Nina stood up from the extremely uncomfortable office chair the second the door opened, out stepped her mother and the principal. She set down the magazine that she had been reading. There had been a really interesting article on parallels through generations.
“I’ll make sure to let her know.” Her mother cast a dark glare towards her, one that caused her to involuntarily gulp. Principal McKinnon shook her her mother’s hand roughly, giving a short, brisk nod, before stepping back into their office. Instantly, Nina could feel the mood darken as her mother’s face contorted into that of a monster. The cold, black eyes, the pointed teeth inside of a twisted grin, and that long claws that reached for her arm. A dark figure stood behind her mother. It seemed to be encouraging her mother. Nina slowly started to move away from them, backing away until her back was against the door. Her mother was within three feet when the door disappeared and Nina fell through into the dark hole that had helped her escape. The harsh wind pressed against Nina as she twisted, flipped, and twirled while being pulled towards the end of the tunnel.
Her back hit the cold ground as stars swam through her vision. Nina laid flat against the ground for who knows how long before the universe stopped spinning. A cold draft suddenly hit her legs, and seemed to keep going until it stopped right at her thighs. Her body started to shake and shiver, and it was at the moment she realized she had no clue where she was. She managed to slowly prop herself up to get a look around. A brick wall was on her left side, and an opening was farther down on her right side. There were some cardboard boxes in front of her, and there was a sound of techno on the other side of the wall she was leaning against. There were several dark figures walking past the opening of the alleyway, all of which were chattering loudly. The air smelt of alcohol and weed making her want to vomit, and Nina realized where she was.
A metal door on the side of Nina flew open, and out stepped two girls and a guy. One of the girls was in a short purple dress, with a ponytail of tight curls on top of her head. The other girl was in a black jumpsuit that was extremely low cut, with her short blond hair in a messy bun. The guy had a pair of skinny jeans and a button up shirt, with some converse. That would have made her laugh, if she wasn’t nauseous from the smell. They looked around the alleyway, before their eyes settled on Nina.
“Heather, when you said you were going to get a breath of fresh air for a second, I didn’t realize a second meant half an hour!” One of the girls said, tugging the edge of her short purple dress down over her legs. Nina used the wall to help her stand up, but the world started spinning again, and down she went.
“Who are you?” Nina said while holding her head in between her legs, and attempting to slow down her racing heart. The three members of the group laughed, before the other girl spoke up, while shaking her head.
“You are so wasted,” she said, leaning down to grab hold of one of Nina’s, or Heather’s arm, slinging it over her shoulder.
“Isaac, help me!” The guy stared at jumpsuit girl with a confused expression. She rolled her eyes, before snapping at him, “Grab her arms.” That made him snap to attention. He reached and grabbed her opposite arm, and placed it around her other shoulder, while purple dress walked ahead to flag down a taxi.
“Mimi! You are not going to get a taxi this late. Besides it’s only a two block walk, we can make it.” Jumpsuit snapped at Purple Dress. Purple Dress rolled her eyes, yelling back at jumpsuit
“I’m not making that walk in heels Joanne! It hurts my feet!” Nina’s eyes flickered to the girl’s feet, now noticing the huge stilettos that she had on. Joanne turned around blowing off Mimi, and started walking along all of the buildings that were lining the streets. Mimi sighed, and started to follow behind them. Before she knew it, they were standing outside of a door with the big letters 82 displayed on the front. Joanne pulled a key out of her bra, and stuck it in the lock, leaning all of Nina’s weight on Isaac. Pushing it open, Isaac stumbled in with Nina, lifting her over the back of a couch and laying her there. Mimi disappeared into another room for a minute, and walked out with some sweatpants and a tank top.
“Isaac, out.” Was all Joanne had to say, and Isaac was in the kitchen turned around. Slowly the two girls helped Nina undress, before pulling her hair out of its messy bun, and wiping her makeup off with a baby wipe. They supported her into a bedroom, where they laid her on top of the covers before placing a trash can on the side of her bed, and a blanket on top of her. As soon as they left the room, Nina’s world faded to black.
The grey sky outside of the windows seemed impossibly white as Nina’s stomach turned. She grabbed the trash can and quickly went through the open door to the left that showed a bathroom. The second she got to the toilet; she started to gag and retch. By the second wave, someone was holding her hair back. Nina didn’t even care to know who it was, all she wanted was to stop throwing up.
When she finished, the hand holding her hair let go, and instead handed her a glass of water and two Advil. Quickly placing them in her mouth, and gulping down with the water, Nina’s eyes wandered upwards toward the person who had been her savior.
