01 Feb The Dream Weaver
As I entered the facility, I could all but bite down the aggravating anxiety that arose from my gut as I approached the main desk. The receptionist who resided behind it glanced up with a half-hearted smile.
“Hello,” I began rather foolishly, “I’m here for the dream weaver experiment; I saw in the paper yesterday that volunteers were requested?”
The short, stout woman nodded affirmatively, passed me a clipboard and pen and instructed me to fill out the provided questionnaire. As excitement overcame paranoia, I perched on a nearby chair and began to fill it out appropriately – it consisted of generalised medical questions and a sleep-related survey, asking me how long I generally slept, and at what time I would awake from my slumber. There were some random questions in there as well, and it all appeared somewhat insignificant in my eyes, however I assumed it was to trial a wide variety of people.
The only question I saw relevant to the experiment was the final question which asked how often do you dream?. As that reoccurring feeling of being outcast returned, I ticked the box labelled NEVER. I can not pinpoint a single memory in my evanescing childhood where I had a dream, and truth be told, that is the exact reason I took an immediate interest in the experiment when I saw it advertised – an experiment to study how the brain replicates what it sees into dreams. A new machine, namely dream weaver, was capable of recording and replaying dreams.
I handed the receptionist my form, and she took a small glance and the final inquiry about the frequency of my dreams. She must have been contented, to my surprise, because she indicated to the double doors at the right and informed me that “Dr. Mace will be waiting through there”. She handed back my form.
Beyond the doors was a white labyrinth of busy scientists and bizarre contraptions being tested. Towards the end of the current corridor was a large glass room, and inside a small, jolly man – Dr. Mace, I assumed – stood up upon noticing me. He shook my hand, took my questionnaire and instructed me to sit before addressing me.
“Welcome Mr-” He paused to read the name written on the form, “André. Thank you for your involvement in the dream weaver experimentation. Over the course of the following 5 days, your mind will be subjected to a video we have devised to test your sub-conscience memory. Your dreams will be monitored and your psychological processing will be recorded and replicated as an evidential video. Do you have any questions?”
I shook my head, thinking it wise not to interrogate Dr. Mace about how the machine could do such promises. I signed two further forms of consent before being lead to a small, dark room equipped with a chair, a large projector, and a pair of headphones. Once I was adjusted and left alone, the video began.
It began as a flurry of faces and speech fragments, compiled together in such a manner, it caused my head to throb. There was a consistent crackle, an old-style effect which ran over the constant flashes of images, videos, and conversational snippets, all of which demonstrating a distressing theme or topic that I found occasionally difficult to watch. I must have witnessed around 30 faces within a minutes time, and at some points I could have sworn that the face of Dr. Mace – and other seen scientists – cropped up. I thought nothing of it, as after all this was their video, and they were entitled to include themselves if so wanted. Unknown people continued to arise, however, by this point in the video, I had tuned out of the frenzy and instead focused my attention, indecisive whether deliberately or subconsciously, on the figure who unnervingly seemed now predominant in the background. Whilst I wasn’t sure when it appeared, it remained in the distance throughout. From the said distance, it was difficult to distinguish any set characteristics or features; all I could decipher at this point was it’s figure, fully black, tall and bulky with wide shoulders and elongated claws which stretched down to the floor. And whilst I could not see it’s eyes – or any of it’s face, for that matter – something about it’s gaze was unsettling, unnatural, as if somehow it was returning my stare. The scenes began to escalate in severity and yet I could not focus on them, I was drawn to this figure that emanated something dark and fearful that I simply couldn’t describe in words. The video came to an end, and only now the impact of the cacophonous screaming, moaning and shouting became apparent – my head pulsated, and my eardrums screamed for pity.
I was returned to my room, assured by Dr. Mace that “headaches were predicted side-effects” and that I “had nothing to be concerned about.” I was now to “get some rest”. Two other scientists – Dr. Wester and Dr. Cole – connected me to the dream weaver. I had presumed that the machine would alight, or make some sort of noise, but it remained dormant – perhaps as not to disturb my sleep.
Within what, to me, felt like a second, I was awoken by the radiant sunlight through the window. Groggily, I sat up, having no recognition (as usual) of even falling asleep. At first, I felt guilty that I had wasted their time and failed the dream experiment, but to my surprise, Dr. Mace came bursting in. “Come quick” he demanded, guiding me to the room with the projector. “It worked, it actually worked. Take a look.”
The projected started. Before my eyes appeared the room I had slept in, and I could see myself, sat in the middle of the room.
“This.. This is my dream?” I asked.
“Yes. It’s what we call a ‘third-person perspective’. Very common”
I continued to watch, waiting for something to happen, looking around the screen desperately. That’s when I saw it.
I didn’t know, again, the point at which it appeared – whether it had been there from the beginning, or whether it only just materialised – but I could see it clearly now, beyond the window in the dark depths of my subconscious reality. It was the figure from the video, and similarly, I couldn’t escape it’s glare; it’s sinister stare was captivating. “That,” I pointed slowly, “that’s from the video. What is it?”
Dr. Mace let out a brief chuckle, unexpectedly maniacal. “That is the Weaver,” he said blatantly, as if I should have known this fact, “he is nothing more than a feature of the video. That’s all.” There was nothing more on the topic. I was skeptical, yet I decided to go with what he said. The dream lasted a good hour, but nothing significant occurred, and I soon lost interest.
