into my heart. I reached out, wanting to hold and comfort her, but claws dug into my flesh and dragged me away. Hundreds of limbs took hold of me, covering me like worms, their claws ripping the very flesh from my bones and dragging me down to the ground that opened up like a bloody wound. From the twilight grew shapes, fangs flashed like daggers and gigantic bodies unfolded, bodies distorted and disfigured as if mocking the natural order. A breath of heat and blood lay in the air, heavy like oil yet still intoxicating in its promise of power and death. Still I strove to reach the crying child, to give her solace and hold on to the spark of humanity that I believed to see in her. But suddenly, she turned to me and I saw her face as I stared into empty holes from which bloody tears flowed over ghostly-white cheeks. Her whine was no longer a crying, it was a demented giggling that escaped between small, sharp and bloodied teeth from her small throat. She grabbed my hair and forced me to look to the ground. As I looked down upon the bird that crawled there, I realized I was looking at myself, the grey dove of my soul, its feathers heavy from the blood of slaughtered dreams, old and weak, caught in the senseless dance of perishability. Now child and beasts alike began to scream and rejoice, as if mocking my pitiful existance. In that instant, I wanted to scream with them, wanted to leave my old, grey flesh behind and like them, become strong and immortal, craving only the pleasures of the flesh. For here, they were gods, each and every one an arbiter of life and death. Yet Aonir’s Star still glowed inside me, a small pinpoint of hope and faith, reminding me of my human soul. Recognizing my doubts, they spat at me with disgust, clawing my flesh and sinking their fangs into my body as they began their meal, a horror of which I cannot tell while awake. When they were done, they tossed my ravaged body aside and I began to fall.

I fell into the bloody lap of the earth, down an endless abyss, between small bridges of red rock, down, and still further down. Massive chains of dark iron spanned the walls of the chasm, black links covered with rusty hooks to which the bodies of the damned were slung, hanging for eternity over this pit of endless despair. And I saw the Red Horde, crawling up from the glowing depths. On stone towers they climbed up, an endless stream of red bodies. A mass that grew like a tumor under the surface of the world, and slobbering, they shouted and screamed in their craving for flesh and souls. The fires of the earth inflamed my mangled body and like a screaming torch I fell past thousands of them, praying for the merciful release of death.

Then, finally, the sound of hooves brought me back to my chamber, but only when the next day broke and my throat was raw and hoarse did my scream end. To this day, the very memory of that scream still threatens to plunge my mind into madness.

Ishtar Magnus „Seven Dreams“