I had a dream you were chasing me but you were not yourself. Your eyes were black pools floating with debris. Your mouth was sewn shut in a frown. I ran and you followed at a steady pace. I ran until I was out of breath trembling and still you rounded each corner behind me head held high jaw out. I fell, then, and tumbled down a dusty slope grabbing at a chain-link fence that bent to avoid my fingertips. At the bottom I lay on my back paralyzed with fear in my hollow heart unbeating. You appeared beside me, knelt and tenderly stroked my hair as adrenaline erupted in my veins. Turning, you pointed to the sky. I followed the lines of your body to a moon soaked in blood high in the haunted sky. I tried to scream and could not. I tried to speak and could not. I tried to move but could do nothing, could not lift a finger, could not utter a syllable as you stood and left me there. I could do nothing but cry as your footsteps vibrated in the ground and faded away. Tears flooded from me, then. Salty water that rose around me and still I could not move. I took a breath and closed my eyes as it built around my face and then met and merged at the tip of my nose. I could not swim. I lay like a stone at the bottom of my sea and could do nothing but hold my breath until my lungs burned with the effort of their silence. Swallowing fear I opened my eyes to the frigid darkness that surrounded me and the paralysis broke, but too late. I swam frantically to a light breaking and reforming high above me. Ribbons of white mocking me in their distance until my body—spent—retired. Heart pounding as I opened my mouth to let the water in; floating—a horrified vacuum in the in between.
I woke with a start drenched in sweat. My sheets tangled and straining against my throat. I threw them off me and sat upright, temples throbbing, convinced of shapes lurking in the shadows. Panicked breaths softly repeating, “There’s nothing there, there’s nothing there.”
Until my pulse slowed and I could lean back. Opening and closing the empty locket at my throat with a soft click. Raped viciously of sleep.
Blind Pilot – Two Towns From Me