He is my master, he is my soul. We will forever be under his control. We do not speak, we do not hear. Only under his will shall we engage in fear. The pain that we feel is forever sorrow, until the day comes when death follows. But in this life of torture there is no death, only hell, with every second that goes we’re forced to break ourselves. He is my master, he is my soul. We will forever… be under his control.

I had just finished high school the day of my birthday. I had a very busy week preparing for graduation, as I was valedictorian of my class, Hailey, and I had to write a speech. During the process I was feeling excited and somewhat sad at the same time. I’ve made plenty of friends throughout my school life and always enjoyed being around people. I was very popular among the boys, but I wasn’t ignorant of the fact that not everyone enjoyed the pleasure of my company, of course not. There are those who hate students among the popular crowd, even the teachers. I was voted class president of my class and I worked with other students. I managed to help those who were less fortunate, it was my duty to lead my class.

Summer vacation went by fast. I spent most of my time preparing for college. I got a scholarship to Oxford so I was a bit worked up about leaving the states. I’ve never left the country before and I never thought I would have to live somewhere far away. Away from my family and friends. It made me sad thinking about it, but it was for the best. I tried thinking positive as this was a new opportunity to meet new people and explore new places. The day before my departure I was wrapping up everything I needed for the trip. My mom helped me pack, she had a sad look on her face but I didn’t want to get into it. She gave me the photos from graduation and my childhood. She told me to promise I'd keep them with me all the time.

We exchange hugs and I go to bed, I had to wake up pretty early. I laid there for minutes just thinking about tomorrow. What will this experience bring for me? I was having that feeling again, that feeling of sadness and happiness mixing at the core of my heart. I had trouble sleeping, what scared me was that I heard a soft knocking noise outside my window. I tried ignoring it, hoping it would stop. I hear strange noises at night sometimes, but this felt different. I was scared. It was about 1:30 am when I finally started to lose conscious.

Because so many things were running through my mind, I had a very strange dream that I was watching myself and my mom repeating the same scene we had before I went to bed. I couldn’t comprehend it, I didn’t understand. In my dreams, I was still the same person I was in the real world. I couldn’t step in and do or stop anything from happening. I guess my subconscious was as cryptic in my dreams as in reality. Before anything else could happen the sound of my alarm immediately snapped me out of the dream. I got up and got dressed and we made our way to the airport. I said my last goodbyes and made my way to the gate. As I walked, I felt like someone was watching me. I turn back to look at my parents one last time. I don’t know why but something told me to turn back and stay. It was a sad feeling but I made my way to the plane and found my seat.

It was a 12 hour flight to London. I decided to get some sleep, I didn’t get too much last night, I was too anxious. When I finally put myself to rest, I had that same dream again. I was watching me and my mom talking from outside the bedroom window. They were just repeating the same scene over and over again. I didn’t know what it meant. I always thought that dreams were supposed to mean something, like a subconscious message deep inside your mind. I couldn’t control it, almost as if something else was controlling me. It then transitions to me walking through the airport right before I got on the plane. I watched myself leave as my parents had tears running down their eyes.

I suddenly wake up by the man sitting next to me. He told me if I was feeling Ok, apparently I was crying in my sleep. I wiped the tears off my eyes and apologized if I disturbed him. He said it was alright. He was very kind throughout the flight, his name was Dillon, we talked and we even exchanged numbers. He was headed to Oxford too, he was staying in an apartment complex near London and he reserved a spot for me. When we landed he offered me a ride to the apartment, I hesitated but I was exhausted and I accepted his offer. It was a 30 minute ride, we didn’t talk much on the way, it was very quiet with only the radio to keep us company.

