The Island of No Terror

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The Island of No Terror

Post  Crustacean Freak on Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:58 am

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On a mountain situated on a lonely rocky island beach, the millionaires of the world went to euthanize their nightmares. As time passed, and culture changed, the nightmares of man and woman alike became more horrifying, more persistent, and altogether unbearable. No doctor nor scientist could explain the phenomena, and as the suicide rate rose with the nightmare rate, one individual came up with an operation that could rid the world of nightmares forever. This cure was an expensive treatment, and not one without its own set of consequences.

“A visit to the Island of No Terror,” the brochure stated, “is all that separates you from sleeping like an angel again.”

And like an angel they slept. Most of the side-effects were listed, with the exception of one very important one. Those who underwent the procedures could not dream. Architectural geniuses, artists, and some of the world’s most revered engineers and mathematicians no longer had the capacity to imagine greater than what was set before them.

The patients of the Island of No Terror continued their lives unfulfilled. Civilization stagnated. The most influential people in the world became slaves to the Island, bringing to it their troubles and burdens, only to have those burdens swiftly carried away with their future ideas and aspirations.

“You are imagining things,” the lone doctor in the mountain swore, “I cannot kill your dreams, only your nightmares, the last thing that could hold a wealthy man like you back!

“I’ve given you the freedom no other person in this world can have. Only the well-established men and women such as yourselves had the courage to quell your growing terrors. I took the treatment myself, and continue to expand my horizons!”

The man standing there in the slick marble lobby of Dreamstate Dynamics continued preaching the beauty of life without nightmares to his patients. His investors. He had indeed expanded his horizons. The Island of No Terrors was growing, expanding from a lab in a seaside mountain, to include an isolated mining operation. The island had been stripped of trees, and in the center sat a cold steel building, marked with carbon burns and a series of iron bar windows. From the lobby’s bay window overlooking the island, it looked like a three-story structure in the shape of a perfect square.

“Please, allow me to show your the progress I’ve made with a life free of imaginary horrors.” The doctor guided his patients across the blackened soil of the island to the covered mining operation. Before they were even within a hundred yards of the place, the patients could pick up the acrid scent of sulfur, and something else. Something they could not put their finger on. It was familiar, pungent, and in a way, beyond their grasp. The small crowd of people was ushered into the entrance of the building, the iron door dimly lit from the outside, with a simple warning: ENTER AT OWN RISK. MOVE QUICKLY. DO NOT LOOK BELOW.

The doctor shut the iron door behind them, locking it with a simple magnetic card. The door sealed with a quick hiss, and the small room they entered was bathed in blue light. A few of the patients reached for the hard hats sitting on an ornate cherry oak dining table.

“You will not need those, friends. We will be safe from the mine’s hazards in the command room. You may want to say a quick prayer to your deity of choice, however.” He smiled a Snicker-snapping smile, like a child deviously wailing into a candy bar after a long night of Trick-or-Treat.

At the end of the room was a beautifully constructed elevator of sealed wood, gold, and iron. Small gemstones were used in place of buttons to indicate the floor. One patient remarked on the similarity between this elevator, and the one currently in his estate in California. The doctor nodded, merely focusing on the gemstone buttons. He hit a cracked ruby twice with his middle finger, and the elevator began to descend.

Two floors down, a simple jazz track accompanied their descent. Going deeper and deeper, the music became louder and louder. Ten floors down, the saxophone became distorted, sounding off, not matching the flow of the other instruments. Twelve floors down, the saxophone seemed angry, hitting high notes with an unbearable intensity. Fifteen floors down, the saxophone screamed, playing uncomfortable scales with the ferocity of a dozen flocks of starving vultures descending on the scraps of a titanic beast. The simple drumming had become ethereal, fey, angelic even. Eighteen floors down, the drumming of a lost saint fought hard to be heard against the roaring might of the screaming saxophone. The millionaires shouted at the doctor to make the music stop.

Twenty floors down, the battle stopped. All that remained was the tick of a metronome as the doors of the elevator slid open to reveal a room filled with banks of control panels. The lights on the panels twinkled like multicolored stars in the otherwise dark room. The doctor escorted his patients to the bench seats behind the long rows of switches and knobs.

“When I promised you no nightmares,” the withered doctor began, “I was promising no nightmares in your sleep. No nightmares in your mind. The boundless horrors that haunted your nights could not stay locked in your mind.”

