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Nightmares Do Come True
I stumble, blindly reaching out for something to stable myself. I weakly lean against her baby pink dresser as the world spins violently. "How is this happening?" I cry weakly. I throw back her Hello-Kitty covers. I shout hoarsely down the dark hallway. I dig through every closet. I shove my head under every pristinely made bed. She is gone. She is actually gone. My mind screams the truth, but I refuse to process it. With nothing left inside of me, I drag myself into my room and crawl under my crisp, floral covers. I force myself to think, to state the obvious. My mom left at nine. I was babysitting my little sister Bree.
Bree was already asleep when Mom left. I fell asleep on the sectional downstairs. It is now 2:30 in the morning. Mom is still out, no surprise there. Bree wasn't in her room. Bree isn't in the house at all. Bree is gone. Bree is nowhere to be found. My sweet, little six-year-old sister is missing. The words nauseate me; they bring out my only, mortifying fear. That some sick person is going to harm as little as one blonde strand of her curly hair. I am too drained to move, and if I do, I might throw up. I curl up into bed, and bury my head into my grey pillow. Sleep is like an enemy, and I can't escape it.
"Bring!" With a cackle of reality, my phone jolts me awake. I fumble for my phone. I can't help but hope it's my mom saying she brought Bree on her date (yeah, right) or Bree was picked up by my Nana. It's only Sean, my best friend, asking if we want to go to our usual Saturday movie. "Not today, feeling kinda sick" I reply. As much as I wanted to hang out with him, I was too scared if I left the house, I'd never find Bree. I throw the white iPhone onto my white shaggy rug and let out a little whimper. I am no longer a mature, seventeen-year-old girl. I am a little child who just wants her mommy to come and tell her that it was all a bad dream. However, that is out of the question. Especially when my mom drops us for a few days whenever she feels like it.
"God, I hate myself!" I scream. I know Bree's games are over. I know this is real. The whole day is nothing but a foggy nothing. I don't eat, drink, or go to the bathroom. I lay paralyzed by my terror. By Monday, I am an utter wreck. My auburn hair lost its shine. My skin is grimy. And I've lost at least five pounds. I force myself into the shower, and shove a protein bar down my throat. I throw it up, proving my effort to look somewhat happy and put-together pointless. I almost don't go to school, but Mom should be home soon. I can't face her just yet.
"Halley!" as soon as I step out of my royal blue Honda, a tall, muscular Sean attacks me with one of his long-time-no-see bear hugs. He lifts my off my feet and roars with laughter as I gasp in surprise.
"Hey," I murmur back, I weak smile spreading across my face. We walk to honors English, talking like we always do. I act happy, but I know Sean sees the struggle in my eyes. Each period was dragged out, and each one got harder and harder to put effort into. I can't take any of this anymore. As soon as I get home, I bolt upstairs into Bree's room. Empty. Deflated, I slug down the hallway to Mom's room; it is as life-less as Bree's. Suddenly, I am hit with the reality of it all. My knees give out and I curl up into a tight ball on my Mom's cream-carpeted floor. The sobs that escape my chest are the sounds of true misery. I cry until there is nothing left of me, and I let my lifeless body succumb to sleep.
A boy, only a few years older than me, walks down the dark steps. He is tanned with deep-blue eyes, and perfectly messy, dark-brown hair. He is just so familiar, but his devilish grin has me stumped. I have never seen something so sinister. A small whimper echoes across the dank room. He cackles and steps closer…closer…closer… I wake up with a start.
Placing my sweating palms on the itchy carpet, I slowly stand up. I shuffle to the maple dresser and examine myself. My auburn hair lays in a tangled mess halfway to my belly button. My summer tan has disappeared, and my olive-green eyes are bloodshot. Deep-purple circles dig themselves under my eyes and sloppy lines of black mascara and eyeliner paint themselves across my face, shining with tears. I am slowly dying. What is there to live for if everything I have is gone?
Months go by, but each day has been the same since I've decided to stop living. The only things that have remained solid in my life are depression and the dreams. The dreams with the same hauntingly familiar boy. Nowadays, I've even locked myself up from Sean, which is just another stab in the stomach. It tears me apart whether I am sleeping or awake.
"Hey, I'm coming over now. We need to talk," Those are the first words I hear out of Sean's mouth when I answer my phone for the first time in weeks. "Okay," I whisper, and end the call. I walk downstairs, curl up in a ball on the couch, and wait. "What's going on with-" Sean can't even finish his first sentence when he walks into the door. I fling myself around him, bury my face in his Harry Privet High School hoodie, and cry out every little thing to him in a language of wails and jumbled words only he would understand. He stops me, sits me down on the couch, and we sit face-to-face as I recount everything that has happened. Then, I get to the dreams. Sean's summer-bronze face goes blizzard-white when I mention the despicable face in the nightmares.
