Not every night could have passed safely since once a Shadow showed to break my warm sleeping. It was first around two after midnight when I jumped out of the bed, that unreasonably. Why have I been awake at such time; whereas, I know only the morning to do so? There may be something wrong about this unexpected disturbance, especially when one is comfortably dormant. It may also be a danger, knowing that I had no company except my books, myself and a big house empty but from walls. Plenty doors, many windows , and rooms that I could not count, alongside with a backyard garden , were all under my eye surveillance day -and- night and nobody else for I really locked myself inside that house . That special night, I remembered but my finger moving to turn the light on. I stood towards a cup of water. I drank. And I plunged again into the bed, trying to recognise sleep as death's brother. However, suddenly, a touch on my shoulder changed this recognition into an overt realization about horror.
It was what I have never imagined to see. Not a monster, not a ghoul, not even a demon whom a prayer may cast off, but rather a body of dense grey smoke that reached the roof. I struggled to be on my feet, to have the room lit again, to chase away this fear that kept all my moves paralyzed. It was impossible for me to stand, and I was still under my bed cover, when that thing began to grow bigger, producing some weird utterances, no human language, a mixture between cry and hissing. These words were to give some meaning somehow close to being understood when they fell this way in rhyme:
Prepare thineself to fear
Before thy face 'nd hear
The screamful calls o' doom
Down 'The Bridge of Khazad-dum'.
I hath of fire a whip
To skin the sinful imp,
To show 'm the depths o’ Hell,
And to burry 'm there well.
‘Bless my soul be alive! ‘, shivered I. ‘For the sake of heaven, what have I done to be wretched by this never seen creature?’ All those calls and answers were as if cut from my breathing, and I could not, of course, remove the cover. It started to weigh heavier as if a mountain upon my chest, squeezing painfully. I visited the depths of underground, the darkness beneath the surface of earth, the Realm of the Dead, and every narrow path leading to sorrow, being in another state of mind. I saw the gates of the Blazing Fire. I could not run. I could not escape. I was as still as a statue and the ground began to swift under my feet. Happenstance, and by a twinkling instance, had I found myself stuck to a half-broken trunk, down an endless valley. ‘By heaven, what more perils may be awaiting me? ‘, was my last call when a silence reigned over.
That silence before every tempest; for this Enemy has caught my leg and thrown I to nowhere. My body splashed against a great rock. I tried to be up but another one knocked my head, and it was all inside darkness. I let my hand guiding me into this grave-like room that could not even fit a dwarf. It was rounded _ I did not know how I found myself there in total dimness, blind though my eyes were open to see _ and like a cage made of stones with only a hole allowing few air. I realised about my loss. ‘Shall I stay here for an eternity? ‘, wondered I with tears able to drop. Nothing else was heard then, but my weeping, my loud broken sobbing and my infinite wailing that made me soaked to the skin by the fluid of my eyeballs. I asked for the help of Himalone: ‘Rescue this weak servant of Thine, O One! Find him a way out! Show him Guidance, for none but Thee can do!’
After a while, I saw a timid gleam, through the small hole, shining tenderly over a strange writing carved on the ground of the cave. It needed some cleaning, but I had myself to scrabble roughly to make it readable. Doing so, my eyes first fell on a word well-known, See, and an expression beyond the reach of my understanding, be 't no Hell, and more ye shall see ! There was another writing but not in our words. It may be the secret say by which this prison shall open its door. It was hard to grasp. A unique form, gathering, like a tree, more than four words at once. Each word was circled by five others, and it stretched forth to three separated sentences. No one could read it under such stressful fear but I managed to have a clear sight of it. It helped no meaning for me as there was no way to know whose language was this. I stayed there in dismay, loathing the days that made my fall so easy, the fact of being a coward rather than a brave one, and blaming my own self for the lack of courage I did not have. Desperate as I were, my decision to look through the hole was finally taken. I saw really nothing bringing hope. The same gleam disturbed my vision of the so other-world. ‘One may live to see one's end potted like this!’ said I in disgust, ‘Damn it, useless words, shall I be repeating “See, be 't no Hell, and more ye shall see!” for the rest of my existence? Then my life ...’ I was interrupted by a vociferous noise to which everything responded by quaking, shaking, cracking, and collapsing into pieces. This was the second unforeseen fall. This time, I kept bounding, leap after leap, on an already burned ground. The grass itself, not green, was a glue-like one. I was full of dirt, even to my nose. I stood with pain and, to my frightening, saw a giant body holding the leach of two giant dogs, to which my blood completely dried up. One bark was enough to make me kneel; more barking and they were unleashed. They came straight to swallow me. I fled hurrily; for shouting whup was not to drive these dogs away. I added to my speed but they were still behind me. Sometimes their biting was too close; sometimes their sharp claws tore my clothes. One more steps and I found myself trapped like an easy prey. The dogs’ feet were upon my body, waiting for their master to show. ‘What are you waiting for? ‘, shouted I, ‘Devour me! Make me your food! Do it!’ Now my hands were able to drop the bed cover out of my face. Now, I woke up almost breathless and trembling like an old. ‘My sakes! Was this really a nightmare, or what? ‘, have I replied to myself earnestly.
To say that this was a simple nightmare sounded doubtful inside my mind. By this moment, the sun began to rise chasing every sample of fear. The room itself was nourished by a humble light. That grey smoke that scared me left no trace, as if nothing has appeared at all. To feel more secured, I disengaged from the bed and went to prepare some hot drink. Once done, I sat by the kitchen window dosing and thinking. ‘Unbelievable! ‘, I said to myself, ‘This place may be haunted, or am I little bit troubled trusting such illusions? It is so harsh a dream to endure, or telling me a dream may come true, I cannot believe it!’ So, I made up my mind, with the last poughs that filled my lungs, to have my hands busy rather than annoying my thoughts by who dares not loom up in daylight. I opened all the windows, which seemed to welcome the day, swept all the dust away, washed some yesterday dishes and entered a room full of tools ready to stay in for the rest of the morning. Not even a fly came to harass me during my work, not even after I had a perfect meal .Later on by the afternoon, everything was silent except some singing birdies, some passing vehicles by intervals of time and a couple of noisy cats meowing as they fought beside a trash . I spent hours balancing in an armchair, turning the pages of a book about plants, contemplating over the neighbourhood and feeling the comfort of the day. The sun did her duty and started to leave. The first flickering stars took place, one after the other, forming a luminous dance in the sky. Then came the night. Everything had to be reordered, windows shut, rooms checked and locked _ two of which were kept lit on purpose _ and the big front door tightly fixed, beside the alarm set in case a burglar may aim the house.
It were no bed time yet. Having brought a woolly carpet and a pillow to one of these countless rooms, I laid myself before a screen changing channels every five minutes. To my pain added the news of a calamity. The loss of hundred lives made me suffer for a considerable time. ‘All the sadness of the world comes by night!’, I said to myself with much grief. ‘Mercy! What is wrong with these days? Fear that thing may show again and I shall have a weapon, a very effective weapon indeed!’ At that I descended the staircase to arm myself obviously with a sword, a real reflecting blade, through which one's face may be perfectly mirrored. I came back to where the news were still announced and put gently that ancient grandparents’ gift beside me, adding a touch of tenderness. ‘Let any one be an inch from me, then I will spare him apart.’, have I told myself in a brave manner when at the same time, unanticipated this befell, I heard a door slumming abruptly. It was that of my bedroom. It repeated opening and closing more than four times, I got startled, as if someone wanted to destroy it.
End of First Night.