The Weapon of Young Gods #1: The Disagreeable Ones

(a little bit of a scary story… – promoted by pfiore8)

When I was younger I was still insane. I know that now, but didn’t realize it then because I was afraid of everything and couldn’t think straight. The bad dreams began when I was ten, and within days became full-blown terrors that left me hopelessly overwhelmed by fear whenever I slept.

Soundtrack (mp3): ‘Calaveras Desagradables’ by Low Tide

I dissolved into a trembling skid-mark of paranoia every night, petrified by the vampires on the roof or ghosts over my shoulder or zombies waiting for me outside the window. I taught myself to lie as flat on the bed as I could, so that if the werewolves showed up they wouldn’t see me, and might leave my house alone for once.

Avoiding sleep became an obsession. I stole a small flashlight from the drugstore one time and hid under the covers with it every night, poring over anything I could get my hands on: fiction, magazines, biographies, the encyclopedia; hell, one night I even read half of my stepfather’s doctoral thesis. I never found any of my mother’s plays, which I would have devoured, but I always thought after she died that they’d been destroyed anyway.

I crippled my eyesight from constantly straining to read in the poor light; my left eye was soon so shot that its lid began to lazily droop by the time I was eleven. Kids at school even started calling me “one-eye Roy,” which didn’t stop until some genius discovered that my name also rhymed with “boy” and “toy,” and so I was dubbed “Roy the boy toy” in junior high. The nightmares never ceased, though, and I was getting desperate.

I’d be delirious all day and nervous all evening, but I never told anyone, and I was so ashamed of myself that I thought I never would. Even so, my younger brother R.J. found out at some point, but miraculously never told our stepfather the psychiatrist. I never asked R.J. what gave me away, but soon after he admitted knowing about my nightmares, they suddenly and completely stopped. I could finally sleep at night, but my grades slipped because I was free to tire myself out all day playing baseball and hanging out with new friends.

I felt perfectly normal, minus the usual melodrama of being a teenager. I dated girls and failed chemistry class and smoked off campus and obsessed over rock bands and got dumped and barely scraped into college, just like anyone else might have done. I thought I’d never have another nightmare again.

Until last night.

I walked through a gray, dusty wasteland for what seemed like hours. Dull moonlight cast my feeble shadow up the hill to the right, and a dry wind drifted up from the bottomless ravine on my left. I moved carefully over the uneven trail toward a bend up ahead, and when I rounded that another long stretch lay in front of me, but before I knew it I’d covered countless miles and turned infinite corners.

Once I looked up to see my shadow with a shadow of its own, flickering wildly in dim, yellow-orange light that hadn’t been there before, but my fear of heights, and the cliff beside me, wrenched my eyes back to the way forward. I chanced another glance up a bit later, and more shapes that sort of looked like people were dancing on the horizon, thrown into darker relief by the steady glow. I sped up.

I didn’t really begin to feel fear until about a hundred yards out, when I could make out three shapes standing still in front of the glimmering firelight. Then the tremors began. I slowed down again as the ground started to roll in waves beneath me.

I was expected and I knew it now, my body’s chills echoing the seismic dust at my feet. Panic amplified quickly, and though I was afraid to do it, I looked up again, and what I saw rooted me to the spot, stiff as death, because that’s what stood in my way.

Three calaveras blocked the path ahead, their six empty eye sockets boring into me with the certainty and patience of the inevitable. Their dirty skeletal frames were stock-still and draped in overlapping magazines of rusting ammunition, the bullets reflecting the sickly yellow light of the fire beyond. I smelled smoke, saw ash settle on their tattered sombreros, and wished I had  somewhere to flee.

Three clicks of impossible finality sounded, and I looked down past bare pelvic bones slung with rotted leather holsters to see three corroded, blackened, cocked six-shooters, pointed straight at me. I had barely taken in all of this when all three clenched jawbones spoke slowly in rasping, hollow Spanish.