When we arrived the apartment looked much nicer than I thought. Dillon corrected me by saying it’s called a “Flat.” He helped me pick up my bags to my room. We checked in at the front desk and the rent was only 200 pounds per week. After I got settled in I immediately went to bed. I didn’t bother to change out of my clothes I was just too exhausted. Without realizing it I slept quite comfortably that night, but only to wake up to the sound of running water coming from the bathroom sink. I wake up and go check what it is. The sink was full with some kind of black substance. I couldn’t make it out and I turned off the water and lifted the drain pipe. As I saw it go down the drain, right before all the water would disappear, a long arm reaches out of the sink and grabs me by the neck. I struggled to break free as it choked me, squeezing harder as I resisted with every second. The arm looked black with claws that looked like strings coming out of its fingers. It’s almost as if a large python was squeezing the life out of me. I screamed for help but of course no one would come. I had finally lost my breath and my eyes were wide opened looking like they were about to pop out. I died and I wake up, my eyes and face felt wet, I’ve been crying again in my sleep. I sit up in bed and try calming down. This was the third time in a row that I had nightmares, it scared me because I never have nightmares. My dreams are always normal and I would never wake up with tears in my eyes or feeling anxious about what I saw.

It was 4:30 am when I woke up and tried to get my mind back in place. I tried calling Dillon but he wouldn’t answer. I laid in bed for what seemed like an eternity before I heard my phone ring. I quickly answered it and Dillon had called back. He saw the missed call and asked what was wrong. I told him to come over for a while, I needed some company. He agrees and I wait patiently in my quiet room, with only the sound of water drops dripping from the bathroom sink and the other rooms. My heart is still pounding, with the thoughts running through my head and that gruesome image of the black arm choking me. I died in my dream and it felt so real. The lack of sleep I was having made me feel like I was going insane with no evidence to tell anyone about my condition, but I have to try.

The doorbell rings and I rush over to open it. I quickly pull Dillon inside and shut the door behind me. He asked what was going on. I was speechless at that point, I didn’t know what to tell him. He wouldn’t believe me if I said I was having trouble sleeping and that I was crying in my sleep again. I already feel embarrassed with that encounter on the plane. I sit down on the bed and he sits next to me. He asks nicely if anything was bothering me. Because I felt like I could trust him and we only met yesterday, I told him what I was seeing in my sleep. I keep having these dreams where something bad happens and I end up crying awake. I’ve never had that happen to me before. I was scared. He insisted that maybe I’m just nervous to be so far away from home. That all these nerves are getting to my head. He tells me there’s nothing to worry about and says he’ll be here for me if  I need help.

I don’t know what it is but I feel safer with Dillon. He’s the kind of guy is willing to give up his time of need to serve others. I never knew there were people that good like him. Before he leaves, I grab his hand and ask him to stay with me. He stares at me for a second and asks if it’s a good idea. I listen to the waterdrops coming from the bathroom and I say yes, it’s okay. He was surprised, so was I. Both of us weren't expecting to already be this intimate but right now I needed him, I needed someone to keep me company. Being alone right now will only cause me more stress and I can’t quit on my education.

The next morning we wake up and get ready to go to class. Oxford was about an hour away from London and our train doesn’t arrive until 7 so we decide to get some breakfast before heading off. Dillon asks if I slept well last night and I have to admit, I did get enough rest to get me through the day. I’m kind of glad I made him stay. Later, we make our way to the train station to head for Oxford. It was pouring and the sound of the rain made me anxious to finally see what kind of place I was going to.

It was a quiet ride and it rained all the way. It was dark with the storm clouds covering the sunshine over the horizon. We start making small talk and right in the middle of our conversation, the train starts slowing down. “That’s wired.” Dillon says. Why is the train stopping, we’ve only been here for 20 minutes. Did the rain and lightning interfere with the rail system? The train kept slowing down and eventually it stopped, not only that but the power was out too. I look at Dillon and we stare at each other for a second. I wonder what could be the problem? I definitely don’t want to be late on my first day! With only the sound of rain falling hard against the walls, the rest of the train seemed really quiet. I ask Dillon what happens if we’re late but he just stared at me. I thought he was just messing around but after waving my hand over his face and tapping him a few times on the soldier, he was frozen solid. I was starting to panic, he wouldn’t answer me and he hasn’t blinked in like 3 minutes. He was just sitting there like a statue staring back right in front of me.

