Thursday, February 2, 2012

Burntcore Week 89: Unpleasant Dreams


Picture 1

Picture 2

Burntcore's Choice: Picture 2

Unpleasant Dreams

A part of Alana knew she was dreaming but what she was experiencing was far too real. It wasn’t often that she had one of these lucid type of dreams, and when she did, nothing good ever came out of it.

Nervously, she walked through her house, everything as she had left it when she had gone to bed that night ... except it was in the middle of the day. The sun shone through the windows but it had an odd cast, like it was more sparkly than usual, yet cloudy along her prereferial vision ... like a dream. Which it was. Which was even more confusing.

She walked into her living room and was startled when a man was standing there waiting for her. He was a bit older but not elderly, and was somewhat familiar. She couldn’t place him but knew that she had not met him before.

“What are you doing in my house?” she demaded, looking around the room quickly for something to defend herself with against the stranger.

The man did not say a word but merely took a step toward her with his hands raised in front of him, palms forward.

“Stop right where you are,” she demanded. At any other time, she would’ve laughed at the situation. This was twice now that a strange man had entered her home.

The man stopped, but gestured to her again.

“Who are you?”

Instead of answering, he pointed to the window. She looked at him blankly, not understanding what he was trying to convey. The man pointed again with more emphasis.

“I don’t understand. Just tell me who you are.”

The stranger walked toward the window and pointed to the frame, to where the engraving of the shepherd’s crook was.

“What about it? It’s a Ward family symbol.”

The man pointed to himself several times.

“You’re a Ward?”

He nodded vigorously, his face breaking out into a wide smile.

This was too just getting too weird for Alana. The longer she was there; it seemed less like a dream and more like some alternate reality. “Look, Mr. Ward, I’m not sure why you are here, but you need to leave.”

He shook his head and took a step toward her again.

Alana backed up into the foyer and furrowed her eyes at him. “Stay where you are. Ward or not, you are still a stranger in my home.”

The man sighed and his shoulders dropped in defeat. He still looked at her intently, like he was determined to get his message out somehow.

She studied him as he stood, trying to figure out just why he was in her house and why he wasn’t leaving. Alana assumed that if he meant to hurt her that he would have already. She wondered that if something happened to her in her dream if it would affect her in real life. She wondered if she was still dreaming.

Alana was startled out of her musing when the man clapped his hands abruptly. He looked excited and gestured madly when she looked at him. He strode quickly to a side table where Alana had left out a notebook and pen and began writing furiously. She watched, curious but cautious from her spot on the edge of the foyer.

When the man was finished, he ripped the page from the notebook and walked over Alana. This time, she didn’t try to back up. Just as he got close enough for her to take the page from him, a strong wind blew through the open window. The paper was torn from his hand and he scrambled to catch it. Alana raced over to the window to try closing it but was pushed back by the increasing force of the wind and the sudden shriek of voices.

She whirled, trying to find the source of the noise, and came up empty. The man had regained his paper but looked scared. The voices continued, increasing in volume before dropping into hoarse whispers. The whispers she recognized.

“Not again,” she moaned. Alana reached up to her neck to clutch her pendant, but it was missing. Her heart slammed against her chest as she was full of fear.

The man was still looking at her, his face full of concern.

“Can you hear them?”

He nodded.

“What should I do?”

The man attempted to approach her again, but the voices grew into a booming crescendo. Alana clapped hands over her ears, but it didn’t do any good. She turned and ran, exiting the house through the backdoor and into her grandmother’s gardens.

The man did not follow but the voices did. They seem to be carried along the wind, chasing her. She ran through the flowers, tall poppies smashing into her face as she went.

“Stop! Just leave me alone!” she cried.

The voices surged again, various words of death and horror creeping through.

Terrified, she kept running until her toe caught a root and she went face first into the dirt.

Alana sat up in bed, her skin slick with sweat. Nervously, she clutched at her necklace which was right where it was supposed to be around her neck. Feeling relieved by its presence, she relaxed and tried to get comfortable again. It was then that she saw the dirt under her nails.