Story: Mattus’ Tale

Inspired by the person I’m going to play in the Immerverse as tonight, for their show about aliens – see the text for the link.

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Mattus’ Tale
by Lee Hulme

I have this friend called Mattus – Matt Ursine in full, but like Pip, he couldn’t get his tongue around it when he was a kid, so he called himself Mattus and it stuck.

How we met and all that doesn’t matter right now, what does is that one night last year he told me a story he hadn’t told anyone in years.

He asked me to keep it quiet, even though he let me record it, and I always have, until now.
But there’s something going on, some guy named Drew and the Extraterrestrial Vision Allianceand some big proof reveal tonight. So we talked about it for for the first time since I promised never to reveal the story without his OK, and he asked me to publish it here, on his behalf. He doesn’t really use the internet, or social media, but he knows I do, and he knows I’ll defend him against anybody who calls him crazy. I don’t know what he is, but he’s not that.

What follows is something that still has the power to give me spine-chills. I’ll leave you to make your own impression of it but the one thing I can’t replicate is the intensity, the force, with which Mattus told his tale.

Mattus leaned forward over the table, interrupting me rambling on about something I saw on TV about alien cults.

“You know nothing about aliens. I know about aliens. They took my mum away from me.”

At this point I quietly took my phone out and set the voice recorder going.  He saw and didn’t stop me, just nodded and kept talking.

“I’ve always had bad dreams, even as a baby I’d wake up screaming myself blue. When I woke up from a nightmare, my mum worked out early that if she took me outside where I could see the sky, the stars, I’d go right back to sleep and have no more bad dreams that night.

“You know my Dad was never around, deadbeat asshole that left soon as he realised he’d made a baby, it was just me and Mum, but she knew. When I got old enough to wake up not screaming, I’d take myself outside; let Mum sleep – even though she swore she’d never mind if I needed to wake her.

“I started testing that a lot after I turned 7. I don’t remember the bad dreams I used to have, but suddenly, once a week or so, I started to wake up screaming again. Only now, when Mum would take me outside to see the stars, I’d go completely batshit crazy, screaming and scratching and anything to get back inside. I never told Mum, no matter how much she asked, why or what the dreams were and why they made me act like that…”

Here Mattus buried his face in his hands for a moment before fixing me with that intense gaze again.

“In my dreams I’d be outside looking at the stars, feeling peaceful, only the stars started to fall towards me. Even that wasn’t scary, until they got close and I could see they had faces. Screaming faces, with sharp teeth, coming down to devour us all.”

He stops again here and I go get him a drink. After a few minutes he starts again.

“This went on for almost two years, till I was 9. Then one night I woke up, not from a dream, just woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. So I got up to go get a drink from the bathroom, My room was at the front of the house, my Mum’s at the back, where the bathroom was, so I had to walk past it. The door was open – it was always open, so I knew I was always welcome, I could go in if I needed her. I never did when she was asleep, no matter how hard it was – she worked two jobs already, she was tired, so I never wanted to make her wake up.

“So I was going to the bathroom to get some water, just wearing pyjama pants, because it was one of those really hot bits of summer. I remember thinking something was weird, because I could see light coming from her bedroom, but it didn’t really twig until I glanced in – like you do an open door, you know? I froze, like, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak. I thought I was dreaming, but I could feel the floorboards sticking to my bare feet, and the breeze coming from my Mum’s window, which was open. The curtains were open, too, which is why there was light, but it was broken by this…shape.”
Mattus got quiet here for a while, I thought maybe he wouldn’t keep going, especially when he got up and started pacing. This was already way more talking than he’d ever done in one go before, and I’d never seen him so agitated. He’s usually this little ocean of calm in the midst of everything else – not that he doesn’t feel emotions, get excited or sad or whatever, but he shows it more quietly. Except I’d never seen him afraid before, and I realised that’s just what he was.

Anyway, he kept pacing and gesticulating while he talked, and when he looked at me it was like being burned from the inside out by what he was feeling. Intense. Very, very intense.

