Wincing at the memories from my shattered past, I delved deeper into that time, hoping to find a way out of my present situation from some unknown thing that had occurred in my life when I was a teenager. I know it sounded stupid, but I was totally convinced that night was pivotal to my life and if I solved that puzzle I'd be able to get free. The dream/nightmare I had the night of my parents' burial had definitely changed my view. But now there was this odd feeling of being watched and observed that had begun to settle into my spirit, giving even more reason to wait to try to pop out of the cavern I was currently stuck inside. I didn't know how, but I'd attracted an audience in my life -- someone or something that would probably complicate my very existence. I wondered if that was why I didn't feel like I could pop out from the current spot I was in. Nothing had happened to make me stop and wait, but the haunting feeling and absolute knowledge that if I tried to jump out of the treasure trove I was in that I would die. Given my life, I listened to my inside voice far more than most folks.
"Hello, Esmeralda? Miss Esmeralda Meredith? Knock-knock, you still with me?" The good-looking man who'd been bothering me for a while stood just out of my reach while his voice hit tones that grated on my last set of nerves, but then I was pretty much wiped out and after all, I was dreaming. It was my dreamscape, and I'd clobbered him once already, so I sorta didn't blame him. But in my defense, he'd yanked on my hair, and from the blood and pain, he'd tugged out a sizable chunk of my locks. Like I'd said, it was the most intense, crazy dream that I'd ever had. A few of the strands of my hair that he'd snatched from my head were still entwined in his fist -- but thankfully, he'd put away his disgusting bloody handkerchief. For a 'young' guy, his having a handkerchief definitely put him well into the weird category at the very least.
"Duh, so are you like stupid or just dull?" I taunted him back. I'd yet to forgive his question if I was stupid 'or what?' It was my dream and I didn't much care for the sarcasm coming from my subconscious.
"Meow! Aren't you just the catty little creature?" I ignored the fact he'd made his bitchy comment in the form of a question. I didn't reply, since even though I was 'just' a teenager I was not an idiot, despite his over-inflated opinion.
"Yep. So get the hell out of my dream and let me go frolic with the dolphins or something," I snipped back.
Okay, so I wasn't going to jump into the surf given the shark I'd just watched munch on an innocent little fish, but I hadn't shared what I'd seen, so it was my dream and screw him if he thought I was serious. The dream was pretty much a full-fledged nightmare, but I kept pushing that thought deep inside my mind. I felt sad but concentrated on the semi-cute male in front of me. I wanted to know what he was trying to prove, and yet at the same time wondered what was wrong with me that I kept focusing on his ass instead of taking care of my worries and concerns.
He laughed and said, "Esmeralda, my precious creature, you keep thinking this is a simple dream. And I am here to assure you that this is real life and what you think you know is so totally wrong."
Biting back a grin, I kept on thinking it was creepy how he was trying so hard to connect with me on some level. It was a damned weird dream, nothing more. Besides I still thought someone had mistakenly popped their meds into an appetizer they'd brought to my adoptive folks' wake earlier in the day. There was no way I wasn't drugged, not with this bizarre dream.
The man laughed again and said emphatically, "You are not dreaming. You popped yourself out of your bedroom to be here right here at this moment in time. You must have seen this beach recently in a show or in a movie, because we don't have any records of you ever visiting this spot." He made his words sound normal, but what he was saying made no sense.
Laughing I replied, "I am dreaming or in the middle of a crappy nightmare not that it much matters in the long run. I mean, come on, I just buried my parents and fell asleep after eating something icky at their wake held back at my house. Once I was asleep I began dreaming pretty fluffy clouds and ocean surf -- for whatever reasons. And now you are pretty much the result of my current state of indigestion." I shoved that back on the young man standing by me.
It didn't escape me that I'd also forcibly pushed aside the somewhat random comment that he'd made about his having some sort of records of where I supposedly had visited in my life. I had to admit that my current dream was definitely not the kind I usually had, with a seemingly normal pattern of flying naked in the sky, and later talking with exotic animals in the unknown but vaguely familiar rainforests ... that dissolved into a home like I'd had previously seen and lived in to my growing discomfort and awkward dismay. My usual dreams ran to some silliness at times. This didn't seem silly or random but rather pointed.
Instead I ran my very sticky left palm over my tummy, automatically, as I tried to think things through. I kept fixating on the drying blood on my hand that was from touching the spot where the odd man had yanked my hair from my skull. Naturally the blood went sponge-like into my tank top and I found that I didn't care. I swear that I could smell the coppery rich scent of my own blood. The dream was amazingly in-depth and I marveled at the multi-faceted layers that my mind had produced while I slept. Too bad, I knew that once I woke, all the depths of my dream would filter away leaving only an odd residual hangover texture to the next day. It was something I'd experienced before; I didn't see any reason that this dream would be any different.
