Another subconscious based story idea. Borrows from the H. P. Lovecraft idea of the Great Race of Yith who were capable of transferring their consciousness across time and space to exchange bodies with other lifeforms. In Riders, our heroine discovers that something is sharing her head, communicating with her in coded dream messages, automatic writing, art and other conduits.

Samantha had the dream again. She spent the entire day in her pyjamas and dressing gown, frantically scrawling and daubing on canvas. She forgot to eat or drink, so absorbed in her task and the patterns within the paint. She also failed to notice the freezing temperatures in her poorly heated student flat, her body temperature dropping and hands turning blue, breath misting the air. As the streetlights came on outside the window, she crouched, head on one side, kneeling before the altar of her endeavours. Her numb hands clasped the paintbrush, clusters of coloured droplets on her arms and clothing, hair rumpled and tangled. As her body slowly started to awaken, demands of hunger and temperature crashed upon her like a tide and she almost groaned with the pain. Hobbling to her feet, she staggered to the bathroom, grabbing a handful of chocolate digestives on route to the shower where she spent the next 20 minutes purging her body of fatigue and sweat. Beneath a drizzle of hot water, she gathered her thoughts. Afterwards, hair wrapped in a towel, and having already switching her electric heater on full, she finished making herself a mug of hot chocolate. Dazed and thawing, she drifted back into her bedroom and took a second look at her work.

As you work on a painting, working and re-working the patterns, wrestling with the image, it burns itself into your mind. Samantha, sitting on the edge of her bed, felt an intense resonance between what she was seeing and the image in her mind’s eye, making it seem ultra-real. She sat, absorbed in this almost narcissistic reverance of her creation for minutes, observing the minutiae and nuance of every stroke. Wrapped in an almost post-coital calm, she sipped her drink absently, and when it was finished she cradled the mug in her lap, then slumped back onto the pillows. After a time, she almost drifted off to sleep completely. As her eyelids drooped, a sense of warmth and contentment suffused her body. Her gaze lost focus and in that moment, as a ‘magic eye’ image swimming into focus, her brain locked onto an image hidden within the painting and she lurched bolt upright, mug tumbling forgotten onto the cheap plush floor rug with a clunk. She lost the image almost immediately and paused, feeling alarmed and foolish. Then she concentrated, allowed her gaze to swim out of focus, and in a moment there it was again.

She could see her own face, composed of paint and spidered lines, somehow staring back at her. It had hollow black eyes with a vaguely mournful cast, and a mouth parted ever so slightly as if murmuring something.


Samantha glanced about at the sudden noise. It echoed in the silence, stealing into her head like a breeze, flowing around her room in a sussurating whisper.


She cleared her throat uncomfortably, trying to dispel the auditory illusion, but with little success. As one word died, the next welled up as a wave, crashing upon her ears with a growing intensity.


At this last word, something snapped inside Samantha. Something never intended to bear this much weight finally gave, and a flood of images and memories swallowed her abruptly, with barely enough time for a whimper. As she spiralled away into infinity, the only image she could hold onto was her own face staring at a twitching body on her bed.