A Dream of the Past 10 A short story by Poul Matras

The third article from the Dark Whipers, series A short Vampire story by Paul Matra
If it had not been for the familiar faces in his dreams, he probably would have felt alone, the cell was dark and dank. A smell of rot and carrion lay heavy in the air, but of course that was to be expected from a torture chamber under a graveyard.
Anthony had recognised the place the first time he set foot there, he had seen it more than once in his dreams and he had even been able to distinguish which cell he would be held in, and almost precisely when his sleep would be disturbed by his holders.
This place had been explicitly vivid in his dreams, he had not just seen it, he had stood there in the cell and felt the damp air and the horrible smell of the graves above. He had touched some of the bloody knives and manacles and felt the cold merciless steel of which they were crafted. He knew that when his visions were this vivid they were important, the things they potrayed were crucial for the fate that was intended for him.
He had always known that someone planned his fate, he had been led through his entire life by a dark hand with an unscrupulous sense of humour and a plan incomprehendible for the mortal mind. And now it had led him to this cell, where he knew his life would take a turn for the darker… Darker than ever before.

This night he did not dream of the present or the future as he usually did, he dreamt of the past, his own past. That had never happened before, and in the dream he was surprised, for he was used to seeing places his waking eye would later recognize and living people whom he had never met before, yet he knew they were real.
But tonight he saw his mother screaming as she gave birth to a child. A darkhaired browneyed child, with none of her husbands features. He saw how the child as three years old witnessed his father screaming that his mother was a whore and a liar. He saw how he struck her when she objected and he saw the father leave.
“So my father died in the war?” He thought and sighed in his sleep.
The vision jumped forward in time and showed his school, the classroom filled with children busy in their chatter not sparing him a second glance. The teacher never recalled his name and he never felt welcome in class, so his vision shifted to his place of happiness in this sad and solitary time: the library. He followed his own evolution from a six year old to a ten years old, he saw the bruises gained whenever he showed his head outside the library, he saw how other kids found it funny to tackle him if he did not make his way through the school yard fast enough, and he saw how he never felt welcome anywhere but in the library, even at home his mothers stressed disposition made him long for his books.
And then he saw the fire. The fire that scorched the library, destroyed his books, and filled his lungs with a thick black smoke making him sick for weeks thereafter, he still had a nasty cough as a result.
The visions grew dark with smoke, and when the thick black layer lifted, he saw the twelve years old Anthony practicing gymnastics in the break, in stead of playing with the other children, he saw his skill grow and he saw the joy of the accomplishment in the child’s eyes. And then he saw the same child limping home not able to walk probably due to the damage to his leg. He remembered vaguely the fat boy who had jumped on it while he was lying on the cement of the schoolyard, pushed over by one of the bullies.
He saw a woman barely recognizable, in two years his mother had grown ten years older, with the strain of her work and the stress of her dark thought of how little chance her child had in this dark world. He saw how her heart broke when the same child limped into the room crying his brave tears.
The doctor who looked at the leg, was busy and hurried over the details, the young Anthony tried to remember everything he said, but it was to fast and the pain was great, so in the end he had to return two months after, having strained his leg. This time the message was clear; “you better avoid gymnastics in the future.” The child did not cry, he had known it would get worse; he had grown used to losing everything he loved.
Nothing was left to make the child in the vision happy, nothing but the worn out, sad and worried woman who was his mother. Anthony tried to close his eyes to block out what would happen next, but he knew already that this was not possible, he was forced to see the one person he had loved die. He watched in silent agony as the car hit her, and he did not get angry when the driver sped away. He contemplated the futility of his mothers last struggle to reach home before she passed out, and he pitied the boy who desperately struggled to remain calm enough to call an ambulance. He watched as the younger boy watched his mother die, both of them unable to change the cruel will of fate.
Once again time shifted forward and launched the sad and lonely boy into a new home in an orphanage. The room he slept in was cold and void of pleasure, his mind was forced to work only with what it could devise itself, for even though he shared the room with three other boys the younger Anthony was alone, in this cell he had been gifted by the pity of the world.
The boy grew, through years of solitude in the middle of a crowd. He learned the lessons of his schoolbooks and he slowly became more and more like the Anthony who was silently watching him. The boy had always dreamed, but in these years I grew in intensity and regularity, and soon the boy seemed to recognize every face, which drifted by him in his pitiful existence.
The vision finally reached the night, where Anthony had drifted on the streets not wanting to return to his prison, and by the hand of fate had been led past a graveyard he recognised. He knew who dwelled there, and he knew they would be attacked. The older antonym shook his head when his former self braved the graveyard gate and trod onto the once holy soil. A dark figure approached the now grown boy and spoke the sentence that had rung in so many of his visions: “coming here tonight will prove to be the most interesting mistake you have ever made.”
And so the boy was led by guards into the darkness under the graveyard and down till the cell. It was a cell which would inspire fear in any mortal, it was a cell that had undoubtedly taken many a life, but at least it was a cell of his own.
And now as his dream had caught up with him, Anthony saw a figure he knew and cherished, a figure that had been in the dreams he both feared and loved, the person who would kill him.
Anthony saw him scaling the steps downwards, passing through the hallways and entering the prison and Anthony’s cell.
He was not sure if he was awake or still dreaming when the man caressed his chin, nor when he whispered strange words in his ears. But he anticipated the final act, he longed for this moment of decision where fate would finally give him the last crippling blow and rob him of the world he had come to loath.
Only when the long, pointed fangs sank into his neck did he realise the trick fate had played upon him: the man who would bring him the gift of death was also to bring him its curse.
Anthony died with the unbearable knowledge that he would go from being the one whom fate tormented to being yet another of fates instruments of torture.

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