01 Feb My Sister’s Dreams Would’ve Brought on the Apocalypse if I Hadn’t Cut Out Her Brain
Allow me to preface my story by saying that you’ll soon realize my actions were completely justified, so don’t go making assumptions, accusations, or derogatory statements. There was no other course of action, I assure you.
My sister and her husband had been staying with me in my home, visiting for the weekend. My house was a sort of way-station; their final destination was in the state leftward to my own. Rather than fly through, I invited them to drive up and spend the weekend. My sister and I hadn’t spent much time together since entering our respective phases of adulthood, and I missed her.
I do not own a particularly impressive house, but it does have room enough for three people—my bedroom and a guest room—so my sister and her husband stayed comfortably. It was my first time meeting her husband, and while I never really took interest in my sister’s romantic life before, I was happy that she’d partnered with someone of a similar stock to our own family. He was well-mannered, pragmatically minded, and had a sensible perception of the world.
Most importantly, my sister was happy with him. I could see it in her eyes, in the light, jovial intonation of her voice while speaking to him, or about him. During our times alone, while we caught up on the years since we lived together, she told me of how she had met him on the campus of her university, and of the fairly standard paramour that followed. I was of course drilled as to why I hadn’t yet found a mate, and I deflected politely though sternly; my love life is neither her nor your business.
On the Sunday before they were set to depart, we all had a bit of wine. A dark, somewhat dry red, two bottles of the same kind, shared mostly between myself and my sister; her husband, befitting his nature, did not drink much. We talked about the world, shared agreeing and contentious opinions, and reflected on our youth. My sister’s husband retired early, despite his virgin liver, so she and I reflected back on our youth.
In my drunken recollections I recalled a series of nights where my sister had been stricken with a bout of horrible nightmares. Terrible instances where she’d awake screaming, clawing at her face, shrieking about some “Black Horologist”, and his sinister plot to unmake time. Some nights she’d just scream incessantly, never building to anything beyond that, and other nights she’d expound on this character and his schemes, in a sort of half-conscious delirium.
The Black Horologist, who was black in “essence”, sought to unwind time so that everything attached to it—people, things, physics—were thrown into a state of disarray and confusion. She said that matter itself would be cast into irreconcilable lunacy; the atoms unmade as they manically tore themselves apart. She was about twelve, then, and while I’ve replaced some of her words with my own, the general idea is there, and even my parents expressed worry at her dream-forged prophecy.
But then the nightmares stopped. As if the Horologist had been defeated within her dreams, or simply forgotten, my sister ceased her terror-filled ramblings and never spoke of him again. My parents were immediately relieved, although I was even more disturbed by the sudden cessation, and the way my sister dismissed the nightmares as if they hadn’t been a huge deal.
So, comfortably drunk, I asked if she’d dreamed of him since, or thought about those awful nights. She stiffened a bit, a tinge of sobriety creeping back into her face, but soon relaxed and responded calmly, “No, I haven’t. Until now, I hadn’t thought about him.” I accepted the answer, seeing as how the mere mention of those forgotten nights had almost imperceptibly affected her. We talked of other things, then eventually went to our respective beds.
It was about 3AM when I heard the screaming. I quickly put on some pants—I sleep bottomless—and jog-stumbled to the guest room, the alcohol yet to fully recede from my brain. I flung the door open and found my sister’s husband slumped on the floor, at the foot of the bed, his head bowed. The moonlight which poured into the room had shone directly on his body, eerily illuminating him. His legs were spread apart, and between them blood had pooled, fed from a vicious wound in his abdomen. His plain white pajama set was speckled with droplets of blood.
I turned to the bed and found my sister sitting with her knees pulled to her chest, near the top of the bed between the pillows. The sheets were drenched in blood. She was also bloody, though I couldn’t see any injuries on her body. She was scratching at her head, wailing, plainly insensate. I called out to her but she did not notice, and continued crying out—in physical or emotional pain, I couldn’t tell.
I approached the bed, careful to avoid the body of her husband, and slowly reached towards my sister. Suddenly, she lashed out, seizing my wrist faster than I could withdraw, and pulled me onto the bed. I fell into her heavily, and smelled the awfully intermingled scents of blood and piss. My sister grabbed my hair with her other hand and brought my face to her’s. Her brown eyes were wild, unlike anything I’d ever seen expressed, and her breath smelled foul; like rot.
Still clutching my wrist, she brought my hand to her forehead, never breaking eye contact, and said, “He’s returned. You brought him back. You made me remember! He’ll unmake everything, now. Undo all of time’s work. The Black Horologist will wind back the clocks, then scatter the pieces!”
Then, coinciding with her dark prophecy, I saw it all happen. As if channeled from her mind, through my hand, and into my brain, a scene played out of the world and universe unraveling.
People simply dematerialized, or were reverted to earlier states of not just their being, but humanity’s. Once erect humans were returned to hunched, primal, dim-witted antecedents of modern mankind.
