Life is full of ironies, it takes a certain sort of person to appreciate many of them. These are the kind of ironies that Lovecraft periodically wrote about. The irony of the person becoming what they fear the most. These are the kinds that are the most terrifying and the most delicious at the same time, but I am getting ahead of myself.
With any tale it is always best to start from the beginning. I grew up in an average home smack dab in the middle of Suburbia USA, mom, dad, brother, sister, dog and white picket fence, the whole nine yards. The only thing that was peculiar is the fact that I suffered from nightmares.
It wasn't the fact I had nightmares that was different, heck it wasn't merely the fact that they were recurring nightmares, no the bizarre thing was how long they reoccurred and how often. I have the same nightmares to this day. They have never changed and they are still exactly the same from my childhood.
In the dream I start off washing my face, I look up and see a creature of grotesque form and features. This creature of my nightmares has no nose well the bone but no flesh part of a nose, the flesh of its face appears to have been shredded, burned, healed and scarred on many occasions so much so that the face is almost unrecognizable. The hair what little there is looks mangy.
The eyes of this being are a deep never blinking blood red with some brown thrown in. the creature looks at me then seems to have an expression of disgust/ terror of its own at that moment it quickly reaches up and shatters into dozens of pieces.
I start walking around seeing that creature in the corner of my eye, always with that same look of the combination of disgust and fear. In my madness of seeing that thing I gouge out my eyes hopefully to not see it, but It doesn't help cause then all I hear are screams of terror, I run and run but it cannot be escaped all I hear are screams.
That is when I awaken from my sleep. The face of the creature is the only thing that truly terrified me. As a young child I would wake up screaming for the initial month or so my parents would run into the room and say the comforting “everything is going to be okay” heck they even tried to take me to a psychiatrist when I was 6.
Who said something about me being “too young and possibly seeing a scary movie when I was very little and the trauma being stuck in my subconscious” or some sort of stupid psycho babble.
See I know that isn’t the case because my parents don’t watch or like any horror movies, and my brother and sister are younger than me.
Well after the psychiatrist ordeal, I learned how to wake up from nightmares without screaming. Sometimes I would stay awake all night to not have the damn nightmare for once, but even then the images would pass through my mind. It always had a presence in my mind that horrid face.
When I was 14 I caught a glimpse of that face in a tree while climbing the shock of seeing it startled me I fell from the high branch and a lower branch caught my cheek as I plummeted to the ground ripping through the flesh cleaving my cheek in two.
Naturally we went to the emergency room to get me stitched up. On the way there my parents asked me what caused me to fall, I told them “The face of my nightmares.”
Since I had fallen so far the doctors wanted me to stay the night to observe me, checking for internal bleeding and such. So my parents agreed, that night I figured I’d try to sleep once again I had that nightmare when I awoke the man across the room calmly asked, “You too huh?”
“I too what?” I replied
He quipped “Are haunted by the same nightmare every night?”
I was puzzled how this man could know so much about me by the limited time he saw me in the hospital. He said, “It is said, that when the same dream torments us repeatedly it is tied to our fate somehow, how specifically is unknown, but it is tied none the less” surprisingly enough those words somehow calmed me and I was able to rest, when I awoke in the morning the man was gone. When I asked a nurse about him she said no one was there that night that I was the only person in the room.
After I was healed when I saw the scar across my cheek I couldn't shake the feeling that I had seen that scar somewhere before. I wasn't able to place it and I had other accidents leaving lesser scars making that feeling more and more present.
“Why? Where do I know these from” I would ask my self. One day, years later, in Chemistry class a student tripped and spilled Hydrochloric acid in my face, since the bottle was mislabeled we thought it was water at first.
The next thing I remember was waking up in a hospital apparently the pain from my face being burned by the acid was enough to put me into a massive shock to make me pass out. I knew full well this to would leave a scar. Once again I stayed a night in the hospital, and once again the same nightmare woke me up.
“The time is fast approaching” I heard a voice say.
I looked over “It’s you!” I exclaimed “Who are you?”
He calmly responded “Who I am is of no consequence, the real question is who you are or who you will be.” This time his words did not bring any calming feelings to me instead I remained on edge for the remainder of the night not sleeping again. I went home the next day and had to keep bandages on for a couple days.
When the date arrived for me to remove the bandages I went into the restroom in my house took off the bandages and washed my face. As I looked up I finally recognized the face of my dreams, it was staring back at me in the mirror, with the same look of disgust and horrific fear.
At that moment unable to bear the sight of my own reflection I struck and shattered the mirror. Upon hearing the mirror break my entire family ran to see what the problem was they had not seen my face yet as I was crying with my hands covering my face. When my mom touched me on the shoulder I looked up at her. She to got a horrified look in her face.
I tried to live the next few days as normal but in every reflective surface I could see me, this face of my nightmares, staring straight at me wherever I was or out of the corner of my eyes. I wasn't sure how long I could live seeing myself like this. Perhaps the man was right perhaps it is my fate to be this being.
I then gouged my eyes out exactly 2 weeks after the bandages came off, and no one should have to live another day after seeing the sight of my face lest they be haunted too. That night I silently slit my families throats.
Surprisingly I got good at finding the location of people by sound haha I don’t even need a cane, and this little mask I wear will hopefully prevent most people from knowing who I truly am, but occasionally someone notices that it is a mask and asks to see underneath it. I’m happy to oblige but they must not be haunted by my nightmare.
My name is Jonathan Lestrade, I am what I fear most. Are you what you fear most?