By Toneye Eyenot
In his acutely paralysed state, Ben Morgan tried to scream, but the sound never made it past the back of his throat. He never recalled these instances during his normal waking consciousness. However, each time the visitation occurred, the horrid memories would flood and overwhelm. Each time, a new memory was forged to join the last, in a seamless and seemingly never-ending episode. This was Ben Morgan’s ‘other’ life. A life as real and infinitely more terrifying than the everyday life he shared with his loved ones, friends and work colleagues, which dropped immediately from his mind the moment these visits would re-commence.
They would come for him when he was at his most prone. Upon the cusp of sleep, they would arrive at his side; looming over him like dark, elongated shadows, with a petrifying touch and an invisible gaze that seemed to engulf every fibre of his being. Over the course of twenty seven years, since they first appeared on his fourth birthday, these apparitions most foul had visited Ben several times. Eleven, to be precise. When he was four, they appeared by his bed as he drifted from his special day into a heavy sleep, induced by an overindulgence of sweets all that afternoon.
What occurred that fateful first night, lay entrenched in young Ben’s subconscious from then until the next time…the next, and each time thereafter. This manifested over the years as an unexplainable and irrational fear of the dark, coupled with massive bouts of vertigo which would leave him curled in a foetal position, feeling that the stars themselves would come crashing down upon and around him. A most inconvenient experience, which adversely affected his quality of life and mental health.
The soon to be familiar paralysis had taken hold as the young child began to close his eyes. He felt the presence in his room and opened them to see four menacing figures reaching down to him. In the next instant he was standing, naked and cold in a chamber. It was constructed of some indescribable material that he could see yet not feel, and the four entities from his bedroom stood in an arc before him, observing him from a distance of three feet or so. One, slightly taller than the others, standing at just shy of four feet high, advanced fluidly towards Ben and extended a spindly, long finger to touch his forehead lightly. Frozen with terror, Ben could only watch and do nothing more, as the jolt of what felt like boiling water being poured over his head and down his body resulted in a silent, agonising scream that he could hear in his own ears tho not a sound escaped his mouth. The next morning, young Ben had awoken with a terrible fever. He kept slipping in and out of consciousness as the day progressed until finally, more than twelve hours later, the fever broke and he found himself in a hospital bed with his mother and father at his side.
Five years would pass before the next encounter. Five tumultuous years of hospital stays, scores of tests and examinations, after a strange anomaly had shown up on his brain in a cat scan. At six years old, he had undergone surgery to obtain a biopsy of this blemish to determine its nature. However, when the boy’s skull had been cut open, there was nothing to be found. Further tests had shown the blemish to have moved. Not spread but simply shifted. Two more bouts of surgery over the following two years revealed the same result. Whatever was on Ben Morgan’s brain continued to elude the surgeons each time they operated, as though it didn’t want to be found. After the third attempt, they were at a loss and Ben’s parents decided against further surgery, as the dangers were too great.
If the first experience with these otherworldly beings wasn’t terrifying enough, the second visit was much worse. At the age of nine, Ben was a psychological and physical mess. He was loath to sleep at night, tho he didn’t know why. Unbeknownst to Ben, the visitors had watched his retrogress from afar for the past five years, and now returned to take him once again.
During the excruciating procedure of his first abduction, Ben witnessed the event from five years in the future. He watched in horror, as four year old Ben Morgan seemed to melt at the very touch of his tormentor, until he was a dark pool of viscous liquid on the chamber floor. In his liquefied state, Ben began to expand and contract. Slightly at first then progressively more, until a smaller than quarter portion of him detached and began to solidify, taking the form of what looked to be a foetus. The remainder of Ben regathered on the floor and returned jerkily to his former, solid self, while the creature that stood before him held its intrusive digit in place. One of the smaller creatures moved at an astonishing speed forward and scooped up the ‘foetus’, and then the three turned and exited the chamber in unison, leaving the larger creature and four year old Ben alone.
Its finger still placed upon his forehead, it turned and gazed deep into the eyes of nine year old Ben. The effect was instantaneous and Ben felt at the same time, like he was both too big for this tiny chamber and insignificantly minute in the vast expanse he seemed to simultaneously find himself in. He had no comprehension of what was happening to him, or why. The sadistic creatures had apparently brought him here so he could bear witness to what had been done with him, and curiously observe his subsequent reaction, along with its effects. The following morning, Ben awoke with just a slight headache and an uneasy feeling but no recollection of the previous night’s trauma.
The next visit was to a sullen, withdrawn twelve year old Ben Morgan. The eight years that had passed since these nocturnal abductions began had worn Ben down considerably. His headaches increased in frequency and intensity, and countless more tests had been performed on the poor child. The blemish on his brain had grown fourfold and one more surgical procedure was attempted when he was ten. This time, they had his brain and blemish up on a screen as they began the operation. It had grown so large, they were sure to be able to retrieve a small biopsy, and hopefully resolve the mystery which had plagued the Morgan family and some of the best brain surgeons in the country for so many years. As soon as the portion of skull was removed however, the blemish vanished from the screen and reappeared on the opposite side of Ben’s brain, to the amazement and supreme frustration of the surgeon involved. This was the last time the procedure would be attempted. As soon as the skull part had been replaced and the flesh stitched up, the blemish returned to its former position, as if to mock the celebrated neurosurgeon.
