Cassandra walked softly down the hallway. Bare feet on soft blue carpet, she padded silently to the top of the stairs to listen.
“...I wish it hadn’t come to this….”
Her father’s voice, trailing off. Then the strangers voice. A woman. “No one wants to hire a dreamwalker.” The term caused Cassandra’s fear to spike.
Everyone knew that dreamwalkers didn’t rescue people. She didn’t understand exactly what they did, at her age of seven she had been sheltered from it. But she had learned a little in her years.
The dreamwalkers went to the Molkov, a nightmarish world where humans were tortured.
She didn’t know exactly where it was, or why the humans were kept there, but if her parents hired a dreamwalker it didn’t bode well for her sister.
The woman’s voice carried on. “I will find her for you. You know I can’t bring her back…” Cassandra silently cringed. “I will try and give her the message, but some people are too far gone.”
Cassandra’s sister Samantha was ten years older, and had been missing for three days. Her parents had tried to remain calm around her but she could sense the terror inside of them.
But now, they had hired this woman. It meant Samantha wasn’t coming back. Cassandra ran down the stairs.
“You have to bring her back!”
Her parents stood on the left side of the living room, the dreamwalker across from them. One lone lamp lit the darkness. Blue carpets and white walls.
It was a pleasant home under normal circumstances. But it had an ominous feeling tonight.
The dreamwalker turned to look at her. She had red hair and piercing green eyes. She crouched to child's height and an empathetic expression crossed her face.
“I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way….”
She continued, “You see, no one has ever been rescued from the Molkov.”
“I DON’T CARE!” Cassandra was angry at how calm the woman was. This was her sister they were talking about.
The room became silent as the words floated in the air. Cassandra broke in to tears. The dreamwalker walked over to her and placed a hand gently on her head. “I am truly sorry child.
But you must believe me, if I could rescue your sister I would.” With that she nodded to Cassandra’s parents, both had tears in their eyes, and she turned to leave the house.
Cassandra looked to her mother and father. Both were looking back at her. Her mother’s watery brown eyes met hers, trying to find words. Finally her father spoke. “Cassandra...
:” his voice quivered. “We hope your sister isn’t in the Malkov, but you must understand, it is a horrible place. If she is there she must be found.”
“THEN WHAT?! You aren’t going to rescue her!”
A tear fell from her father's eye and ran down his cheek. “Cassandra, we can’t just leave her there.”
Cassandra gave up on talking to her parents. She had to stop the dreamwalker. She ran outside the front door leaving her parents stunned for a moment before they took up chase.
There she was. She had walked from the house towards a nearby alleway. Cassandra ran after her just as she disappeared around a corner, her parents in close pursuit. The night air was crisp.
Her parents were gaining, but she made it to the alleway in time to see a greenish blue light starting to emanate at the end of it, right where the dreamwalker stood.
“Stop!!!” Cassandra yelled to her as she ran. Her parents still following.
The light grew and expanded to consume the dreamwalker just as Cassandra reached it and disappeared into it as well. Her parents then watched as the light disappeared.
Leaving the alleyway empty of light, the dreamwalker, and their other daughter. They were terrified.
“Damnit!” The woman's voice showed frustration, but not anger. “What are you doing here?” Cassandra had shut her eyes tight as she ran through the light. Now she opened them.
Before her stood the woman, holding a light. They were in someplace very dark.
“You have to rescue her!” Cassandra was relentless.
The dreamwalker looked closely at her for a moment pondering. “Let me show you something.” She turned to walk, indicating with body language that the young girl should follow. She did.
They walked a few feet and then they saw it. A wall. But it was moving as if it was alive. It took Cassandra a moment to process. The wall was covered in eyes. Living, looking, blinking eyes.
Most showed expressions of fear, pain and horror. There were hundreds to thousands of them. Eerily reflecting the light and covering every wall in sight. In the distance she heard screaming.
The dreamwalker spoke. “Your sister is here, somewhere on one of these walls most likely are her eyes…..”
“Elsewhere are her ears and mouth and body. She is in agony. They all are. This is the Malkov. I can’t put them back together, but I can end their pain.”
She let the silence between them sit but the sounds of screaming and yelling had picked up. “Do you understand?” Cassandra was asked?
She thought about it for a moment. Looking at the wall of eyes in front of here, Listening to the screams. She realized how dire the situation actually was.
