The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Be Careful What You Dream
by Melissa R. Mendelson
Jesse’s sleepover was on Halloween. I was surprised that she invited me. I didn’t think she liked me, but one of the girls talked her into it. Apparently, she felt bad for me, and she was trying to do a good deed. I should never have gone, but unfortunately for her, I did.
We stuffed our mouths with candy and watched Horror movies. Then, we called it a night, crawling into our sleeping bags. Only Jesse had the bed, which she shared with another girl. The rest of us went out like a light except for me. I struggled to stay awake, watching the moonlight flicker into the room, casting weird shadows on the walls.
I awoke abruptly, finding an old hag sitting on the floor beside me. Her hands were crooked, and her face was disfigured. She should have scared me, but she didn’t.
“A girl like you should not suffer from such nightmares. How did one so young get inflicted with such horrid visions?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “Every night, I have them. They won’t stop.” I looked away from her penetrating stare. “My parents are making me see a shrink.”
“She’s going to have you locked up.” Her words sliced me open. “You know that.” I started to cry. “What if the nightmares stopped?”
“They won’t stop,” I said. “I try to stay awake, but it doesn’t work. Everyone thinks I’m crazy.” I looked at the sleeping girls nearby.
“I can stop them.” I noticed a strange cup formed in her hands. “I can take them away.”
“Why would you do that?”
“Because your nightmares drew me to you, and I would like to have them. What do you say?” I slowly nodded in response. “Lie back down, and close your eyes.” I did as she said. “Be very still,” and suddenly, my head felt wet as if water had sprayed down around me. But there was no water. There was only the cup now filled to the brim. “I have them,” and she took a sip from the cup. “Such darkness,” and her face blurred for a moment, making me cringe.
“This is a dream. Right,” I asked her, but she didn’t answer me.
The old hag jumped to her feet, still holding the cup with its dark liquid. She hurried over to Jesse and grabbed her by the throat, making her gasp for air. Then, she poured the liquid down her throat. Jesse gagged, trying to spit it out, but the old hag slammed her hand down over her mouth. Jesse swallowed my nightmares down.
“No,” I screamed, and the lights flashed on. The girls looked at me. “Did you see her? Where did she go?” I watched Jesse touch her throat and her mouth.
“What did you do to me,” Jesse cried.
“It wasn’t me,” but it was too late.
Fiction © Copyright Melissa R. Mendelson
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Our memories of Yesterday are wrapped tight with love and loss. Mistakes that we cannot erase. A burden that we must carry into Today, but Yesterday will never let go. It can’t let go because it needs to survive, so it takes a piece of us away. But we’ll still try to run and leave it behind, and in doing so, we’ll be the ones to say, good-bye.