I wake up terrified. My heart is pounding in my chest. Everything feels dangerous. The sheets feel incredibly smooth-too smooth, too soft! I’m panicking-I know I’m breathing, but I can’t breathe-no air is getting through! That’s insane-but I can’t calm down. My heart, my heart is beating rapidly in my ears. I’m dizzy. So, dizzy…
Everything goes black. Everything goes black. I feel like I’m falling like my whole body is weightless. I’m falling, or maybe I’m floating, flying? Everything is black there’s nothing, but a feeling, a feeling best described as falling down. I want to scream, but there is no want, just feeling, and I feel I may have no lungs. As I fall a large hand grabs me true black in the darkness that surrounds. I feel fingers and a thumb, my chest pressed up against a palm-is this dying? No one ever described it quite like this, but now I’m falling up. Everything is still black-do I have eyes?
Blankets swallow her whole as she crashes gently into the mattress sinking deep into the bedframe before slowly rising up again. She’s in her nightgown-is this my nightgown? It has to be. “It has to be…” she breathes still in the state of dreaming. She looks around her room-this is my room, right? Of course it is, but she shakes her head still bewildered by the state of affairs. Some dreams are deep. “Some dreams… are fucking intense” she sighs. That’s not what I said. ”What?“ she gasp hand over her mouth. Looking around she sees nothing out of the ordinary, her room, it’s just her room. The pictures on the wall all recently hung up-oh that’s right! “I moved… duh… silly me… ” shaking her head, she’s smiling everything again makes sense.
She sits up her feet falling into plush slippers, wiggling her toes she feels amazing! Stretching her arms, reaching for the ceiling, she groans “what a strange dream…” Getting up she moves towards her new closet it has sliding white wood panels as doors, two, that go one way. She opens it slowly, for some reason, hesitate. She shakes her head once more. Her hair moving, the tips waving side to side, she inhales deeply and opens the door the sound of the panels moving on the runners startling.
Once open she stands still, her eyes wide “these aren’t my clothes” she’s seeing every color she dislikes. She doesn’t usually wear pastels, but she loves them now. “But I love…” she stops, zoning out lost in the pastel rainbow of properly hung clothing. Her hands are shaking. She backs away from the closet walking abruptly to her desk, it is her desk. This isn’t my stuff! Her heart is racing, hands still trembling, but she is examining her things. There’s a notebook with a list of Things To Do Today she begins to read, breathing slowly, though her heart is still racing.
“Neighbors?” she exhales. “That’s right I’m going to meet the neighbors with-”
“Good morning my beautiful wife!” her husband Thomas interrupts with his usual cheerful morning grin.
She turns quickly, backing into the desk with a jolt, her heart is still racing after all she’s scared, but she doesn’t know why. This man is her husband.
“This who are you!?“ she shouts irrationally.
He frowns, saddened by the behavior “are you not feeling well?” he takes a step forward, cautiously, hands out hoping to reassure her. She backs further into the desk, eyes wide, heart still racing. “Baby, it’s me” he insist softly “it was all a dream.” He’s right it was all a dream.
How’s he know about the dream!?
Taking another step forward he reminds her softly “I’m your husband. We’ve been married five years”. She jumps toward the closet “honey! Come on!” he’s starting to get frustrated. This guy is not equipped for this.
“I don’t have a husband!” She’s always despised the idea of marriage. He lunges toward her. She jumps on the bed. She’s acting feral.
“You’re acting feral!” he shouts as two small children run in.
“Mommy!” they say in unison. Both smiling, arms extended toward their loving mother.
She kicks towards them! “Ah! Ew! Get away from me! I fucking hate kids!” her face is twisted in a sour grimace. The children begin to cry their father rushing to their side questing why she would hurt them so, but all she can hear is the blood rushing through her heart.
Leaping off the bed she flees from the room, still clutching her To Do list in her right fist. She runs down the carpeted stairs, her choice. She screams while flying “I hate carpet!” through the front door she runs to the edge of the asphalt.
Seeing her neighbor Janet watering her lawn to her right. She is frozen. Hey legs unable to move she looks at the list it’s number three-visit the neighbors.
Janet interrupts her thoughts “are you okay?” she grabs her gently by the shoulders, leaning down to make eye contact, “did you just look up for the first time?” she smiles brightly laughing until she realizes this girls not laughing with her. Janet’s smile fades “oh. Come with me”
“What..”she slowly moves her head to look up.
Janet pulls her by the left arm jolting her attention from the sky “don’t do that” she changes panic to her usual cheerful smile “just give me a moment, just wait.” Janet smiles and inhales deeply as a breeze rushes past them. Blowing all manner of fallen autumn leaf around them, picking up her nightgown, nearly dragging it with it. Opening her eyes slowly Janet exhales “better. Your names Michelle, you just moved in. Why don’t you come inside for a cup of coffee” Janet’s smiling, pulling gently on Michelle left hand, nodding her head reassuringly.
Michelle? Yeah… that’s-no that’s not right.. My… what’s my name? She follows, but she still appears distraught. Her heart is still racing after all. Once they reach the doorway she’s startled by what she sees, Janet’s front door is a deep orange red and is framed by a lush purple trim, flourished elegantly. Janet turns back towards her still holding her left hand, her smile open showing teeth and tongue, her head is nodding.
“Come Michelle, come inside, we’re going to have a nice visit.” Michelle begins to follow once again as she is led inside to the parlor. The walls inside are the same orange red, deep as the door, but the elegantly flourished trim, which runs throughout the house both bottom and top, is white. What the fuck is going on?! Janet sits her down, back to the window, on the pleasantly patterned loveseat and sits across just slightly off center to the left. Michelle looks down at the To Do list why the fuck would one be ‘get up’ and two be ‘eat breakfast’-
Janet interrupts the silence. Michelle looks up with a jolt, eyes wide, heart still racing it appears. “Michelle-your name is Michelle now. Don’t you remember?” Janet’s smile is gone, her brow is furrowed in worry. Michelle shakes her head. “You don’t recall your children, or husband?” again she shakes her head. Janet sighs “so strange… so very strange” she sighs “well” leaning over she pulls out a photo album “first we look here, and then you’ll run outside whether I try to stop you or not, okay?” Michelle shakes her head in confusion her brows now furrowed as well “or warn you-just look” she opens the photo album the sound of plastic slowly coming apart startles the air, their ears tingling with the static it causes. Placing the heavy book before her on the wooden coffee table she sits back, nervous.
Michelle stares wide eyed at Janet for a moment before slowly leaning over the photo album. She can smell the plastic, she can feel it in her nostrils as she inhales sharply.
Looking up at Janet her eyes filled with disbelief she rapidly returns to the photos what… she begins furiously flipping the pages of the album what!? She flips page after page her eyes growing wider, all she can hear is her heart pounding. Leaping from the loveseat she rushes to the edge of the asphalt looking up into the sky that is cloudy and grey.
Shielding her eyes with her right arm, her head thrown back, she gazes into the sky as the wind picks up. Autumn leaves begin to rush around her legs, a hurricane picking up underneath her nightgown. The wind clears the sky, but instead of blue she sees black. No, no, not black. She looks closer squinting as the objects move, eyes blink, one head shakes, she’s watching us. Eyes wide, heart racing, she collapses on the floor.