Character Pieces, Fantasy, Home

Strange Dreams

I dreamt of that place again. That place where everything and nothing collided and mixed without a care for what was lost and what was remade. That place of unending darkness that threatened to swallow everything it touched. Everything, except me.

It never tried to swallow me, at least, not like everything else. It tried to drown me, fill my lungs and paint over all my color. It tried to make me like it, make me as dark as it was. Silent and blank, screaming with a voice deprived of sound. But the strange thing was, despite all that, it never seemed to want me to die.

It never tried to hurt me, taking aside the fact that becoming one with it could be described as something painful — but that was just it. Turning me dark, filling my lungs and stealing my thoughts, it never hurt. I always just felt numb. Like everything that was happening, was happening behind a barrier. Like it was happening to someone else.

It wanted me with it, I knew that much, even if the darkness never spoke. It, whatever it was, wanted me to live within its vast emptiness, even as it continued to consume everything else. Well, not exactly everything else.

I said I was the only one there, and that is true, because the other person I saw, was me. Another me, with the same haircut, same nose and body shape. I kept wondering, if I raised a hand, would she follow? Was there a mirror in this empty nothingness? A wall of glass that I had somehow missed in my endless floating searches? But then that figure grew closer, and I realized, though we wore the same face, she was not me.

Her clothes were different, brighter than any I would have worn myself, I had never owned anything yellow, nor had any interest too. Her hair was lighter too, though I saw mimics of the same curls and lines I saw shaped in my own hair every morning. The biggest giveaway that she was not really me, were her eyes. They were shaped exactly like mine, and they shone with the same confusion and sharpness I knew must be reflected in my own eyes, but they were the wrong color. My eyes were a dark brown that shimmered with violet when I used my magic, but her eyes? Those eyes shone bright yellow, brighter than the dress she wore.

We floated alone in that void, watching each other with the same confusion, fear, and curiosity. I wanted to understand what this meant. Why was I dreaming of a woman who looked so much like me? Why was I dreaming of that heavy darkness? I had so many questions, but I knew they would never be answered. Even if that strange woman was more than a figment of my unconscious mind, (even though I knew she wasn’t, a feeling that seemed to scream in my very bones every time I thought the contrary), I wanted — no, I needed to know who she was. But I had no voice in that place of my nightmares, and from what I could see, neither did she.

We moved, after so long. Together, each raising one very similar hand, and for a moment I wondered if I actually was in front of some strange mirror. Seeing myself from another angle. A me, from a different universe. But then she smiled where I frowned. It was not a happy smile.

It was a strange smile, one I was sure I had never worn. It walked the edge of being sad, and with it came a shine of pity and understanding I did not like. She knew something I did not, something important that made her look so much older than I knew we were.

Not for the first time, I wished I had a voice. I still screamed anyway, felt the burn of my throat as if I was actually screaming. But no sound pierced the silence, and the woman did nothing but smile that terrible smile that made my chest ache and my body weary.

I stop screaming, and instead sob silently. I hug myself, nails digging into my arms. I glare weakly up at my strange doppelganger, and through blurry vision, I realize her mouth is moving. But we are so far apart, and regardless of my terrible vision right now, I had never been good at reading lips. Without a word, she seems to understand, and instead, begins signing.

A familiar cold settles in my chest. I know those words she forms with her oh so familiar fingers. I can’t breath. She meets my stare without hesitation or flinching, and for the first time, I see tears gather in her eyes. She smiles that almost sad smile, and then the darkness swallows her. She is gone, I am alone, and the darkness is coming for me next. I scream as the dark around me shifts —

And then I wake up.

Gasping, cold, with tears streaming down my face. I blink up at my husband as he hovers over me with wide eyes. And like every time before I say nothing. I just pull him close, clutching at him as I sob in his arms. Trembling not just out of fear or sorrow. My dreams of that dark place always leave me sensitive to touch, to sound, as if I had really been there. In the dark and silence, drowning in an inescapable numbness.

I am afraid to sleep now, but I know I cannot evade it forever, and naps only do so much. He worries, and I am so sorry, but I can’t explain. I can’t tell him what I had dreamt of that terrifies me so. I can’t tell him of that dark place or that other me. I’m not afraid that he’ll think I’m crazy, at this point, I probably am. No, I am terrified that if I speak of it aloud, I will make it real.

I am afraid that if I stop insisting it’s just a bad dream, that what that other me signed was true —

(This is not just a dream. It is our fate. The Void grows hungry, and it will come for you too.)

That I will really be swallowed by that living darkness. And I don’t think I could survive — I don’t want to drown for real. I don’t want to be numb to everything. I don’t want to lose everything!

But, deep in my soul, deep in the darkest recesses of my mind, I know she is right. I know it will come for me. But if I don’t say it aloud, maybe I can keep it away. Just for a little while.


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