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I Killed a Man in a Dream

by AmbientGravity


My father found a corpse behind the back shed. I put it there but can’t remember when or why. I do remember slashing the throat watching the blood seep out, sticky, metallic, and thick. I screamed when he lifted the body from the snow, buried there frozen for months? Weeks? Hours? I couldn’t remember. I have so much trouble remembering things these days, but I remembered I had to scream or they’d know it was me. They knew anyway, they always did. They didn’t know there was another body there too though. Frozen, shoved against the wall in a half-hearted attempt at a burial. An old woman or a young woman I cannot recall, but she looked like me only shallower, emptier, and arguably more alive. The other corpse was a man with no face, that is to say he had a face but it was featureless except for a scratchy swath of stubble, a facsimile of a beard, and an expression of cruelty undeniable even in death. I didn’t watch the woman die, though I think I killed her. I did drag her body out behind the back shed, trying in vain to shovel piles of leaves over her-over my-body with half-frozen hands. Choking back tears all the while though I don’t know why. They knew I’d done it, they always did, but they didn’t do anything about it.

“He was hurting me.” I’d choke out through a deluge of tears.

“He was hurting me, she was hurting me, they were all hurting me, I was hurting myself,” and that would be it.

But all of a sudden I’m a different person. I am not myself, this is not my skin, these are not my tears, these teeth do not belong to me. They fit strangely in my skull. I remember now. I know there’s another fifteen bodies buried in the woods. Another fifteen men, creatures. Tricked by me, trapped by me, lured to their deaths. They were hurting me, but they weren’t hurting me, they were hurting another me, a different me, one who’s teeth felt at home in her own head. But nobody knew about the bodies in the woods, or the bodies by the back shed, or the bodies that litter the grounds of the grandiose estate that I keep in my mind. No one knows about the little girl whose teeth fit immaculately like pearly white soldiers in formation. The little girl whose skin doesn’t make her itch, whose mind doesn’t urge her to pluck out her eyes, maul her own face, or kill fifteen men just to feel something. The little girl who lies dead on a fountain at the center of my mind. The little girl sheltered away behind a thousand locked doors and padlocked gates, the gun clutched in her small hand still hot, and the hole in the back of her head oozing blood like sap from a tree. Her lifeless eyes still wet with tears even now five years since the gun went off, five years since the doors locked and the gates slammed shut.

I who am not, in fact, I but someone else entirely can remember only one of those fifteen men. He was screaming and crying and begging for his life. The sound split my brain like a concussion. It was all too much, the noise, the pain, and all this dreadful red leaking down my wrists. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe, not with all this noise. So I screamed at him, screamed to shut him up, to stop crying, stop begging, stop pleading, stop hurting me, and he did, he stopped. Everything was quiet, the forest, my mind, even route 25 below us seemed to still, and for once I spoke. Softly, quietly, and even as his life that may have been my life drained out, he listened. He listened as I told him about the estate and the little girl, and all the mes who had come after her who found their graves elsewhere in my mind. He listened as I told him, my voice barely above a whisper, about how sometimes in my mind's eye I can see myself there, I can see myself happy. Smiling wide, grinning as I spin in a field. The world is warm and yellow, and the sun is blindingly bright, and I am happy, even if it hurts. He listens to this all, he listens and he listens until he can’t anymore, and even then he does. It’s only then, as I watch the light reflecting red off the snow, that I realize, that maybe he didn’t have to die, maybe we were the same, and he wasn’t hurting me after all, and maybe we could have just sat in that silence forever, it wasn’t warm and it wasn’t yellow but it was quiet just for a moment. This is a world where I speak only in sobs, and I had a dream that I killed fifteen men and woke up screaming.


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Wed Sep 15, 2021 6:32 pm
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi AmbientGravity,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

It was a very interesting story, which partly resembled a horror story. Only, it was told from the point of view that you see far too rarely, which somehow made it very appealing. Through your very daring choice of words and the structure, one can form an opinion as a reader whether one or more murders are justified, but ultimately, of course, it is not good.

