Nightmarish Reality (Vol.1) Chapter 4

Zander Russell suffers from constant nightmares. He doesn’t know what is causing them and why his nightmares seem so real, resulting in cuts and bruises all over his body. Seemingly, an average student, Zander goes to a typical high school where he’s constantly bullied and teased. The nightmares occur more frequently in the day, blurring the lines between reality and mere illusions.



5/4/20229 min read


NIGHTMARISH REALITY contains graphic and disturbing scenes. Content may be controversial in nature and may not be appropriate for younger readers; therefore, you must be eighteen or older to continue.

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“I told you, Mother. Don’t say anything about his father.” Caroline glowered at her mother, as if to blame someone else for all her troubles.

“I’m sorry, honey. I couldn’t help it. He was curious to know. So, I told him a tad,” Mrs. Beyer blurted.

“You know how sensitive Zander is.”

“It won’t happen again, I promise.”

Caroline sighed in frustration. She lifted the laundry basket and lugged it upstairs, taking the clean clothes to one of the bedrooms. After Caroline was done folding and organizing everything neatly into the drawers, she went back downstairs. Mrs. Beyer was in the kitchen preparing to roast a whole turkey in the oven. As the afternoon went by they heard the doorbell ring several times.

Caroline opened the front door. She knew exactly who was standing outside.

“Dad, did you lock yourself out, again?” she asked.

Mr. Beyer, who was sixty-two years old, grinned at his daughter. He wore black yard gloves on his hands; he was dressed in a white and black polo shirt, a checkered cap, and short pants. His clothes were covered in grass stains and dirt. Mr. Beyer’s hat was on backwards.

“Yep. Happens to me all the time. I can’t remember to take my keys with me. These stupid shears don’t work. They’re rusted stiff.” Mr. Beyer held up the large, silver hedge shears and tried to close them, but with no such luck.

He threw them on the yard in frustration; he was dripping with sweat. Luckily, Mr. Beyer hadn’t suffered from any heart attack at his age. Mrs. Beyer scurried out of the kitchen to see who Caroline was talking to at the front door. By the entrance, she saw her husband wiping his muddy feet on her brand new welcome mat. She took one good look at him.

“George! I thought you were fixing the hedges in the yard?” Mrs. Beyer was stunned at her husband’s filthy clothes. It made her cringe.

“I was, but I gave up on it. Got fed up with the whole darn contraption. These blasted shears won’t cut. I knocked on the door…no one heard me. I saw the front needed mowing. So, I started doing that instead.”

Mr. Beyer removed his soiled garden gloves. He was a hard worker, and had spent quite a while struggling to dig up the dead rose bush in the corner of the yard, beside the fence.

“In your golf clothes? George, you’re a mess.” Mrs. Beyer gawked at her husband’s stained shirt, examining it closely.

It was marked in permanent grass smudges; no amount of washing or expensive fancy detergents could clean it again. Mr. Beyer’s polo shirt was ruined for life.

“Dad, you need to get changed. The party’s going to start at seven.” Caroline slapped her forehead, realizing that she had just forgotten something. “You think you can clean the barbecue grill for me?”

“I’ll change. I won’t take long. Just need to find oil for those blasted shears,” Mr. Beyer complained.

“You need to start cooking those ribs, Dad. When are you going to start the grill?”

“I’ll clean the grill once I finish, okay sweetie.”

“Well, you better hurry. Uncle Harold is coming tonight.” Caroline widened the door to let her father inside. “And you know he loves barbecue ribs and chicken wings. He’s gotta have his wings.”

Mrs. Beyer, in anger, pointed to her husband that his dirty shoes needed to be removed first. Mr. Beyer did what he was told, like a mechanical robot, and slipped them off without even thinking.

“Really? I thought he told us he couldn’t make it until tomorrow evening?” Mr. Beyer questioned.

“He’s got an early flight. Well, we’ll see if he does. But Dad, since you’re here, clean the grill,” Caroline added.

“All right. I’ll see what I can do. I’ll be upstairs. I gotta go wash up and change first.”

