The story below is fiction. It is about a nightmare… sort of, and there is an act of self harm, so if you are sensitive about that subject, or don’t like horror, I would not recommend reading this piece.
She stumbles through the entrance into her favorite room… or at least it used to be. It was once vibrant and beautiful with soft, flowing fabrics, shiny espresso surfaces and elegant black and white prints on the walls.
Everything is faded now. Dingy, scuffed and marred by some catastrophic event that tarnished her lovely home and made it frightening and ugly. The floor is uneven, the pillows are gone, and all of her gorgeous art is ripped and broken, but still hanging on each wall as if paying tribute to the way things used to be.
She begins to panic, feeling an odd sense of deja vu, and moves to search the other rooms. But each empty space offers no relief, no company, no joy…
When she tries to open the front door, she is unable to twist the knob. It seems frozen, like concrete, and immoveable. Each door offers the same, locking her into this bitterly cold space which she once loved so passionately.
The large french doors in the back of the kitchen will not budge either, and the glass is completely opaque with grime, so that she cannot see outside. The windows are all the same. She pulls and yanks on the handles of those gorgeous doors until she is breathless with tears sliding down her cheeks. But still, she is trapped.
Leaning into the back of one of her kitchen chairs, she screams, trying to unleash the frustration she feels, but instead of the sound she expects to hear, her voice is but a bare echo. No life and no tone, just an almost whisper of sound, and the silence startles her from her tears.
This must be a nightmare… I can’t remember what I’ve woken from… I can’t remember the last thing I did.
Her thoughts spin and turn over in her mind, and she decides to try to pinch herself awake, but as her fingernails grip the sensitive skin inside her elbow, she winces and tries to groan, but still, she makes no noise and doesn’t wake.
Maybe I can break out. Resigning herself to throw one of the heavy metal chairs into the glass door, she grips the sides to pick it up but finds it also is immobile. It will not lift from the floor, no matter how much strength she puts into it, it doesn’t rise, almost as if it is magnetized to the wood beneath it.
The tears return, and she slumps against the glass, sliding down to the floor staring at her hands. Hands that have always been strong and capable. They had done so much throughout her lifetime, there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to perform this simple task.
And as her anger rises in her throat, she attempts once more to scream. Pushing air as forcefully as she can manage through her vocal chords over and over until she is winded and shaking, but still, no noise is heard beyond the faint idea of sound bouncing off the glass behind her back.
This must be a nightmare, you can never scream in dreams… I have to figure out how to wake myself.
Pulling herself to stand using the back of the chair she tried to lift earlier, it shifts, but only slightly. Once on her feet, she tries to pull it away from the table, but it remains fixed to the ground, as if she can only manipulate her space if she isn’t thinking about it.
She walks around the table to the other side, slides a chair out to sit down in it, and this time, it slides easily. She sits down and scoots it in, again, with the ease of reality.
Reality… I must wake myself…
Putting her face in her hands, she struggles not to cry once again, and instead thinks about achieving this goal. The pinch hadn’t worked, perhaps a loud noise would, but she can’t scream. Suddenly realizing that the chair had made it’s familiar scuffing sound when she scooted it into the table, she moves to push it back again. Clear as anything, it creates the same sound, so she stands to knock the chair over, but as soon as she is no longer using it, the chair seems to affix itself to the ground once more.
That’s it. I have to be in it!
Sitting back on the seat, she begins to tip the chair back. She recognizes that she will fall with the chair, but perhaps the impact will only assist in waking her. Her heart races as she teeters on the two small back feet of the heavy chair, and as it falls backward, time seems to slow down until the back of her head smacks with a thud against the hard wood plank beneath her. The sound is thick and heavy, but as she opens her eyes, swimming in the pain from the back of her skull, she realizes that neither sound nor pain is going to work.
She gathers herself up, and lifts the chair easily upright, but then, attempting to lift it further, it snaps back into it’s locked to the floor position, as if it can read her mind.
An eery feeling overtakes her. I have done this before… But she dismisses it as quickly as it came and returns to sit at the table, with her head in her hands, feeling defeated and helpless.
After crying for a while, she resolves not to give up. She can’t simply wait for morning to arrive.
This is torture… and what if it never does? I can’t remember going to sleep…
Wandering into the powder room, she stares at her reflection in the age-crackled mirror above the once expensive, antique pedestal sink she had chosen to decorate the entire room around. Her normally smooth, peach complexion looks grayed and tired. Her dark eyes seem to have sunken into her face and her lips look thin and unable to smile. Closing her eyes, she tries to clear her head of the ugly woman she just saw, instead remembering her true face.