Mimi stood there with a smirk on her lips, wearing only her bra and some shorts. She extended a hand towards Nina, who quickly took it while placing the other one on top of the sink. Nina stood up, only to become dizzy and place her hands on her knees. Mimi’s smirk grew even bigger.
“It’s not a surprise how hungover you are. You should have seen how drunk you were last night. You couldn’t remember who we were.” Nina gave her a questioning look, which caused Mimi to roll her eyes. “I know it’s hard to believe that the great Heather Mayer couldn’t remember her best friends. But if you’re done vomiting, I’m going to go help Isaac finish making breakfast. We’re having cold pizza and coffee.” With those words, Mimi ducked out of the room, leaving Nina to her thoughts.
Her inner voice instantly went on overdrive while she looked around the bathroom ‘Ok, my name is Heather Mayer, I’m over 21, but younger than 30 judging by the way my clothing is. My best friend’s names are Joanne, Mimi, and Isaac, who seem to live with me. I don’t know where I live, or when this dream will end.’ She noticed the same magazine that had been in the Principal’s office was sitting on the counter next to a makeup bin. Except the cover had been changed to a picture of the principal’s office, with the words ‘Nightmares through the generations’ on the front.
That was really reassuring, and slightly creepy. Nina began to slowly make her way out to of the bathroom to what she remembered to be the living room, never taking her eyes off of the magazine. It seemed like it was a hallucination, because the second she blinked it was gone. Nina slammed the door shut the second she was out of the bathroom, and leaned against it.
Sitting at the table was Isaac, his brown hair in a messy bun on the back of his head, in only sweatpants, Joanne in a duck onesie, and Mimi had pulled on a shirt that had a really cheesy heart on the front of it. Isaac and Joanne seemed to be arguing, but Mimi was staring at Nina with a concerned look on her face. Mimi slowly raised her mug to her lips, still looking at Nina. That’s when Nina realized all of them were drinking out of mugs and taking random bites of pizza. Nina made her way over to them, grabbing Mimi’s mug out of her hands and taking a sip. She handed it back, before grabbing a slice of the pizza that was on the table. Sitting in the chair in between Mimi and Isaac, the conversation caught her attention.
“I’m just saying, if he can throw a pencil at me and not get in trouble, I should be able to throw a pen at him and no consequences as well.” Joanne said, waving the hand that wasn’t holding coffee around wildly.
“Joanne, you are a twenty-three year old woman. He’s a five year old child.” Isaac had his chin propped up on his fist while talking to Joanne.
Mimi grabbed another slice of pizza, before leaning into Nina, Nina’s body doing the same, almost as if being pulled by a magnet. The two of them leaned on each other until the other two noticed that Nina was awake.
“So Heather, how was last night? What did you do in that half an hour we couldn’t find you?” Isaac asked Nina, sipping from his mug. Nina opened her mouth to answer but was unable to as Joanne butted in.
“Probably got a breath of fresh air like she told us she was doing, Isaac.” Joanne whipped her head towards Nina as if asking for confirmation. Nina nodded her head, and stood up, nudging Mimi’s head off her shoulder.
“I’m gonna be in my room if you need me. My head’s still pounding, and the Advil hasn’t kicked in yet.” She didn’t wait for a reply before opening the door to the bedroom and stepping through.
The feeling of warm air greeted Nina before she noticed where she was. The smell of gunpowder and flowers floated through the air. Taking a step back, Nina tripped over a rock, as a bullet shot by where her head would have been. Whipping her head to where the bullet had come from, Nina saw the black silhouette that had been in the office, lowering a gun, and holding its arm to its forehead, attempting to block the sunlight. Taking this as her chance to get away, Nina rolled down a hill until she hit a river. Noticing what seemed to be a hole in the ground right by her, she started to crawl towards it. She had almost made it when a body collapsed right behind her.
“Lieutenant Colonel Laurens is down, retreat! I repeat, Lieutenant Colonel Laurens is down.” A man on top of the hill screamed, staring in horror at the dead body next to Nina. This caused Nina to crawl faster towards the hole, now terrified for her life. As she pulled herself into the hole, a bullet hit her shoulder. The figure now stood across from her, smiling while reloading. She threw the rest of her body into the hole.
The aggressive wind whipped Nina’s long hair in her face. A clap of thunder brought Nina’s attention to the dark clouds that were approaching quickly. The gigantic waves seemed to get even bigger as they approached the sand. Nina turned around and sprinted towards the little wooden shack that was on the edge of the beach. A head of grey hair streaked with black poked out of the door.