I raise my voice to say his name and suddenly, I see something right outside the door of our seat. It was slowly approaching the door, it unlocks it from the outside. I was shocked how it was able to do that. It sticks one hand in and it’s the same hand from the dream, the same claws, same color, and it looked wrinkled and dead. Then I see the figure stand in front of the door. He was huge and dark, I look up at its blurred dark face and all I see are two small white glowing lights where his eyes are. I look at Dillon and he’s still frozen, and then the man reaches out his hand and touches my face. He feels it and rubs all over it, its cold dry hand has me paralyzed, I couldn’t move. My body starts feeling different, that special kind of feeling where you don’t feel anything at all.

I stare with my eyes and mouth wide open. My skin starts to change, my body was in a weird position, my right arm lifts itself. I quietly say “help, help, help” my voice was starting to change. I resisted as hard as I could, I was fighting back with my own mentality and real soon, my voice starts coming back and it gets louder. Eventually my voice starts screaming really loud and Dillon snaps me out of the illusion. “Hailey!” He yells and I quickly shut my mouth and start crying again. I tell him that it happened again, this time it was really bad. I put my hands over my face and crying like a baby, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know what was happening to me. Dillon sits next to me trying to calm me down. There is something haunting me.

That night, I was afraid of staying in my apartment all by myself. I asked Dillon if he could stay with me but he had homework to do so I was on my own. I knew that whatever was happening must be from a lack of sleep, insomnia so to speak. I’ve never suffered from that but I assumed that people start having all these visions, and when they do sleep, they have nightmares. I guess this is what was happening to me but I couldn’t shake off the fact that my nightmares were the same ones. I look outside the window of the slide door of the balcony and I see my reflection against the glass. I notice that my eyes were starting to grow bags and looked really pale. I go to the bathroom and check in the mirror. i pour some water over my face to try and stay awake. I knew that if I fall asleep, I was going to see it again, that man, that figure, that black scaleless arm gripping me by the neck like a toy. I sit on the lounge chair just staring at my bed with my arms crossed. I try to keep my eyes opened. I was afraid to blink cause I would have a hard time opening my eyes again.

Unfortunately, I fell asleep, it was about 2:30 am the last time I looked at the clock. I didn’t even notice that I had fallen asleep, it just happened. You know that feeling you get when you lie down and fall asleep for ten minutes and then wake up feeling like it was hours later? This was nothing like that. I wake up on the floor to the sound of my apartment door creaking open slowly. The room was completely dark with only the light of the moon shining through the slide door. What was strange was that there were noises coming from the hall. The door was opened which creeped the hell out of me. I figured someone walked into my room after I passed out. I open the door halfway and peek outside into the hallway, it was dark and I could hear the sound of children laughing. I step into the hallway and follow the noises. Around every corner it looks like I’m following and endless loop and as I keep going the laughing slowly starts turning to screaming, screams of torture. I kept going, the noise was starting to go through my head. I start hearing calls for help, “STOP!!! STOP THIS PLEASE!!! GO BACK! CAN’T YOU LISTEN TO ME!?  I BEG YOU, TURN BACK!!! DON’T DO THIS PLEASE!” They were children voices, I start running down the hallway panicking with every second and eventually I come to a door at the end of the hallway.

I stare at it for a few seconds and slowly start to walk toward it. The door looked old, it had scratches on it almost as if someone was trying to break in. I realize that the noises were coming from the other side. I hesitated to open door because I did not want to see what was behind that it, but curiosity got the better of me. I twist the door knob and slowly open the door. It squeaks open and I find myself BACK IN MY OWN ROOM! The noises had stopped. What shocked me was that I was lying on the floor in the same position before I got up. I was watching myself in third person. My eyes widen and the Hailey I was looking at got up and walked to the door to check the noises she was hearing. She starts repeating the same things I did when she steps into the hallway. I follow her and try to convince her to stop but she would not listen, she couldn’t even hear me. I couldn’t touch her either.