The third abduction began with the usual onset of paralysis and ominous darkness but this time, Ben was aware of being transported bodily from his bed and through his open bedroom window. The four visitors flanked Ben on all sides and moved through the wall, as though there was nothing there to obstruct them. Moving to the centre of his back yard, the silent company halted with Ben suspended in the air between them. A rush of wind surrounded him and he felt himself shooting upwards for what seemed like several minutes. The four creatures still flanking him on their ascent, blurred and flickered like starlight on a rippling water surface. For an instant, they paused and Ben saw that they were in the vacuous expanse of space, before an intense light engulfed them and they were teleported back into the familiar chamber of previous visits.
He was led through a hatch into a corridor, which intermittently changed between complete darkness and blinding light. All the while, the four creatures surrounded him and directed his course along the corridor until they reached a door near the end. The three smaller creatures fell away from his sight and the larger one stood before him, silently pointing to inside the room. Ben was compelled to enter, tho the fear he felt was paramount. There were several more of the creatures inside the room, all soundlessly going about their various tasks and paying the entrance of the boy no heed. These creatures were all larger and wore some strange garb that shone like starlight. Ben’s custodian directed him to a vertical table, which he had no choice but to move to. He turned and stood with his back to it and was immediately held there by some invisible force, as the table tilted to a near horizontal position.
It was then that the attention of the creatures in the room turned to Ben. They hovered around him and silently assured him that he would not be harmed, and to remain still and calm. Ben thought this was a strange request, as he was unable to move a muscle. He couldn’t even close his eyes to blink and the thought of being calm was the furthest thing from this terrified childs mind. He felt his body become lax and his mind began meandering, as though he had been placed under sedation. The creatures surrounded him on the table and proceeded to move their elongated hands in different directions above his inert body. Ben felt nothing but was keenly aware of his skin splitting from below his chin down to his groin. His ribcage was pulled open tho none of the creatures physically touched him. Ben could do nothing but lay frozen, his mind not allowing him to fear what was transpiring. He was being gutted. Emptied of all his organs, one by one. In his paralysed state, Ben was unable to see what was happening to him, but his awareness hovered outside of him, devoid of the physical, human senses. The creatures were placing his organs on separate trays of light which duplicated each part to perfection. The only thing they left untouched was Ben’s brain. The duplicate organs were replaced back into Ben and he was aware of his body closing back up. His flesh resealing without any trace of a scar. When the procedure had concluded, his removed organs were transported out of the room, as two of the smaller creatures entered to collect them. Ben awoke in his bed, feeling unusually happy and for the first time in a long time, completely free of pain.
This would only be short-lived. Within less than a month, the headaches returned and Ben lost a lot of weight. His parents took him to see the family doctor, who could find nothing out of the ordinary. He was sent again for more tests. Ben’s brain had swollen slightly, which the doctor attributed his headaches to. He was sent to a neurologist, who recommended another operation to relieve the swelling. Reluctantly, Ben’s parents agreed to the procedure. The neurosurgeon who had operated previously on Ben was also reluctant to perform surgery, but it was crucial that the swelling was brought under control so once again, Ben went under the knife.
Several years passed without a visit from these obtrusive abductors until Ben’s sixteenth birthday. That night, as with each time previous, Ben found himself in the chamber. He thought momentarily that he was in a room filled with mirrors as he looked around him. He then realised he was in a room filled with Bens, all standing motionless and staring at him, as though he were an unwelcome intruder. This terrified him but he was unable to flee and no matter which way he turned, there was a Ben staring straight at him. His mind and rationality began to give way as he struggled to comprehend the meaning of this. As soon as he felt he was about to lose his mind completely, he woke up once again in his bed.
Seven more times, he was visited and taken back to the chamber. Only from the fifth time onwards, he was taken back there by four Ben clones in place of the original abductors. These visitations and abductions would now always involve surgical procedures and even at times, sexual encounters with strangers who he was certain weren’t entirely human. All the encounters, both surgical and sexual, were accompanied by extreme agony, as opposed to the initial surgery where he had felt nothing. With each encounter, the periods between these abductions would see Ben Morgan deteriorating gradually but consistently. His mental state deteriorated faster and Ben became reclusive in his adult years. His parents feared for his mental stability tho there was nothing they could do that would convince him to seek help. At the age of twenty nine, Ben’s mother passed away and he forced himself out of the house for the funeral. His distraught father was grateful to see his son again. It had been nearly three years since they had even spoken. Ben was a mere shadow of his former self and didn’t have much to say to his father, which upset them both greatly. Ben just wanted it to be over, so he could return to the safe cocoon of his apartment and be alone. He had been having strange recollections of being somewhere unfamiliar but they were so vague, it was more a feeling than a memory proper. He was prone still to fears of an irrational and inexplicable nature, and Ben had recently purchased a handgun to make him feel a bit safer in his own home. Nobody ever came to his place and he seldom ventured outside, but he never knew when that time may come when he would receive an unwanted visitor. He felt that he had been visited many times in the past, but couldn’t recall when or by whom. He reasoned that it must be while he was sleeping and the thought of somebody in his home watching him as he slept was unnerving and maddening to Ben.
Now, at thirty one years of age, Ben Morgan was a complete and utter wreck, both physically and mentally. Even spiritually, he was empty. There was no god as far as Ben was concerned. There was nothing to look forward to but a lifetime of loneliness, mental and physical pain, and misery. The morning after the final visitation from the otherworldly abductors, a blast rang out through the building. Ben Morgan was finally free of this world. Sitting slumped in his favourite easy chair, gun held limply on his lap and his gray matter decorating the wall behind him. Ben was gone.