My name is Charlotte Nicole Ochoa. At the time this happened I was only seven, but I'm currently going in to my first year of high school. I can still remember this day as though it happened yesterday, and I guess it did, considering I have dreams every night.
I can write a best-selling novel from my dreams. Some of them seem to be only seconds, others last a lifetime, but no matter how long they last it's the more realistic ones that make me wake up sweating and shivering at the same time. As for the short, more unrealistic ones it's like I'm watching the experience from high up in a tree, or just a flash of eyes. The one I had last week, though, is a prime example of why.
I can feel the hands on me, smell the sickly strange odor of the thing, hear that same unemotional voice. The dream starts off with a calloused hand caressing my ankle, then it traces the same four heart-stopping words up to my thigh: It's not a dream. Then, there's hands on my throat. Small, soft ones, the hands of a child. It giggles innocently in my ear as it perches on my chest, the the thing with the calloused hands spreading my legs apart at the knee, leaning over the child and pressing against me as he whispers something. I can smell the baby powder from the child, the fresh rain from my open window, the strong, dirty, cologne and sewage odor wafting from it. You're mine now, Nicole, hisses the creature, a wet and sticky tongue trailing down my jawline. I can't see anything but the inside of my eyelids, but my other senses are overloading. There's another giggle, mixed with a demonic, unemotional laughter, and my lungs burn. And then the dream ends, I wake up, my nostrils still full of the scent from my dream, gasping to get in air. My door is still locked, as is my window, which brings me a sense of relief.
But last week, last week was when it happened. I didn't wake up in time to stop the creature's fantasy. The thing taking my dream virginity wasn't what made my heart stop, though, it was the fact that he laughed as he was doing it. It wasn't the monotone, demonic laugh from the other dreams, it was filled with pure joy, ecstasy, even, as he took what he pleased, the child laughing and cheering him on all the while. When I did wake up, I immediately ran to the toilet and emptied my stomach into the bowl.
Anyway, I'm not here to tell you about dreams, I'm here to tell you about reality.
It was during the school year of 2009, February second, to be exact, and while I was reading ahead of my grade level, I was a fucking idiot- excuse my language. There was a rumor going around school about a monster called Tree Man. Yeah, I know, the name isn't all that scary but I was afraid of the Easter Bunny at the time. Tree Man isn't something you stumble upon, and it isn't a would creature, it's something that you summon, and you can't see him, only hear. So, of course, I wanted to try it out. I gathered all of my supplies; a gold cross on a chain, my favorite stuffed animal, roadkill, an unscented candle and matches, and a knife. I wasn't a squeamish kid, so I had no trouble peeling a squirrel off the pavement and tossing it in my backpack.
When I got home, I drank my dad's coffee. It was gross, but if I was supposed to stay up until twelve, which is something I have no trouble with now, I was going to need help. Everything went according to plan the rest of the day, and I was sent to bed at eight.
I lay there until 11:30, which was very hard for a child who drank half a pot of coffee, and climbed out the window, skipping into the woods in the backyard. It took about ten minutes, but I found a clearing and lay everything out; first the squirrel, then the candle on top of it, the necklace around it. Laying Mr. Snuffles on the patch of dead grass next to me, I convinced myself to cut my finger with the knife and drew a small heart were the little bear's would be if he had one. My watch, well, my dad's watch, beeped twelve, and I lit the candle, then Mr. Snuffles heart. The candle blew out, and I was about to relight it when Mr. Snuffles flew across the clearing and into the trees. Not being able to stop myself, I screamed.
"Now, Nicole- may I call you Nicole? Calm down," said a completely emotionless, monotone voice. It seemed to be coming from everywhere, I couldn't pinpoint the exact location. I felt a hand on my shoulder, and then my coat was torn from my body. "Cashmere? Hm, isn't your friend Alexandria allergic to cashmere?" I froze, standing there in the cold. Not once had I stopped to think about the consequences of this. "It's her birthday today, well technically yesterday. She's only fourteen miles away, why don't we pay her a visit?"
"No!" I screamed, trying to grab my coat from it's place seven feet above my head, which was a stupid idea. The hand I had reached up with was grabbed with the same invisible appendage that had taken my coat. It's palm was larger than my entire body, cradling me like a baby.
"Hush, Nicole." Commanded the same monotone voice. I couldn't see it, but I felt a tongue, at least as large as my twin bed, lick straight up my body, starting from the edge of my jean skirt and straight up to my hairline. He hummed, which was weird with the lack of emotion. "You taste exceptionally sweet...better than that last girl. Maria, was it?" Maria Sanchez had gone to my school since kindergarten and had disappeared three days ago. Nobody knew what happened, but I did. "I can't wait to try you on." The hand shrunk until I was hanging over on both sides, then I was held up by my tank top. I screamed again, more of a shriek, as my skirt disappeared much as my coat had, tossed on the grass. I was left hanging there in a spaghetti strap tank top, purple leggings, and bunny slippers.
At that point I was flailing, and my hand hit something. It was mushy, as though I had just punched slimy jello, and I pulled my hand away dripping pitch black ooze. I was dropped rather hardly onto my butt, a brief flicker of the Monotone Man flashed before my eyes. He looked like No-Face from Spirited Away, but with several long, long arms and legs that were made of the same ooze that stuck to my hand. I took off running, crying, and screaming all at once. My feet took me home, but my mind was stuck back there. It had to be a dream, right? But, once I woke up in the morning, there was a series of huge welts across my hand were the ooze had been.
I didn't know what he wanted back then, but ever since one month ago I knew exactly what it was. He wanted a child, and I was the one who got away. All those times he wrote It's not a dream on my leg he wasn't lying. It's been only one month since he implanted his child in me, but there's already a rather large bump protruding from my stomach. My parents yelled at me, didn't believe me when I told them that the Monotone Man was the one who knocked me up. They didn't believe me, they thought I was just another no-good whore, but they sure believe me now. I would give anything to see the look of pure terror and pain on their faces again as the Monotone Man slowly devoured them.
I'm beginning to warm up to motherhood.