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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2240826
The watcher becomes the watched.
When Dreams Come True

Somebody is watching me. I can feel it. You’ve had that feeling, when you just know you’re observed although you can’t see who’s doing it. There’s nothing quite like that certainty that there are eyes fixed on you.

And don’t tell me it’s my imagination. I’ve been around long enough to know the difference between a figment and a fact. If anything, I’m super sensitive to the possibility of being watched and I notice the moment when the focus is switched to me. It makes me squirm to avoid this surveillance, especially when I can’t discern where it’s coming from.

So now you think I’m paranoid, that it’s normal for me to feel this way. But you’re wrong again - the very fact that I can sense watching eyes so quickly doesn’t come from living with that feeling. It’s quite rare, in fact, and that may heighten my sensitivity when it does happen. This isn’t imagined; it’s intuition. Somebody is watching me.

I turn and retrace my steps, hoping to force them to break cover. But there’s nothing. Wherever this watcher is, it’s perfectly concealed. This is becoming annoying. Especially since this is not how it’s supposed to happen. I am the one who does the watching, who haunts your dreams with my pursuit, who scares your children from sleep with my secret and unseen threats. It’s from me that you run in irrational terror, unable to make out even my form yet aware, oh so aware, of my frightening presence.

Your mother called me Nightmare, as if giving me a name would make me somehow less of a monster to her shivering child, now too afraid to sleep again. But the little ones know that I am Nameless, without shape or definition, driven only to pursue them to destruction or, more usually, wakefulness.

Which makes this sudden observation of myself the more galling. How is this perpetrator of the deed able to see me at all? I am, after all, not even a shadow of myself, being composed entirely of the unspoken fears and terrors of immature minds gazing into their futures. It should not be possible to watch me like this. The insult to my horrifying being is not to be borne. Enough of this; I must discover those eyes and put a stop to this nonsense.

And there may be a way. My present client, for instance, may well be a means to gain a viewpoint on the world of living. If I were to break all the rules and actually catch the little beggar, I could inhabit its silly little head and use its eyes to find my watcher. And that would mean doing it now, for it’s now that I feel the watcher, probing forever at the back of my head. Yes, I will attempt the thing this very moment.

Now, come little vagabond, let me make you powerful as never before. I seek you in daylight this time and you will have no escape into wakefulness once I am unbound by the shades of night.

Ah, there you are, my pathetic Henry or whatever your mother calls you. Let the chase begin in a new form. I feel your horror as you realise that there is nowhere to hide this time, I see your legs pounding uselessly as the air turns into a mire of molasses and I get closer, ever closer, breathing now upon your neck and…

There, I am in, and can rein in your fear, bringing a new calm and willingness to experience this new exhilaration of power. See how we can be in control now, how the world must cower before us? And you are my patient helper in the quest before us, the search for the one who dares to watch me.

But I see him already, seated before us, scratching in some notebook in his grasp. Can it be? Has your mother descended as low as to have you seen by a psychiatrist? The poor fool, she should know that your nightmares are merely symptoms of a mind awakening and nothing to be meddled with by some idiot dabbling in matters beyond his comprehension.

Oh, this is going to be fun, Jimmy, or whatever your silly name is. Would you like to learn how to shape shift? How about becoming a great, green monster that will scare the pants off this miserable dealer in quackery of the mind? We can show him the folly of watching the one who watches.

That’s a brilliant idea, Billy! To try for a heart attack. And here I was, thinking only of putting the fear of the unknown into the pathetic creature. If you’re going to have such good ideas, I may well just let you do the scaring and I’ll sit back and watch. In fact, that’s exactly what I’ll do.

What is your name, by the way?

Word Count: 816
For SCREAMS!!! January 01 2021
Prompt: An invisible gaze

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