Soft, pert cheeks which held an easy blush. Slate blue eyes which easily reflected her mood beneath thick, curled lashes and perfectly arched brows. A heart shaped mouth that rarely needed gloss or color, for her lips were naturally a beautiful, ruddy pink. A slightly upturned nose, which she’d always hated. And soft black wavy tresses which tumbled down her back and over her shoulders in relatively easy style.
She lifts her fingers to touch her lovely hair and wonders what might happen if she were to change her mood in the dream. Opening her eyes, she stares into the mirror as she slowly unbuttons the dingy blouse she doesn’t remember putting on, before letting her fingers wander inside the gray cups of her bra then down into the waistband of her skirt. Leaning back, against the wall, she begins stroking herself softly, over her panties, but quickly snakes her way inside of them, relishing the warmth and wetness of her most secret place.
She wishes for the strong hands of her husband to grip her and remind her that she isn’t to do that… not without him. And she smiles and sighs, imagining his fingers slipping inside her, instead of her own, and working her in all those perfect ways which only he knows how.
But you don’t have a husband. Not anymore…
This foreign thought sounds off loudly in her head, almost like a chant, and she bolts upright and out of the room, as if she is trying to escape it. Refastening the buttons of her shirt while trying to make sense of the words that just burrowed into her mind, the deja vu returns and her whole body reacts to the fear.
No. No, this is just a bad dream. She scurries again, from room to room, frantically trying to figure out how to escape, how to free herself from this Hell she seems to be locked inside.
The eery feeling of unwanted thoughts tumbling around her brain makes her shake her head. Surely that can not be the answer, but the phrase sounds off repeatedly as if it is the ONLY answer.
Would she be able to do that? And if so, would she wake? If you die in a dream… you never wake up.
No. That must be the answer. She assures herself that it’s only a myth. How could anyone know for sure? She’d had some pretty awful nightmares in her time, and had always woken from them. This would be no different.
Stepping into the kitchen, she makes her way to the knife block, holding her expensive, perfect blades, but as she pulls one free, she sees that it has been eaten away by the dream, and the edge is now dull and rusty.
It doesn’t matter, the point is still there, it will still work.
Out of some bizarre sense of habit, she steps over to the sink, as if the mess were really going to matter. She sets the knife inside and rolls up the sleeves of her blouse, then leaning into counter slightly, she begins to cry again. This feels so real… Too real.
Fear and bile rise in her throat, but it seems the only answer. It feels as though hours and hours have past, and, even though she cannot see it, she imagines the sun setting inside her dream. The panicked notion that it soon would be completely dark and she might never wake from this nightmare sets her decision. She picks up the knife and holds the tip to the large vein in her left wrist.
Set to puncture and slice through the skin, for some reason she waits for something to happen, for someone to stop her. Who is going to save you in a dream? She questions, after several moments. Then resigns herself and pushes with some force until she feels the skin snap.
Watching, almost as if she were simply viewing a film, the knife slides through the vein several inches and slips in too deep, obviously slicing through to the other side. She stares, fascinated by the amount of blood, before the searing pain finally hits her in the stomach. The blood continues pouring freely from it, spilling over her skin and dribbling down the drain, while her insides twist with nausea.
This is too real.
Shifting her weight, she cannot tear her eyes away as her pulse pumps her blood through the slit and she thinks she can almost hear the gurgling of the wound. It feels so real because this has happened before… You have lived this before.
Her mind spins and she begins to feel faint. How many times has she experienced this moment. And she turns before she hears the front door open, knowing exactly what she is about to see.
The world has come alive again as her beautiful husband walks into her kitchen and stops abruptly, open-mouthed, staring at her bloody hands.
The color and life all around her feels absolutely heavenly, before his shocked and angry screams pierce the air. “What have you done?!”
I should have fought the voice… The voice in her mind, which wasn’t truly her own.
In slow motion, he makes his way to her, but she feels herself falling… dropping… losing a battle she was not aware she was fighting. “Why? Baby doll, WHY?!”
She stares into his crystal blue eyes when he catches her just above her perfectly chosen wood floor and tries to reach out to touch his face, but his eyes tell her a story of the pain she has just inflicted upon him, and she struggles to make sense of what is happening.
The knowledge that this wasn’t a dream makes her close her eyes, trying to figure out if she has just ended her own life, or if, perhaps, it had already ended… and this is just a memory. A memory?
She chants in her mind to remember, remember, remember… But she doesn’t know why.
She opens her eyes, but can no longer see his face, only black.
Everything fades. The sound… the pain… her life… her death.
But then, in a rush of cold and a blast of fright, she stumbles through the entrance into her favorite room… or at least it used to be. It was once vibrant and beautiful with soft, flowing fabrics, shiny espresso surfaces and elegant black and white prints on the walls.