The Nightmare Center (a short story)

“Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.” – Sigmund Freud

I.

Dylan yawned, leaned back in his chair. It was another late night at the Nightmare Center, but at least he was collecting overtime. The entire year had been full of late nights, for obvious reasons. The election had peoples’ unconscious selves falling apart at the seams.

“Still here?” Amari asked, bags under her eyes.

“Unfortunately,” Dylan said. “I’m working a double.”

“It never ends.”

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Dead Garden (a poem)

watching from the fire escape

I breathe in daylight, fresh air

a blue jay lands in a dead garden

her colors brilliant & offensive

dried leaves rustling like

fading nightmares

an urge to suck in colors before me

& vomit them back out

like the Destroyer God who

crushes galaxies in his hands

(Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash)

Cold Cemeteries (a poem)

the only freedom I want

is to break my ego’s chains

which confine me in cold cemeteries

to the dead,

who rise each night & breathe fire

only I can see,

who speak in a language

only I can understand,

telling me with certitude

I’ll join them soon

& also haunt the living

(Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash)

Seeking Shelter (a poem)

my family is not a dynasty

nor do we have any moguls among us –

just average folk stumbling

in supermarkets, falling in dirty

stadium parking lots

searching for Black Friday deals

to forget the darkest days

when the market crashed

& all the cash we had stashed

was seized by government thugs

with blood-shot eyes & sharp teeth,

who told us to run to gold hills

& seek shelter elsewhere

(Photo by Aperture Vintage on Unsplash)

Seductive Voices (a poem)

I heard those seductive voices in darkness

not the ones you think

they weren’t from lipsticked-maidens

call girls nestled in hotel sheets

the voices were calls of

violence, conspiracy

they called not from red-light districts

but corners of the online world

they promised secrets of

the way the world worked –

I said no thank you, sir

your secrets are safe with me

but I won’t agree

to be part & parcel

to your devious proposals.

(Photo by NASA on Unsplash)

Criminals (a poem)

I dream of criminals, being a witness to misdeed

men with dark eyes do dark things in motel rooms

tell me to keep my mouth zippered shut –

I wake with a sense of dread

storm clouds gather outside frosted windows

a woman with an umbrella screams

then runs for her life.

(Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash)

Skeleton Key (a poem)

I want to trace my family’s history,

go back + find out how we got here –

there was a suicide in the ‘70s, a wound

we carry but do not discuss –

secrets hide in the shadows

+ who knows how they affect us.

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Fallen Angels (a poem)

Satan rebels and fallen angels follow him

to the underworld – wings clipped, eyes ablaze

with red like the demons they are.

Stand atop this holy hillside and survey the city –

if you are the Messiah, then prove it.

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The Witch Queen (a poem)

The Witch Queen nurses you to health and assures you

she means no harm – the people fear her because she’s

ageless and has wandered these woods for centuries,

speaking with wild animals and traversing the dark

landscape, looking for lost travelers.

She tends to their wounds, offers medicine in her hut,

then devours them in sexual ecstasy like they’ve

never experienced before. They all leave feeling better –

the Witch Queen is your friend, not your enemy.

(Photo by Miriam Espacio on Unsplash)

Note: This poem was inspired by a character in Old Gods of Appalachia, a horror anthology podcast that I’m currently obsessed with.