The Drude

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The Third Night

I cannot stop thinking about it. The horror of last night was unlike any nightmare I have ever had. Indeed, I begin to doubt it was a nightmare at all.

My dog, the only one who seems to have shared this traumatic experience, is acting equally as disturbed as I am. Twice now, I've seen this thing, and I worry that this may become a constant occurrence.

I'm more afraid than I've ever been before, and my mind is constantly trying to rationalise whether what I've seen was a terrible re-occurring dream or a real event. I normally never have such vivid dreams...

Excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar will be my therapy tonight. Who knows, maybe a night of not sleeping will leave me so exhausted that next time I lose conciousness I'll be too tired to dream.

I hope so.

I decide that some company will do me good, and I invite a friend over. We spend most of the evening watching movies, but eventually he falls asleep on a reclining chair. I'm alone now, and I feel tired despite all my attempts to retain energy.

I stand up and walk around, trying to get the oxygen flowing into my brain. I go into the kitchen and splash my face with some cold water, before returning to the lounge.

I step through the archway that separates my lounge and kitchen-

-and I see the creature standing over my friend. He lies on the ground in front of the reclining chair, frothing at the mouth. There are no visible signs of injury, and yet he seems to be having some kind of seizure.

The creature remains damaged from the previous night, one of its hand is caked in dry black blood, and a long line of the same liquid runs down it's back from a wound between the shoulder blades.

The creature seems to sense me, and turns. The normally sanguine expression of the pale thing no longer masks its emotion, its face is contorted in rage upon seeing it's attacker.

Within a second of catching sight of me, it screeches and pivots its body. It hurls itself across the room, vaulting over the sofa towards me.

I turn and run as fast as I can back into the kitchen to find another weapon. I run to the wooden-knife holder, but it is hurled by some invisible force to the other end of the room. I scramble to pick it up, but the creature leaps onto my bent back, and pins me face first against the ground.

I try to roll out of under the creature but it wraps its spindly limbs around my neck and constricts like some fingered viper. I try to rise, but the monstrosity is deceptively heavy.

I cry out in pain as I feel its tiny, pointed teeth dig into the back of my head. I writhe and roll as much as I can, but I begin to feel feint from lack of oxygen. It's not long before I begin to lose the will to fight.

But at that moment, there is a knock at the door. A clear, deliberate knock. I feel the creature crane its head backwards and hiss in annoyance. I feel it bring its head closer to my ear and seethe in rage;

"Wake up."

I finally run out of oxygen, and lose conciousness...

...I awaken to find myself lying on the sofa, shaking and drenched in cold sweat. I look at my friend, he sits in the same recliner as before, sleeping soundly.

I hear another knock at the door, realise that this was not part of my seemingly spontaneous dream. I rise, still shaking, to answer the door.

I look through the hole to see a small young woman, not remarkable in any way. I try to regain my composure, and open the door.

"Hello." Her voice is soft, a comforting break in the silence.

"Hello..." I reply.

She simply stands there for a few moments, then hands me a small notebook. She smiles at me, then gently places her hand on my arm.

"It won't leave you alone." she says quietly, in the same soft tone, "These horrors are proud things, defeat is worse than death to a Drude."

I couldn't find the words, I found myself hoping that I was still dreaming. If I was awake, then this woman knew about my nightmares. My fears would be confirmed...

...this thing was real.

"It'll get worse, they wear you down like a disease. You'll begin to question whether you're awake or not, and you won't know until it finds you."

With that, she reached into her pocket, and withdrew some small object.

"...What do I do?" I asked in desperation.

"I'm sorry..." She smiled once more, her eyes forlorn.

She pulled a small lever on the object, and a tiny blade was revealed. In one quick motion, she inserted the blade into the side of her neck, and drew it across her throat.

Her pale skin begin to flood with red, and I almost feinted there and then. I caught her as she fell, and used my phone to call an ambulance.

It was useless, I knew. She would die long before they got here. I tried to stem the flow of blood from her throat, but she forced my hands away, and gripped the small notebook I had dropped.

She mouthed the word "read" and began to nod her head backwards.

My head swam in a potent cocktail of terror, shock and panic. But one sentence resonated within my mind, echoing through my head as if it were an empty foyer...

...Defeat is worse than death to a Drude...

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