“So what do you do then?” She asked the dreamwalker.
“I kill them. To end their suffering. I kill all of them.”
They had been wandering these halls of agony for what seemed like hours, though in reality it had only been a few minutes. “How do you kill them?” Cassandra finally asked.
The dreamwalker pulled a small device from the bag slung on her back.
“A bomb.” She paused a moment, as if debating how much to share. But this seven year old was already here. There was no point trying to hide it.
“I find the hearts, or brains, set up the bomb, and then we get back to our exit before it blows up.
“Our exit?” Cassandra was curious what she meant.
“The portal that brought us here. It will reopen in exactly,” she looked at her watch, “five hours and fourteen minutes. It will be open for five minutes.
If we don’t make it we will be trapped here.”
“Where is here?” Cassandra was smart for her age. “I mean, I know it’s the Malkov, but where is it?”
“Another dimension. Do you know what a sadist is?”
“I didn’t figure. A sadist is a person or thing who gets pleasure from other people's pain. The Malkov is inhabited by sadistic beings who take pleasure in the suffering of humans.
They keep them alive in constant agony for thousands of years. No one knows exactly how big the Malkov is, or how many Malk’s there are.” Cassandra was familiar with the term Malks.
They were the inhabitants of the Malkov.
“Where are they all?” Cassandra asked.
“All that you’ve seen.” The dreamwalker spoke. “This is the “collection” of a single Malk. Chances are we won’t encounter him. But if we do I’ll kill him too.”
“What do they look like?”
Cassandra thought about the answer and hoped they wouldn’t see one.
“Eventually they found a section with ears.” Somewhat like the wall of eyes this one was visibly alive with ears, straining and twitching in agony.
“Samantha Russeck!!!” The dreamwalker yelled as loud as she could. “If you can hear me scream as loud as you can, three times.”
From the distance, amongst the constant screaming came three distinctly in a row. “That’s good”. The dreamwalker looked at Cassandra. “She can hear us.”
She started yelling again. “Samantha, I am sent to end your agony. But before I do, your parents wished you to know they love you.” Now she looked at Cassandra.
“Do you want to say goodbye to your sister?”
Tears immediately sprang forth from Cassandra’s eyes as she came to realize the reality of what was soon to happen. But she saw the agony these people were in.
She understood the dreamwalkers purpose now.
“Sam! I love you so much!” She yelled as loud as she could. “You are the best big sister one could hope for!”
“Okay,” the dreamwalker spoke, “let's find a way to end their suffering.
They wandered for a few hours. At one point coming across the mouths. It was hard to hear amongst the screaming, but as the walked Cassandra’s ears picked up the recurring sound.
“I love you Cassandra. I love you Cassandra.” Over and over again. Cassandra followed the sound to a pair of lips.
She walked up close to the wall and paused a moment, then leaned in to the wall and kissed them. They stopped.
“Cassandra.” They started. “I love you. I love mom and dad. This is torment. You must let it end.” Then it began repeating the words again. “I love you Cassandra. I love you Cassandra.”
They continued their search. At last they reached a hall with walls lined with pumping hearts. The whole wall pulsated. The dreamwalker set up her bomb and they began to make their way back.
“When does the bomb go off?”
The dreamwalker responded as if expecting the question. “As soon as the portal opens. That way I can verify it went off and get out before the shockwave hits.”
As they walked their way back to the portal. They were suddenly set upon by the Malk. Cassandra was trailing behind the dreamwalker when her leg was grabbed.
She began to scream as the centipede like thing dragged her along.
The dreamwalker spun around, yanking a gun from her waist, she ran back and fired two rounds into the Malk. It stopped moving immediately but for some twitching legs.
“You okay?” She asked Cassandra.
“Yeah.” Cassandra was tough for her age. They made it the rest of the way back without incident.
Upon the portal opening the dreamwalker insisted Cassandra go through immediately. She did and was met by both her parents and police officers back in their home town of Cresea. “Mom and dad.
” Cassandra started sobbing. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. We found her. It was awful. But she said she loved you.”
Less than five minutes later and the dreamwalker came through as the portal began to close. She walked over to the parents and child.
“The message was successfully delivered. And the bomb went off.”
“So it is done.” The father spoke up, and then the family wrapped around each other in a hug. They began to sob in unison.