I get up feeling dizzy, not sure when I’d landed…. if I did at all. But it isn’t unusual to me; this isn’t the first time I’ve been through this. Looking around, I see that the beautiful flower field has changed. I can see a great negative force has obviously desecrated it. As I stare at the umber shade of ground, a giant, old mirror shoots out of it. I can see my full-body reflection in it, but I do a double take at noticing a few differences. My hands are night-black up to my wrists almost like skintight gloves with claw-like pointed fingertips. Other parts of my body have that same sinister black covering and I am wearing some strange new clothing that screams death. My eyes are wide and red and thin streams of blood drip from them down onto my cheeks. My hair is changed. Specks of red matte it and it looks untamed, spreading out in wild directions. My smile gives off a feel of insanity and my posture completes the look of a wild animal. I can’t bear staring at my own reflection anymore and turn away closing my eyes shut, try to get rid of the image already scarred into my mind.
Dust whips up at my feet; I open my eyes again. I look up. To my dread, I see my own, original reflection lying dead in pools of blood in the mirror. The sight of my sky-blue eyes slowly turning a cold, lifeless grey and my body growing pale causes me to start shaking in convulsions. Suddenly I realize my hands feel sticky and I bring them into my vision to see what is wrong. I stop breathing instantly and just stare down at my black, clawed hands covered in warm, glistening, red blood.
“No,” I gasp heavily, “no!” I can feel my heart rate break mach 5 and I find I am only able to wheeze short, quick breaths. I slowly back away from the mirror, chest pounding. The mirror recedes back into the ground but the cold, lifeless mask remains on the surface. Behind the body is a graveyard. As I look out into it I find names both familiar and unfamiliar to me. But I feel a deep connection to all of them. The more names I see the faster my heart thunders. Then the carved names glow a multitude of different colors and slide off their stone surfaces becoming vibrant lights like carving neon signs in the air with a sparkler. They all float towards me as I walk toward the center. They circle me and then, one after another, they break free of the revolving rings and float towards me. As each touches me, I catch flashes of the person each name belonged to. I look up, hoping to find a way to escape and see a dark, grey, stormy sky. Looking down again I realize the names are floating into me. They disappear the instant they touch me.
Then, beyond the graves, I see a huge black shadow and, squinting, I spot two children about 3 years younger than me huddled morbidly next to the shadow. Suddenly I am right in front of the shadow. I look down and see the boy and girl disappear. I look up again. The shadow turns and I see that it is only half black. The other side is stark white. It reaches out with one of its enormous hands and hooks its fingers around my skull. It picks me up and starts to squeeze.
I start to scream, “Stop, stop, please STOP!!!” The pain is incomprehensible but the creature keeps pulling me up higher until we are face to face and I get a good glimpse into the shadow’s sky-blue eyes. I see my face reflected in them.
I felt like I would never be happy again.
* * * * *
“Stop it, Stop it, no, Stop it!!!” Toby screamed at the top of his lungs. He shot up out of bed into a sitting position. He gasped for breath and found his chest was heaving. His eyes were wide open as they darted around the room. He let out a startled squeal when his eyes met his sister's.
Turning away from her, Toby tried to take deep breaths as he gazed out at his dark room. “Toby, Toby are you okay?” Suzie whispered trying to calm her twin brother. “You were screaming in your sleep again, was it the dream? Was it that dream again?” Toby wouldn’t look at her. Instead he stared into the dark grey clouds outside his window.
The soft beat of rain could be heard; the only source of light illuminating the room was the bright, flashes of lightning. Suzie frowned, “It was a stormy night the first time you had it too, wasn’t it? It’s funny; you usually love storms- always outside, right there in front of them . . . but they only seem to cause you pain.” She fiddled with her long, blonde hair as she waited for Toby to catch his breath. She got up on his bed and sat on the edge next to him.
Finally Toby turned to her, “That was 9 years ago, Suzie. We were three at the time. I shouldn’t have been able to remember-let alone recognize aspects of- that dream.” He looked her in the face and Suzie could see he was crying. She hugged him and comforted him as best she could.
“Won’t you just tell me what it is you see?” she pleaded.
“No, this is something I have to deal with on my own,” Toby replied, aware of the cold sweat he was drenching his sister in. Beads of it trickled from his forehead down between his eyes.
“That’s what you said 9 years ago,” Suzie sighed, “get some sleep, you have a soccer game tomorrow- and Kurt’s birthday is the next day. Goodnight.” Suzie got up and walked to the door. She closed the door behind her and left Toby alone in the dark again.
Toby smiled as he tucked himself back under his covers. He had always admired Suzie’s ability to effortlessly walk through a completely dark hallway. Once she had told him the air currents were guiding her. Thinking of this, he closed his eyes and let reality melt away once more.