I have been a dreamer all my life, not only addicted to day dreams, but when I close my eyes at night, I wander some rather odd worlds.
In the words of H. P. Lovecraft, I'm an old, experienced dreamer. My dreams are always in color, very rich in plot, and quite a number of them stay with me upon awakening. However, there is one weird aspect of my dreams that I've never heard anybody else relate: though the storylines of my dreams are always different, my subconscious is much like a Grade B film director and uses the same sets over and over again.
Such as the House.
I have been dreaming about the House for almost four decades now and it has featured in my dreams so often, I could actually draw floor plans for you.
I can draw out the bedrooms and its hallways. The kitchen is expansive and a chef's dream (pun intended), and the curved sweeping staircase is an architectural marvel.
In the upper floor, next to the bedrooms, there is a storage closet that has a crawlspace deliberately built for children. I've aged in my dreams so I'm way too big to explore it now, but the last time I got back to the end of the narrow crawlway, I found its walls covered in numbers written with a black crayon. Whatever that was supposed to symbolize is way beyond my ken.
I think the House must be situated in the British Isles because on the first floor it has its own small family chapel with all the wood, from the altar to the pews, stained a rich, deep brown. Behind the small pipe organ at the back of the sanctuary, there's a Priest hole, and, trust me, I've had to use it to hide.
You see, the House is not really a nice place.
It only features in my nightmares and the House is a place of death and madness, and death only comes when whatever possesses the House is feeling rather merciful.
And that doesn't happen often.
In almost all of my dreams, whatever possesses the House is usually quiescent and the time spent within its walls is nothing but a growing horror waiting for Nightmare to open up. You would be surprised how many times I wake up without anything dreadful happening, but my heart is still going like a trip hammer just from the stress of anticipation.
Yet, when I'm well into the dream and I'm inside the House, amazingly I know that I've been in the House before. I remember all my past adventures. I can walk through all its rooms with absolute familiarity. I know a few of the House's most intimate secrets, but not enough to master it.
Never enough to master it.
At the back of the chapel are two doors. Both doors open into a common hallway, but if you take the door to the right and actually turn right, you intersect another hallway. To the left is the door that leads outside into the bright sunshine, but we're not going that way right now.
I doubt if the House would let us leave anyway even though its day time.
No, we're going down the broad stairs to the right, down into the finished basement.
Surprisingly, there are guest rooms down here, two of them to be exact.
The door to the first one is right at the bottom of the steps. We can go in now because it's daylight, but you will still probably feel an aura of evil.
If it wasn't for the atmosphere, this would be a rather nice room. Though poorly lit, the bed is comfortable and warm. The carpet is a deep shag rug, though I admit I don't care for the dark, rust color. The door over there leads to the second guest room, but it normally stays closed.
From both sides.
You see, for some reason beyond my understanding, this room is the heart of all the evil that plagues the House, the cancer at its roots that infects the entire place. I have no idea why, but nothing much makes sense here.
We're in the Dreamlands, remember.
And the evil here is not demonic. I can understand perversity and rebellion. No, the evil here is alien and it works under rules that make no sense to sane people.
Would you like to spend the night? I don't recommend it. Like I said before, if the House is in a really, really good mood you will just have a miserable, sleepless night hiding under the covers. If it's just in a mildly pleasant mood, you'll be dead by sunrise.
But if it's in its incomprehensible mood, you'll be barking mad by morning, and then you have to carry the horror of it all for the rest of your life. It's not all that pretty.
In my dreams, at least those that don't start with me already in this accursed room, I try to keep people out of this place, but curiosity is a powerful motivator, so when they refuse to heed my warnings I usually end up following those intrepid explorers inside just to help them survive. I show them where they can hide when whatever is in this bedroom decides to walk the halls. I assure them that they can always escape out onto the roof via the second floor windows (very seldom can you leave by the way you entered and the first floor doors and windows can be ... mischievous) and though the roof may be an uncomfortable place to spend the night, whatever walks in this House cannot pursue you outside. Anyway, the steeples and gables out there have their own charms and less dangerous secrets and the view is tremendous.
But the worst is when I have to rescue someone who is trapped in this room.
Things can get really bad, let me tell you, but I've actually been able to pull some people out. Sometimes.
Now, here's the whole point of my telling you all about this place, 'cause who cares about some hack writer's nocturnal ramblings?
Can I confide something to you? You see, I'm a good Christian boy and I know my eternal destination when my time comes, but I have this odd, niggling fear, this seed of concern, that someday this House may get the best of me after all.
So if you hear that I've died in my sleep, I'm sure that in reality my soul is in good keeping, but just to be on the safe side ...
When you enter the Dreamlands that night, ask around about a huge red brick mansion that has seen better days, one that decent people try to avoid even though the House may call them to it like lambs to the slaughter.
Enter the House in the daylight (make very sure of that) and go down into the furnished basement and open the first door you come to.
Be brave. You might hear screaming on the other side.
Open the door.
Let me out.