I start yelling at her to stop. “STOP!!! STOP THIS PLEASE!!! GO BACK! CAN’T YOU LISTEN TO ME!?  I BEG YOU, TURN BACK!!! DON’T DO THIS PLEASE!” But she kept going until she ends up at the same door. I keep trying to get her attention but there’s nothing more I can do. She opens the door and the same thing happens all over again, and again, and again, and again. Until I’m stuck in what seemed like a paradox of infinite screams of torture that my mind could not take. I figure the only way to stop this is to kill myself. I walk into my room and open the glass door to the balcony. I stand on the edge and look down as I say what would be my final words. “Mom, Dad, I’m sorry but I couldn’t take this no more. This thing is ruining my life and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I knew from the beginning that something was wrong, I just didn’t realize it would be this bad. I’m sorry. I’M SO SORRY!”

I prepared for the worst as I put one foot over the edge. Right before I was about to jump something grabbed me by the arm and pulled me back. It was Dillon, he saved me and snapped me immediately out of the dream as I was about to jump. “Are you crazy?!” he yelled. He was breathing heavily and so was I, I really was about to jump. We both realize now that this is not normal. Something is trying to get to me, someone is trying to kill me. I needed help so the next morning we go to see a psychiatrist, someone who knows about this condition, if it’s real.

I’m laying on a bed in some sort of lab waiting for the doctor to come in. Dillon is waiting with there with me. He asks me if I feel OK, to be honest I really don’t want to be here but I have to, I want to get rid of this. The doctor walks in and we explain to him what is wrong with me. We discuss for a bit and he suggests that I might be suffering from sleep paralysis, a sleeping disorder which causes you to have hallucinations from paranoia, stress, or isolation. I get a check up and then he suggests to run some tests. Soon later I’m wired up and laying on the patient bed. I look at Dillon through the glass window in the other room. The sleep technician finishes up hooking the wires on my body. After a few minutes I start feeling weary and slowly I close my eyes. After a while I fall into a deep sleep, but I don’t know if I’m actually “asleep”. I feel awake at a subconscious level now I realize that I’m in control of my dream. I was in the middle of a city, everything looked normal and there was no one around.

I explore to see if I wasn’t alone. After a few hours of searching it didn't appear to be anyone around. I came to the conclusion that I was alone but something didn’t feel right. Because I was used to being around people, every time I was to myself I felt like someone was watching me, that I wasn’t entirely alone. This man, this figure of subconscious, this monster was with me all my life… but why? I walked some more just thinking about what he wanted from me. Why me? I looked down as I walked and the second I look up, I see a man standing 30 feet ahead of me. I was surprised to see someone else but also suspicious. He was just standing there looking back at me. I didn’t know whether to walk over or turn around. I kept staring and soon he raises his arm and starts waving at me, asking me to walk over. I hesitantly do.

As I approach the stranger he had a very straight look on his face. He looked beautiful, “Welcome.” He says. “I know you’ve been exploring our world and I know you're more than concerned about where you are. You see, you may not know it yet, but all of us here made the decision to accompany him for all eternity. He helps us, he brings us peace, and we all rest in peace.” I had a confused look on my face. I had no idea what he was talking about. He looked very calm with a straight face, no expressiones just a plain straight face. I asked if there were more people and he simply answers “yes” and I start to notice more people walking towards us. Soon we were surrounded by a large crowd of people all looking at me, asking and begging to stay here. I looked at the man and he gave me a slight grin. “So, what’s it gonna be?”

It was a difficult decision especially with all of them asking me to stay, but I knew I couldn’t. As politely as I could I said “No” and they all stopped. The man wasn’t smiling anymore, they were all staring at me. “I’m sorry” I said, I had family and friends to go back to. I don’t know how I missed it but looking closely at their eyes, they had a slight greyish color above their original color. Soon it becomes more than just their eyes, their face, their legs, their arms, their bodies were turning into something else, their skin was no longer skin, more like wood. I was surrounded then they all jumped me. I fought back and as I hit them they disappeared into dusk. One by one I kept hitting as fast as I could but there were too many.

