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Nightmares In a Bottle

"We have to get rid of it," she said, clutching the leather bag in her hand. She didn't say it as a request, but as a demand- help me get rid of it- or else.

"I don't know if I can do it on such short notice! And I know practically nothing about this thing, because you refuse to talk about it!" I exclaimed, throwing my hands up.

Wynn bit her lip and blinked hard. "It's not as simple as you seem to think."

"Simple? You think I find this simple? No, simple is the last word I would use to describe this. You have a creepy bottle full of nightmares that escape at night. How could I possibly call that simple?" I asked incredulously.

She shook her head. "There you go again. They're not just nightmares. Vera, they're real."

"I know they feel real, but isn't it possible that they're just nightmares? What makes you think they're real? Nobody else can see them," I said.

Without answering, she pulled up her long blue sleeve to show me a deep wound. Yellow pus was flowing from the center. She looked away from it, staring at the grass below us instead, but I immediately grabbed her arm and pulled it closer to my face.

"What happened?!" I exclaimed.

Tears streamed down her face. "Three nights ago, the nightmares escaped again. It was a nightmare I had not too long ago. A lot of it didn't make sense, but I was being chased by someone with a knife. When I had the nightmare a while back, I woke up before he caught me, but in this one I tripped over a rock, and he caught me. I was barely able to get away, and when I reached the place where it had ended last time, I woke up. But the wound was still there! And it was bleeding, and- it was so awful, Vera!"

She started sobbing, and I wrapped my arms around her shoulders. "It's okay, Wynn. We'll figure this out."

As I said the words, I knew they weren't entirely true. I had no idea how I was going to figure this out. Wynn had tried throwing away the bottle, burning it, leaving it in an alley, throwing it into the sewer. Each night, it simply returned to her nightstand, the black cloud stirring inside.

We definitely needed to get rid of this thing. The question was, how? I thought hard. If we couldn't throw it away, could we destroy it? But if we destroyed the bottle, what was to keep the nightmares from roaming freely?

"What happens to the bottle when the nightmares escape?" I asked.

She thought for a moment. "Well… I suppose it stays on my nightstand."

I had nothing to base my theories on, but we had to try something, so I suggested, "What if you took the bottle with you into the nightmare and captured the nightmare somehow?"

She cocked her head. "I guess it's worth a shot… But I can't go in there alone, Wynn! All my worst nightmares return, except they're real, and you can really get hurt."

There was nothing that sounded less appealing than going into my friend's worst nightmares, but she was right. If she went in there alone, she could die. She was lucky the man in her other dream didn't kill her.

"Alright, I'll go," I said, taking a deep breath to calm myself. "Let's get this over with, shall we?"

She nodded and pulled open the drawtring on her sack. Her hands shook as she lifted up a glass bottle with a cork in the top. It was the most awful thing I had ever seen. It had a blood-red bow tied around the neck, and a faded label with the word "Nightmares" written in delicate cursive. But that wasn't what made it so horrible. It was the black cloud inside, which constantly changed into different frightening shapes like skulls, knives, and creepy dark figures. Just looking at the mist, I felt cold and desperate.

My voice came out as a barely audible squeak. "Ready?"

She nodded weakly. We both clutched the bottle with cold, sweaty hands, and I carefully pulled out the cork. The mist inside shot out the top, and all I could hear were ear-splitting screams. With a flash, the mist launched at my face.

All around us was black, but I was holding onto two bright white figures. One was in the shape of a human, probably Wynn- at least, I hoped it was Wynn. The other was a bottle shaped figure in my hand. Good, we still had the Nightmare bottle.

"Wynn? Is that you?" I whispered, still holding tightly onto the figure next to me.

"Yeah. Where are we?" she asked.

I looked around, but there was absolutely nothing to see. "Um, I think we're in one of my dreams, but I don't remember this one."

We stepped forward together, and I immediately felt my stomach do a flip. I screamed bloody murder and clung even tighter (if that was even possible) to Wynn and the bottle. Ah, I thought, I remember this dream now. A falling dream. Great.

"HURRY!" Wynn shouted.

It took me a moment to realize what she was talking about, then I looked down and saw a bright light, shining on tall metal spikes, far below us. If we were going to get out of here alive, we had to destroy the bottle before we hit the bottom. I tried not to think about what would happen if I died during a dream.

I silently prayed that destroying the bottle would work. Then I threw it as hard as I could at the ground below. If falling from several hundered feet onto a field of metal spikes didn't shatter the thing, nothing would.

It fell, and we followed. Luckily, the momentum from throwing it made it fall faster than us. I heard it hit the ground with a loud shatter, then suddenly I was sprawling across the grass, sending dirt flying everywhere. Wynn let out a loud groan beside me, and I rolled over to see where she was.

She grinned and held out a fist. I bumped my fist against hers weakly and said, "I'm going to have nightmares about that for weeks…"




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