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Machines of the Little People - Dream

Machines of the Little People - Dream

A Story by Tegon Maus

I screamed as if my lungs were about to burst and struggled against the confines that held me. I fought back for my very life, determined I wouldn't die like this.



"Fire boy," she whispered, turning to face me again.

          No one, absolutely no one, knew he called me that.  When I was nine, he had caught me and two of my friends lighting farts on fire.  It had always been between him and me when we were alone.  I don't think he ever told Mother, or Kate for that matter. 

          Goose bumps rippled over me.  I didn't know what to think.  I was confused.  Childhood memories washed over me, old smells, old sounds suddenly surrounded me, filling me with the past.  I could hardly breathe.

          "Stop it.  Let me think," I protested, standing.  The sounds subsided as I tried to filter out what to accept as real.

          "Ben.  I can tell you where Roger is," she said, following me as I moved about the room.

          "Where?  Where is he, Kate?"

          "You must listen and remember... there is a man who means to harm you.  Only you stand in his way to control Roger.  His name is Lucas Mckay and Ben, believe me when I say he wants... needs...  to kill you.  He will settle for nothing less.  You will have only one chance... you must kill him first."

          I was shocked.  How could she ask that of me?  I couldn't kill a fly, let alone a human being.  This made no sense.  Everything was wrong.  My head hurt too.  What was I to believe?

          "No, you're not, Kate.  I don't know who you are but my Kate would never ask such a thing of me.  I don't know how you're doing this but Audry and I will figure it out and your little game will fall apart like a house of cards," I protested, proud of myself for catching on so quickly.

          "House of cards, is it?  Remember this, Benjamin, I love you and I will not allow you to fail Roger," she said and with that walked through the wall and disappeared.

          I turned to wake Audry but she was gone.  A mild panic over took me.  I swung the bedroom door open in search of her and it came off in my hand.  The ceiling and roof disappeared with the sound of ripping plywood and screeching nails.  One by one the  walls began to flex and then fell flat to the floor.  I dove into the hall as the ceiling and walls pulled themselves apart in the same fashion and crumbled.  I ran to the front door as room by room, wall after wall, each disintegrated just as I passed, barely escaping.  

          I fought with the door in an effort to get it open.  I had to get outside.  The house was collapsing in on me.  The roar of the walls folding in on themselves like cards falling one on top of the other vibrated into my very bones. 

          At last the door submitted to my will and I flung it open,  escaping into the front yard.  The moonless night sky glittered with stars.  The air was cool and crisp; the madness had stopped.  Naked, out of breath and certain I had become insane, I turned back to the house only to discover it was intact, not a nail or piece of wood out of place.  I drew a deep breath, my hands on my knees, suddenly cold from the layer of sweat that covered me, and then I drew another.

          Then it began. 

          From out in the yard the sticks, twigs and leaves, even the way the branches crossed each other seemed to form a face of one type or another.  Suddenly, the pictures from Roger's computer jumped into my mind.  Every photo, every image that I had seen now made a new kind of sense.  The madness I thought had possessed Roger now devoured me, body and soul. 

          The knots in the trees took on the appearance of eyes.  Hundreds of them all shifting, changing as each in turn began to blink, all looking at me.  turned, trying to decide what to do, where to go.  My heart pounded so hard that the veins in my neck pulsed madly.  Then a sound from the top of the trees pulled at me.  I was transfixed, unable to move despite my desire.  There in the upper limbs, people began to appear,  tiny, winged people. 

          "Ben,"  It was little more than whispers at first that grew louder and louder, "Benjamin Harris... Ben..."  A hundred tiny voices suddenly filled the air, calling my name.  Covered in garments of rotten leaves, woven twigs and grass, they dove wildly, flying from tree to tree, clambering, beating the trunks with sticks.

          As the sound grew to become unbearable, a low moan drifted up from the dirt, reaching out for me.  In panic, I looked about, trying to tell what was generating the sound or from where it came.  The ground began to vibrate as a second, deeper moan filled the air.

          One by one, each of the eight trees in the yard began to pitch and sway.  The branches swung like arms to brush the ground as the trunks bent and twisted in wild gyrations.  The soil began to rip apart at their base as the roots from each tree roiled, trying to escape their confines.  The one closest to the street managed to pull free first, tearing out chunks of the asphalt as well as the concrete curb.  It yanked at its roots again and again until it pulled itself from the soil in a great Medusa like seething, undulating, serpentine mass that propelled it forward.  A second followed suit and then a third.

          My heart pounded in my throat.  I sought an escape but the trees closed in quickly, holding me where I stood.  I fought with all my might as the roots quickly laced up my legs, tightening as they covered my body.  I screamed for the very life of me as the tentacles wrapped about my shoulders and neck.  Panic over took my mind, my body, as their grip about me grew stronger.

          "Lucas McKay, Ben.  You must kill him... for Roger's sake," Kate's disembodied voice said softly and the roots tightened all the more.

           I screamed as if my lungs were about to burst and struggled against the confines that held me.  The sound of my own voice rippled through me.  I fought back for my very life, determined I wouldn't die like this.

          Placing my left hand about the nearest root, I used all of my strength to hold it in place as it thrashed about.  I drew back an angry fist, set on crushing it before it could take me.

          "Ben.  Ben.  Dear God, wake up," Audry screamed.  She beat on my chest, shaking me violently in an effort to rouse me.  

          Upon waking, I discovered the root I held was actually Audry's throat and I was about to crush in her face.

          Bewildered, confused and covered in sweat, I released her.  My heart pounded like never before, beating so fast, so hard, I thought surely it would fail.  With full panic, I searched the darkened room, expecting the advancing trees to come for me from the opposite side of the room.

           "Are you okay?" Audry asked, wiping tears from her eyes.

          "I don't know," I said weakly.  I placed an arm against the wall, resting my head on it, flexing my arms and legs.  "My God," I whispered to myself.  I attempted to sort out the images still filling my head, trying to create a place for the real and the unreal. 

          "What the hell is going on?" Audry asked, coming toward me still rubbing her throat.

          Covered in a cold sweat, I wrapped my arms around her,  shaking from the experience. 

          "Ben, please.  What is it?"  she asked, her eyes wide with bewilderment.  "My God, your heart.  What the hell is going on?"  she gasped, pulling her hand from my chest.  

         I fought to catch my breathe but could not.  Embarrassed and ashamed, I had no idea where to start, what to say.  Slowly, we sank to the floor, tangled in each others arms.  She kissed my face as we silently, softly rocked and waited for daylight.

© 2012 Tegon Maus

My Review

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This is good, Tegon, you've got me hooked again! But is there more? Don't leave me hanging here.

Posted 6 Years Ago

I really enjoyed all the description in this, and the way that I could imagine it vividly. Oh and I really loved the last line, it really adds to it. I like how although it was a dream it wasn't the cliche 'I woke up and it was all a dream.' There was more to it than that.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Your writing style is very relatable and engaging. The use of vivid words and imagery really add to the whole surrealism you aimed to depict the protagonist's disturbed reaction and experience of the I reader, I really felt as though I was in that panicked and bewildered mode as well. I'm someone who is really into finding literary techniques in reading, so I really liked that foreshadowing of the "House of Cards" line, I found it to add to the intensity of what he was going through.

Posted 6 Years Ago

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14 Reviews
Added on December 8, 2011
Last Updated on July 24, 2012


Tegon Maus
Tegon Maus


Dearheart, my wife of forty nine years and I live in Cherry Valley, a little town of 8,200 in Southern California. In that time, I've built a successful remodeling /contracting business. But th.. more..