Grayson stood in the darkness. He dared not move for fear of triggering the memory.
But this dream was different from his normal nightmares. He was usually walking with his battalion. Instead, he was standing in a world of black.
Slowly, the dream manifested into the field of dead and the hanging death tree. The smell overwhelmed his nostrils. But instead of cringing and gaging at the smell, Grayson found himself inhaling the stench deeply.
His breaths quickened and his mouth began to salivate. His eyes started changing color at the intense feeling of hunger.
Grayson continued to stare at the tree, watching as the rope slowly manifested. Each strand forming and twisting until it reached the top of the victims heads. Each victim started forming out of thin air, all in sync with each other.
Wiping the drool from his chin, Grayson stepped closer. The boy was the last to manifest. Grayson was becoming impatient.
He licked his teeth, cutting his tongue on the sharp teeth that now replaced his dull human ones. But that did not stop him from watching and waiting for the boy to be there.
When the boy fully appeared, Grayson still did nothing but watch.
Just like his other dreams, the boy let out a painful moan.
Grayson did not flinch. He felt nothing for the boy this time.
“He…lp…” the boy croaked, barely able to form the word.
Grayson flashed his teeth at the boy, still not caring that the boy was suffering.
“No.” Grayson answered, his voice sounding inhuman. He took a step towards the trunk, having intentions of climbing his way to the boy when he heard a whisper in his ear.
“Finally allowing your true self to surface, Grayson?”
Grayson turned his head towards the voice, only to be welcomed by nothing. He furrowed his eyebrows in confusion.
‘Was that…My voice?’ He asked himself.
He stood in the same position for what seemed like an eternity, waiting for the voice to speak again.
But nothing changed. The dream continued.
The boy moaned again in pain, bringing Grayson’s attention back to him. This time, he did not feel the need to climb. His body seemed to return to normal, for his usual response to the boy returned.
Before Grayson could scream, he saw movement from the other side of the tree. Curiosity got the best of him as he leaned to the side, trying to catch a glimpse of what it could be.
The thing shifted back behind the tree.
In frustration, Grayson charged to the other side.
What he saw made him stop and open his mouth in silent shock.
It was a demon. Its teeth, sharp and bloody, showed itself as it smiled at him. The eyes were completely black and held slight amusement at Grayson’s reaction. The skin was an ashy gray, making it look like death. Wings sat folded against its back but reached well past its head.
All this shocked Grayson, but what shocked him the most was the demon’s features were like his own.
It was Grayson in demon form.
“Ah Grayson,” He drawled as he extended an arm with sharp claws to lean against the tree, “you finally stopped ignoring me. Do you know what this means?”
Grayson’s hand slowly inched towards his sword that hung from his waist.
The demon’s smile only seemed to get wider, the eyes following suit. In a blink of an eye he was in front of Grayson, grabbing his throat.
He brought Grayson’s ear closer to its mouth, the smell of sulfur filled his nose making him cough and struggle against the demon’s grip.
“Your true self is finally coming alive.” The demon’s teeth clicked as he spoke. “This is going to be so much fun.” His gripped tightened.
Grayson’s hand grabbed his sword as his eyes narrowed angrily at the demon. ‘How DARE he put his disgusting claws on me!’
Pulling out his sword, the demon laughed at the attempt and thrusted his claws into Grayson’s stomach. Blood poured from Grayson’s mouth; his eyes slowly started to roll back.
“See you soon.”
Grayson woke up to darkness in cold sweat, gasping for air.
Forgetting where he was, he quickly scanned his surroundings. He did not start to relax until his eyes adjusted to the darkness and soon realized he was in his own home.
His breathing finally returned to normal until it quickened again from a small whimper. He turned to the noise and silently chastised himself for getting worried.
It was Eleanor sleeping peacefully in an off-white nightgown. She laid next to him on their small bed. The quilt was down by her ankles and the nightgown rode up on her soft, pale thighs.
Gently, he placed a hand on her exposed thigh. Her skin was ice cold.
Sighing, he pulled the quilt up to her chin and silently got out of bed.
His hangover from earlier in the day was gone. He felt better physically, but mentally he was distressed. The dream still clung to him like a sheet clung to a sweaty body. It caused an uneasy feeling to settle in his stomach.
Before he knew it, Grayson had made it to the cabinet where his whiskey was kept. Without hesitation, he threw open the doors and grabbed the new bottle. He uncapped it and brought it to his lips in record time.
After a few chugs, he brought the bottle down while coughing. His throat burned like normal, but his tongue stung painfully. He touched the spot that stung and pulled his hand back nearly immediately. There was a cut, in the exact same spot where he cut his tongue on his teeth in the dream.
Shaking his head, he tried to get the dream out of his head. There was something about it that seemed too real.
He did not know how long he stood in the middle of the kitchen for, but finally he decided he was drunk enough to go back to sleep.
Setting the half empty bottle on the kitchen table, he slowly trudged back to the bedroom, trying extremely hard not to trip.
Grayson laid back down on the bed and exhaled, tasting the whiskey as he breathed out. Eleanor softly whimpered beside him again. He looked over and noticed she had turned onto her stomach and pushed back the quilt again. The hem of the nightgown rode up so high that the bottom of her ass hung out.
He touched her arm, but again she was cold. Instead of putting the quilt back on her, he wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her to him so her back was against his stomach. He nuzzled her neck and took in a deep breath, her scent calming him more than the whiskey ever could.
Grayson thought back to their earlier fight. He felt horrible, but he did not want to bring her into his madness. He moved up to see her face. It was pale and dark circles formed under her eyes.
‘Is that from me?’ he frowned. ‘Am I harming her health just to protect her from my delirium?’
Grayson shook his. ’No. If anything, the stress is much better than her knowing what is happening to me.’
Pushing back Eleanor’s hair, Grayson gently kissed her temple and laid back down. Knowing sleep was not coming back for him, he spent the rest of the night staring at the ceiling.