Prologue: The Horrors Unseen
"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."
Edgar Allan Poe
For many ages passed, they have been one of our greatest of mysteries. Sciences guiding us to understand that they are but wishes wanted be fulfilled or the triggering of past memories.
But, what of our darkest of dreams that haunt us in nightly terrors of fearful tidings?
What of those unexpected screaming post dream awakenings that announce to us in our lost senses of personal securities, that our sleep may not be as protected as we may wish it to be?
What about those true and fictional evils that guide us to do those irregular things that may keep us from actually reaching those healthy rem phases of our cycling periods of regular resting?
What about those invocations of thought minded provocations that lead us to believe that due to bad dreams we may not be as free to sleep as we would like?
What about those realistic horrors that draw hungrily on our many unnecessary fears?
What is the purpose of nightmares? of dreams?
The students looked on their instructor intently. More than half of the class appeared to be suffering from day’s lacking in recuperative rest.
The loss of sleep for students and for instructors alike, it is not so surprising. Especially for the students. Their time needing be balanced in their college existences with work, with family, and with all of life’s continuous unexpected changes.
Professor Charles Scorch laid eyes immediately on the arrival of one other. The woman now in his sights, she was in her early thirties. She was of an attractive and yet demure lure in regular appearance.
The professor smirked on the woman silently in a grimace of a partial smile that actually was more of a frown than anything else.
The students gathered their books. The class immediately dismissed. The woman moved around the student lecture tables to avoid the wave of those quickly retreating, as they hurried on to their next classes eager to finish their day.
Doctor Margaret Stanton waited for the last student to leave before introducing herself. The professor guided the doctor to the instructor’s exit and to a personal study room that served as his office.
The professor felt a little uncomfortable around the woman’s obvious shyness. in an attempt to comfort her, he offered her a cup of coffee or a glass of water.
“..... No, thank you professor.....
Many of your students do seem to be suffering from a real influence of sleeping depravation.”
“Yes.... This, it is only a part of the problem.”
“..... Do tell?” The doctor questioned the man sitting behind his desk before her modestly. Her words short in delivery and by numbers limited. Her shyness, it had been with her since she reached womanhood, and today; she just did not like to speak.
“Three of our students were found in their dorm rooms in critical condition. they seemed to be in a state of panic.....
They spoke of demons stalking them while they tried to sleep, and this paranoia; it was making a real mess of them.”
“What do the school psychiatrists think? Could it be pressure of study time stresses?”
“Actually, they are not sure what to think. The instructors here are fair minded and give the students plenty of time to get their work turned in. With bonuses to those that turn in their work early I might add.”
“..... Any signs of substance abuse? Drugs or alcohol?”
“No, and that is the strangest part..... Many students will drink beer and liquor on their free time and will actually host parties where even the instructors at time will participate. But nothing ever gets out of hand, and it was seeming to actually do the students some good in relieving the pressures on their minds.
“..... Any more fatalities?”
“..... Just the one so far. The boy, he was visibly troubled. We did not see the signs of his psychosis until too late.”
“..... I met with the school directors, and they have agreed to set me up shop in one of the study halls to conduct this investigation.”
Professor Charles Scorch sighed on this thought. he had called on a psychological investigation on concerns over the rising in problems associated with student sleep; but he had never expected a doctor that would also be some form of pseudo scientist in the studies of dream investigations and perhaps of eliminations.
“Don’t worry professor.....” Doctor Margaret Mavis spoke to the man assuredly as she rose from her seat. Charles reached out his right hand in offer of a shake of courtesy. The woman reflexively drew away from the hand; her own hands now behind her back.
“Thank you for the respects, but this is something I cannot do professor..... an old superstition that is tradition with my family I am afraid.”
Charles Scorch slowly rose from his chair to offer the woman a semblance of an apology. He was told of this understanding in- meeting with her, and it slipped his thoughts.
The doctor, she was already gone to claim her office space.