Sarah could hear music, playing somewhere nearby, a strange scratchy kind of music that she hadn’t heard in a long time. She slowly opened her eyes, but could see nothing except for the endless expanse of perfect blackness, surrounding her field of vision like an immense black sheet. She tried to move her arms and legs, but nothing came of either attempt, and merely remained suspended in the air, and from what Sarah could deduce with just her senses, somewhere high in the air.
Where the hell am I now, I can’t see a goddamn thing. William where the hell are you!? She used every fibre in her body that didn’t feel disabled and every ounce of her mental will to scream out into the inky black horizon, desperate for someone to hear, but nothing at all happened, like being in a nightmare and being unable to scream. The eerie and unusual music continued in her ear like a whisper, but she was too distracted to even register it was still around.
Get me the hell out of here, now, I want to move, I want to fucking wake up!!
The present situation shook Sarah up even more so than her other past visions she had faced, being suspended in absolute darkness, unable to move, except for a few inches and unable to see or hear anything. Exactly the ingredients anyone could expect to suffer when suffering from sleep paralysis: Trapped inside a pitch black dream and unable to wake up from it, no matter how hard you try. Sarah had suffered these many times in her youth, but never once in her adulthood. The experience to her always seemed like being buried in a coffin, unable to move around, your screams unheard, your breathing limited. The alarms of attack and childhood fear rang and rang inside her head.
Help me, please, for fucks sake, get me the hell out of here, please. Sarah struggled and shook her body as much as whatever had brought her here would allow, but her efforts were futile, just in the same way as an insect on the end of a fishing line struggles to escape.
Then, just as she could take no more of this mental torture, the whole canopy of blackness dissolved away as holes began to appear in numerous places around her, very quickly increasing in size and joining to others. Sarah could see light appearing behind the canopy, very strong and powerful white light, with tinges of bright yellow. After a few moments, the light immeasurably powerful and bright, so much that she had to turn her head away to the side and close her eyes. She didn’t care though, what the light would do to her once it engulfed every part of the blackness surrounding her. It could burn her eyes out, show her something horrible and disgusting that she couldn’t take. Whatever it wanted, it could do to her, as long as she was free of this horrid personal fear, she didn’t give a damn.
The light was now screaming from all around her, the endless blackened canopy was now nothing more than a few dissipating black spots. Sarah could feel herself being lifted from her hanging place and drawing closer and closer towards the light, further and further into incredible brightness. She closed her eyes as tight as they would allow and covered them as much as she could with her hands, all the while saying a prayer in her mind as the rest of her thoughts wandered ceaselessly and unstructured around her.
Please, god, or whoever’s out there. Please, let this all stop, and stop now. Allow me to be free of this burden that’s on me. Stop those insane scientists from capturing me and William, let us both be free of all of this and leave us alone. And please, for gods sake, let me see my father.
Sarah was now plunged completely into the light, drifting and slowly tumbling over and over. She couldn’t sense anything that seemed like solid ground or something to fall easily on, but she didn’t care, her senses were to drunk on the overwhelming feeling of well-being and complete safety, all previous feelings of apprehension and mistrust were gone, as if they were never there. The light warmed her comfortably, invoking a strange kind of memory of being in the womb or being held by your mother, safe and warm in their hands, not a single thing that meant you harm could rob you of that simple pleasure.
At the edge of her field of hearing she could just about hear a sound approaching steadily from somewhere and coming increasingly quickly. With the part of her mind that was still half awake, she could tell that it was a soft humming noise, like the humming of machinery.
What is it, what’s coming? She thought, asking herself the question.
The humming got louder and louder, until it was ringing like a soft alarm in her ears. She sat up and looked around with half-closed eyes, only half of her even registering the strange sound. Gradually, she began to notice that the pleasant, summer afternoon like light was also starting to ebb away, slowly being replaced by a fuzzy image that slowly attempted to tune itself in. The pleasant and protected feeling that surrounded her also began to slowly disappear.
No, wait, come back. Sarah muttered through sleepy lips, her arm tentatively held out to the fading light, eager for it to remain and comfort her.
