Lazarus Grey...The Nightmare Man
It had been a quiet few weeks since I’d had an encounter; seemed as though the minions of the damned had taken a vacation. It had been some time since I’d managed to return home and kick back for a few days. The old farm had gone to rack and ruin, luckily I owned it outright, so didn’t have any money grabbing banker hunting me down for foreclosure. Nowadays I only returned here when the demons were quiet, returned to relive memories of a time when I wasn’t “blessed” with this curse.
As I sat in the wooden rocking chair on the porch of my rundown farmhouse, my feet up resting on the porch rail, I drifted off once again. The past few encounters had drained me more than I anticipated, either that or I really was becoming too damn old for this shit. Middle of the day and I was dog tired, I knew the dream would come again, just as it had for the past two weeks.
Middle of the night, a house, a bedroom; a small boy laying asleep in his bed, quilt pulled up round his neck warm and snug. A bright moon casting a silvery shard of light through the window to cross the boy’s face making his blonde hair seem almost white. I am there, not in form but somehow in spirit, like a spectator unable to participate.
The bedroom fades to black, a sound of hollow breathe fills the dark. The dream clears and he is there, the beast, a grey skinned man, bald and thin beyond thin. The beast wears a black coat that reaches down to the floor. He stands next to the bed, just stands there watching the boy. I shout “Hey you!” but the words do not sound, no sound breaks this night.
The angle changes, I am now standing by the boys head, on the opposite side of the beast. The boy moves in his sleep. As yet the beast has done nothing, he simply stands there watching, waiting. The beast’s features are skeletal, thin aged skin over bone, lips thin, dry and cracked with maturity, eyes sunken pits of dark.
The beast reaches out and slowly runs its bony fingers through the boy’s hair, the hair instantly turning grey at its touch. As I look on, unable to interfere, the beast looks directly at me. The beast’s eyes are a sickening putrid yellow with the smallest of pinpoint black pupils; eyes that hold an eternity of pain and death.
It is now the beast grins, its thin lips part to reveal needle sharp blood red teeth, teeth capable of ripping flesh from bone. The beast looks at me, staring me direct in the eyes, and grinning as if knowing I cannot ever intercede. He reaches out for the sleeping boy, razor sharp spikes grow from the beasts fingertips, he raises his hands to swipe, and I reach out, the beast’s hand swings…
My legs drop from the porch rail and I am quickly snapped awake, my breathing is laboured, the righteous hand quivering. I’d been asleep only a few minutes, it had been this way for the past two weeks, same dream, same boy, same beast, same outcome.
A few days ago I’d contacted Father Ryan, told him what was happening, gave him a description of the boy as best I could, and of the dream beast. Father Ryan had said take things easy, and he’ll check with his sources to see what he could find out.
I chewed the end of a cigar as I reviewed the dream in a wakened state; something wasn’t right, something was about to happen and I needed to find that kid, if he really existed.
For the rest of the day I just pottered around mostly, I was making use of not having to hunt by resting up. Around about midday I fixed myself some lunch, and grabbed one of the beers I’d brought along. Supplies were beginning to run low, I’d have to take a trip into town soon to stock up. Wouldn’t need much though as a gut feeling told me I’d be back on the move soon.
I decided this afternoon was a good time as any to take that trip into town, so I jumped into my black Mercedes, nothing special mind you, I’d had it a few years now, but it was reliable and got me where I needed to be. I parked outside the town bank, mainly because I needed to grab some cash for the supplies. The job of entity seeker don’t pay that well, but the church made sure I received enough to get by, good old Father Ryan.
“Lazarus…Lazarus Grey! That you?” sounded an unfamiliar feminine voice as I entered the bank.
“Lazarus it is you, how are you?” said the grey haired rather portly bank teller.
“I’m fine; it’s been a while since…”
“Yes I know, must be what? Oh at least eight, maybe nine years!” she interrupted.
For the life of me I just couldn’t place the woman. Had she been the bank teller since before I left? Did I once know her personally? It sounds as though she knew me.
A big beaming smile lit up her face as she spoke, “You have no idea who I am do you.”
