The Hellhound4 mins 192 4 mins 192
I woke up, shivering, breathing heavily, and looked around. Nothing; just my cozy, comfortable bedroom. A nightmare, not real... it's not real; I thought to myself and heaved a sigh of relief.
It was a cold winter night and I did my best to make a human burrito out of myself, trying to find comfort between the memory foam and the quilt. Despite my best efforts to stay put, I decided to inevitably step out onto the cold floor because I was incredibly parched. I read somewhere that our subconscious has the power to induce bodily feeling; thirst, in this case, since in my nightmare, I was running… running for my life. It made perfect sense. But then again, there could be no subtext to it at all. I was thirsty because I was thirsty, somewhat like an example of a Münchhausen trilemma.
Effortlessly, I made my way into the kitchen. I knew my way around my own apartment, even in the dark. Besides, I couldn't hog all the credit; faint strips of the street light crept in through the one frosty glass window panes I had forgotten to drape for the night. I chugged almost a liter of the cool nectar of life and closed my eyes.
I couldn't help but recall the nightmare. It was a recurring one, to be honest, and each time it tended to become more vivid. No matter how many times I promised myself that I had gotten used to it, the truth is, there was no getting used to something like this.
It was always the same...
I would get off an empty bus, on an empty street, in the dead of the night. The street looked somewhat familiar to the area where I actually lived. I would have to take the lane two houses after where I would get off. That lane would take me home. I would cross one house and see my dad, on his motorcycle, standing and talking to a man. I would talk to him. He would ask me why I was late. I would give him the same reason every time, “I was working, dad.” I would wait, thinking he would ask me to hop on the pillion anytime and we would go home. But he would have an emergency and would kick start his motorcycle and disappear into the night. I would stand there, disappointed. All alone, I would then turn left and take the lane to my house. My sandals would start to feel odd and the tall trees on both sides of the lane would start to grow taller and become darker. I would feel fear like the lane would jump to life engulf me, and I would start running. I would stumble on occasion as my feet outgrew my sandals, or my sandals shrank; I was never quite sure, but I would never fall. The lane would keep stretching, refusing to end, and I would keep running. But I would eventually make it to the end, and run across the street. I would see a big black dog sleeping on the ground, jump over him, onto the path on the field, still running. I would look up ahead and see the path leading up to a mansion, my house, nothing like the two-bedroom apartment I called home. And that's when I would hear it… the low growls. I would look back, sunk neck-deep in fear, and see the dog, the monster, chasing me, snarling and a red gleam in his eyes. I would scream for help, but no help ever came. I would keep screaming and I would keep running until the dog would catch up and tear into my flesh...
And, I would wake up, shivering and breathing heavily.
The dream never made any sense to me, of course. I loved dogs. I didn't have one but I loved them. And from what I could tell, they loved me too. I have never needed any prior introduction to any dog; I would instinctively smile and they would wag their tails in return, be it a dog on the street or in someone's house.
I remember doing an internet search for the monster dog that chased me in my nightmares. I was curious because I had never seen anything like it. The internet spewed out one word every single time - ‘hellhound’, a mythological creature that guards the gates of hell and drags souls into hell. Now, I'm no believer, but reading about this thing certainly creeped me out. And I wished I would never encounter anything like it.
Only, wishes rarely come true. As I walked out of the kitchen and headed for my bedroom, I heard an unmistakable growl. I knew that growl. I turned around, ever so quietly, and stared straight into the pair of red bloodthirsty eyes. The last thing I remember was letting out a scream but if my nightmares are any indication, I'm quite certain no one heard it.