You know how it is that when you're having a nightmare; there's nothing you can do- not a flipping thing- to make it go away?
Except, I think, writing it down. And twisting it around. That's when the writer's license kicks in.
Tsk. The dream shouldn't have gone this way. It should have gone like this.
And somehow at the end of it everything seems a little less grim.
This is very very raw. I just dashed it off. It's the first part of the longest and most detailed nightmare I've had in a long time. I'll edit it when I can look at it without shuddering.
I just needed to put it down somewhere, and Fictionpress being the Love, I figured this'd be a good place to put it.
Concrit VERY much appreciated. I mean, maybe I can turn this nightmare around. -laughs- I'm going to try, anyway. Help me out, would you?
"Oh, uh. Twenty-fifth."
I sagged against the elevator wall; she backed away from the panel of buttons and joined me.
"You have no idea. It feels like it's been a long decade."
There was a brief silence as the stranger ruminated.
"I know the feeling," she said, eventually.
The doors slid closed and with a sudden jerk we started our ascent. I grimaced; the lift was old, unabashedly old, and it moved at a crawl. I listened to the agonized creaks and groans as it took us through levels two and three.
It wasn't pretty, either. The floor covered with the fuzzy remnants of what, at one point, was surely a green carpet. There were what I called Forever Mirrors on two sides, and a weird woody backing on the last.
I gave my company a once-over. Her hair was cropped short, hacked jaggedly off just below the ear. Blonde- but her features were Asian and her skin was dark. She was dressed casually enough, in sleeves and a wraparound skirt, and-
She saw me looking, and showed me her teeth. "The eyes stop at knee-level, thank you. I'm a little embarrassed of the shoes I'm wearing."
Heh. Fair enough.
I settled back against the wall. "Trust me, canvas isn't anything to be proud of either."
Her hollow laugh rang through the lift. "Maybe, kid."
A vaguely uneasy silence took the floor.
I fixed my eyes on the numbers crawling across the scream- hah, screen- and hummed under my breath.
"Oh," she said, absently. "Happy birthday."
My pulse picked up. "It's not my birthday."
I kept my voice carefully neutral.
"It was two weeks ago," I blurted.
I didn't know the woman! I'd never seen her in my life. Maybe she was new to the apartment complex, maybe she was visiting somebody. Maybe.
I didn't think so.
"Well, my notes say-"
"It was supposed to be today," I said, in a rush to cut her off. "I was born premature- could we drop the subject?"
Level four, level four.. come on.. five! I willed the six to appear on the screen. I didn't like this lady.
"Oh, poor baby." She crooned. I heard the carpeting rustle as she shifted. "No wonder it didn't show up in my notes. Premature- that means nothing to us, you know."
"Oh." My skin crawled. Us? Who was she? How did she know me? WHAT NOTES?
"We're both premature, you know."
I screwed my eyes up and forced myself to breathe evenly. The red blinking numbers from the screen tattooed themselves onto the back of my eyelids.
"You in life-"
Level six, come on! Level six! Six, six-
"..and I in death."
My breath hitched in my throat.
"Oh," I said, in a small voice.
"I died aged fourteen. That's your age now, isn't it."
Thump. My heart hammered against my ribs. Thumpthumpthump, a panicked symphony.
I cleared my throat. "It is."
"I suppose they had the whole breaking-in ceremony thing at your birthday party, eh."
"Y-yeah. It was great. They had Irshen priests and garlands and things. To- protect me from.. you guys.."
"Lucky number fourteen, aye? If they get the rituals right on that birthday, you're spared the chore of having to look at us guys every day of your freakin' life. Aye? "
"But that doesn't work with the premature kids, eh," I said, in a small voice.
I could feel her leonine smile from the other end of the lift.
Level ten. Level eleven. My legs were a little unsteady.
"I died fourteen years ago, babe. My child didn't make it either. I'm takin' you with me."
There was an awful sound just then, of bone grating against bone. I bit back a scream and my eyes sank down to the floor, where her mary-jane-clad feet were trying to twist themselves around.
Her gaze followed mine down, and then trailed up to meet me as I stared into her slanted yellow eyes, an insane, hysterical fear rising in the pit of my stomach.
"They keep doing that," she purred, as her canines lengthened and her hair turned black. "And I told you not to look."
Irshen, High Priest, aid me
Abraxas, Protector Of The Children, come to me in my hour of need
Unleash your fury
Elsev, Watcher of the Women, show your might
Ixthor, Lightning God, start the pyrotechnics already
Get this harpy off me
Keep me safe.
You know the sort of dream that starts out bad, gets progressively worse, and just goes cheerfully downhill until you'd give ANYTHING for your mom
to come by and shake you awake? Except she never does?
No, she saves that tactic for the good dreams.