The doctor pulled a lever on the wall facing his patients. Thick steel plates began to separate, revealing an acrylic glass window overlooking a small patch of level stone jutting from the base of a mine seemingly miles deep. A soft orange glow was cast from below. On the patch of stone, a man resembling the CEO of a major pharmaceutical company stood naked before the audience. The CEO was one of the doctor’s patients, who looked incredulously through the glass. He got up from behind the bank of controls, and approached the window with horror.

“Not too closely, my good man!” The doctor remarked. The man behind the glass ran towards it, he seemed to be screaming, but the sound fell on deaf ears in the soundproofed room.

“Is there something that once bothered you often, my good man?”

The naked man covered his mouth and stared directly at his clothed twin in the dark room. He shut his eyes tightly, and removed his hands from his mouth, clenching them into fists. Keeping his mouth closed, he opened his palms, revealing dozens of rotting teeth, corroded and yellow. The naked man dropped to his knees.

“That’s enough of that then.”

The doctor turned a knob beneath the switch. The steel plates shut quickly, and reopened slowly. Behind the glass on the stone patch before them was a large tank of water, matching the size and shape of the patch perfectly. A bleeding scuba diver covered in a shredded wet suit, and sporting a leaking oxygen tank, pounded on the wall of the tank with violent fervor. One of the patients cried out to release her. A woman with a tightly wound bun stood up and approached the doctor.

“I’ve seen enough. I know how this ends,” she said.

“I haven’t seen this one in some time. Let me enjoy this.” The doctor said with a disarming smile.

“You’re sick. You’re absolutely horrific!” The woman screamed, “Please! We’ve seen enough!”

“So temperamental, my dear. You must learn to relax. None of this can happen to you! I’ve cured you.”

The woman jumped for the knob behind the doctor. He knocked her away, blocking the small knob with his light frame.

“You cannot imagine the horrors you might release with the wrong turn of this knob. Since you cannot stand to see the same nightmare you would still be dealing with today, were it not for me, I’ll go ahead and change it for you.”

He turned the knob again, the steel plates shut quickly once more. As the plates slowly opened again, the room was filled with intense white light. The doctor rubbed his hands together.

“Ah yes! One of my favorites. From our very own renowned painter, Elias!” He turned to face a young man with a pencil-thin mustache sitting at the back of the room, “You used to have such a creative mind, my boy.”

The patients winced in the bright light, and the brightness faded just enough so that they could see. At the edge of the stone plateau, a sphere of fire, a small-scale sun had formed and was circling a minuscule black hole situated over the patch. The sun moved past the window, moving closer and closer to the center of the black hole. The sun contorted as an arm of fire was consumed by the black hole as if it were a long strand of spaghetti. Within seconds, the entire sun had been consumed, and the black hole simply sat a foot above the ground, spinning. A potbelly pig made its way across the platform, and stared at the spinning disk of pure darkness. In a swift chomp, it ate the black hole as if it were hearty pile of feed.

The doctor chuckled, and faced his audience, “Here comes my favorite part.”

The pig looked dully at Elias in the corner. It opened its mouth, and a sharply-dressed bespectacled man crawled out. The pig walked away, and the suited man shook his head at Elias and held up a large scorecard with a boldly written zero. He just continued to shake his head, and talk to an audience who could only read his lips.

“Cracks me up every time, Elias! Even the end of the world looks like a bad score from an art critic to you.”

He flipped the switch, and turned to face his collection of horrified, amused, and disgusted patients.

“For my finale, I’d like to give you something that we can all enjoy. You see, you cannot have dreams without nightmares, and you cannot have new ideas with no demons dwelling in your imagination, so I’d like to present to you a recurring nightmare that belonged to a man who killed himself. I’m sure you will find you are all seated comfortably.”

The patients attempted to move, but found they could do nothing but face forward and remain sitting.

“Not one of you asked me to rid your children of their nightmares. They are, after all, the most affected by night terrors. Though, you may find yourselves affected far more than they ever will be in about one minute. Please enjoy the show. I have a whole batch of bankers who want to have their nightmares of poverty put to rest.” He had the wicked grin of a used car salesman from Hell. The door to the elevator closed behind him as the steel plates separated to reveal a winged serpent cracking the acrylic glass with its corpulent tail.

“We’ve caught the dragon before,” the doctor muttered, “every time, it is worth it.”

The doctor left the negative twentieth story of his nightmare storage compound for the last time that day, leaving his favorite elevator song on loop. He had more patients to attend to. A side-effect was finally added to the brochure in the smallest font he could print: May cause creative inhibition and limited ambition in some patients.
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Crustacean Freak

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