By: Amanda Michaela
I woke up in a bed of steel, covered in snow white blankets. Drops of water were running down my face, but i couldn’t tell tears from sweat. I rose up and looked around the room trying to get a grip of reality. It was just a dream… a bad dream.
A thin little girl, barely one hundred pounds, was on her way up a hill, surrounded by the greenest of trees and flowers all around. Empowered by the sun, and with an endless amount of strength, she ran with the breeze. She slowed down to catch her breath every now and then, but never stopped. Ignoring the fact that this mountain was rocky and hard, she didn’t even notice herself falling over and over again, skinning her knees every time again. She didn’t seem to notice that she left everyone she’d ever loved on the ground, screaming at her to stop whatever she was doing and come back down. She didn’t notice that for every inch she climbed, there would be another inch to fall.
Along with the feeling of being invincible, she looked for things to make this experience an even bigger adventure. She settled down to rest on a cliff, and found mushrooms all over. They were all so beautiful. With the size of a flower, their sharp red color nearly paralyzed her. She decided to keep them for the rest of her walk up the mountain. She carried her mushrooms like they were her babies, like they were her own. The happiness and euphoria they gave her was not to be compared with any living thing. Every time she touched them she got a feeling of not having to worry about a single thing in the world.
The family of the little girl stood devastated on the ground, watching their daughter climbing higher and higher, almost out of their sight. They were upset with the fact that her beloved mushrooms were more important to her then they ever were. They had to do something.
“We need to save her!” her mother cried.
Her mother called a rescue team to save her lost little daughter. The tears ran down her face as they flew up to help her. The wings of the helicopter were like the sound of a hundred stallions running on concrete. She didn’t notice that sound either, blinded by her unmatched power. When the rescue team saw her below, they immediately decided to punish her for carrying those rare mushrooms up the hill. They took them from her, and left her crying and screaming, devastated to lose the only thing she had worth loving.
With tears rushing down her face, and legs so shaky she could barely stand, she fell. She fell all the way down that mountain, hitting several rocks on the way. When she reached the ground, she was so hurt she couldn’t feel a thing. She hit her head so badly that she blacked out, and couldn’t remember whatever happened the minute, the hours, or the days before.
Now everyone was standing around her, watching her from above. Some were shouting, some were crying, and some didn’t say a word. She could tell they were worried, but she didn’t want them to be. She hated them for being the reason she fell down that cliff, when it in fact it was her own fault. She didn’t realize that she let herself become dependent on something that she knew was going to be taken away from her, because, as with everything she loved, it was taken away. She should have learned that by now, but apparently she didn’t learn anything from all the lessons she learned back on solid ground.
“We need to save her!” her mother cried again.
She didn’t want their help; she couldn’t trust them for another second for letting her down like this again. She took a deep breath and made her way out in the dark forest. She had to find her mushrooms, the only thing she knew that could really make her happy. The trees were rotten and dark, and seemed to creep outwards, wrapping her into their jagged arms. Still, she felt safer than ever before, and the big red mushrooms lit up like stars amongst the backdrop of the thick forest. She had found her babies again. She was reunited. The darkness of the forest gave her energy, it gave her focus to stand up, and walk towards them. Hold them, embrace them, and own them. A feeling she had missed for too long.
She leaned against a tree to get some rest in the company of her mushrooms. She quickly realized these ones weren’t the same as her mountain babies. They were sinister and hideous. They had teeth and claws and ugly eyes that seemed to pierce her soul. And they grew, they grew quickly, deformed and shifting, never seeming to stay still for very long.
“You’re stupid. You’re worthless. You’re not even worthy of life itself!”
She tried to show them love, to silence their tormenting voices. They laughed and sneered at her and started bashing the back of her head against the tree she was resting on. Slicing into her wrists with their razor sharp claws, they began squeezing her ribcage tight, sucking the air out of her. Their power scared her speechless and she ran. She ran away fast, and far, in no direction, just away. Her beaten up legs had her running to the point where they could barely bear any more pain.
Once she got far enough that the mushrooms out of sight, she fell to the ground. The rain was falling so hard she couldn’t even hear her own thoughts. She did hear the sound of a thousand footsteps somewhere in the distance, but covered her ears, because she refused to believe it was real. It couldn’t be real. But it was. Suddenly, the sight of enormous blue spiders stopped her in her tracks – she was frozen by fear. Aghast, she took a deep breath in but couldn’t breathe it back out again. She was trapped. As they inched closer, she tried to run, but they captured her in their thick webs of steel. They clamped down with pressure she couldn’t bear. She screamed out in fear, but they restrained her to the point where moving freely was an impossibility.
“Young fool. If you resist, it only gets worse. Calm yourself, or you will get hurt.”
It was strange – it was if they cared about her. Almost as if they were helping her by hurting her. They had her leaning back into their arms, breathing, and letting whatever happened, happen. Once again she decided in her quiet desperation trust someone to escape that constant feeling of loneliness, the piercing darkness. Once again she felt safe in the dark, not realizing what was bound to happen.
She woke up in a swamp. Her entire lower body is stuck in mud and dirt, unable to move her legs and arms. With only her head stuck up in the air, she saw something who resembled a human being. She couldn’t sort out any type of face or contours. This person was shrouded in darkness, like a shadow. It asked if there is anything she needed. She just wondered why it kept doing this.
“You can drown if you want to, but not as long as you’re stuck there”, the shadow said.
I woke up in a bed of steel, covered in snow white blankets. As I filled my journal with barely discernable letters, hoping to put the dream’s pieces together, it was then I slowly started to realize. Maybe it wasn’t a dream. Maybe there isn’t a borderline between our nightmares and our reality. Maybe this nightmare was my reality.
One of the black shadows walked into my room. It was a person this time, a person with white clothes and a kind human face. She asked if I needed anything. I said, “I need music,” and she smiled. I heard an alarm go off, so I plugged in my earphones in as soon as she ran off, and let Mumford and Sons silence that god awful sound. The sound of someone out there, wishing they weren’t alive.
“I will hold on hope, and I won’t let you choke, on that noose around your neck.”
And at that moment I realized that this nightmare was nothing more than a reality that no one ever noticed. That no one sees, because it’s too painful and too real. But just because these normal people haven’t seen it for themselves, doesn’t mean it never happened.