Nightmare Death

Isabelle knows what comes next. The door will open to water, eerily lit by the mysterious glow from the bottom of what is clearly an ocean. She knows salty water will flood the room, she knows she will be pulled under as the water level rises. She knows her lungs will flood, and she will choke and she will try to scream and draw breath and then she will fall silent. She knows the end of the story. She knows she will die, but she cannot prevent herself from opening the door, breaking the silence, flooding the room. The door opens; she sees that queer greenish light. She tries to use her prior knowledge; she tries to draw in as much air as she possibly can but it doesn’t work and she knows she is drowning. She feels the water in her lungs but she tries to scream anyway. She just swallows more water; exactly what she knew would happen. She coughs and tiny bubbles emerge dreamily from her lips, refracting light into rainbows. The last thing she thinks is that it is so strange that something so beautiful can exist in such a dire setting.
Then the water is quiet and Isabelle is still. Her auburn hair fans languorously and her naked limbs are positioned by the whims of the water.
And then Isabelle is awake, on the floor of her bedroom, her bed sheet twisted around her legs, hopelessly tangled. Her hair is matted with sweat and her nightgown is plastered to her pale with fright skin.
She knows instinctively that, though she cannot remember it, she has dreamt again. All she can recall is that faint green glow, the same as every night.
She cries, there on the floor, cries for hours.
Then, almost as if in another dream, she stands and calmly pulls the damp bed sheet from her ankles. She strips, and naked she walks through the silent darkness to the bathroom. Then she washes the sweat and tears from her body.
When she is clean, she slips into a long, pale, silk robe. She looks like a ghost as she glides through the blackness. A sliver of moonlight permeates the lace curtains that cover the window. It falls on her and then and only then does she look human, for now she casts a shadow.
Isabelle tries to sleep. She fails. Her mind will not recede into unconsciousness.
She tries anyway. She stays in bed and manages to doze.
Then it is morning. She emerges from what could not even be called sleep.
She is not refreshed, nor is she tired. She simply is.
It doesn’t matter to Isabelle. Nothing matters very much to Isabelle. Not since she began to dream, and to remember the haunting green light.
Isabelle moves through the day, drone like and uncaring.
She works.
She eats.
She breathes. In. out.
She meets her lover.
She pretends to be real. To be the woman she was before the Dreams.
But she isn’t that woman. She no longer enjoys life, no longer laughs, or sings, or smiles sweetly.
Isabelle is a ghost of herself.
Nobody notices.
Isabelle is alone.
Nobody notices.
Isabelle is no longer Isabelle.
And it goes completely unseen.
Isabelle moves through her day in the manner of a phantom. Isabelle is a phantom.
Except when clandestinely, she meets with her lover. She cries then. She cries and tells the man she loves how she is terrified to sleep, to dream, to lose focus for a moment in case she is snatched into her nightmare. He comforts her to the best of his ability.
She leaves his presence and then she is a specter again.
The rest of her day is predictably uneventful.
She returns home at night.
She strips from her business clothes and showers the day from her skin. She dresses in her nightgown and goes to bed early, pretending to hope that she might get some extra sleep. But she knows the nightmare will follow her and that she will only wake sooner. Still, she tries to delude herself and her dream and she slips into bed.
Soon, she sleeps.
Isabelle knows what comes next. The door will open to water, eerily lit by the mysterious glow from the bottom of what is clearly an ocean. She knows salty water will flood the room, she knows she will be pulled under as the water level rises. She knows her lungs will flood, and she will choke and she will try to scream and draw breath and then she will fall silent. She knows the end of the story. She knows she will die, but she cannot prevent herself from opening the door, breaking the silence, flooding the room. The door opens; she sees that queer greenish light. She tries to use her prior knowledge; she tries to draw in as much air as she possibly can but it doesn’t work and she knows she is drowning. She feels the water in her lungs but she tries to scream anyway. She just swallows more water; exactly what she knew would happen. She coughs and tiny bubbles emerge dreamily from her lips, refracting light into rainbows. The last thing she thinks is that it is so strange that something so beautiful can exist in such a dire setting.
But Isabelle does not waken this time. She sees herself – her body – float through the murky water.
Then she sees the green light. Stronger than ever, it appears, shapeless and cloudy. It approaches the body. Isabelle watches in horror as the light envelopes what was once herself. Isabelle feels a pull and succumbs. She now feels herself being drawn to the light. Then it surrounds her and again she screams.
She is found dead twenty four hours later by her lover.
He is so distraught, he does not notice the green tint to the room’s lighting. Nor does he notice when that same green tinge follows him from the room.





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