My body was still calm asleep on the bed back at the lab. I kept rocking my head side to side from what I was experiencing in the dream. As the piles of bodies kept stacking on me, I soon blacked out from experiencing the attack. I very slowly start gaining conscious as I am being dragged by my arms to a table. They lay me on the table and strap me down from head to toe. The room was lit very dim with a dark red color light. All around me there were jars of black liquid on the shelves from small sizes to large. The door creaks open and a tall dark man walks in, his upper body covered by the darkness. “Where am I?” I ask nervously. The man says nothing and pulls out a big book from the shelve. He starts saying words that I can’t understand, it sounded like an ancient language. Soon my body starts to fade away from any feelings, any movements.

The man unstraps me from the table but there was no way I could move. He has put some kind of spell on me, he’s gonna need plenty of time to make his creation perfect. I was still awake, watching what he was about to do. He puts jars all around the table. He then pulls out a great big butcher knife and starts chopping me up into pieces. I couldn’t feel anything but I begged him to stop from the top of my lungs. He then decides to sow my mouth shut. I scream from the inside as I kept watching the horror he was doing to my body. The blood spilled from the table and into the jars. After a while I couldn’t see what had happened to me, but I knew my body was in pieces. The man had brought in a dummy made out of wood. He then starts to carve the skin off my body pieces and puts them on the dummy. After the process he lays the dummy next to my horribly disfigured body. He then starts a ritual from the book of ancient spells. I don’t know how I was seeing this but he had summoned a demon from the book, a demon he had known for centuries. From where my eyes were, I could see the demon enter the dummy version of me. It came to live! That thing came to live. It sat up from the table with no expression, no feelings just sat up.

The man knew I was still alive and he had wiped up what was left of me. But something felt odd, as is if my soul was still alive. I soon transition to a dark place. I felt weightless, I was floating in an ocean of darkness, complete darkness. I was panicking, I didn’t know what was going on. I look around and notice I was floating, but more like swimming. I move my arms and legs to maneuver. I kept moving hoping to find a way out but there was nothing. I keep looking as I held the tears and the horrible thoughts that ran through my mind. But then… I see a light in the distance. A very small light, my eyes widen and I quickly swim over to it as fast as I can. As I got closer I see the light is coming from inside a window. Curtains were covering the light but I peeked through the gap in between them. I made the best effort to see what was behind the window. There was a girl looking like she was packing her clothes and school books in a suitcase.

A woman walks in and they start talking to each other. She hands the girls a photo, I then realize… it’s me. That’s me and my mom the night before I left to London. It was the same exact scene from the dream I had on the plane. I began to cry and say to myself “Please stay. Please stay. Don’t go.” I see the girls hug each other and my mom walks out of the room. “No No No No No!” I yell. “MOM DON’T GO! DON’T LET HER GO, MOM! DON’T LET HER GO! DON’T LET HER GO!!!” I bang my hand against the window hoping she would hear it, no response. I then see myself turn off the lights and go to bed. “GET UP! GET UP YOU IDIOT!” I cry as I banged the window more. She looks up at the window and shrugs the noise off. I cry as I watched her, knowing the horrible fate she was getting into. I turn around and I see another light in the distance. I quickly swim to it and it transitions to my trip to the airport right before I get on the plane. I see myself walk to the gate. my mom has a tear in her eye. “TURN AROUND! TURN AROUND, GO BACK!” I yell at her.

It was no use. I did everything that I could, nothing was working. There was no way of stoping was about to happen. I would have to see the same horrific scene over and over again for the rest of life. I was only the first in this hellish routine.

In my dream, it has been years since I’ve been trapped. I can no longer wake up with the real me, the real Haley. My soul was trapped with him, my family, my friends will never know, never. As I began to accept my fate, the same people that I saw before I blacked out spoke in unison, “He is The Puppet Master. We are to serve under his command for all eternity. Join us, Join us.”

Haley wakes up back in the lab, calm and relaxed as if everything was OK, and it was. Dillon walks in and asks if she’s OK, she simply answer, “Yes.” But her soul says different.

He is my master, he is my soul. We will forever be under his control. We do not speak, we do not hear. Only under his will shall we engage in fear. The pain that we feel is forever sorrow, until the day comes when death follows. But in this life of torture there is no death, only hell, with every second that goes we’re forced to break ourselves. He is my master, he is my soul. We will forever… be under his control.                      

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