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Just a Dream

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I woke up, Rays of light shining brightly in my face. I rolled over and heaved a sigh. I didn’t want to get up; I wanted to sleep in like any other teenager on a Saturday. But I’m not like any other teenager. I’m the type that tries to impress her teacher every chance she gets, the one every cheerleader copies off of. An over achiever they call it.

I rolled back over in bed, looking at the blurred red numbers, squinted my eyes to see. I sat up, rubbing my head. I sighed.

“I can tell today’s going to be a long one,” I said getting out of bed. I went to my closet intending on finding something to wear and I came up short. I didn’t find anything I wanted to wear. So I settled on blue jeans and a white polo. I threw it on the bed and showered

Showering for 30 minutes hadn't woke me up. Did I go to sleep late? No, I crashed right after I did my homework. Had I overslept or something? Did I forget to set my alarm? The color of the sky didn’t suggest that I under slept.

Putting on my backpack, I made my way downstairs for some breakfast but there was just one thing wrong. I smelt no aroma whatsoever, no smoked sausages sizzling on the stove, not even the slightest ticking noise the toaster oven makes when the bread is getting golden and crispy. When I entered the kitchen there was nothing out to be fixed. Everything was up in its place. I walked over to the stove and put my hand over the burner. No heat.

"Hmm, I wonder why Mom didn’t fix any food." I sat my backpack on the counter and went into the den... nothing. Where are mom and dad? I walked past my mother's office, and it was empty. All except a note in red letters taped on the computer:
See you later, Sorry we aren’t
There, something rather important has
Camp up. You know where the cereal is.
Have a nice day baby girl
- love mom and dad

I sat the note on her keyboard and walked out slowly. What was so important that they would just up and leave in the middle of the night? It had to be pretty important if they didn’t wake me up, but Mother's handwriting wasn’t sloppy like should have been. Shaking my head slightly I walked back into the kitchen, grabbed my backpack and headed out the door. As I closed the door I thought about Mother's note... there were two things wrong with it: Her handwriting and the fact that we never had cereal... Mother only believes in hot, home cooked meals.

The streets were empty, no cars parked on the curbs, not a person in sight. At this time of day, it was uncommon because every Saturday there are always things going on, from yard sales to people moving in. The only time this really happens is when the fair is around, but that has long passed. Mom hasn't gone to the fair since her purse got stolen.

"Mom and Dad, where are you?"

A rustle in the bushes snapped me back to my natural state of mind. Something is up around here... turning the corner I saw a woman up ahead, long wavy hair the color of a raven, a slender body frame, about the same height of Mother when she wore heels. I got curious and glanced down to see her shoes. They were Mother's favorite pair of red wedges with the tiny bow on the side. The only thing that was keeping me from running to her was the way she was walking, like she was tired, hurt, and didn’t have a clue to where she was headed. My mother usually walked with her head held high. She had this certain pep in her step, like nothing in the world could bring her down. I stopped and examined her a little closer. Just as she turned the corner, I got a glance of the side of her face... it looked too portentous. I shook it off as a late night and too many drinks.

Again I hear a rustle in the bushes closer than the last time. I take a step toward the bushes as a dog ran past me, barking its head off in the direction the women had gone. Dogs didn’t go without a leash around here. About 17 years ago a child had been playing around with a German shepherd while it was trying to eat, and dogs don’t like to be messed with while they eat. He ended up in the pound for biting the child on the hand and drawing blood. It took about eight stitches to repair the child's hand. I ran my fingers over the scars. Since then, they cracked down on having dogs on leashes and not letting them run around as if they were in the wild.

I dropped my backpack and took off running in the same direction as the dog and the mystery lady, just to see what's going on. I rounded the corner to see a big, fluffy white dog barking and poking its head into yet another bush. Slowly I walked up to the dog, and pet its back softly. I knelt down to look at his tag.

"Lady Bug, is it, Huh? I take it you’re a girl then." she started licking my hand, "What is it girl, what’s in the bushes?" She jumped at me and I flinched, throwing my hands in front of my face, not wanting to be a victim of yet another dog bit. She wasn’t trying to hurt me but bite the edge of my shirt, backing up, to lead me away from the bushes.

"What is it girl?" I pried my shirt free from her mouth, and as I slipped my hands between the bushes, Lady Bug started to whimper and nudged my arm. I drew the bushes aside, and what seemed to be just standing there was a figure that's about four inches tall, olive oil skin, yet it looked slimy too, with spiky hair. It had its back to me. Lady bug barked again, and it jumped and turned around, wide eyed. Moving forward I attempted to pick it up but I started to disappear. "What was that?"

Lady Bug and I walked back to get my backpack. I hoped that nobody had stolen it. My laptop was in there, and if it were to get stolen, oh I would be in a lot of trouble. I wanted it custom made, it cost Dad so much money that the bank called his cell phone just to make sure no one had taken his Master card. I rounded the corner with Lady Bug by my side, her tongue flopping out of her mouth. She ran to my backpack and picked it up by its straps carefully.

