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A Dream and Again

It is not a sound that wakes me, but lack of sound. Downstairs, the AC that had been humming all night has turned off, cutting through the heavy, hot, early autumn air. I pry open my eyes and stretch, kicking the thin blanket off the bed. The sun has already peeked over the horizon, showing off the countryside and greeting me into another day.

I roll out of bed and wander over to my dresser on the other side of the room. Just going through the motions, I stuff my pajamas in a drawer and grab a t-shirt and jeans. I pull them on, then comb my fingers through my short sunbleached- blond hair. On top of my dresser, my iPhone buzzes. A quick look reminds me that band practice is canceled this afternoon, and that I'm supposed to meet my friends outside the library before school today. I stuff the phone in my pocket and grab my backpack, my homework already done and crumpled inside.

I'm almost awake now, taking the stairs two at a time down to the kitchen. My mom had left early for work this morning and left a note on the table- "turkey for sandwiches in the fridge, cookies on the counter. luv u, -mom." I pour a bowl of cereal, make my lunch, and sit at the counter on a high stool to eat. My phone buzzes again- the text says, "can i borrow ur french notes b4 third period?" from heyTGIF, one of my best friends. I reply, saying "sure, seeya @ skl." I finish up my Rice Krispies and throw the bowl in the sink. I check the clock on the microwave- it's 7:51, so I have a few minutes to catch the bus. I grab my old sneakers from the entryway closet and slip them on, and pick up my backpack.

As I step outside into the morning, I think, "Too bad nothing exciting ever happens in my life. It's always the same old thing, every hour, every day..." And then, something does happen. There is a movement under the porch, and suddenly, a gray- clad figure jumps out at me, knocking me onto my side. My iPhone digs painfully into my leg, and blood is blossoming on my arm from scraping across the wood. I swing my head around to get another look at the person, and try to stand up at the same time. But then there are more of them, a dozen figures in gray, piling onto me, and I can't breathe, can't breathe...

Can't breathe... My eyes open and I am thrashing around in my bed, my blanket wound tightly around my face, completely obstructing my breathing. I yank it off and push the stale air out of my lungs, gulping in fresh oxygen. I take a deep breath and let it all out, relieved that it's over. I almost laugh at the absurdity of the dream as I slip out of bed and step towards my dresser. But then it is happening again. A gray figure leaps onto my back and I am pushed, face down this time, with a thud onto my hardwood bedroom floor. I am too surprised to cry out, to yell for help. A million thoughts collide in my mind, and at first I don't register the pain. But then i am seeing tiny sparks and pain explodes in my head. It is an intense, fiery burn, like my skull is falling apart, and the last thought i have is, "make it stop, make the pain go away..."



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