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Mardröm

By Phoebe Rose



Within the consumption of skeletal bodies of fir and pine, the lodge sat in the depths of Tyresta National Park, south of Stockholm. The vastness of the bark silenced the raucous croaks and karaoke cries that called through the cracks in the windows. Hues of the day darkened as the sun dawned.


The halls of De Mardröm were upheld by beams and red bricked walls. The cracked beamed ceiling upheld the floor above the bar as the rot set in.


A dark haired, willowy figure holding a small glass of Glöggkoncentrat kept the two lodgers at the bar in sight. She inhaled the mulled spices, wondering if she could ask for a slice of orange. She watched the noticeably beasty one slap the petite waitress’s rear.


‘Hej, pack it in Johan.’ The petite waitress giggled nervously as she walked around the bar, shielding the rest of her exposure.


‘Oh, how can I not? With an ass as fine as yours.’


‘Come on now my friend, one too many pints, eh?’ the noticeably better-looking one said.


The stranger wandered over, grazing the back of the neck of the one known as Johan with her manicured nails. She leant over the bar and ordered another, catching the eye of the beastly Johan, listening to his slurred speech. He caught her gaze. His focus immediately sunk into the abyss of her pupils, whilst her irises framed the ineffable darkness- one brown, one green. Unusual. Drinking alone, but she wasn’t crying. The woman returned to her table.


‘She was giving me the eyes Mikael; she’d definitely get it.’ Johan whispered as his breathing increased.


‘I think you’ve missed your chance mate.’


‘Va?’ He turned round, about to invite himself to her table. But she was gone. The front door of De Mardröm flapped as the wind invited itself in.


Eventually the last bell rang, and the last laugh laughed. Much to the waitress’ relief, the two men went to bed.


‘Goodnight my friend, up at dawn tomorrow.’ Mikael patted Johan on his slumped back and entered the room opposite. Johan stumbled through the doors of room 3, removed his jacket and his shoes. Satisfied, he slumped under the 4-ply duvet.


The alcohol warmed him into a gentle tide of visions of that woman at the bar. This time, he doesn’t miss a beat and joins her with her usual at her table, ignoring the petite waitress. They talk. She came to Oslo to meet an old friend. Johan is here for some forestry maintenance work, managed to get the room cheap.


‘Oh, so you’re only upstairs. That would save me the bother of getting a taxi.’ She definitely gave him the look that time. He was enchanted by her multi-coloured gaze; it was electric, inviting. He wanted her. Now. The pub welded itself into his bedroom. He could feel her on top of him, grappling at his chest, eyes rolled back.


She smelt like another man. He went to touch her, but he couldn’t. His arms were locked in place, though nothing was holding him down. He grappled against the restraint but was met by laughter. Then. Blackout. Sweat began to drip from his forehead as the compression on his chest strengthened. His ribs could protect his lungs no longer.


Crack.


Shadowy faceless figures walked towards him as a hoard. They were coming, whispering inaudible chants. But her. The stranger, unrecognisable in the dark, wings fanned from her spine, her face of nightmares loomed over him, suffocating him under her thrust. The creature continued to press its fists into his skull, feeding on the soul through the fractured eye sockets.


Crunch.


It’s just a dream.


It’s just a dream.


Wake up.


Now.


The next morning, the petite waitress entered room 3, with the view of beer garden and the bins. She didn’t ask ‘Room service?’ She knew she need not. She opened the windows, shone the light on the dearly departed and inhaled the trees’ breath.

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