“I, I’m sorry, it has been a few years.”
“Jesse, Jesse Rumbolt. I used to go round with Jooles.”
Jooles, it had been so long since I’d heard anyone speak her name.
“Jesse, yes I remember.” The memory allowed me to slip back to that terrible time just enough to remember Jooles friend Jesse.
“Lazarus, I hope you don’t mind, but it has bothered me for all these years. I swore long ago if I ever saw you again I’d ask.” Jesse said quietly as not to let others near hear.
“Sorry, no I shouldn’t pry.”
I knew she was dying to ask whatever it was she wanted to know, and what difference would it make to me anyway. “Go ahead, ask.”
She leaned over the counter real close, looked to her left and then right, and whispered, “Why didn’t you come to your wife’s funeral?”
Well I didn’t expect that one; her question caught me off guard, and I just looked at her with what must have been a blank expression.
Somewhat flustered, she reiterated “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked.”
“I…I couldn’t handle it at the time.” I mumbled.
“Jooles was a good woman, and my…” she halted mid-sentence, and called over my shoulder, “Sammy, stop that!”
I turned around to see who she was chastising; it was a kid, a boy of about ten with blond hair. Then it hits me like a four-by-two to the face. The kid turns from the window he was tapping against, and I realise it’s the kid from my dreams.
For a while I just stood there watching the kid, I wasn’t sure what to do. The faint whisper of “Lazarus… Lazarus, you okay?” drummed in my ears as Miss Rumbolt tried to gain my attention. The next thing, the kid ran out, and I found myself following. He ran across the road, dodging the traffic as though he was untouchable then scooted off down a side street.
It wasn’t difficult to keep tabs on the kid, and before long I watched him enter his home, a Gothic Revival style house with white wood walls, pitched roof, steep cross gables and upper porch, all done in white, and reminded me a bit of the style of house in the movie Psycho.
Standing opposite the house I struck up a cigar, and noted the homes number. I looked on for a few minutes, watching the sunlight make the white wood shine, and took stock of the kind of street it was. Your everyday friendly neighbourhood, a tree lined street with similar looking houses on either side. Each house with its own small well kept lawn in front and driveway at the side; nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing that would set this street apart from any other, except the distinct lack of animal life; no dogs, no cats, no birds, nothing, and totally silent, not even any vehicles driving about.
A regular ghost town!
Then he caught my eye. There he was, standing on the upper porch of the boy’s home, the nightmare man. He stood there staring right at me, smiling his blood red smile. For what seemed like an eternity we just looked at each other, neither of us moving. Then the obvious struck me, this ain’t right, the sun. Why isn’t the sunlight vaporising him?
Next thing I see is the boy come out of one of the rooms to stand next to the nightmare man. He doesn’t seem afraid, which stuns me a tad. He stands right next to him, and stares blankly in my direction. Could I be mistaken? Could this beast actually be a mortal being?
The nightmare man places one hand on the boys shoulder, the boy looks up and actually smiles. The beast raises his other hand, the razor sharp spikes extend. I throw my cigar aside and run over to the house. I shoulder the front door open and race upstairs and out onto the upper porch. The nightmare man stands there, the boy I cannot see. The spiked hand drips blood onto the white decking, pooling around the beasts feet, and his other hand remains behind his back.
“Too late Mister Grey… this one you will always be too late to save.” The nightmare man hisses and brings his other hand into view brandishing the severed head of the boy.
“Son of a bitch!” I mouth, my voice hardly breaking sound.
The nightmare man smiles his gruesome blood red smile. I reach out the righteous hand to end his miserable existence, and he’s gone, vanished, no blood, no body, nothing. I failed.
“Lazarus…Lazarus?” I faintly hear.
“Lazarus, wake up.” Father Ryan’s friendly voice echoes as he shakes my shoulder. “You dozed off there for a few minutes; maybe it’s time you took a vacation.”
A dream, a vivid nightmare, that’s all it was. That was a year ago, and I’ve not had the nightmare since. I still haven’t taken that vacation, but one thing’s for sure; if I do it won’t be in my home town.