There is a place, a house, and it sits at the edge of your dreams, and it is a bad house. It’s in the industrial part of town, and it is situated between the factories where they make the nightmares. No one works in these factories, but the factories operate all day long and all night long. You can hear them, all day long, all night long, miles outside the city in your dreams where the people live. In the industrial part of town there is no one for miles, just the endless hum of the nightmare factories. The bad house sits among them, silent. There may be people in there, but you can’t tell. No one ever goes in, and no one ever comes out.
The bad house is a house, but it doesn’t look like other houses. It has no number. It is very small, as if it only has one room. There may be a basement, but you don’t want to think about that. Several pipes come up from the ground and go into the house and they may come from the factories that surround it. There are no windows, and there is no light visible under the door. There is just one great spotlight that shines on it from above at night, isolating it in the dark. The dimly lit factories around it add nothing to the light. There is only the one door, in the front. It might be locked. You don’t know.
The bad house is painted a pale yellow, and the paint is old and flaking. No smells emanate from the nightmare factories, but the bad house has a smell. It is the smell of all the bad places in your dreams, a nauseating human smell like old sweat between folds of flesh, coppery and tangy and riddled with decay. You stand before the bad house in your dreams, as you have many times before. The smell is strong, and it makes you want to run, but you don’t run. You stare at the door, isolated by the light, listening to the drone of the surrounding factories. You are afraid in a way you haven’t been since you were eight years old, an all-encompassing afraid that makes you want to scream until you wake up. But you don’t do that. You walk towards the door of the bad house. As you are walking, you are afraid, and you tell yourself to stop, but you keep walking towards that door. There is a part of you that isn’t afraid, or if it is afraid it wants that smell more than it wants to run away. It wants to inhale that smell, to eat that smell, to get that smell all over you, to roll in it until you become it. And you are afraid of this part of you, and you are afraid of the bad house. But you keep walking towards that door.
And then you wake up. And you see people, and you do your job, and you eat your lunch, and you talk on the phone. But all day long you can still smell that smell of the bad house, lingering, at the edges of things, always there.
Go to Chapter Two