Deja Vu

Do you ever have those deja vu moments where a situation in real life seems like a repeat of a dream you had? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has experienced this. But I'm also pretty sure no one has ever experienced my form of deja vu either. You see, when I was in elementary school, I would see this one dream every other day. It started in the third month of third grade and just slowly died out towards the end of third grade. It was actually the only dream that I would have. I had asked my mother about quite a bit, wondering what the dream meant. But all she did was comfort me and say, "It was just a dream. You're probably thinking too much, honey." She'd repeat those sentences every time I asked. Towards the end of third grade, I had already memorized the dream. I knew how it would start and end. I knew every second and every corner. Many times I've tried to alter the ending or enter a different area. A few times, I've tried to lengthen the dream, just to see what would happen next. You see, this dream actually ends extremely abruptly. Not just abruptly, but, it just, stops. Like there's more, but your brain won't let you see more. Sometimes it ends because my mother wakes me up. Sometimes it's caused by my bladder. But most of the time, it just ends. The ending also bothered me a lot. I hated the ending. I wanted more out of this dream besides just waking up from it. But I never got any further. That is, until a few days ago.

I'm already a sophomore in high school and I haven't had the dream since third grade. My life so far has also been very uneventful. A boring life with everything going along as if no one was controlling it. At least I had decent grades and some good friends. But if you get rid of my friends, my life is basically empty. My mother is never home and my older brother and father are both working overseas. Most of the time, I'm home alone. I eat alone. I watch TV alone. I do my homework alone. I play alone. I sleep alone. I wake up to the sound of my mother's car leaving. I eat the prepared breakfast alone. I go to school alone. The cycle just continues on. But a few days ago, I wasn't alone. My dream was with me. I knew exactly when the deja vu moment started. It started just like in the dream. It's around 9:30 PM and I've just finished my homework. I'm walking up the stairs to my bedroom with a book in my hand. I opened the door to my bedroom and flick on the lights. The posters and other random stuffed animals in the fathest corner. The clothes scattered on the couch. The lamp glowing faintly. The unmade bed. The half open closet door. The closed bathroom door. The pillow tilted at just the right degree. I knew this image. Everything looked like the dream. It was just like how the dream started. I remember getting excited about this. 'Maybe I can finally get a good ending out of all this!', I thought to myself. So I sat down on my bed and continued with the deja vu. I sat in a slouched position and flipped to page 89 of the book. Coincidentally, it was the same book as the one in my dreams. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I read up to page 127 and slowed down my reading pace. At this certain line on this certain page, there should be a smudge. Yes, there it was. I rubbed the smudge just like how I did in the dream and suddenly, there was a muffled thump coming from the bathroom. Just like in the dream. But unlike in the dream, I grinned when I heard this sound. In the dream, I sat very still on my bed, listening for more thumps that would never come. So I acted according to the dream. I just sat there, pretending to strain my ear to hear more. Then came the all too familiar shower curtain rattle. The dream was still moving along. At this point, I was supposed to slowly set the book down and crawl out of bed and press my body to the wall that's next to the bathroom door. So I did so. I moved exactly how I would have done if I were in the dream. Slowly, cautiously, making sure not to make any sounds on the creeky floorboards. I pressed my back to the wall and reached my hand out, trembling on purpose; that's how my hand was like in the dream. I opened the door by just a bit. The opening should have been about an inch or so wide. I peeked my eye through the crack and scanned the bathroom from the top left and descended my gaze at a slope of 37 degrees. After my gaze hit the edge of the door, I scanned from the right to bottom left in a 48 degree slope. Everything was going according to the original dream. My heart raced quickly as I realized that I might just be able to see it. I will finally be able to see it. At this point, I was supposed to step back a bit and kick the door in as hard as I can. So I stepped back a few steps and then karate kicked the bathroom door wide open. I "accidentally" made a dent in the wooden door. "Accidentally". The door ricocheted off of the bumper and swung back but stopped midway. Now the door was open at about 63 degrees. Perfect. I quickly wiped the smirk off of my face and put on the cautious mask. I stepped lightly into the bathroom and scanned the room. Dark bathtub covered by the curtain. Toilet lid down. Towel on the sink. Window closed. Mat folded at the top right corner. Everything looked like how it should look. Now, all I had to do was turn to face the big mirror and see nothing behind me. I saw nothing behind me. Just my face and the slight ruffles of the curtain reflected in the mirror. But then I heard my cue, another rattle of the curtain. I felt something moist and cold grab my ankle and I reflexively kick it away. Starting from here, I won't know what to do.

