Hiding In The Dark

I jolt awake, breathing quickly. Groaning, I flop over onto my other side, covering my eyes and flinching away from the meager light coming through the window. Stupid streetlights.

I was dreaming about it again tonight. That makes… five days in a row. A new record. Tonight’s dream was different, though. Somehow it seemed urgent, more insistent. There was a greater sense of panic, of terror, even.

Rubbing the crusts from my eyes, I sit up, reaching for the journal beside my bed. My therapist thought that it would help if I wrote about it. Which it didn’t. Now the dreams are just bolder, more defined and more detailed than before. Even though it didn’t help with making them go away, I still have a way to track them. I figure they must mean something.

I just wish they would stop.

They always begin the same way, with me lying in my bed beside someone else, someone I don’t know. In my dream, the person always looks at me and smiles, clasping my hand, but they don’t have a face. It’s not that it isn’t there, I just am never able to pin down features, not even enough to tell if it’s a man or a woman. Despite the terror that it maybe should have inspired in me, at this part, I am never afraid. That comes next. When I am dragged roughly from the bed, the person reaching for me, calling my name. Somehow, there is always terror on the features that I cannot see. I scream, every time. Thrash and kick, trying to escape, but I never do.

And it all goes black. But it’s never the end. Because then I wake up, or it seems like it, and I’m in a cave. A towering cavern. Dimly lit, I can barely see what surrounds me. But there’s enough light for me to see the others. The other bodies that are all around the cave, some still alive. Some crying out, some dead and rotting, some barely breathing, but most that are just bones. So many that are bones. But the scariest thing, the thing that is more terrifying than my shackled legs, than the darkness, than the stench and the feeling of helplessness, is that all of them look the same. Every single person in the cave, even the dead ones, all share the same face. Despite the differing clothing, all of them have the same ruddy gold hair, the same light green eyes, even the same crinkle between their brows.

They all look like me.

But it still is not the end of the dream, for then it goes black again. Slowly, the darkness recedes. Standing on the edge of a monumental cliff, I can hear the cries and screams from the cave behind me. This is the part of the dream where I wake up. When I gaze beyond the cliff, I see something that can never quite translate to my waking mind, and the sheer enormity of what I see wakes me up. From the scraps that I recall, it is a hole. A hole that seemed to be ripped into the air on the side of the cliff. Hundreds of them, even thousands, crowding and filling every bit of space below the cliff. It’s dizzying, and I know that there might be millions more. I know there are many more that cannot translate into my waking world, or perhaps I would go mad.

Perhaps I already have.

[23 hours, 57 minutes, and 16 seconds later]

I slowly wake, peacefully for the first time since the dreams began. Shifting slightly, I catch sight of the person beside me, and my breath catches. In sleep, the curly brown hair, long lashes, and full lips are enhanced, beautified to the point of perfection. Lashes fluttering and eyes opening, I am greeted by a soft, sweet smile, and a hand reaching out to clasp my own gently. We both lay like that for a moment, surrounded by a peaceful silence. Then our eyes meet, before I glance down, seeing a smile form across those lips. I chase them, drawing us into a gentle kiss. We pull away, and those gorgeous eyes sparkle at me before catching on something over my shoulder. A look of terror overcomes the beautiful features, and I am suddenly caught and dragged out of my bed. A hand desperately reaches for me, a voice calls my name, and I descend yet again into darkness.

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