While the first paragraph is still exclusively about the dead, this tone changes rapidly as we get into the next sections. I like this change because it tells us a bit about this inner conflict that the narrator has. Whereby I am not entirely convinced whether it is a conflict as we know it, or whether the narrator has a personality disorder that makes him become active depending on which character in his head is currently getting the dominant limb.

I liked the story from a story and narrative point of view. There was something quiet and inhibited about it, something eerie but also something strange. I can't really interpret it and I think that will also come down to the reader forming something from it themselves. The mixture of dream and reality makes it seem as if something has happened subconsciously as well and you are trying to keep it in a fog that remains in the unknown.

Only one thing I have a little to criticise and that is the length of the paragraphs. I can see that from an artistic point of view they are necessary to give this effect, but a concrete and better division, along with shorter sections, would make reading much easier.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




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Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:58 pm
HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm Harry here to leave a quick review!

First Impression: This was a really interesting piece. There was some pretty well done description and the emotions depicted in here were also done really well. It really does do a good job of painting a rather visceral image of what the feeling are of this whole ordeal must be like and the reveal at the end is also a nice touch. Its quite surprising and a little bit out of the blue or at least it would be if it wasn't for the title so I suppose because of that its allowed to be a little out of the blue although I do feel that the emotional power of this gets reduced because the whole time we are waiting for when the reveal will come that its all just a dream.

Anyway let's get right to it,

My father found a corpse behind the back shed. I put it there but can’t remember when or why. I do remember slashing the throat watching the blood seep out, sticky, metallic, and thick. I screamed when he lifted the body from the snow, buried there frozen for months? Weeks? Hours? I couldn’t remember. I have so much trouble remembering things these days, but I remembered I had to scream or they’d know it was me. They knew anyway, they always did. They didn’t know there was another body there too though. Frozen, shoved against the wall in a half-hearted attempt at a burial. An old woman or a young woman I cannot recall, but she looked like me only shallower, emptier, and arguably more alive. The other corpse was a man with no face, that is to say he had a face but it was featureless except for a scratchy swath of stubble, a facsimile of a beard, and an expression of cruelty undeniable even in death. I didn’t watch the woman die, though I think I killed her. I did drag her body out behind the back shed, trying in vain to shovel piles of leaves over her-over my-body with half-frozen hands. Choking back tears all the while though I don’t know why. They knew I’d done it, they always did, but they didn’t do anything about it.


Oh dear...well we are getting right to the point I see. That looks like an absolutely terrifying experience to be starting off with and that is quite powerful. It is kind of a long paragraph but I think it actually helps convey the kind of emotions that our protagonist is experiencing at the moment so maybe its fine but I do think it is still a little too long. And it does look like we're starting off with someone in quite a horrible situation.

“He was hurting me.” I’d choke out through a deluge of tears.

“He was hurting me, she was hurting me, they were all hurting me, I was hurting myself,” and that would be it.


Well definitely the words of someone experiencing a lot of regret although the whole hurting part seems a bit suspect there. It looks something a little deeper is going on here.

But all of a sudden I’m a different person. I am not myself, this is not my skin, these are not my tears, these teeth do not belong to me. They fit strangely in my skull. I remember now. I know there’s another fifteen bodies buried in the woods. Another fifteen men, creatures. Tricked by me, trapped by me, lured to their deaths. They were hurting me, but they weren’t hurting me, they were hurting another me, a different me, one who’s teeth felt at home in her own head. But nobody knew about the bodies in the woods, or the bodies by the back shed, or the bodies that litter the grounds of the grandiose estate that I keep in my mind. No one knows about the little girl whose teeth fit immaculately like pearly white soldiers in formation. The little girl whose skin doesn’t make her itch, whose mind doesn’t urge her to pluck out her eyes, maul her own face, or kill fifteen men just to feel something. The little girl who lies dead on a fountain at the center of my mind. The little girl sheltered away behind a thousand locked doors and padlocked gates, the gun clutched in her small hand still hot, and the hole in the back of her head oozing blood like sap from a tree. Her lifeless eyes still wet with tears even now five years since the gun went off, five years since the doors locked and the gates slammed shut.


