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Tick tock tick tock
The clock on the old wall across from my bed reads 10:30 p.m.
“Time for bed, Susie”, I say to the porcelain doll.
She’s sitting quietly in her rocking chair, staring at me with those glassy green eyes.
“Stop looking at me like that. I’ll be fine”, I tell her.
She continues to stare at me.
She’s worried I’ll have another nightmare. I haven’t had a good night sleep in months. I don’t know how they started. Dr. Adams says it may be due to my depression. He gave me some pills, but they don’t work. It’s okay though because Susan is my medicine. I don’t know what I would do without her. I remember when I bought her from a thrift store. She was lying, alone, on a dusty shelf, her little eyelids closed shut. There was a yellowing paper tag tied to her wrist that read Sleepy Susie. She looked like she didn’t belong there because she looked so new. There weren’t any wrinkles in the pale, pink silk dress she was wearing and her hair was in shiny blonde locks with little white ribbons. When I picked her up her eyelids flew open and she looked at me with those warm green eyes. When I looked into them I could feel her sadness; she was in need of a friend...like me. So I paid the 10 dollars and walked out with a smile on my face. My mother told me it was strange how a grown woman like me treated Susan as if she were a real person as I would have full conversations with her, but I didn’t care. I was no longer lonely.
I begin to hear little taps on the window. The storm is starting. I take deep breathes as my heart begins to race.
“You’ll be fine, Margaret. They’re only dreams. You’ll be fine, Margaret. They’re only dreams”, I tell myself as I take Susie from her chair and climb into bed.
“As long as I have you, Susie, I’ll be fine”, I whisper before shutting my eyes.
My eyes snap open, and I am met with darkness. I’m standing in a large, dark, empty, room. It’s cold and I can’t move or speak. Then I start to hear little footsteps coming toward me. Who could it be? Then the little footsteps as well as the beating of my heart become louder and faster as whoever it is gets closer. It sounds like they’re running toward me. All I can hear are footsteps and my heart pounding out of my chest. I try to scream but I can’t. It feels like something’s covering my mouth. Thump Thump Thump Thump Thump Thump. My heart is beating even faster now, and it’s getting hard to breathe. I can hear the footsteps just inches behind me. I shut my eyes. All of a sudden, both the footsteps and the heartbeats stop. I open my eyes and look around. Then there’s a tiny whisper in my ear,
“Wake up, Margie.”
I sit up screaming. Panting, I look and see that I’m back in my room. It’s raining even harder and I can hear the thunder. I rub my face and shiver.
“God, I’m freezing.”
I sigh and look at the clock. It’s 3:00 a.m. Then I frown. I don’t feel as I usually do every night. I look at my hands; they’re not shaking, nor are they clammy. I don’t even flinch when the sky roars and lightning lights up the room in flashes. I feel...fine. I smile at myself and turn to the doll on my left.
“See, Susie? I told y?”, I pause.
Susie’s sitting up, staring at the clock. I don’t remember sitting her up before going to bed. Then I see something from the corner of my eye; familiar, stringy, black hair strewn on the pillow behind me. I turn around some more and my eyes widen in horror.
There, lying next to Susie, was my pale and lifeless body, my blue eyes staring at nothing. I look like Susie.