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Perhaps not everyone will experience what I did upon reading this story, but for me? I experienced true dread and terror.
Taken from a skype conversation immediately after finishing:
I have made a terrible mistake.
I wanted to read something before bed.
So I read a thing.
The thing said horror, but I ignored that.
For in my naive, misguided foolishness, I thought myself ready.
Ready for monsters and horrors and tentacles and undead.
I know not what foul devil's contract this author has made, but he has summoned pure existential dread into literary form.
Dread of the sort that makes me fear the dark.
Me, who has tinted his windows and taped the light on the smoke alarm, to better rest in comfort.
I find myself gazing into the dark, my mind reeling.
I am staring at my phone, pretending this small block of light is all there is, that eternal darkness does not reign beyond it.
Oh, certainly, the room around me is no gaping void, hungering for my soul.
But the dark walls remind me of the infinite, unceasing darkness that surrounds us. That we shall all end, that naught matters, all shall fade, and the best we may do is delude ourselves into some measure of peace.
And so, with these words, only half in jest, I quiet the gibbering fear in my mind, to rest, perhaps to sleep.
But I pray-
Not to dream.
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