My mocking tone seemed to finally touch some nerve and the young man, just out of my reach, began to somehow shift and change. His sunlight caramel-colored hair grew longer and darker, his before deeply brown eyes shifted to lighter blue with gold flecks and his skin tone went a few shades darker, while his formerly foxy-faced features dissolved to a thicker jaw line and an older appearance. To me perfectly acceptable in my dreams, so I didn't see anything unusual in my thoughts until he began to open his lips. He smiled and something in me flip-flopped at the view. His canine teeth elongated and filled his face with a decidedly predatory look. He wasn't normal any more by my worldview. He was making me uneasy -- very uneasy.
"Now do you understand? The world isn't what you think." He spoke with a much deeper voice than he'd been using a few minutes ago, and his teeth made him speak carefully, yet to me his words were still somewhat garbled. I didn't blame him because those teeth looked wickedly sharper than mine and not nearly so user friendly.
"Yep, I get it. I'm in the middle of a long-ass dream and I definitely should've skipped the senior special with a side of a hallucinogenic drugs, courtesy of one of my parents' over-prescribed buddies." I was seriously going to toss out every single casserole and covered dish that the neighbors had dumped inside my refrigerator and freezer. I didn't need to be having dreams like this for the next few months. Damn the news crews parked in front of the house. I knew perfectly well that I'd starve before I put another fork filled with food brought over by the casual strangers who'd dropped off dishes for the wake. Hopefully I'd wake up. I wondered if I'd been chemically lobotomized by the food and was now in a coma -- hence the long-ass dream.
"No, damn you, child, I am a vampire! A fucking real vampire, not some Hollywood fable." His snarl was ruined with the spit flying off his fangs. I wondered at my sanity creating such a bad vampire in the midst of my dreaming. Yup, every dish was going to the curb by the next trash day.
"Yes, and I am the 'good princess' from a fairy tale." I laughed and walked away since I couldn't seem to change the damned view in my dream. It was totally beginning to annoy me. I shoved aside the fears I was in fact in a coma, not simply sleeping. There would be nothing good for me if I continued that train of thought.
The supposed vampire followed me at a careful distance while I picked my way down the shoreline. I figured that I was heading south but without stars or any known landmarks, it was just that an assumption. For all I knew I was on the East Coast not the West Coast like I'd assumed. It really didn't matter, because it was just some twisted dream. The young man called out, "Where is it you think you are going?"
I didn't have a clue. It was my dream yet not. The sky was lightening but not enough for me to see very far. The fog had begun to drift in further clouding my view. The ocean was off to my right still torturing the shoreline with the large waves and predators in the water. I was pretty sure I was on the Pacific Ocean, but it was a dream so it really didn't matter -- did it?
Slowly it dawned on me that this dream was going on way too long, again triggering my fear that I wasn't dreaming, but in a coma. Most dreams seemed to go on forever, but this was beyond anything I could ever remember. I spun on my heel to find that the young man was less than two feet behind me. I hadn't heard him come towards me at all. I'd assumed that he had stayed back at the spot where I'd punched him and watched him dab at his nose. To my surprise he'd apparently been moving through the sand silently, stalking me. As I came to a full stop he continued to walk another foot towards me and then he'd froze less than a half-foot from me. I wondered if he was the product of some very bad chicken or wayward drugs. Whatever he was, it was so not like anything I'd ever seen or experienced before in my life -- waking or sleeping.
"You ready to listen yet?" His fangs were full in his mouth making me want to snicker but I resisted -- barely. It wasn't easy, cause nobody had fake fangs in my group of friends, but he was so trying to make it seem 'normal'. It wasn't working for me in the least.
"To what? The psychobabble from you that is little more than some major case of indigestion-driven hallucination drugs busy snickering at me and saying that vampires exist? Please. Give me a fucking break," I was starting to get annoyed but at the same time there was definitely another element in play. I needed to put at least a dollar or three in my mom's old swear jar -- which was now mine, I thought with a drop of pain striking my belly. But the idea was what continued to taunt me. The 'what if' going through my overwrought mind causing me to doubt what I was thinking. I was starting to worry that I wasn't in a dream anymore. I closed my eyes and very quickly tapped my sandy heels together but didn't find myself in Kansas go figure.
To my dismay I opened my eyes and found that I was still standing in the sand with the guy facing me with his fangs still exposed. I wanted to push my dream elsewhere but it seriously wasn't working. Biting back my own growl, I wondered why my brain was so screwed up. Then I acknowledged I'd just buried my only known parents and was alone in my family home with reporters camped out in front of my house, trying to get a news bite from the distraught orphan teenager for their stations. It wasn't exactly a normal situation.
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