Nightmare Hill

Subject:      Nightmare Hill
From:         ace <>
Date:         1997/01/30
Message-Id:   <5cr1jm$b10$>
Newsgroups:   talk.bizarre

I had often heard about Nightmare Hill, and I had always been enchanted
by the magic sound of its name.  People would tell each other stories
about the things that happened there, scary stories, but also beautiful
ones.  I knew I was not yet ready to go there, but I also knew that I
would, someday.

The shortest way to get where you want to be if you really want to get
there, is to take the detour.  My detour took me to places I had never
heard of before; it led me to cities I helped build; it guided me to
freinds I had never met before; it showed me talents and weaknesses I
didn't know I had.

And then, one evening I suddenly bumped into a sign saying "Nightmare
Hill, 2M".  I jumped, my heart skipped a beat, and I looked in the
direction the sign pointed.  I did not see anything special, but I did
see a hill and I started walking.

At the foot of the hill there was a huge sign, explaining in very
friendly terms that this was Nightmare Hill, its history was such and
such, the territory was private but visitors were welcomed and strongly
advised to leave the population in peace.  Our entrance at these
premisses was all our own risk, the sign said in clear black letters.
I proceeded, and climbed up the hill.

I was glad the trees and the shrubs gave me some shelter, and I could
see without being seen.  There was a rather large group of people
sitting around a fire, looking dark and serious,  as if they would never
smile, or speak.  Suddenly, one of them got up, stretched out his arms,
turned his head upwards, and started producing a dream.  A beautiful
dream, sweet, poetic, colourful and only too short.  The others looked
and smiled and weeped, and sighed when the dream was over.

Then, after a while, another one got up.  She, too, stretched out her
arms, faced the sky and then produced a nightmare.  A scary one, full of
restlessness and fear, an inequal struggle that we knew could never be
won...  but this one ended, too.  The people around her nodded at her,
and smiled knowing smiles, and put some more wood on the fire.

Suddenly, my attention got distracted by a rather large group of people
who came marching up the hill.  Their sandwich signs prophecied the End
of Time, and their heavy debating made that even more clear.  They
obviously didn't notice that they were disturbing anything, they just
kept on arguing with anyone who joined in in the discussion.

As soon as they approached the circle around the fire, something
peculiar happened.  The people around the fire became transparent,
resolved in the background, and as long as it took the protestants to
pass by, the fire was only faintly visible.  In any case, none of them
noticed anything, and they marched on to find sinners to convert.

Another man stood up, and his dream was warm and sultry, seeming to mock
the seriousness of the prophets that had just passed by.  He created an
openly erotic kind of atmosphere, and most of the members of the group
chuckled.  Not all of them, though, and the next dream was one of loss,
pain and sadness.  And then came a dream of expectation and hope,
followed by one of poetic everyday-ness.  I sat, and looked, and
listened, and forgot where I was.

Until there was some movement, quite close to me.  Someone else had been
hiding in the shrubs, and watched the events happen.  He firmly walked
towards the circle, claimed some space, and then started singing some
old Crystal Gayle song.  He wasn't doing it badly, it was clear that he
believed in the song and his voice was actually pretty good.  But the
performance was completely out of place here, and I wished I could do
something to stop him.

I didn't need to. Another man got up, raised his arms and produced a
horrid nightmare.  I felt the fear he emitted, the hate it contained.
There were strange symbols in it, symbols I couldn't understand.  But
the man who had been singing did, and I could tell he was shocked and
scared, and confused and angry, too.  He tried to stop it, but he
couldn't.  Instead, more people got up, and added to the nightmare,
which got darker and heavier by the minute.  Finally, the man ran off,
away from the fire, down the hill and further, and the nightmare
disappeared with the smoke of the fire.  And the dream parade went on as
if nothing had happened.

And indeed, nothing really had happened.

(  )~ __________________________________________ (c) ace <>