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A Rush of Silence
Sirens pierced the night sky. The only sound my brain seemed to register. I was running now. I was running through the thick vegetation. Trees towered over my small, feeble figure. There was nothing to guide my path besides the moon that now shone brightly over the treetops trickling down toward the damp path I repeatedly beat with a heavy step. My heart raced on more quickly with adrenaline pulsing through my veins. It thumped so hard against my chest I thought the sound must have been audible to the figure I was desperately trying to pursue. The damp forest branches slashed my face and finger-like scratches were left upon the exposed areas of skin on my arms, hands and face. It was a warm spring night and the air was thick with humidity. My lungs strained to take in the air that was practically drinkable. Gills would have been better suited for the conditions. Despite these factors I continued to pursue the shadow that eluded me, and I raced with all my strength to catch the murderer who continued to bound gracefully through the maze. The tree tentacles grasped at my Jeans and tank top taunting me with their efforts to slow me down. He let out a shrill of laughter, mocking my helpless attempts to obtain one of his ligaments to firmly seize him and stop him in his path. Even so I pressed on. My legs began to shake beneath me and sharp pain, like knives, began to spread from my legs throughout my body. The worst was the burning sensation in my chest and the consistent thuds of my heartbeat that were leaving bruises from the inside out. I knew in the far rational depths of my mind that my heart was soon to explode and I would be forced to the ground by the intense pain and Gravity’s relentless laws. Death would be slow and painful. I was sure that in these lonely woods no one would hear my screams even if I had the will to waste the strength.
This was a decision I would not be forced to make. At that moment, the murderer stopped in his tracks and turned on me. The movement was so sudden I hadn’t the time to react, and I ran right into him directly. It was like hitting a wall of concrete. No elasticity. No forgiveness. Accordingly, the wind was knocked straight out from my already oxygen deprived lungs. Have you ever wondered what suffocating to death might feel like? I gasped with an open mouth but no air was allowed. I could not even cough. My chest heaved to no avail. Cold, claw-like fingers circumferenced my arms with nails jetting into my skin and blood began to trickle slowly down my arms. He held me tight and upright so that I could not take the comfort of the soft, damp ground. His teeth flashed in my vision as reality slowly began to fade around me. He then whispered softly, “I decide when you die.” He grabbed my neck, and I realized I was face to face with the reaper. Death was here to collect my soul. This was it. No more chasing. No more wondering why he had left me to live in the first place. No more regret or guilt. I was already dead. He lifted me to his eye level and I looked into the devil’s soul. I felt his hand muscles tense as he prepared to break my neck and for the first time I was engulfed with fear that had been blinded by anger. My skin went cold and sweat broke out on my forehead, and somehow I managed to let out one last scream.
“WAKE UP! AMBRIELLE WAKE UP!” I recognized my mother’s desperate yell as I stumbled into consciousness. I slowly opened my eyes to the bright light that poured in through my bedroom windows. I squinted hard against the light that seemed to burn my eyes. I became aware that I was breathing very quickly. A dream. It was only a dream. Only a nightmare that frequented once peaceful thoughts.
“Was I screaming again?” I asked my mother solemnly, although, the expression on her face already gave me an answer.
“Yes! You had me so worried! I thought the dreams had subsided for awhile? You know, since we moved?” Puzzlement pressed against my mother’s brow. She seemed older, like she had aged ten years instead of three months, and I felt sad that I was only adding to her stress. So naturally, I lied.
“Yeah, it’s probably just the new room. I haven’t adjusted just yet.” I attempted to smile, but it was broken by a yawn.
“And when did you fall asleep last night?” My mother questioned still not satisfied with my explanation. She was very careful to use the word asleep as opposed to “go to bed” she knew that I was in the habit of turning in early only to roll around uncomfortably for two to three hours. Sleep did not come easy to me these days.
“Probably somewhere around two,” I admitted “But I’m sure sleep will come easier after I get used to the new bed.”
“I almost wish I hadn’t pulled you out of Oakland. That psychologist was firmly against any big change or transition after that sort of trauma. And you were finally starting to calm down when you slept those last few nights we spent there.”
That wasn’t exactly true. In reality it wasn’t that I was sleeping calmly but rather that I had learned how to wake myself up out of the dream before I started screaming. Somehow I had managed to train my body to wake from that tormenting dream and I am confident I will soon be able to do so again, “Mom, you know we couldn’t stay, it was too hard and too painful. I’ll be fine I promise. I just need time to adjust.” I gave her my most sincere smile, and she returned it.
“Okay, sweetie, I’ll take your word for it. But if this continues I insist that you see someone.” And with those parting words, she left me to my thoughts and possibly to try and get up today. She had been threatening me with shrinks for the past three months, in fact, practically everyone around me was insistent upon it, but I refused. I knew it worried my mom that I wouldn’t even talk to her about the accident, but the truth is what could I really say? That I suspected some supernatural being in the shape of a man was probably the cause of all our sorrow. Of course I could not say this. I would be found certifiably insane. I probably am.