She again began to feel movement of her body as she felt herself being taken downwards into the fuzzy image of what now appeared to be the inside of a building. Her arms were stretched out at her sides, her feet seemingly tied together as she descended into the image, like jumping into a pool of water in slow motion. She felt a soft fuzzy feeling beneath her feet as she landed on what she deduced was the floor, her arms slowly coming to rest beside her.
The image surrounding her now was still pretty fuzzy and indistinguishable, like being inside a fuzzy image on a television. Hazy and sharpened edges covered the whole picture, strange floating objects of varying colours passed by her extremely slowly, she drew backwards a couple of steps, unsure as to what they were. She stared with scrunched up eyes at everything around her, despite the fuzziness gradually fading away, the image was still indiscernible.
Where the hell am I? Wait, I know this place, god it must be . . .
Her pondering left her suddenly as she realised what she was seeing as the fuzziness was all but gone.
The café, this was the café where she now stood. Guaranteed, it was very different to what she knew it as, but it was instantly obvious. But, one there was one detail here that caught her attention, one she thought she would never see again.
Their were people here, adults and children and a few animals,
more alive than any she had seen in a long time, all enjoying what seemed like a party. The small tables and chairs lining the far wall were jam packed with people dressed in bright clothes and bright dresses, serving from punch bowls and drinking from clear cups, each quickly downing large pieces of birthday cake, all of them singing to the cheerful part tune that radiated powerfully through the air like a siren, blowing around the countless balloons that filled the air and covered the ceiling, carried along and pushed upwards by the people sitting and enjoying themselves.
Sarah smiled more than she had done in over ten years, the muscles around her mouth hurt with the sudden strain put on them. Her eyes were alive with the pleasure of seeing this wonderful sight. She clapped her hands together and thudded her feet against the hard tiled floor, overrun with the remnants of party poppers and toy whistles. She could sense that she couldn’t move and join in this scene, nor could anybody see her or registered that she was there, but none of it mattered to her. The most important thing was that she was seeing this after so much loneliness and misery.
She blew a kiss to the assembled crowd, blessing the typical sight of what it truly meant to be human.
Then, suddenly, just as she blew the third kiss to the people, the image changed in the space of a camera flash, instantly changing from the party scene to the exact same place a few years later, the party music now merely the quickly fading sound of a distant siren descending back into silence. The happy crowd all enjoying themselves were now slumped over the tables were they sat, reduced to mere skeletons and faded pieces of clothing that hung in tatters from them. The food set out in front of them was now rotted beyond description, covered in dust and cobwebs. The balloons that once flew around effortlessly in the air were now deflated and colourless on the floor, the life slowly drained out of them. The windows that once shone with bright sunshine through the bright red and white chequered curtains now shone only cold white and grey light, the curtains faded into grey and hanging in torn tatters.
Sarah remained in shock and disbelief at the hideous scene before her, her body rigid where she stood, her muscles shuddering with the blow of the sudden hideous surprise. She had spent the last ten years seeing corpses on the streets, as well as this exact scene only a short while ago. Yet, seeing the glorious human like picture before her and almost being part of it, it all seemed so personal to her, as though she knew who the birthday party was for, and knew all of the people here. Then, seeing people that you know suddenly die and decay on you, right before your eyes, it was enough to send you half crazy.
Her legs began to quiver, she clamped her hands tightly over her mouth, the stench of fresh death and decay thick in the air as it fought its way into her nasal passages.
Oh, god, what’s going on here? Get me the fuck out of here!
Yet, with the unbearable grief raging like a storm inside her, and to hear her own thoughts screaming inside her head for an answer, she forced self-determination onto herself, mentally tearing away the coward inside her and taking a stand against everything she was witnessing, her courage and determination not to submit her only weapons.
She lowered her arms away from her mouth and held them out a few inches from her sides, her hands tightened into strong fists, her eyes narrowed into a look of pure hatred and ferocity.
I will not submit to all of this shit! Sarah screamed. Her mouth and lips flapped silently with the absence of her words, realising that they were raging inside her mind. She carried on regardless.
I don’t give a fuck what you’re trying to show me, here, I don’t give a damn what you want from me, or who the hell you are. All I want is for you to stop invading my goddamn mind with these visions, its like your digging into it with a fucking drill. I wanna’ see my father, that’s all I want from you, whoever the hell you are, where the hell is he, huh, is he behind the damn corpses, or something? Where, tell me where he is, NOW, TELL ME, NOW!!!
