My Dog Speaks in My Sleep 3

By Chef JRHEvilInc/Joel R. Hunt

//Source. This is part three of a series. Final part coming tomorrow.

Last night was a bad one. The most disturbing dream yet.

Not even a dream – it was a nightmare. The worst I’ve had since I was a child.

I suppose I should start with what happened during the day.

After the dream from my previous post, I went downstairs for breakfast, and one of the first things I noticed was that Gus still hadn’t touched his food. It was his third day with me, and I hadn’t seen him eat even a bite. I was worried about him. And if I’m honest, I was also a little hopeful; I started to wonder if my dreams about Gus were just a subconscious expression of my concern about him not eating. Kind of like getting nightmares before sitting an exam. It was an odd hope, sure, but it would mean there was nothing more bizarre at play. And it would mean that once he started eating again, the dreams should stop.

So I called up the shelter I’d rescued Gus from, and they put me in touch with a local vet. I took Gus in (he was still completely obedient, following me whenever I left the house without needing to be told) and let them know that he wasn’t eating. Initially they were concerned as well, but after a series of tests, they determined that he was perfectly healthy. It simply wasn’t possible that he hadn’t eaten or drank anything in days, they told me. He must have been getting food from elsewhere.

The issue is, he’d never left my side. Admittedly he slept downstairs at night, but the place is locked up before I go to bed, and he’d not been eating anything else in the house, at least as far as I can tell.

In any case, I followed through with their advice, changing his food regularly and making sure he had access to it whenever I was eating. It didn’t seem to make any difference. By the end of the day, he’d still not eaten a thing. I left him with an empty bowl that I’d refill in the morning (on the vet’s advice) and hoped that my guilty feeling of leaving him without food overnight wouldn’t affect my dreams.

Whether that played a factor or not, it took me a long time to sleep. I spent what felt like hours tossing and turning, taunted by the dull ache of tiredness pulsing behind my eyes. I only realised I was dreaming when the ache disappeared.

This time it started with me lying in bed.

Straight away I knew something was wrong. I could feel a prickling sensation along my cheek, and the irresistible urge to shrink back, to hide in myself. I’d felt this before, many years ago. I’d felt this exact sensation night after night as I slept in my first ever bedroom. Cried out for my parents because I daren’t open my eyes without them there. I knew this feeling all too well.

Someone was watching me.

My eyes shot open.

He was standing next to my bed. Gus. Or at least, something like Gus. It had the dog’s head, but its body…

It was contorted. Misshapen. Twisted into what seemed to be the rough approximation of a human form. Two gaunt legs propped up a body that seemed painfully stretched, each rib jutting out like a knife beneath the fur. Stick-like arms hung limply by its side, paws moulded into mangled hands that looked beyond any possible use. It stood at about human height, but the proportions were all wrong, like a toddler’s drawing brought to life. It wasn’t right. It shouldn’t exist.

A wave of revulsion hit me. Bile rose in my throat, but I couldn’t turn away. I was utterly immobile.

For a long time, the Gus-thing watched me, neither of us moving, the only sound being the wind whipping through the trees outside. I could feel my heart pounding. Soon, I noticed that the Gus-thing’s heart was pounding as well, his wiry chest shaking with the force of it, beating exactly in time with my own.

Over its sharp shoulders, I could just make out a familiar chest of drawers, covered in bright stickers and topped with books. In the corner of the room, a pile of stuffed animals, their sewn smiles and cushion stomachs providing such a sinister contrast to the starved monstrosity towering over me. A light blue curtain rippled on the far wall. Beyond the window, something creaked.

The Gus-thing’s jaw fell slack.

Durh!” came his distorted howl, “Warh! Uhr!

The suddenness of the noise jolted me, and the walls of my room seemed to shimmer. The Gus-thing wasn’t moving, except for the flapping of his jaws and the beating of his chest, but his words emerged as something primal, like a scream of pain or alarm.

I tried to respond, but my body was paralysed.

Somewhere in the house, a door slammed.

Durhn! Wahk! Urp!

The stairs began to creak. The wind outside was whipping into a frenzy, buffeting my window until I was sure it would smash open. Gus never took his eyes off of me.

Duhn! Wak! Urp!

Each word came out of his throat like it had been torn from Hell. The sounds echoed around the room, flying back and forth until I could almost see them, adding layer upon layer to the noise until it was deafening. I tried to cover my ears, but my hands were stuck by my side.

Dunt! Wak! Up!

My outside wall exploded, showering us both with glass and leaves. The wind’s fury did nothing to drown out Gus’ urgent, mournful cries. The mutilated body of the dog didn’t seem to feel the force of the gale, remaining locked over my bed, chest pumping in time with my own, jaw almost becoming unhinged as each cry burst from the dog’s throat.

Don’t! Wake! Up!

Footsteps outside, somehow making themselves heard over every other noise.

Gus screamed louder, more urgent than ever.

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

Each word was like a sledgehammer, punctuating the cacophony of echoes circling my head.

What I had thought before were leaves whipped in by the wind I now saw were scraps of paper. Stick figures and colourful families. Children’s drawings. My own.

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

The door handle twisted.

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

Why were all the drawings screaming?

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

Gus’ heart was beating so violently.

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

My heart.

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

I wrenched my arms free. Slammed my hands over my ears.

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

It made no difference.

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

Every sound came through.

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

Every word, drilled into my brain.

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

Why wouldn’t he stop?

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

Why wouldn’t he leave me alone?

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

The bedroom door creaked open.

DON’T! WAKE! UP!

And suddenly, everything went quiet. I jolted awake in bed, gasping like a man saved from drowning. My ears were ringing. My jaw ached. My heart was beating so fast I thought I might be having an attack.

I heard my bedroom door click closed. My head snapped over to it, and I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw two shining eyes watching me from the corner of the room. I scrambled over to my bedside lamp and turned it on.

Gus was sitting in the corner of my room. Watching me.

How long had he been there?

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