It wasn’t long before the phone started ringing off the hook, every hour. Caroline picked up the phone attached to the wall; its wires looped in spirals like a slinky. The cord stretched and bent as she walked around with the phone.

“Hey Susie. I’m good. How are you?” Caroline was cleaning the kitchen counter with a rag getting ready to chop carrots, onions, and potatoes with a large knife.

As she was chitchatting away, she laughed out loud. “Ha-ha. He is? Yes. It’s at seven, but we’ll probably be waiting for Uncle Harold to show up. If not, we’ll just have to start without him. Are you planning on bringing anything?”

Mrs. Beyer put on a pair of happy face mittens and pulled open the oven door, inching out the huge turkey to see if it was cooking properly. She poured gravy on it with a nylon baster to give it flavor, and then pushed the giant bird into the oven so it could bake some more. It wouldn’t be ready to eat until a couple of hours.

“Apple pie would be great. Mom’s making the turkey. Sure, you can bring a friend over,” Caroline replied. “Robert Bailey from high school. He’s coming here? Tonight?”

Caroline talked nonstop to Susie Q, her best childhood friend of over twenty years, till the doorbell rang. The cuckoo bird rushed out of the grandfather clock and chirped four times.

“Cuckoo. Cuckoo.” It squawked. “Cuckoo. Cuckoo.”

“I’ll answer it.” Mrs. Beyer removed her mittens.

She glanced at the canary going inside its home as she approached the door. There was a loud knock.

“Comin’! Hold your horses.” Mrs. Beyer unlocked the door.

A man dressed in a white suit stood in front of her, holding a bouquet of red roses. They were wrapped in a silvery, translucent covering.

“Oh, my goodness.” Mrs. Beyer placed a hand over her mouth in surprise. She recognized him anywhere.

“Hello, mademoiselle.” Uncle Harold bowed in a graceful manner.

He was ten years younger than Mr. Beyer, and often came by to visit his brother on certain holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and even Fourth of July.


July 4, 1997

Dear Journal,

He’s a gorilla man. Taller than Grandpa, who’s five seven, and he has a slight limp to his walk. He has a chubby stomach that swells out of his clothing, and he slouches as if he has a hump on his back. His cheeks are always swollen and red with rosea, which is a skin rash. And his nose is shaped like that of a bulging toucan beak.

But the worst trait I remember about him is those hairy, clingy hands. He has sticky fingers. He dyes his hair a brownish color since it’s turning gray. His hair is trimmed short, and he has blue eyes. I don’t like him at all.

Everyone calls him “The Funny Man,” “Mister Comedian,” yet I think he’s just one big Joker. He’s always full of laughter and comedy standup jokes. I pray he’ll drop dead someday. To hear he died from laughter would be amusing and ironic.

Sometimes when he’s entertaining guests, he’ll compare himself to Chris Farley, Robin Williams, John Goodman, or some other fat comedian they don’t know of. He’s a crazy, goofy man who's probably a loser anyway. He has no life, has no children, and no wife.


Mom knocked on the door. I cracked it a peep.

“You can come downstairs and have something to eat,” she whispered. “But please be on your best behavior.”

“All right,” I replied.

“Zander, do not curse in front of Uncle Harold. You know how he is about cursing.”

“I won’t cuss in front of him. I won’t embarrass you in front of Grandma and Grandpa, and all their church going freaks,” I said.

But if he says any more of his lame jokes to me, I’m going to hurl! I thought.

“Be good. You promised,” Mom said. “And please dress nicely. I don’t want you looking like a slob.”

I did what Mom ordered and slipped into a light, cerulean polo shirt and coffee dress pants for special occasions: Christmas, birthday celebrations, and annoying family reunions. I walked downstairs with Mom. She approved of my apparel after examining the material and checking my zipper. All I needed was a stamp of approval from the FDA.

I saw Uncle Harold in a white suit, loose designer pants, and a white tie with diamond-laced patterns. He was dressed stylish this evening; I looked down at his brown protruding shoes with embroidery designs. Around his neck was a jade stone necklace, hidden in his vest. Uncle Harold took it out and showed it to guests, saying how he got it from China. He claimed it was given to him as a gift, but in my mind, he probably brought that necklace at a cheap pawnshop.