"Thank you, Lady Bug. You got to be thirsty with all that running and barking you've been doing," I scratched behind her ears, smiling gently. "Come on."

I took the backpack and slipped it onto my back.

When we arrived at the house, the door was ajar. I crept inside the house silently, putting a single finger over my lips telling Lady Bug not to make a noise. Together we walked through the house silently as possible; I had my back to against the wall and peeked around every corner to make sure nothing was in there. Lady Bug's ears stood straight up; her nose formed ridges as she began to growl. That's when I heard movement coming up the stairs. Maybe it's that creature and his friends, but why would they be at my house?

Slowly we moved up the stairs trying to balance our weight on the right part of the step so we wouldn’t make a noise, the way they do in the old scary movies. We had been moving so slowly that it began to look like an illusion, like it went on forever. When we finally reached the top, everything was silent. I heard no movement coming from any of the rooms, and Lady Bug stopped growling, but her ears were still up.

I went back to my room and threw myself on the bed. I laid there thinking about what happened to Mom and Dad... and well everyone else as well. And who was that mystery lady that I had saw walking in Mother's heels? I rolled over toward the window, looking outside; the neighborhood looked a little fancied. The yards were so empty with no kids playing and screaming. So silent without them and the barking dogs. My eyes wondered up and down the street. Where has everyone gone? Why do only I and Lady Bug remain? Just then I saw the mystery lady at the end of the road, facing the house... her head tilted in my direction, as if she could see me clearly, I started back at her. Lady Bug jumped on me, knocking me over onto the floor with a loud thud. She started barking like she was locked up and her owner left her there. I crawled over to the edge of the window and peeked out. It was as if she wasn’t there at all.

"Shh, Lady Bug, it's alright the lady is gone." Lady Bug shook herself out of my grasp and went running down the stairs. I sighed, got up and followed her, listening to her claws hitting the hard wood floors.

I found her in Dad's den, scratching at a wall like she was trying to escape. In the back of the den was closet full of dad's jackets. I opened the door slowly looking in carefully. Lady Bug didn’t wait for me to open the door all the way. I flipped on the light to see her scratching at yet another wall.

"What is it, girl?" I bent down and moved her out the way so I could see. There was a wicket of some kind there. About the same height of the olive oil skinned creature, I tapped on it once. Nothing happened, so I did it again. Lady Bug began to howl lowly, whimpering. The wicket opened, and that creature I saw in the bushes, emerged from it. It looked up at me and tilted it head in a greeting. Something about his posture reminded me of Dad but I wasn’t sure. Why would this tiny thing be hiding in his closet? Lady Bug had gone silent and I glanced over to see her lying there. The tiny little creature walked over to her and hopped on her nose, climbing up to get on top of her head. He sat down looking up at me.

“What are you looking at, Little Laddie?”

Only dad calls me that.

I was sitting on the floor in the den, leaning up against the couch. I couldn’t believe that this was going go on, I was too terrified to accept the truth… Mother was turned into a white fluffy dog, and dad was this fairy like creature. He was telling me that the mystery lady was a witch. He didn’t know why she was here or how to get rid of her. He said that I frightened him earlier, that he didn’t know what to do but disappear. I started to rub my temples; this was a lot of information to take in all at once. I needed to process it all, to sleep on it.

I was lying in my room thinking about what had happened today. Mom and Dad must have gone out to see how to get rid of this witch and got transformed while they were trying to do it. But that didn’t necessary explain the note that I found on mom’s computer. Why would mom say there was cereal when we never got any? Did this witch come to the house and do her deed, then write the note like Mom, hoping that I would just pass it as normal?

I must have fallen asleep in the middle of thinking; I didn’t remember that I had stopped thinking and went to sleep. I looked around and I wasn’t in my room anymore. It was pitch black so I couldn’t see. I tried to move and I felt a force that seemed to tighten around my wrist, and ankles. I heard faint footsteps in the distance, the hairs on the back of my neck felt like they were standing up. The closer the footsteps got, the more I struggled, and with that, the more I felt my wrist and ankles tighten up. I couldn’t see anyone. By then the footsteps had stopped and I stopped struggling against the force. I heard giggle close to my ear and I flinched. The witch’s face came into view. She had heart shaped face, eyes slightly slanted and a small nose. Her lips were curled up in a twisted smile.

“What’s the sudden rush? Last time you stayed longer,” I felt a tiny pressure at the base of my neck, like a knife. “Sorry, twin, but only one can be on this earth and it’s going to be me.” In one fast and elegant swipe…

I sat straight up in my bed, feeling frantically around my body making sure there was nothing wrong, no wounds. Rays of light spilling through the cracks on the curtains, I looked at my phone for the time. It was one in the afternoon… and Saturday. I jumped up and ran down stairs. I was hit with an aroma of a nice home cooked meal. I walked in the kitchen, seeing Mom at the stove and Dad at the table reading the newspaper. I walked over to Mom and gave her a big hug and a kiss on her cheek.

“Oh, mom, I had the weirdest dream ever.”





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