You must login to vote
The Nightmare of Death – Norman A. Rubin
The elder’s eyes were smarting for long want of sleep. His head swam, and he felt a sudden dizziness. Involuntarily he groped for support to his weakening body. Faint and deadly sleepy, he let his thin veined arms fall down on the yellowish white covering of the sheets.
There were strand and ominous sounds around him, heavy sighs and a monotonous murmuring sounds mingling with rustling of dead leaves. He wanted to lift his hoary head to see what it was, but he could not rise, how much he tried. At last he succeeded.
“What is this?” he thought
Everything seemed to loom so large round him, the ceiling also seemed high up; the wan lights in the center of the ceiling were pale gray, like that of a distant and misty moon.
Suddenly he was gripped with terror. There along a wall in front of his sight stood rows of beds with yellowish white sheets and brown blankets tucked in tightly like banded strapping. Beneath the thin blankets lay human beings, stiffly stretched out, and groaning in unknown misery, Now and then they raised their heads and prayed with heart-rending voices that their tight coverings might be loosened. But no one answered.
By the side of a high narrow door opposite to the row of beds stood a figure in a dark stained robe. His veined hands were bound and he was fastened by a thick hemp rope around his waist to the paint-peeling wall. The eyes were wide open and had no pupils, but the blood-streaked white of the eyes were large and protruding. Out of his toothless maw a long tongue, black as pitch, hung like rotten flesh.
Stiff with fear, the elder stared at the thick door. In a few bounds he would be able to make it. The elder wanted to rise and escape through the door, but he couldn’t move a limb.
“But supposing it was locked, and there was no key?” his mind rumbled in thought. Then he looked once again and he saw the door was locked and there was no key.
He then felt like a paralyzed mass, and he began to glide down from the bed. But just at that moment the door opened noiselessly and four men in dark robes entered quietly, carrying with them a rough pine coffin, curved into a semi-circle up on its top. The opening of the upper half was covered with a pane of discolored glass, and through this the elder saw faintly a human head lying sideways, with an emancipated, lifeless face, the color of which seemed as gray as lead against a yellowish white pillow.
In a moment the elder knew it was himself and that he was dead. Struggling to make some sound, he gave a loud shriek of terror, fell face downwards on the floor and woke up.
Norman A. Rubin