“So this shape. I was tall – not like tall how a kid sees a grown-up, but Taaaall!, you know? Taller than a person, and thin – not like people are thin but emaciated thing, and gangly. Arms and legs and a bulgy head. I only saw the silhouette, but it was carrying my Mum. Not laid across his arms like she was dead, but all cuddled up, like she carried me when I was a baby and fast asleep. I saw the head move, like it saw me, like it looked at me, and then everything went black.

“I woke up on the floor outside Mum’s room. First thought was I’d sleepwalked while I was dreaming, but the clock in Mum’s room said it was after 4pm. Mum would never have left me there like that, but she wasn’t there. I looked everywhere in the house, I rang my Aunt and my Uncles and friends and my neighbour came and stayed with me while the police came and the family came and everything.

“Mum had just gone. Clothes and keys and wallet and everything, they hadn’t moved, but Mum wasn’t anywhere.

I went to live with my Aunty Carla because she was close enough so I could go to the same school, and we never heard anything from Mum, until the missing person thing found her, I guess 4 or 5 months later.

“The police rang us and asked to come round. Told us Mum had been found by a hospital, all dehydrated and malnourished. She’d been living on the streets, and she couldn’t remember anything – not just about what happened, but she couldn’t remember me or anything at all, not ever her name. Someone she went to school with happened to be working there and recognised her, looked into it, and there it was – missing person.

“We went to see her, see if maybe she’d remember when we were there, but she didn’t know me or anyone.
“So she was in this hospital, but it wasn’t a normal hospital, for injured people and stuff, it was one for people sick in the head. Not just because she had no memory, but she wouldn’t sleep – she was always sedated cos she’d attack the nurses and patients, and fight to stay awake, because when she slept she had these dreams…

 “And eventually someone gave her paper and crayons to draw with, because she kept trying to scratch pictures into the wall with her fingers. And she started drawing stars, falling from the sky, with faces and teeth. And she drew these tall – really tall – emaciated, gangly figures with bulgy heads. Even though she didn’t know anything about my dreams or what I saw when she was taken away.

“She stayed in the hospital for nearly 3 years, then she died. Just in the night, quietly. They sedated her so she’d rest, like every night, and left her to be quiet. They did a investigation and everything, see if maybe she’d been given too much of whatever it was they gave her, but they didn’t find anything – nobody did anything wrong. But one of the other patients, the one across the hall, he was awake, and he saw a flash of light in the room, and he called for nurses because he knew she was meant to be asleep, and he liked her, even though she never remembered who he was one day to the next.

“So he called for help and a nurse went in, and she opened the door and she decided it was just a trick of the light later, but the day after, she was still afraid, and she told me – she saw one of those gangly figures, just vanish into thin air.”

Marco finally stops pacing, here, and comes close to me, leaning over my chair and fixing me with a look which, honestly, scared me a bit.

“Do you think I’m crazy? I saw counsellors and doctors and headshrinks. They put me on medicine for psychosis and schizophrenia and hallucinations and everything they could think of. They told me I’d maybe seen my Mum leaving in the night, when I’d gotten up, and blanked it out, the trauma, with the gangly figure. They told me I’d cried about the stars with teeth in my sleep and maybe my Mum retained it when she didn’t retain anything else. They told me the drawings of the figure were the same thing, maybe I’d mentioned them or something and forgotten but she remembered somehow. They said the patient across the hall saw a shadow. They said the nurse saw the same, but she quiet not long after and went a long way away. They said everything in the world to tell me it wasn’t real until I let them think I believed it. I haven’t told anyone this in a long time…”

I put my hands over his and looked him in the eye, told him I believed everything he told me. Told him I believed what he’d seen. Told him I wasn’t sure what to think about it, but that I believed him.
When I told him that, he just crumpled in tears, thanking me for not thinking he was crazy.
We haven’t spoken about it since, by his request, even though he let me keep the recording. He just said he was waiting until it was the right time – said he’d know when it was. When I told him yesterday about this Drew guy I found, he said now was the time.

So that’s his story, as he told it to me. Truth is even though I’ve never listened to the recording until transcribing it now; I could still remember pretty much every word. It’s sat at the back of my mind for the last year and a half. I still don’t know what to think, I still don’t know what he saw, what the truth is – but I will once again tell you this: he’s not crazy.


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