Planets were deconstructed, returned to the constituent components from which they’d been forged. Stars, dim and dying, regained their luster, then dissembled and their compositional particulate and energy dispersed—total reversal of the wondrous stellar action. The universe contracted, de-aged, imploded upon itself.
It was terrifying. I recoiled away from my sister, and she let go of me as I drew back. Tears streamed from her eyes, and with her hands no longer holding onto me, I saw that they were bloodied, and I saw a mess of entrails in her lap. She’d eviscerated her husband with her bare hands.
“Don’t you see” she spoke. “He’ll do all that. He’ll come through me and reduce everything to a single point, and then destroy it.” Her white undershirt was soaked through with sweat and tears, and I instinctively turned away so that I would not see her visible breasts. My gaze landed on her husband’s body, which sat unmoving. “What did he do?” I asked, not turning back to my sister.
She laughed, a throaty, sardonic sound, and I felt her moving on the bed. She hopped off, and started searching through one their suitcases. The guts, which had been in her lap, flopped wetly to the carpet, disregarded. She quickly found what she’d been searching for, and held it towards me. It was a book on parenting. “You’re pregnant?” I asked, incredulously, mentally setting aside the chaos of the night.
“No, I’m not.” she replied, darkly satisfied. “He wanted a child, though. Told me upfront tonight, when I crawled into bed. It was weird, because we’ve discussed it before, and he never expressed any considerable interest in the idea. But after you reminded me of the Horologist, the hubby there starts asking about a baby. So, I put two and two together, and realized why.”
I was by this point completely sober, and still could not deduce the connection between our conversation earlier in the night, and her husband’s desire to sire a child. When I didn’t speak up, she tossed the book at me, and again let out that cruel laugh which suggested more than a hint of budding insanity.
“The Horologist is acting through him. Infected him. If we had a kid, it would be the Horologist, or at least a vessel for him. See, he’s stuck in my head, trapped, capable of nothing more than sending me hideous visions. I can bare the psychological torment. I’d even suppressed him for nearly two decades, until you undid that. But his influence, his fucking control, can be extended beyond my skull. I’m sure he got into his.”
I tried, and failed, to make sense of her words. Things were definitely worse than they’d been when we were children. She was never violent during her night terrors. “Alyssa”, I said as placidly as possible, “You’re not well. This Horologist, he’s not real. You’ve done something terrible. You see that, don’t you?”
She stood there, damp with sweat and blood, her eyes meeting mine. Then she turned to the nightstand beside the bed, reached inside, and pulled out a pen. I thought she meant to write something, scribble some message of the Horologist, but instead she quickly brought the pen to her neck. It punctured her skin with a sound of sickening wetness, and blood quickly poured from the small perforation. I was running towards her before even realizing it, and slapped her hand away. I didn’t remove the pen, for fear of causing the steady yet small trickle to turn into a crimson geyser.
She held onto me, her face having gained a disheartening paleness, and said, “You’ve got to cut out my brain. Cut it out and burn it. Otherwise, he’ll just go into someone else. Maybe even you! My brain is his prison. Cut it out and burn it, burn him!”
Of course, I didn’t believe her lunatic ravings, even though I’d seen the vision, as clear as if it had originated from my own brain. I held her, cradling her in my arms as she moaned and begged me to perform the macabre deed, and was then again touched by some intimation of a lurking presence. Blood flowed beneath and between my fingers, and I found myself wondering why I hadn’t yet contacted the authorities. Then, just as I thought to get up and do so, I was visited once more by those terrible images of cosmic erasure.
The phantasmagorical retraction of time was even more vividly cataclysmic the second time around. I stopped my movement, and laid my sister down on the bed. The blood from her neck wound had soaked my clothes, and I realized that with how much blood she’d lost, there was no hope in saving her. She had come to this realization already, and removed the pen; unleashing a torrent of the stuff upon herself.
She smiled, again looking that happy way she had been when talking to, or about, her husband just a day before. She again repeated her request, somberly, knowing that she no longer needed to beg. My second glimpse at the horror that awaited us should I not act was enough. I believed her, despite the impossibility of it all.
I gently gathered my sister’s limp and blood-depleted body into my arms, and kissed her forehead. She smiled again, and thanked me for being a good brother. I returned her thanks with my own, and hugged her. After a few seconds, I felt her body slacken, and the warmness of her skin began to gradually fade.
I carried her downstairs and into the kitchen, then laid her body on the table. I went into the garage, fetched two of my saws, and set to completing the grisly task required of me. When I’d finished, I held her brain in my hands, awestruck at how warm it was, and how it pulsated, as if surged with some neurological power. I brought it to my oven, which I had turned on prior to the removal of the brain. I placed the brain in the oven, which had been set to the maximum allowable temperature, and waited until nothing but a shriveled and burnt vestige remained.
I removed the charred organ and buried it in my backyard; hoping it would be the end of my sister’s ordeal. I have the bodies to deal with, and am unsure as to what I should do with them. I think I’ll rest, for a while, and tackle this problem later in the morning once I have a fresh mind.