The Dream – Part One
She opened her eyes and breathed slowly. That damn dream. A few short steps to the kitchen, and button pressed and coffee began to leak into the percolator. Sunlight slowly came through the window throwing sparkles across the counter. The clock ticked away, counting out the minutes and hours. Finally, breakfast finished, she stood, put her plates in the sink, and drove to work.
She came home late that night, late, same as every night. Stale coffee poured from percolator to mug to mouth. Don’t want to sleep tonight. Don’t want to go back to that room again. Don’t show me what’s behind the door. Television was becoming the remedy. Late nights with live canned laughter. But sleep will always find away in. Two hours of late night hosts making corny jokes and she was fast asleep on the couch, coffee making a cold, brown stain on the carpet.
She awoke in the room. Wallpaper as dark as wet India Ink. Hardwood floor like a bottomless pit in the ocean. That same couch was there, intensely dark red with the slick look of a pool of blood.
Footsteps boomed down the hall. Cold streams of sweat ran across her body staining her t-shirt. He was coming. Closer. Closer. Stomping ever closer. She had to leave. She frantically searched the room. Tried the huge black door. The handle came off in her hands. She felt along the wall, searching for another door, a window, salvation. Smooth as new spun silk. She saw the wardrobe. Huge like a clock tower. Black as motor oil. She opened it. Empty. But it’s a cliché. Everyone hides in the wardrobe. There has to be a better way. There has to be an exit. Someone has to save me.
The footsteps stopped, The door creaked as the hulking form behind it began to turn the knob. She fell into the wardrobe and pulled the doors shut as he stepped into the room. His form was silhouetted in the dark, purple light from the hall. He stepped into the room and the steel tips of his boots glinted like axe blades. She could see the scuff marks on the rough leather, the filth encrusted on the rubber soles. His footsteps on the wood were like hammer blows. The purple light crept into the room, tinting everything a nauseating lava lamp color. He searched. Under the couch. In the corners. Always coming closer to the wardrobe.
Her hands were clasped against her mouth. No breath passed through her lungs. No sound passed between her lips. Her heart pounded against her ribs, desperate to tear free. His huge boots boomed closer. He stood in front of the wardrobe. The dangling handle clinked as he grasped it. The door opened silently. She crammed herself into the corner. Have to avoid his eyes. Have to avoid his hand. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. He reached towards her with a massive gloved hand. His hand came closer. Stank of oiled leather. His fingertip brushed her face.
She awoke on the floor. The television was playing an infomercial for knives. She looked around. The clock read three am. That damn dream. The one she had had ever since moving into this house a month ago. Always the same room. Always the same man. Always the same ending. She stood slowly and walked to her bed. The dull noise of the television was pleasant, lulling her to sleep. Eventually her eyes closed and she fell into the abyss.
She awoke once again in the black room. Immediately sweat poured across her body. The silence weighed on her. She looked around. How do I get out. Please let there be a way out. The door was open. The knob still on the ground where she had dropped it. Purple light dripped into the room under the door. She tentatively touched the door and it swung open with a low moan. As she stepped into the hallway the temperature dropped. The fog on the floor lazily flowed from one end of the hall way to the other. She turned. The wall behind her was huge and black. She put her hand against it to feel the rough stone.
A hand burst through and grabbed her wrist. It clamped on like a bear trap and began to pull her through the wall. She screamed and twisted her arm backwards and forwards. No! Not like this! Wake up! Please somebody wake me up! As she was drawn closer and closer to the wall a face pushed it’s way through. It was covered in a black gas mask. The lenses were spattered with drops of crusted red liquid. The filters on either side dripped with sticky red blood. She could hear the man breathing as he pulled her closer. Closer. She began to hit him. She pulled on the mask, tearing at it with her fingers. Slowly she felt the cool stone creep up her arm. She was neck deep and the pressure was crushing her neck. Her screams became muffled as her mouth passed through the wall. Still the man in the gas mask pulled her. As her left eye began to pass something began to beep, loudly.
Photograph by Raphaël Labbé