“Somos los Desagradables,” they said. Then nothing. I waited for more, but after a tense gap of time, they only said the same thing again: “Somos los Desagradables.”

I stayed planted and gaping. I waited for something else, but they kept mute. I could barely remember enough Spanish to understand, let alone respond as if it were a normal conversation. I backed up a step and a half and then they moved again, but only to un-cock their guns and return to the rigid poise of rest.

I backed up a little faster as the ground lurched violently beneath me, and took my balance. I looked back quickly at the dead men, still eyeing me in the same vigilantly silent way, but they hadn’t moved. The tremors kept up, though, and as I tried to brush some ash off and get up and out of there, another powerful spasm shook everything with a cracking roar. I opened my eyes and looked up, and knew I was going to die.

An avalanche of all shapes and sizes was coming down on me. Dust, pebbles, stones, rocks, and a boulder about the size of my whole body were all obeying gravity at blinding speed. All I could do was duck and roll away, but I had no room to roll, and then I did fall, right over the edge and down the hill, away from the billowing inferno, down into the dark infinity below.


Skip to comment form

    • Roy Reed on January 27, 2008 at 22:34

    here and here

  1. When I was younger I was still insane.

    that’s going up there with the best opening lines…evah!!

    • pfiore8 on January 27, 2008 at 23:39

    you’ve got me a little nervous about going to sleep tonight.


    so many questions. just for starters… about your stepfather, your mother… and what happened to you yesterday…

    i sincerely hope there’s more to come…

    • RiaD on January 28, 2008 at 00:46

    O my!


    • Viet71 on January 28, 2008 at 01:03

    What pulled you out of your downward spiral?





    A relationship?


  2. I now feel slightly less self conscious about the nightmares I have although mine are different in content, they sometimes have the same detail, beautifully written with dark imagery.

  3. read it with the music playing. Hope you will continue the story, you hooked me. Is your writing about music always in this vein, do you pattern the story to the sounds?  

    • pfiore8 on January 28, 2008 at 02:44


    • Roy Reed on January 28, 2008 at 06:29

    The google ads at right are hilarious:

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  4. when you are standing in the wilderness and you hear an unfamiliar call…..

    you stop…..


    become completely present momentarily…..

    and then you know a slightly larger world…..

    the world with that new being in it….

    and you always return to the regular slightly changed…..

    I have heard so many new voices and have grown so much lately…..

    please keep sharing your gift…..

  5. before my mother passed away, but I had very similar night obsessions.  I stopped having them after losing her and sadly my two brothers and sister as well.  You know, we always attempt to have our children believe that everything that surrounds them is always going to be warm and soft and kind and wonderful and loving and that something decent and benevolent is running everything.  I think back to those nights from five to seven and often believe that my subconscious knew that everything in the real world was not wonderful. I lived in a world of my loving mother’s creation so my nights alone were haunted with a child’s comprehension of the truth that my days lacked.

    • KrisC on January 29, 2008 at 19:07

    This is an excellent first offering of talent.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

    It’s interesting to me that you dream in a different language not really knowing that language, yet coming through your dreams so clearly.  When I was learning French, it happened to me sometimes, people would inaudibly speak in French and I couldn’t understand.  I would try to listen intently so I could understand them, but I didn’t.  Isn’t the mind amazing?

    I had very similar nights when I was but a wee girl, living under the local airport flight patterns.  The planes sounded like they were landing on my roof or were crashing as they eased their engines to land.  I had insomnia for the 3 years we lived in that house.  Finally my mother had enough and moved us far away from any airport.  But the nightmares stayed with me, no matter where we were.

    As an adult, I have very visually terrorific (yes, I like to make up new words) images when I dream.  Each time I was pregnant, the dreams would include helpless bundles of screaming forms….and so much more…and as a result, I now puff a little weed just before bedtime to ward off my fiendish, fantastical adventures. Heh!  It works!

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