There was a sound, nearly subsonic. He couldn’t actually hear it, but he knew it was there. Dreams are like that. You know stuff, without sensing it in the conventional sense. He couldn’t hear it. But he knew the words to describe it.
“There was a sound, nearly subsonic. It was a rapid babble of syllables spoken through wet lips by wet gums chewing saliva and tongue.”
He was sitting at a long table. Wooden. Old. The strangeness of the dream, or rather, of dreams-in-general, struck him again. The way that you are never really aware of a whole scene the way you would be in waking. Your senses come in at the wrong times, disjointed. A badly conducted orchestra of stimulus. Or a poorly organised scene description in a bad story.
There was soft golden light, comforting and familiar, from somewhere in his earliest memories. You could be comfortable in that light, it meant you were in a safe place. The kitchen he sat in was a calm place.
But there was still that sound. Or rather, the dream-narration telling him there was one. And it’s source was at the head of the table. But still, dream-him kept looking at the table, or around the room at familiar cabinets and counter tops, soaking up the familiar, safe, golden light.
“You’re going to look up now” The dream narration told him. Not out loud, of course. This dream was told in words simply placed in his head. Or that were already there. No voice over, no captions. Just sentences in his internal monologue, telling him how it was.
“And it’s not going to be safe here, not anymore.”
He looked up.
His head pulled up, creaking against a great weight. His dream-body was near paralysed, and each inch was a battle.
Its body language, the angle of its head and the way it held its arms, told him It was looking directly at him. That was all there was to go on. The face that looked right at him was without any feature, or even particular shape. A blank sphere, its surface rippling to the rhythm of that noise which he was at last actually hearing.
Frozen again, seeing only the Thing. And the dream-monologue was silent. The other senses wandered off, leaving him only with sight. No explanation, no dream knowledge telling him what this Thing was. The emptiness of its face was immense. It’s not-anything-ness had a terrible gravity.
Suddenly, he was running from it, instantly outside the door and turning to the stairs, which yawned, chasm-like, in front of him, and swallowed him up as he fell.
As he fell, he knew
“It stood up, and took some steps towards the door, making Its noise again. When you finish falling, you’ll land right back at the head of the table. It has taken the seat next to where you will land, and it is waiting.”
And he saw it again, while the viscerality of the fall through space made his body lurch and recoil, propelling him towards waking. Right before the shock-near-impact-jump awakening, he saw It take the seat beside his, and begin pulling chunks out of its head, and rolling little clay spheres, miniature self portraits, and placing them in a row in front of him.
He would have that dream again the next night. 17 days later, he would dream it again, but forget upon waking. Two months later, he would have that dream four times in as many weeks.
Three years later, the dream began with him sitting next to It. It reached into its own face, tearing a gap that make a leering, face-splitting mouth. It tore two fist sized chunks out above its mouth, making ragged, wide eyes.
And again, he woke up.