I pressed my knuckles deep into my eye sockets and turned my wrists again-and-again. I was trying to scratch my brain. To touch the parts that caused this awful dream. I didn’t know i had it in me. Moments ago I was in a forest laughing. We were playing on a carpet of moss as green as emeralds. Trees so tall the stars knew their name. Bark so moist it conformed to your fingers. We were hunting as the sun was coming down from its high throne. A light fog lingered inches from the ground. Our prey was the chestnut and we gathered them by the armload. Samantha was our basket and she was laughing so hard she could barely stand. An endless barrage of children were emptying their cache into her long dress. Underneath the hemp, her arms had formed a giant basket. She was chock full and giggling. Someone had called her a kangaroo and she started hopping. Every jump, her giant cache would remain frozen in time and space before falling back down inside her. The sound was intoxicating. If only I would had woken.
An electric charge filled the forest as the fog instantly turned to steam. Ears and eyes rose in terror as everyone in our party scattered. I remained, frozen by the spectacle, and watched it all happen. Dark tall figures were appearing out of thin air. One materialized in front of me. He was nine feet tall without a neck. His chest grew a giant stub of a head. Every feature was dark and muted. His arms barely left his body. His wide body blocked out the sun completely. I could only guess he had two legs. He lifted me by the neck effortlessly. My limbs dangling like a dead rabbit. He kept my eyes pointing into the blackness that was his face. His actions were long and deliberate as if his intentions were purely to elicit a reaction.
He revealed a device akin to a large electric razor. At each side of the instrument were two pincers that looked like a giant beetle’s mouth with spark plugs. Shoulder-length apart, he held the device inches from my chest and made some adjustments. The pincers spread wider as if finding their mark. He gazed at me one last time before i heard the whir and hum. Two bright blue electric bolts burrowed into my chest just below my shoulders. I felt the bolts under my skin cook my blood. I could no longer move my lungs. My muscles did not respond. My captor seemed to perk up a bit at my realization. He started turning dials as the machine contracted my muscles and forced me to expel my lungs. My chest sank deeper and deeper as I felt the oxygen push from my body. My ribs could feel the bending pain as the suction compacted my chest. He turned the dial again and my lungs instantly filled as my mouth and nose felt the gush of air. I could taste him on my tongue. He left the air in my lungs for a while as my dangling feet pleaded for mercy. My heart stumbled at every erratic breath. He was quite skilled with the device. In-and-out he did this. He watched my expressions gasping for air again-and-again.
His intentions were clear. He was absorbing my fear. He too was here in the forest hunting. As terror dripped from my eyes, he was ingesting my prana like sap from a tree. He could tell my vessel was empty. With his belly full I watched him adjust some dials. I realized he was going to let me go. I was overcome by a startling feeling of familiarity. This had happened before. Just then the pincers shot another bolt into my chest. I was breathing on my own. I noticed another plug rise from the machine. This was bigger and came from the center. He raised the device to my forehead as he adjusted some dials. It made perfect sense. He was going to erase the memory of what had just happened. His next harvest would yield the same bounty of fear. I heard the buzzing hum again…
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