Her raging mind and ferocious questions blinked out of her head suddenly as her field of vision began to cloud over with a blackened fog, obscuring everything in sight, drowsiness consuming her entire body, her limbs beginning to waver until complete sleep washed over her entirely.
Sarah awoke with a splitting headache on the floor of the café, her vision was still blurry, it was hard to make out her surroundings. She felt the cold floor beneath her and registered that it was definitely tile. She reached for her head suddenly and groaned as the acute pain of the headache buzzed inside her skull like a trapped insect. She remained still as she leaned a few inches from the floor, carefully listening to the soft humming of the tape machines playing dead static, ensuring that she was where she thought she was.
Thank god, that place was giving me the creeps. Whoever those damn sons of bitches are over there, they robbed me out of an answer. If only I could get my hands on them.
She reached out across the floor to pick herself up when she felt something thin and what felt like plastic, rising from the floor and upwards.
What the hell is this? Where’s William, he should be here helping me, the guy usually does? Why the hell won’t my damn eyes clear up?
She groped further around the floor like a blind person as she struggled to find where she was. Moving her hand just a few inches more to the left, she could feel a thin soft material, hanging downward toward her. She reached up and felt large holes in the material. A quick feel round made her realise that she was sitting underneath a table in the café, registering it as fact when her vision finally cleared.
What the hells going on, why am I under here? Did William put me under here, why for gods sake? And where the hell is he?
She brought herself up on her knees and crawled out from underneath the table into the main café area. She hesitated for a moment before standing up, sensing that something wasn’t right. She held her breath for a moment so as not to give off her presence to anyone who might be here. She looked all around her for any sign of anything wrong. She looked to the right and saw the sheet that covered the corpses lying across the table. She looked to her left and saw the counter, no one was behind it.
Still, someone could be in the kitchen. I’m not taking any chances, whoever the hell it might be.
Apart from the obvious sign that William was nowhere to be seen, everything else was as it was before. Then, a terrible thought came to her.
What if the scientists had found us, somehow, kidnapped William and took him somewhere, or killed him. But, then, why didn’t they take me, I’m the one they really want, not him?
She stood up from the floor and looked all around her, desperate for any sign of William anywhere, his coat, pants, anything that even hinted that he was there or that was his. She looked outside at the front of the café and saw the old rusted car they had used to get here, still gathering dust, the fog gently lapping it constantly with its freezing talons.
Her heart began to pound with panic and dread as her head filled with imagined scenarios of what could have happened. Yet, with all the terrified pondering, one scenario stuck that seemed like most likely one.
It must have been the fucking scientists, those fuckers. They’ve took him, took him to kill him. I’m gonna’ fucking get them, I swear whatever they’ve done to him, they feel it from me ten times over.
However, while she was prepared to take whatever revenge necessary on them to get William back, she still had to figure out where they were.
It’s gotta be the Town Hall, there’s nowhere else they’d go. The Telephone device is there, there’s no way they’d abandon it. Its gotta’ be there.
She began to walk out of the café toward the front door, ignoring taking her provisions with her, a singular drive and desire hypnotised her, beckoning to her to do what she had to do. She jerked her body around, suddenly as the tape machines behind her buzzed into life, scratchy and bizarre sounds filled them almost deserted room. Sarah had no patience anymore with these voices, she regarded them now as nothing but dead liars, stringing her along with empty promises and answers to her questions.
“Look,” she shouted at the top of her voice at the machines. “I don’t care anymore what you have to say to me. You’re nothing to me but dead voices, I don’t want anything from you anymore. As far as I’m concerned you can-”
‘Teacups.’ A high and excited singing voice said over the noise. ‘Teacups and roller-coasters and horses and carousels.’
‘The amusement park, Sarah,” another voice said immediately, this one more serious sounding. Sarah had been to dazed by repeated shock and fear to bother registering that it spoke her name “Your husband is here. Find a man and fun and excitement in everyone’s pride and joy. William has moves on the dance-floor.’
The voices ended and the recognisable static returned. Sarah stood were she was, her mouth open as an idea suddenly came to her.