“Camila, hurry up! This storm’s going to destroy the hut, and I need help moving Sonny. You are going to catch a cold in this weather!” The old woman snapped as Nina got closer. She shook her head, all the meanwhile mumbling,
“Sorry abuela. The waves caught my attention, what’s wrong with Sonny?” Nina had no clue who Sonny was, but if he needed help, she was happy to provide it.
“His leg gave out on him today at the market, Roger had to carry him the whole way back.” As the old woman said this, a quiet voice called from the back room,
“Abuela Lorena, I’m fine. You need to stop fussing. I’m perfectly OK, the one who needs help here, is you.” A boy no older than sixteen appeared into the doorway, before stepping forward and wrapping his arm around Lorena’s waist, slinging her arm around his shoulders.
A loud crack sounded throughout the room, and suddenly a branch was laying in the center of the room. Nina let out a shriek in panic, quickly stepping over it to help Sonny with Abuela. With both of them acting as a support for her, they started to exit the shack, heading towards the middle of the island, where it would have been safer. A huge wave crashed onto the ground about three yards behind them, sending a rush of water up to them.
Sonny started to walk faster, which caused Abuela to be dragged along. Nina, now being even shorter than the old woman, struggled to keep up with Sonny’s long legs. Another wave crashed down, this time right on Nina’s heels causing her to lose her balance. Abuela let go of Nina’s shoulders, allowing Sonny to move even faster now that he wasn’t pulling along Nina as well.
The sand was proving extremely difficult to run in. Nina kept tripping and falling, while Sonny and Abuela kept going until they were a mere speck in the distance. As Nina fell once again, this time resigning to her fate of death by drowning, a hand grabbed her and helped her up. It then started to push her along, this time going at her speed.
After they were a safe distance from the growing waves, Nina finally dug her heels into the sand. She placed her hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath. Nina looked around attempting to see where she was. There was a dense forest to her right, a cliff in front of her, the ocean behind her, and an open landscape to the right. After she stopped heaving, Nina turned her head to thank her savior.
Standing in front of her, was the dark figure that had been following her through her other dreams, it’s face twisted into a grim smile. Nina let out a scream before attempting to sprint away. The figure quickly grabbed her arm again, pulling her towards the cliff. Nina twisted and turned, she scratched, punched, and kicked in an attempt to get them to let go. It reached the edge of the cliff, quickly pushing her into it.
Apparently in this dream, Nina couldn’t swim. She noticed this as soon as she hit the water. It felt like all her bones shattered on impact. The dark, freezing water swirled around Nina as she desperately fought to keep afloat, before a huge wave crashed on top of her. Time seemed to drag as she felt the water slowly numb all of her body, as her lungs burned for oxygen. Finally, Nina couldn’t take it, and gasped. The salty water quickly filled her lungs, as her vision faded to black.
“Hey, hey! It’s going to be OK!” Her mom said standing over her. Somehow, Nina knew this wasn’t a dream, it just felt different than all of her other ones. Her mother pulled her into her arms, placing kisses to her hair, and whispering that everything was alright, there was no reason to be scared. Nina sat shaking in her arms, letting reassure her, seeing as it seemed she had finally stopped dreaming.
After Nina had calmed down, she finally turned to her mom to talk to her.
“That was the absolute worst dream, or dreams, I really don’t know. There was the office, and the apartment, then for some weird reason I was in a battle where I got shot. There was so much more before those. Mom, you have no idea how bad it was. I was so scared. I had no clue what was going to happen. The absolute worst was the one wh-” Nina kept talking while her mom just nodded her head, and looked concerned. “Finally, the last one was in Puerto Rico where I drowned. Then I woke up here, and I guess I’m finally out of dreams.” Her mother's face twisted into a sinister grin, and shook her head.
“Oh, mija, you never run out of dreams.” Nina watched the skin slowly drag of her mother's face, slowly transforming her into the figure that had been following her since the beginning. “That is, unless I catch up with you.”
A scream escaped Nina’s throat as she started to struggle in the monster’s grip. She fought desperately to escape, only to have a hand grasp her throat. Nina clawed at it in an attempt to be free.
When she finally escaped, she sprinted towards the door. As soon as it was open, Nina slammed it behind her. Taking a relieved breath, Nina looked around the new room she was in. She took in the familiar office, and the uncomfortable chairs that were placed beside the door.
A cry escaped Nina’s throat. She was back in the office. This stupid office. This stupid office that caused the monster to start chasing her. Nina collapsed to the ground, placing her head in between her knees as sobs racked through her body. She wrapped her arms around her, trying to become as small as possible.
She could never escape. Nina was forever stuck, never to stop. The dreams would never stop. They would just keep going in an endless loop. This nightmare that had become her life, was one she would never wake from.