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A New Excerpt From "My Nightmares" Collection

by Z-Man about a year ago in fiction
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The Phantom Memorandum, Page X

"We deal in ghosts."

I came to this understanding as I took in every possible angle of the old house one last time, burdened by that sense of finality as hours were now the only connective tissue that bound us. The time had come to grasp at all it had offered to me before it fell away from my hands, apparently forever.

This new understanding, if you could really call it that, was true, after all. There was a certain duality that came with the idea, as if pre-packaged. It was the idea that the emptiness of lost space was not quite empty after all. When I had moved in, there was an inviting emptiness present, like a bleached canvas waiting to be invented all over again. Now, it was my duty to do the bleaching for myself. It was an awful feeling, having to tear down the mental wallpaper that would fall, whether by conscious choice or conscious submission. But it had to be done. Phantom pains had to run their course; there was no other way.

So, by an effort of compromise, I documented each and every angle that proved memorable to me, based in fleeting memories of searching and reception. It was a tradition of mine that never failed to surface. I did so not only for my own peace of mind, but for that of the future desires of those who had shared precious moments with me inside its walls. The mind will provide any eventual building blocks, of that I am certain, but sometimes--especially for those precocious youths involved--memory would need physical evidence to be led.

Eventually, the moment had come to leave. With an understanding that this was my final chance to pore over what would soon rapidly mature into ancient history, I locked the door and collected myself for some time. I felt I had all the time in the world now as I stood in place, batting away final hesitations until they were stunned enough for me to make my escape.

With a final effort I turned and made the final journey down the drive. The sounds of nature held a nuance of sad reverie behind their incontrovertable song as I descended toward my erstwhile companion in martyrdom, awaiting me below.


As time moved on, the trials of that day faded into the obscure definition of my past. I settled into my next home away from home. The beast that would evntually squeeze my heart to a pulp like clay in its dripping clutches was, as far as I could tell, still yet in its infancy, if not in utero. The time was ripe for joyous revelries and surrogate peace. Soon enough, that monster would be unleashed into the shadows, and its voracious hunger would take its rightful place on the mantle.

That phrase came back to me one night, years later, as I lay in bed, dreams playing not behind closed lids but on my open ceiling.

"We deal in ghosts." How true that was. Frighteningly true. It made me wonder about life and death, and if there was really such a thing as either at all. What if ghosts were all we were, and life and death simply points of reference to possibility and impossibility. And if so, what of light and dark? Were shadows dancing on the wall, in fact, shadows dancing on the wall? Did those creeping sensations of being watched, even when you knew you were alone, have merit after all?

Although moonlight spilled onto my windowsill, all was still and featureless. Shadows would come, eventually, as surely as the moon was held to its journey across the dark canvas up above. But for now, every corner of my room was completely and utterly black.

And yet, my mind couldn't find rest. For if those shadows were bound to come, what stopped that other from coming?

That brethen of shadow that wasn't so much a shadow as a glow; a glow the color of toxic waste and the sickly hue of neon nightmares.

But that had been a dream. A dream, in fact, preceded by a dream, separated by a dream of years. It had been one of youthful countenance, and youthful sophistication. What had brought that dream back to my sleeping hours at that more recent juncture was as much a mystery now as it likely would remain for indefinite hours to come.

But I wouldn't elaborate on that any further. Not now. Waking memories were one thing. But those memories, brewed and fashioned within the confines of my mind, were a different beast altogether. Memories like that could only be forgotten. Extracated through the dark passages of inconceivable phantomways.

It took some time, but eventually I had forgotten all about...whatever it was that had concerned me.

Looking over at the clock on my bedside table, I realized it was already half ten. It had been almost two hours since I had lain down, and it really wasn't like me to take so long to pass out.

Reorienting myself a bit more comfortably, I laid first on my back, and then on my side. Not to avoid the ceiling (though that was part of the reason, surely) but for the simpler reason of habit that I preferred it that way.

Although other aspects came and went as the cloud of unconsciousness began to invade my senses, the last clear picture I had before falling asleep was of my bedroom window, funneling the moonlight onto me like a searchlight.


About the author



Hello all! I am an aspiring vocalist, filmmaker + writer. I hope you gain something personal + inspiring from my work here. You are also welcome to subscribe to my YouTube Channel: Ad-Libbing With The Zman.

Thank You!



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