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The Visions of Dexter Steele

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His palms trembled as he stood, shaking. Cold beads of sweat began to appear on his forehead and his neck, dripping down, down, down. His breathing rattled as he forced himself consciously to inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. 

He looked up at the shattered mirror in front of him, glass littering the counter-top and floor. One piece remained mounted on the wall, intact, a gaunt ghost reflected in it, staring back at him with deadened eyes. The ghastly figure had mounted upon its countenance a sickly grin, its jaw slackened, with sharpened, interlaced teeth gleaming under the sterile halogen lights. 

For a rapturous moment, he was lost in the eyes of the figure - its soulless, entrancing gaze pierced him to his very core. He cocked his head to the side, watching the figure do the same. For a brief second, he thought he could almost just see the wicked thing’s smile expand with a small, icy wink.

He looked down at his hands, suddenly starting to become heavy, his arms feeling as though they were laden with lead. 


Blood seeped from every pore, every wrinkle, every crook and cranny of his hands. Crimson stains covered his arms and legs. Red handprints dragged across the walls. He began to hear it drip, drip, drip, the floor suddenly covered in a mist of pink and crimson. The sweat began to pour down, an icy hand on his back. Tears began to fill his eyes. His throat locked up; even his conscious impetus was no match for the fear as it tore at his torso and squeezed tight around his lungs. 

He looked up from the floor, to his hands, still blood red, to his arms, where he could swear he could see bloody scars made into unintelligible, strange symbols. His tear-filled eyes slowly raised themselves up to the small piece of mirror which remained on the wall. The haunting look of his reflection stared back, maw agape, razor teeth still gleaming in the light. He looked into the creature’s deadened eyes, only to see them, like him, weeping, weeping, weeping.

Weeping blood.

He screamed the wretched scream of a man who has seen a nightmare come to life. The scream of a man who knows he is lost, who sees the skeletal claw of Death reaching towards him from the other side of the grey veil. It was a scream of innocence lost, of hope lost, of life lost.

And then the lights were extinguished, their halogen buzzing quieted, their sterile light abated, and all was black but for the shining pools of crimson blood beneath his feet.

From the silence came the slow sound of a child, giggling. Then another voice, much deeper, joining in, laughing for a second before falling silent abruptly.

Alright, my love. He’s ours now,” the baritone growled. “What should we do with him?

The child’s voice raised, its shrill cacophony piercing into the blackness. 

The giggling stopped.


Dexter awoke with a start, his entire body trembling vigourously. His mind swirled, caught up by the images from the dream still so vividly projecting themselves in his mind. He could swear he could still hear the voices...but it wasn't real - right? It was just a dream?

He turned to face the sun as it began to rise over the hills, questioning the veracity of his own memory.


"What the goddamn hell was that?

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Dexter raised his eyes and looked up.


Stars gleamed like cat’s eyes in the night sky, piercing the darkness. He could hear the sound of the wind rushing through the high grasses surrounding him as he walked through the midnight mist. He plodded onwards north, seeing a light glinting in the distance faintly.

Memories clouded his mind, visions of the past assaulting him from all sides. He could see the corpse of a madman laying on the ground between the Green Mountain gates. The forest as he raced through it, hunting wicked men, seeking justice The small boy, wounded by a gunshot, his arms covered in blood. He heard the sound of a fist cracking, a body collapsing to the ground. Darkness and blackness swirled all around him as the sound of the wind rushing through the trees rose to a cackling howl. 

His eyes stayed mostly upon his feet, plodding along, willing them to take step after step without any real destination. Every so often, he could almost see two people walking at his side in his peripheral vision. But each time he turned his head, each time he tried to make it real, they were gone, vanished into thin air.

He remembered the road, its long winding curves, laden with blood and sadness. Armed men marching like toy soldiers, one by one, only to be shot and killed. Madmen and murderers abounding with reckless disregard. He remembered having his blood taken by bandits, robbing him of the sanguine ichor for their own sustenance. He remembered the rage, the shame, the fire burning deep down.

His legs soon grew weary, but each attempt to stop was met by a harsh growl and shrill laughter in his ears. Each brief second of rest was followed by a tense anxiety, deep in his chest, compelling him forwards. He soon felt that it was not him walking, that outside forces were dragging him on. He tried to fight it, tried to fight against the invisible chains binding him.

He tried to stop once, and failed.

The tried to stop again, and failed.

He tried once more and fell to his knees until a booming, monumental voice exploded in his ears:


He was pulled back aloft, to his feet, like a marionette being pulled by invisible strings. His feet began to plod along again, slowly, autonomously and outside his control. He fought it for a time, but it proved fruitless. The longer and longer he walked onwards, the more he capitulated, allowing his body to move freely compelled by the invisible force. He could feel his heart pumping, blood coursing through his weary limbs.

He saw men on the road. A group of at least five, well-armed. The darkness began to shroud around him; he felt its power. He centred his mind, pushing the voices as far back as they'd allow him. He tried to remember how normal people interacted out here, how they spoke with one another. He tried to remember how to talk to them without betraying a hint of madness.

And in his ears, he heard the quiet laugh of a child…

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