Daniel G. Cox
Daniel G. Cox

Short Fiction

A collection of short stories I have written over the years. 

Dreams By The Water

It had been keeping me up, whispering to me.


The scariest part was how calming the dream was. We used to have a house on the lake, Northern Michigan. I swear, it would get so cold all the neighbors could skate across lake from home to home sharing good food, hospitality, and lots of laughs. I remember kids racing from one side to the other.

But in this dream it was warmer. Maybe late spring early summer.  And it felt brighter. Almost artificial, like the world was in HD. I saw them all so clearly. All the ones I loved scattered upon the edge of the water; each portrayed a classic “perfect summer's day” trope. Children running, swimming, exuding joy. The women tan and trade secrets, securely hidden under their sun hats. The men huddled the grill, wide stanced, beer in hand, reminiscing on summers past.

In this moment, I felt like myself again. I felt safe. I looked up and closed my eyes. The sunlight radiated through my body like boiling rivers tingling through my veins.  The breeze blew through me trailing my skin with goosebumps.

‘Is this real?’ I thought, ‘Please be real. Let this be my reality.’ But it wasn't.

With my eyes closed it surfaced. The silence. I realized that everything i've seen was accompanied by nothing. No sound. Just silence, a hollow, screaming silence.

I tried to cling to the warmth on my face, the breeze on my arms. I was trying to feel anything to keep me tethered to this paradise. But it was gone. All sense of feeling was now drowned out by the numbing.  

Something forces my eyes to open and I see It. Across the lake. Hunched in the shadows. ‘Has she always been there? Just staring?’ I followed It’s gaze across the lake. . . to them. My family now stood upright facing It. Their skin had melted to a milky grey, and their eyes. Jesus, their eyes. They were blood red, and glowing. Slowly, one by one they walked into the water. As the water began to wrap around their waist, they began to plunge themselves face first into the water. After a few seconds they started to try and fight It. Swinging their legs and arm violently, they were fighting to stay afloat. But their heads never surfaced. Then their bodies would go limp. Just floating there.

I ran, chasing after them, desperate to save the last of them. But once my foot touched the water it was over.

The children got to me first. They latched onto my legs like smiling bear traps; looking up at me with those chilling red eyes. Soon I was buried with bodies. All of them were clawing, grabbing at me, forcing me into the water. Forcing me to drown.

All was still silent, but I could see it on their faces. They were laughing. Like fucking mad men. tears of blood trickled from their matching crimson eyes, fell on me as they pushed me down.

I tried so hard to fight back, to save my life. But It was now inside me, and It didn’t want me to be alive anymore. Slowly they forced me down, further and further out of consciousness.

I awake from the nightmare with a jolt, gasping for air, but my lungs are filled with rushing water. I cough and gag trying to stand but something is holding me down. Their hands pressed around my neck holding me under the running faucet of my tub. Someone is trying to kill me. I tried to swing, grab, punch at them, anything to make it stop. But then I realized, the hands that were holding me down. . . were my own.

I haven't been feeling like myself lately. It’s like something is in me, consuming me, controlling me. Most of the time I able to control myself. But even then it feels like it’s just letting me think im control, and it’s just laying, waiting, dormant within me just waiting for when i’m weakest.

Its whispers have only grown louder. And sleep has become a rarity.

Daniel CoxComment