"That sounds a lot like Logan Rafter, that guy you had a thing with over the summer. Wasn't he really freaky and always doing really bad things?" Sean asks me. My heart stops for a whole second right then and there. As my mind takes me back to a summer filled with parties, pools, and Logan, I shudder.
"Everything you love will go missing," I murmur, recalling the last words he whispered into my ear after our rocky breakup. I never thought about anything like this before, but now it was the only chance I had of finding them.
"I'm going to his house. It may be a waste of time, but it would not be if I can find my family again," I say with a confidence I never knew was in me.
"Be safe Hales," Sean whispers in my ear as he pulls me into a tight hug. I know it is killing him to let me go alone. He would risk his life to save mine. I can not let that happen, never.
"You too, Sean," I reply, slowly pulling away from the hug and pushing back his messy, caramel brown hair. Silently, I slip off the couch and shoot up and 18 carpeted stairs to the second floor. I burst into my room, fling my limp, tangled hair into a ponytail, and slip on my grey Uggs. I grab my white iPhone and slip it into my right Ugg. Before I leave, I flash myself a smile in the mirror. It looks broken and forced, but at least I can smile.
"I love you, Hales!" Sean shouts when I run out the door.
"I love you too, Sean Panem!" I yell back, slamming the red door of my Honda behind me. The car ride was a thoughtless blur of nothing. All I wanted was to get to Logan's house. If I could kill him, I would. By the time I pull into his cobblestone driveway, the city of Ocean City is pitch black. Stealthily, I creep to the back of his. Remembering all the times I would stop into his house and surprise him, I grabbed the hidden key from the hollow spot in the willow tree out back. With trembling hands, I jammed the key into the lock of the tarnished doorknob, and turned the key. A click secured my belief that I broke in. I throw the key onto the ground and slowly push the back door open, recalling how squeaky it is. Once I am in, I tiptoe around the sprawling, two-story house. Life is nonexistent here. At least that's what people are supposed to think. I know better. I head back into the kitchen, and position myself in front of a chipped, white door. Steadying myself, I take a deep breath and twist the knob.
"M-m-m-m-ooooommmy," Bree's petrified, destroyed voice fills me with flames of anger.
"Be a good girl and you won't get hurt," my mom whispers sharply. I am about to break when I hear the depression in her voice. The room smells like sewage, tears, and lost hope. My Uggs slip on the wet stairs and when I hit the final step, I speak.
"Mom, Bree. I am here. I will make you safe again. Don't worry. I'll protect you," I begin to cry harder with each word, and I sound like I am talking to a weeping infant. Then, I remember my family's struggles and wipe my tears. I fumble in my Ugg for my phone and with shaking thumbs, begin to plug in 911. Just as the first ring goes off, I am knocked to the ground. The phone slides across the damp floor. I whip around. There stands Logan Rafter with menacing dark eyes. His tall, 6'1" figure is as devious as the devil's.
"You….monster," I heave out as I put my hand to my bleeding head.
"Halley, oh Halley!" he cackles. "Is this not the most perfect plan? I knew you would come. You just can't live without your precious mommy and sister. Well, look at them now!" I look weakly at my family, I just can’t resist. My mom has Bree in a protective grip and Bree trembles with fear. At this final glimpse of them, I no longer care about my bleeding head or the fact that there is nearly no way out with my phone gone. All I want to do is destroy Logan. While Logan madly rambles on, I crawl to the corner of the room where an old brick lays. I heave it up with both hands and hide it behind my back as I walk up to him.
"Logan, can't you see? I didn't want to break up with you. My mom made me. Now that I have met you, I have never wanted to live without you. I love you," I lie, a small smile of lost love playing on my face.
"Prove it," Logan barks. Closing my eyes, I take another step toward him. I pull myself in close, as if I plan to kiss him. Then, I reach up on tiptoes and crush the brick down on his head.
"Ugh!" Logan grunts and cripples to the ground. I give one last look at his unconscious body before I start dishing out commands. "Mom, carry Bree. You might not be able to, but we need to leave. Sit in the car, and don't tell anybody where you have been,"
"Halley, you could have gotten yourself killed…" Mom's voice trails off at the end and tears glisten in her eyes.
"Hey, family comes first," I smile, tears once again showering away the dirt and grime on my face.