By Anthony Cantin

The Hole Within — Honest Fear

Darkness and Shadows Beneath True Threat

Inside the inside creeping and crawling under my skin, I lie awake sleeping in a lucid dream embedded there with vivid energy and implanted horror.

The house is quiet but the vision is not. Blue light flashes through my mind in an open scene. Spending the last hour and a half coding before bed has imprisoned my thoughts bombarding my half-sleeping conscious but I can not escape or wake.

An odd screeching voice repeating my name in a shrill repeated humming fills my head, “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah…”

The world is aflame. Zeroes and ones are cascading in verticle congested lines ending in a fiery splash. Then, the scene goes into a void. My being is swallowed in a vacuum consuming itself.

I wake in a sweat.

It appears time has ceased to exist.

The rules of physics abandoned.

I was exhausted and went to bed only one hour ago according to the clock beside my bed but I feel refreshed. This has happened to me a lot lately. Since taking this job doing freelance coding for an online casino app my circadian cycles have been out-of-whack.

My physical work during the day is taxing and I need 7 hours of sleep to operate optimally. Designing and putting together custom landscaping takes brute and endurance strength.

I’m lucky to be able to code and work remotely from our home office.

My husband, Jim, is always done by the time I get home with his remote job as a customer service rep manager. He works after getting the kids to school in the morning until late afternoon.

We’re lucky to have the freedom the digital world offers and I get my exercise being creative in improving home landscapes.

The disturbed perspiration beading on the top of my back and forehead startles me awake and I can’t go back to sleep.

Sleeping Woman by Annie Spratt

Aggravated, I stumble out of bed and do a tired walk to the office and sit down to work at my laptop. After typing in my key to unlock the screen the normal boot flashes in less than a second but it seems like an hour. My brain is dancing through thick quicksand. The air feels dense. My senses are dull.

I see the screen. Multiple windows open but as I move the mouse and pointer to select Sublime Text, my code editor, my head droops heavily. I think, “Maybe I can go to sleep now.”

Then blackness.

I hadn’t turned any lights on in the office, my laptop was bright enough. Suddenly darkness. The battery must be low. That didn’t make sense because I always had it plugged in when in the office. I hope the screen light hasn’t suddenly gone out.

A brief chasm of time elapsed and then a small red spark began to spiral in the center of my laptop screen. The spiral became a ball. The ball began to form fingers. The shadow of a red fist took shape.

The red of the fist suddenly glowed, it burned and spoke to my mind without any sound. “At last I’ve come to set things right!

At this point, I surmise, “ I must be trippin’.” This must be a dream and I’ve just fallen asleep at my desk, passed out from physical exhaustion and brain drain.

Then I heard my husband snoring. His annoying snoring filled the house with it’s rough, grating gurgle after heavy dinners.

The burning red hand turns and points at me. “You’ve failed me and I’ve come to get my reward.” So now the thought occurred to me that I should just get up and go back to bed and this whacked, weird dream state would just be a memory in the morning. But, I couldn’t move.

The hand spoke to my thoughts again, “Remember the oath you made to me as a young woman. I never forget.”

There was that time when I was with my 3 besties in our college dorm. We were doing a seance with scented candles and a Wigi board. I had borrowed an ancient, worn book of witching spells from our history professor and laughed when she warned to be cautious not to recite the incantations.

My oath was to the spirit called Adversary, “I commit my inner eye to thee that of what I ask you give for free unless that day that I repent and pledge my soul to another sent!” My girlfriends and I thought it was hilarious and their pledges had been just as ridiculous.

Twenty years had passed since that day. I only asked Adversary for a successful life with a good husband, two children, and a nice house with a pool. I had those things and more but hard work and a lot of love made that happen.

The scorching hot red hand spoke in my mind, “You forgot about me but now I see you’ve given your soul to a new entity. So, I’ve come to get what is mine and use this device that owns you now that you may see.”

I’ve had weird dreams before but this was wild!

By Bruce Christianson

Maybe this is just my guilty conscious getting me because I should be spending more time with the family than working, I thought. The burning red hand burst into a scorching, bright flame. I believe I saw my laptop desktop go back to normal but fell asleep on my folded arms.

I heard my husband walking into the office in the morning. My neck was stiff and I couldn’t raise my tired head for the moment. I just wanted to sleep.

“Honey, Sarah wake up. You have that job this morning.” I heard Jim being the concerned husband as usual. I opened my eyes.

The darkness remained. I strained, standing and turning my head to shake off the cobwebs to see the office, to see Jim.

Darkness.

I shrieked and cried out, “Jim are you there!” The burning red fist forms in the darkness and points into my spirit, into my gut, “I’ve taken your sight, the price for your transgression.”

Utter darkness remains and an emptiness fills my being burning red hot like a fist choking my soul.

Bringing real feelings along with messages of inspiration and imagination to life. Awakening is the symptom of my infectious condition. Poetry is my condition.

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