In the dream, I always woke up at this point. It would just end with the thing grabbing my ankle. But now, what do I do? I see its hand. I finally see some part of this thing. It looks like a human hand to me. Most likely male. I step back and my hips hit the counter of the sink and I stumble and fall. I fell on my butt and let out a small yelp. This surprised me. But what surprised me even more was that my body was shaking. It was reflexively shaking. I was scared. So scared. I scrambled up to my feet and clambered onto the counter, kicking a few bottles down to the ground. Then the curtains rattled again and the hand moved out further and I saw another hand emerge. Then I saw the elbows. Both arms. The shoulders. The top of the head. Some of the torso. I even saw some sort of liquid pour out along with his movements. I pressed my body close to the cold mirror as I watched the person crawl out from the bathtub. I remember glancing frantically around for the light switch, only to see it out of my reach. As I slowly looked back at the man, I saw that he had stood up. I didn't want to look down, you know, just in case. But I did anyway. He didn't have any. This kind of grossed me out but I was more surprised about the fact that I actually bothered to look at it. I felt disgusted. The "man" took two slow steps forward and stood right in front of me. He lifted his hand and stretched it out in my direction with a flowing sweep. The cold wet hand suddenly clamps itself down on my face with inhuman strength and covers my nose and mouth. The grip was so powerful. My skull probably cracked or something because I felt a sharp pain in my head. I also couldn't breathe. I was already breathing irregularily and now I couldn't even suck in air. I struggled on the counter, kicking the "man" as hard as I could, but his body felt like stone. I think I must have broken a toe or something. I grabbed at the arm, trying to yank it away from my face, but it wouldn't budge. I felt like a child. A child. Just like how I was like in the dream. Then, the "man" dragged me off of the counter in one swift snap of his wrist. My face and chest slammed down onto the tiled floor and had the wind knocked out of me. Now I couldn't even breathe even though his hand wasn't on my face. He then grabbed me by my hair and threw me into the bathtub. I expected a hard slamming contact but it never came. Instead, I felt some sort of warm and thick liquid envelope my body. I was dunked directly in. I coughed. I needed air, but there weren't any down in this tub. I struggled to sit up and reach the surface, but there was no bottom. I continued to sink further. Further. I waved my arms wildly and kicked my legs frantically. But I still continued to sink. As the last bubbles escaped from my mouth, I gave up. I just let my body sink. I realized that I was drowning because my senses started dimming. I couldn't feel the liquid anymore. I could barely hear the liquid sloshing, really. I already couldn't see since it was completely dark. Obviously I couldn't breathe or smell. I passed out in the liquid, but not before hearing the muffled sound of my mother screaming my name.

As I said before, all that happened a few days ago. I'm currently in the hospital, recovering from that ordeal. According to my mother, she was yelling my name, looking for me. She found me in my bathtub, drowning in a pool of blood. At first she thought I had committed suicide so she rushed me to the hospital as fast as she could. Amazingly, she hadn't gotten a ticket. After the doctors had pumped most of the blood out from my lungs and cleaned up my body, I was breathing again, but faintly. The doctors found no wounds on my body. Not even a broken bone. Strange, I could have sworn that "man" cracked my skull. Well, lucky me, that man didn't decide to cut me up or eat me. Even the police had heard of the story and came to investigate. Of course, the news reporters would come too, but I told them nothing. When the detectives and forensic scientists had analyzed the blood from my clothes, they found that the blood didn't belong to me. In fact, the blood wasn't even human blood. The scientists had compared the blood samples to many different animals but found no match. Even the closest match was still far off. My friends had come by to visit and my mother was with me most of the day. My father and brother are arriving at the airport today to visit me. I'll be out of the hospial in about a week. As for now, I still have a bit of blood in my lungs. Every time I cough, the blood would spray out, but I feel better and better after each cough. Now that I think about it, what an amazing dream I had. I smile, satisfied that I had finally saw it and finally figured out the ending. I like this ending. I really do. Because, thanks to this dream, I realized that I'm not alone. My mother's here. My father and brother are coming. My friends visit me daily. I like this ending. Should this be considered a happy ending? I guess so. But I wonder what happened to that man? What would have happened if my mother hadn't come home that early? I feel lucky. Lucky to be alive. Lucky to have people around me. Thanks, mister. I owe you one.

Written by Danielle Jin

Author's Note: This story is lightly based off of my real life. Last night I had this dream. A dream where this guy comes out of the bathtub and drags me to my death. I had this dream almost everyday when I was in third grade. But it always ended abruptly. So I felt like I had to write something about it. So here you go, Tumblr. Of course, the man never came for me in real life.