I thought about stabbing out his eyes (right here) in front of everyone with a butcher knife.

“Hey Zander! You’ve grown so big." Uncle Harold extended his hand toward me.

I refused to shake it until Mom nudged me with her elbow to be polite and courteous to all guests, even close family members.

“Go on,” Mom commanded, trying not to shout. “Be nice…”

“Nice to see you, Uncle Harold,” I replied, smiling a fake smile.

I stretched out my hand. Uncle Harold had an eager handshake and smelled of alcohol. The palms of his hands were sweaty, and as he gave me a big embrace, I could’ve sworn he pinched my fanny. I huffed out in disgust. Uncle Harold rubbed his body against mine trying to fiddle me up.

I think I’m going to be sick, I thought.

“If you need anything Uncle, I’ll be in the kitchen.” Mom walked away.

She glanced back at me with an evil eyebrow raised, which meant, You better not screw this up! Uncle Harold watched Mom as she left me there; I felt like bait on a hook. We were alone.

“Big butts, drive me nuts,” he whispered the motto in my ear. “Zander, you’re not a child anymore.”

I frowned at him; I never once told Mom what his statements were due to fear. She’d call me a liar, and I didn’t want to get into any more trouble. Uncle Harold blathered whatever vile and disgusting thing he wanted to say to me.

“Your hair’s so long, almost like a girl. Maybe you should visit me sometime, Zander. Why don’t you sleep over at my house, and keep me company. I’d enjoy having breakfast with you.” He chuckled to himself with delight. “What do you say? Why don’t I ask your Mommy?”

“Thanks, but no thanks.” I didn’t smile.

I moseyed away from him. As the party continued, I despised him even more. I tried several times to politely ignore Uncle Harold, and yet he just wouldn’t take a freaking hint. So, I went to where Isa was eating thin slices of turkey and white rice on her plate. She sat at a table with other children her own age and was dressed in a pinkish dress that looked like a tutu.

Uncle Harold followed me as if he was a fat rat following cheese. “I should give you a dress, Zander. You’re such a cute girl.”


Mom covered her mouth in shock. A crowd of church-going people gasped in horror; I ran in a fury to the nearest bathroom. Bang. I slammed the door so loud that it shook the entire house.

“Oh, my God. What’s gotten into him?” Mom asked Uncle Harold.

“Beats me. Boy can’t take a joke…I was only playing.”

Uncle Harold continued drinking from his glass; he had soda mixed in with vodka and ate the ice, chewing it loudly. I cried in the bathroom and concealed my sobbing voice with a towel.

He’s such a pervert! I wiped away my tears.

Uncle Harold never touched me, but his lecherous eyes saw right through my clothing; I was naked in front of him. Couldn’t stand him whispering in my ear such depraved thoughts. I never had the courage to tell Mom about how I truly felt around Uncle Harold, especially in his presence. I washed my face in the sink with warm water. Knowing Mom so well, I had a feeling she’d come hunt me down.

I heard a knock at the door. Opened it and there she was. Mom stood before me and blocked people’s gawking eyes; they walked past us to head toward the patio doors.

“Are you crying?” she asked.

“No…I’m just sick. My tummy hurts.”

“You should get some rest upstairs. Take some stomach relief pills in the medicine cabinet. After the party, we’ll have a chat about what just happened today.”

“Okay…” I muttered, nodding.

Mom tried to contain her anger. She turned around to face the guests and apologized on my behalf for such language; Mom headed to the patio full of soft voices and gossiping. I went upstairs to Mom’s bedroom. It was decorated as a little girl’s playroom: her walls were pink, she had a large dollhouse on the floor, and there were stuffed animals and toys literally everywhere.

At some point in Mom’s life, she was obsessed with dolls. How did that change from plastic Darbies to automobiles and engines? I flopped on the bed and sighed out loud. I don’t think I’ll ever understand Mom; her life was always a mystery to me. I hardly knew her.

Nightmarish Reality © 2012 by W.D. Lady

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