Over the next few days, their experiment continued. I would watch the video, sleep, and re-watch my dream in a continuous cycle. According to Dr. Mace, the video remained the same, however I believed differently. I can’t say whether what I thought was true, or whether it was just my imagination, but the Weaver seemed to get closer to the screen each night. By the fourth night, he was so close I could clearly determine his facial features, – dark, pitted eyes -so dark it was hard to decipher what was pupil and what wasn’t- his smile was broad, upturned, primitive and animalistic. And he continued to look at me: look back beyond the screen, unmoving, unblinking. My dreams became progressively distressing, too. The previous silence was now replaced with constant whispers (although what was said remained a mystery), chants, and shouts, along with a dull static sound. I would walk around the room, punch and kick the walls, rock back and forth, and demand that the torment should stop. The Weaver had most certainly advanced to the point where he loomed at the glass of the window, tapping loudly on the pane with its bony claws with a berserk smile plastered on its face.
When night 4’s video came to a chilling end, Dr. Mace nodded slowly at the other scientists behind him, and I was taken back to my room, much earlier than usual. However this time, procedure was somewhat different.
I heard the door lock behind me. “Thank you for your co-operation, Mr. André. The experiment is almost complete”. Dr. Mace murmured, his footsteps disappearing down the hallway, leaving me in the silence and solitude of my own company. Strange – I hadn’t been wired up to the dream weaver, and had not been shown the perculiar video that day – why? I moved toward the ghastly machine, pulling on the wires, attempting to remember where they were connected previously. It was this exact point that I noticed something was missing; the machine had no power cable, nor was there a socket for it to plug into. I’d neither noticed nor cared beforehand, but now I got a strange chill that ran down the entirety of my spine – a cold sensation of fear, dread and realisation.
The machine had no power. The machine wasn’t real.
Only now did I notice something peculiar in the room; yet another thing that I had failed to see. In the top right corner of the room, above the door, was a small security camera. I steadily approached, placing each footstep cautiously, until I stood directly beneath it. I could see my reflection staring back at me, and from this reflection I saw not only my own, terrified self, but the room around me at the same angle I has seen in the videos. Perfectly tucked out of direct sight, it gave a broad view of the room, from a ‘3rd-person perspective’, that I had slept in for the last four days; the window where that.. that thing had visited me nightly. The chilling sting of reality hit me hard:
The tapes I had watched were not my dreams; they were video footage.
The room become cold, dark, empty. My body was overwhelmed by a level of terror I deemed impossible; my breathing shallowed, my skin elapsed into a cold sweat and my mind burned in the flames of fear as I couldn’t help but notice that something mad and maniacal lurked in the shadowy corners of my peripheral vision. It had returned for me.
I turned my head, and as I did, the imminent silence was shattered. Whispering tore from nowhere and yet it was everywhere, each whisper overlapping another in repetition. “The Weaver has seen you”, “he’s coming for you”, and “Once he’s seen you, there is no escape” remained to be the most predominant of statements which swarmed the room. The static buzz returned too; a form of numbness in my head that made me twitch uncomfortably. The Weaver was standing beside the window, with an animalistic gargle emanating from his hideous throat. Saliva oozed from it’s interlocking fangs and dispersed as it snapped its neck a few times at freakishly aberrant angles before locking it’s perverse pits of eyes upon me. It took a looming step towards me – a steady outstretch of its bony, bulky limb- whilst keeping it’s devilish head fixed upon me. Each stride brought it a no less than a meter closer to my position against the wall, and each time the distance between us decreased, the severity of the situation intensified.
Whispers quickly escalated into deafening bellows; screams, shouts and moans. The buzzing had become a constant, loud whir that echoed off of the walls and clung to my ears tightly.
The Weaver took it’s long, continuous strands until it stood just inches from my face. It’s hot, clammy breath fell upon my skin as if continued to snap it’s neck and fingers, each time with a more sickening crack. I was drawn to it’s eyes; I couldn’t look away. As it opened its gaping jaws, revealing rows of needle-like canines, I began to feel a burning sensation that spread across my entire body in seconds. I can only describe if as being thrown in a live, raging fire… And yet I did not flinch – I couldn’t do anything except gaze acceptingly into the eyes of death. The noise around me had fell away to a small whisper in my ears: “the Weaver’s seen you now”.
It lifted its arm, and took my neck in the cold embrace of its claws. They felt like ice, and brought somewhat of a comfort to the magma under my skin. I had little idea of what was happening; I was lost in it’s eyes, transfixed in it’s ghastly gaze. It continued to breath heavily, taking long, raspy breaths as if it was struggling for air. Its claws – long blades of skin and bone – tightened, slicing into the soft, warm flesh of my neck. I felt no pain: only strange discomfort. I could feel the hot, sticky blood ooze down onto my chest… Ooze down onto its constricting digits. The area that was visible to me began to shrink, as if a final darkness grew from all corners of my sight.The whispering was silenced. Everything was silenced. The only thing that remained was the Weaver.
I began to wheeze; the struggle for breath escalated alarmingly, and yet I still felt too compelled by its empty pits of eyes not to escape its grasp. There was little point in retaliation – the Weaver had me now.
In the final ten seconds or so – it may have been shorter, as each second felt like an eternity – the pain kicked in. Suddenly, and overpoweringly, the agony which screamed where my flesh was torn and sliced was finally heard. I was unable to broadcast my pain; the only sound that escaped my throat was a pathetic, woeful rasp. The Weaver gave a small, satisfied smile at my pain, and cocked its dark head at a slight angle with a small snap. In its hoarse, grating voice, it slowly uttered the final words I would ever hear – the final words any of its unfortunate victims would hear: “You saw me. And I saw you. And now you are mine.”
The Weaver tightened his claws until he had a firm grip around the mutilated neck before turning his hand. There was a sickening crack, which brought a seemingly psychotic grin to the Weavers’ face as he watched the bloodied body slump to the ground. It turned towards the camera, readjusting its neck.
The experiment was now over. The Weaver had claimed another victim for his video; somebody else to control.
And now he requires somebody new. But that’s ok.
He’s seen you now.