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The Little Dreamer

Beneath the Gates Where the Deep Darkness Hides

By John CoxPublished 2 months ago β€’ Updated 2 months ago β€’ 3 min read
Top Story - February 2024
Where did the poor child's angels hide when something evil awakened beneath his bed?

The little dreamer rested with one arm tucked around his Teddy and the other tightly gripping his Blanky, his gentle brow as soothing as a soft kiss upon the cheek. The sun shown brightly in his untroubled dreams, the grass beneath his running feet soft and green, his little dog leaping happily beside him.

But that night something wicked stirred beneath the gates where deep darkness hides. Something wretched and hungry for human hearts, a contagion born in the very witching hour of the night.

His little window flying suddenly open, shadows slipped wraithlike into the inner sanctum of the room, the full moon shining weakly upon the walls and floor as mold began to fester and crawl across them in its pale light.

Where did the poor child's guardian angels hide as something evil awakened beneath his bed? A pestilent vapor followed the shades, flying softly into the unprotected room as something moved slowly, ever so slowly from under the child's bed, its plated hide scraping and sawing across the floor.

The little one whimpered quietly in his sleep as if unconsciously aware of the evil gathering all around him. Two figures hidden by shadow watched as the Leviathan began to swell in size, its legs pressing its grotesque bulk up from the floor.

The first whispered to the second - Shouldn't we do something? But in reply the second simply raised his hand for silence.

Thrice the first figure tried to come to the child's aid as the Leviathan climbed atop the bed, its springs groaning under its terrible weight, and thrice the second held him back. The child's whimpers turned to soft and incoherent cries as the monster held the little dreamer close, much as the boy still gripped his precious Teddy.

As the boy's dreams slowly filled with cruel darkness, the creature began to shrink, his malevolence seeping like poison into the child's bloodstream and creeping cancer-like into the marrow of his bones. After an hour of tightly clinging to the boy the now tiny Leviathan finally disappeared into the night.

Only then did the second break his long silence. It is finished.

What is finished? the first asked in horror.

His innocence. He knows both good and evil now. Every waking moment, every waking hour he will face choices. When he chooses well he will experience indescribable peace. When he chooses poorly the darkness hidden behind the gates will cloud his thoughts and torment his dreams. Eventually he will sicken and pain will begin to make every waking moment a torture and sleeping an exercise in terror and futility.

But how will he know how to choose?

You will whisper to him so quietly that only he will ever hear you. But the Leviathan will speak to him as well. It will burn in his belly and his loins. It will thunder from the heavens above and shriek from hell below. It will awaken desires that until this moment he has never known.

Will he listen?

Perhaps one day. But he may simply drown your voice out with noise and busyness. If he fails to listen, eventually his heart will harden to stone. Like others before him, he will learn to live with the pain and suffering that comes when darkness batters with everlasting fury upon his heavy and unyielding walls.

And if he listens?

Then his walls will begin to crumble and the evil that once infected his heart will begin to seep out in harmless vapor.

In that day, when the high winds blow and the storms gather, when fires scorch the land and the ground shakes he will not be moved.

He will know in that day within the deepest recesses of his being the peace that he formerly had experienced in the innocence of childhood.

He will learn what only the wise ever know. Only in the stillness will the heart speak.


About the Creator

John Cox

Family man, grandfather, retired soldier and story teller with an edge.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  1. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  3. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  4. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (34)

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  • Courtanae Heslopabout a month ago

    I love the artwork

  • Catherine Dorian2 months ago

    As horrific as the descriptions are, John, I feel that this piece could be a didactic for explaining what evil is and why we all, on occasion, feel the impulse to commit evil. We only choose not to listen to it, to forsake it in the name of goodness, which we only feel by instinct, as your italicized characters explain in the end. I'm tempted to pair something like this with my teaching of Milton's Paradise Lost next year. Very well done. Have you considered expanding this, to give the child a voice? Maybe he asks these questions that his guardian angels are also answering. Well deserving of a top story.

  • Andrea Corwin 2 months ago

    Aww I was waiting for the guardians to protect him. Nice job, and drawing is scary!! Congrats.

  • Kelly Sibley 2 months ago

    Excellent work! Well done.

  • This is so well done, congrats on the top story!!

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    What a coming of age!

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!πŸ₯³πŸ₯³πŸ₯³

  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    It's amazing how in such a short word count you can develop so much depth and meaning. Happy belated Top Story John!

  • Your story is a moving meditation on the age-old struggle between good and evil, skillfully capturing the eerie sense of youthful innocence lost to the ominous darkness.

  • olymoolla2 months ago

    Your writing is very nice you write like this you will be a great writer And I was asked to do a story by going to my vocal ID

  • Wonderful and disturbing story, thank you for sharing

  • ROCK 2 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story John!

  • Test2 months ago

    Bravo! Your hard work is paying offβ€”keep it up, congratulations!

  • Ashley Shiflett2 months ago

    Oh wow! This is terrifying and very well written. I loved it so much. Congrats on top story!

  • Idogho Oghale2 months ago

    I like this story I hope he listens

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! πŸŽ‰πŸ’–πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸ’–πŸŽŠ

  • L.C. SchΓ€fer2 months ago

    Well done on your Top Story, well deserved!

  • Bonnie Bowerman2 months ago

    Beautifully crafted! So well done! Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Raymond G. Taylor2 months ago

    Super scary but with a profound moral message too. Congrats on the TS

  • JBaz2 months ago

    John, I have been away from vocal for a bit. When I returned I read this and it makes me angry to think of what else have I missed out on. Your story is truly a β€˜what lies under the bed’ horror should be. I love the depth and introduction to the creatures, the progress you took with telling what the true purpose is. Taking the innocence away, brilliant. An absolutely wonderful piece. Congratulations Read less

  • I am back to say CONGRATS on a well-deserved Top Story, John!

  • L.C. SchΓ€fer2 months ago

    Was this for the monster under the bed thingy? Perfect take on it if so, but well written either way πŸ‘

  • Beautifully done, John! Wow. This is the battle we all must endure. Childhood innocence lost, giving way to a sea of choices. Perfectly presented!

  • Powerfully & emphatically spiritual, John. A marvelously meaningful parable/fable & excellent companion to the Adam & Eve story where it's not about the specific fruit & never was. It was about understanding that they had a choice either to obey or not to obey. I may hold onto this for awhile & perhaps use it when next I preach if that's okay by you.

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