Oh dear well that looks like a lot of very gruesome description and a lot of very deep issues suffered by the protagonist that is somehow regretting doing some truly terrible things. This is certainly a very heavy story with all that is in it and I think you're doing a great job capturing all of that.

I who am not, in fact, I but someone else entirely can remember only one of those fifteen men. He was screaming and crying and begging for his life. The sound split my brain like a concussion. It was all too much, the noise, the pain, and all this dreadful red leaking down my wrists. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe, not with all this noise. So I screamed at him, screamed to shut him up, to stop crying, stop begging, stop pleading, stop hurting me, and he did, he stopped. Everything was quiet, the forest, my mind, even route 25 below us seemed to still, and for once I spoke. Softly, quietly, and even as his life that may have been my life drained out, he listened. He listened as I told him about the estate and the little girl, and all the mes who had come after her who found their graves elsewhere in my mind. He listened as I told him, my voice barely above a whisper, about how sometimes in my mind's eye I can see myself there, I can see myself happy. Smiling wide, grinning as I spin in a field. The world is warm and yellow, and the sun is blindingly bright, and I am happy, even if it hurts. He listens to this all, he listens and he listens until he can’t anymore, and even then he does. It’s only then, as I watch the light reflecting red off the snow, that I realize, that maybe he didn’t have to die, maybe we were the same, and he wasn’t hurting me after all, and maybe we could have just sat in that silence forever, it wasn’t warm and it wasn’t yellow but it was quiet just for a moment. This is a world where I speak only in sobs, and I had a dream that I killed fifteen men and woke up screaming.


Well that's quite a reveal that you have right there at the end. Looks like all of this was in this person's head after all and that opens up some very interesting questions about what's going on in the person's head to conjure all of this. Well the description is again great but I do think its a tad repetitive now because its just a lot of death and once again the paragraphs are massive but its certainly got a lot of potential to be streamlined into a really good short.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall I think this is a powerful story but it needs to undergo a decent amount of editing before it reaches its full potential. You may also want to reconsider the title just a bit. But yeah, I believe that is about all that I have to say today.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




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Wed Dec 30, 2020 10:45 pm
yumi wrote a review...



Their are several somethings admirably similar to the nightmarish fever dreams depicted by the devilish pen of the great horror master, Edgar Allan Poe, in this one, this notable addition to the subgenre of depictions of disturbed dream, guaranteed to disturbed the dreams of whichever person is lucky enough to read it. Notably and in particular, I see you embrace his "less is more" philosophy to tremendous effect: you jump right in to the story, tell it using only the most pertinent details, and them exit after causing the almost maximum impact your story could impart.
I say, "ALMOST maximum impact" because I do think more effective use of paragraphs COULD positively impact the impact of the piece overall, (For example, the very first sentence grabs your attention, and could possibly work BETTER as a standalone paragraph?) especially since it looks a little like several HUGE chunks of text, which is visually unappealing, if nothing else.
I also admire your application of generally simpler sentences, building to a crescendo, and, all in all, was completely content (if "content" isn't a word to inappropriate a word to use in relation to this story, given all it contains) when I reached the end of this tales' contents.






Thank you so much! This is the nicest thing, and I absolutely agree with you about the formatting so thank you for that as well, but seriously your comment made my day!



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Mon Dec 28, 2020 9:41 am
mehmal123 says...



your story is impressive but I don't understand the explanation.

He was hurting me.” I’d choke out through a deluge of tears.

“He was hurting me, she was hurting me, they were all hurting me, I was hurting myself,” and that would be it.

but still, it is very very expressive and I like it a lot that I will seek guidance from your way of writing. your story about killing in a dream is impressive.






Thank you so much! I totally get why that part is a bit confusing, the entire time the narrator is struggling with who they are. They don't really understand themselves, and don't know who they are especially in this dreamscape. The people they killed in the dream are less literal, and more of expressions of themselves characterized through people who have hurt them, thus the I was hurting myself. It is a bit muddled and I can see why it was confusing, and I hope this helps a bit. Thank you so much for your comment though, I really appreciate it.
-Gravity




Education is education. We should learn everything and then choose which path to follow. Education is neither Eastern or Western; it is human.
— Malala