The first time it happened, I was… (Writing Prompt Wednesday inspired by Jericho Writers)

Hello Literary Lovelies,

I am continuing on with the writing prompt I received in an email from Jericho Writers. I will attach a screenshot below of the newsletter:

Screenshot 2020-12-30 at 11.48.44 AM

The first time it happened, I was twelve.

I thought it had been a recurring dream, happening oddly every summer. I didn’t realize the truth until the summer I turned sixteen.

The first time, I remember waking up and the sheets sticking to my shorts. They had sheep on them, the pajamas that is, with a matching top that had frills on the sleeve. The sheets I believe were lilac in colour.

It hit me like a slap in the face that balmy summer’s night five years later. They had been a warning. A prophecy of what was to come.

They always started out the same but never ended that way.

I always experienced the dream from within myself. Never as an outside viewer. I wonder if the perspective made all the difference?

It always began with me sitting in a clearing, a massive bonfire crackling before me. There is music and the happy chatter of numerous people around me. I feel content.

Burning Firewoods by Pixabay

With every blink, the scene fast forwards like a movie, and not the way it all moves quickly before you frame by frame but like you are falling asleep. Missing bit by bit.

With the first blink, the fire has died down, the chatter dispersed. Coldness is seeping in around the edges as the sun seeps over the horizon. The sky taking on that indigo view of a new day. An unease follows the path of the cold.

In another blink, I’m on my feet looking around at the complete stillness now surrounding me. Why have I stayed so long? A constant question in my mind. I am now filled with more trepidation.

The next blink has me running between the trees. My breath an even match for the heightened fear flooding through me.

I made it out of the woods once.

Into the arms of someone another time.

Each one the final blink before I wrenched my eyes open to reality.

The third time, or was it the second? I fell right before I woke.

A year is a long time between dreams. So much so I did not recognize the scene until it was too late.

My only excuse, I was distracted. Distracted, by a pair of hazel eyes.

And like those dreams the moments of the night are hazy. Made so by the stale taste of beer. Those blinks were more accurate than I knew. How would a pre-teen know what being drunk felt like? The warnings were all a waste. Wasted on me.

In this moment, my actual reality. I know that it was those fine hazel eyes which made me stay late. The promise of something to come. Something wonderfully alone.

But something went wrong.

There was a sound and it was that sound which snapped my focus into my dream having come true. The overlap of the nights events, the bonfire of my dreams with the one of my reality. Not exactly the same, but something I should have clued into right away.

On my feet, the overlap of looking around at the stillness syncs together. A double exposed picture with the trepidation of my nightmares filling me in real time.

My feet make the decision to run. I take off into the trees.

And my sole focus should be surviving whatever is happening. Why I was warned and couldn’t heed it? The pieces of the puzzle still missing.

How had I changed the endings of the prior dreams? Had I gone left when I should have gone right?

A high branch scrapes at my face and lower ones tug at my clothes. The silence in the forest broken by my harsh breaths.

I’m sure a root purposely lifts from the soil to snag my sneaker and I lurch forward. My knees taking the brunt of the force, my fingers delving into the earth following the path of worms.

I had fallen before, when I was thirteen or was it fourteen? Yet I still remain lucid. Hoping the jarring would wake me up to find it had again only been a dream.

No such luck.

I twist towards a tree trunk.

Plant myself at its base like a mushroom.

A crunch.

My lungs seize.

Listening.

A twig snaps.

Where it sounds is ahead of me.

Where I was running to.

My reality unlike any dream, leaves me at a cross roads.

Run to?

Or away?

What should I do?

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

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