In Dreams – Part 2

In Dreams – Part 2

                Several long nights have passed since he slipped into her dreams for the first time. He hadn’t wanted to scare her, but given the circumstances he had no other choice. Going through her was the only way he could get the truth about his death to come to light. After seeing the fear in her eyes he’d decided to wait a few days before he entered her mind again. There was still so much she needed to see. So much she needed to know…

                Sage plugged in the fountain and slipped into bed. Book in hand; she pulled the covers over her body as she settled in for a quick ten minute journey to fantasy land before sleep took over. Smiling to herself, she glanced at desk thankful for such a peaceful way to fall asleep. Who knew one little fountain could make such a difference in her life?

                She’d had her doubts about it that first night. A nightmare wasn’t exactly what she expected a waterfall to induce. The dream had felt so real then. Every hit, every stab sliced through her subconscious mind as if she were the victim. The cruel man still haunted her thoughts, though he’s never made another appearance. Honestly, she hoped he never would.

                Shaking the memory off along with the desire to read she put the book on her nightstand and turned off the lamp. Once the room fell dark he stepped out of the shadows. The sound of running water would have her sleeping in no time. He was so eager to invade her again he was willing to risk being caught.

                 He listened to her breathing…calm, steady, rhythmic. Her breath turned into a thick vapor as the temperature around her dropped. Unlike the first time, she didn’t move. Satisfied the fountain had done its job; he placed his hand on her forehead and closed his eyes. He pulled up the memory that had sent his life on a crash course, forcing her to take it in.

                Warmth engulfed her body. She felt a hand slid around her waist and pull her closer. Gentle nibbles sent a shiver down her spine. She turned her head to look behind her and found herself staring into the most stunning set of blue eyes she’s ever seen. They looked back at her with love and admiration. Sage wanted to ask who he was, but when she opened her mouth the words that came out weren’t hers. Neither was the soft voice.

                “You know you’ll probably catch hell for missing curfew, don’t you?” the soft voice asked. She turned over, snuggling her naked body closer to his. It was the same man from her nightmare. His name came to her as she spoke again. “Roy told you that the last time.”

                “Do you really think I care?” Russ asked. He slid his hand down her thigh and smiled. His hand strayed behind her back, gently stroking up and down her spine.

                “Sure doesn’t feel like it,” she giggled caressing his face. She loved it when he didn’t shave for a day or two. The stubble made her rugged man look tougher. “We better make this worthwhile then. I don’t see you getting away from the house for a long while once you go back there. He’ll make sure he gives you plenty of work to keep you busy for a month.”

                “Let him try,” he said. His hand moved up her side. Goose bumps popped up beneath his calloused fingertips. Sage felt the heat rise in her body. “I’ll get all that and more done by the time he finishes breakfast.”

                “Don’t get cocky, Russ. You and I both know he can hurt you. All he has to do is lift his hand.”

                “What’d you go and do that for?” he asked, rolling on his back. Sage felt a pang of rejection shoot through her. She propped herself up on her elbow and put her hand on his chest. He stuck his hands behind his head and frowned. “You really know how to kill a mood, you know that?”

                “Sorry,” she said quietly. “I’m just worried about you.”

                “Don’t be, Julia. I can handle myself. Roy may be mean, but he hasn’t been as strong since he had that last heart attack.” He ran his hand through her hair and smiled. “What would you say if I told you I wanted to leave here?”

                “I’d say you were just thinking out loud,” she snorted. “You’re not going anywhere until you can talk your mom into going with you.”

                “She’s already gone,” he told her. Sage’s breath caught, though she didn’t know why. He smiled. “That’s right. She left him a couple of days ago. He tried to hit her again and she finally decided she’d had enough.”

                “Why are you still there?”

                “She needs somebody to make sure he doesn’t trash her things. The house may be his, but he doesn’t own everything in it.”

                “You’re not worried he’ll take her absence out on you? I mean he goes nuts when she’s five minutes late coming back from the store.”

                “Julia, I’ll be fine.”

He pressed his lips against hers, ending the depressing conversation. Her legs wrapped around his. Sage could feel her heart racing. His hands were everywhere and they felt good. He rolled her onto her back, cocking his eyebrow slightly. Sage smiled up at him, not knowing what to expect. Julia may be used to his ways, but this was new to her. He gripped both her hands in his and held them firmly over her head. She closed her eyes, tilting her neck while his free hand raked over her neck.

Cold replaced warmth. A thud echoed throughout the room. Her eyes shot open. Something darted in front of her. Russ! He pressed her firmly into the mattress, shielding her from something she couldn’t see yet. With her heart pounding, she looked around the room frantically trying to see the thing he already feared.    

                “Stay down,” Russ whispered.

                “What’s wrong?” she asked. Tears were falling and she didn’t know why.

                “Roy’s here.” Sage’s body stiffened. Fear took hold. “Whatever you do, don’t leave my side.”

                “Well, well. I knew I’d find you here,” the harsh voice from her nightmare said. She struggled to get a look, but the dark shielded him. Damn. “One of these days you’re gonna learn to mind. You’re supposed to respect your elders, not take advantage of them.”

                “Respect is earned,” Russ said quickly.

                “So I need to earn your respect? Is that what you’re saying?” His tone turned dangerous. Cold chills ran down her spine.

                “Don’t answer that!” Sage screamed.

Wait, did she? Her voice was in her head. All the words she’d spoken before had been Julia’s. Sage was only a bystander here.  She wanted to shake Russ, somehow get his attention, but she was trapped in Julia’s terrified body. Why couldn’t they hear her in this dream the way Roy had in the first?

                “That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Russ answered.

                “How do you propose I do that?” Roy asked. She thought she heard him walk around the bed, but Russ had her pinned down so tightly she couldn’t see anything.

                “How about you go wait in the living room and we’ll discuss it on the way home?”

                “Sounds agreeable. I’ll give you five minutes then I’m coming back to get ‘cha.” When he chuckled, his voice sounded further away. Russ’s body relaxed. “Better find your clothes quick.”

                “Not a problem,” Russ said reaching for the lamp. Sage looked towards the door. She wanted to know who Roy was.

                A loud pop rang out. Sage’s body, Julia’s body crumpled. Pain ripped through her chest. Russ dropped to his knees, grabbing the sheet. He pressed it against the wound, trying to stop the bleeding. Her vision started to fade.       

                “How’s that for respect?”


In Dreams


   Sage twisted over in her bed to face the window. Maybe looking at the stars would help. As she turned her eyes upward she was immediately disappointed. The moon was too bright for star gazing tonight. Sure there were stars out, but she knew from experience the bright light from the Full Moon never left her with enough of the tiny dots to really enjoy. Sighing heavily, she rolled over on her back and stared at the ceiling. Here we go again.  

   For years she’s dealt with the exhausting effects of re-occurring bouts of insomnia. Some nights she’ll toss and turn for hours trying to find that sweet spot with little success. When sleep finally does come, she wakes up five minutes later, realizing her eyes wouldn’t close again for another twenty four hours. Nights like these are becoming far to frequent for her taste. She couldn’t even remember the last time she’d had a dream.

   After lying there for what felt like an eternity, she turned her head to look at the fountain her dad had brought over earlier in the week. Her stepmother had an antiquing addiction and she nearly always wound up bringing over one piece of crap or another.  This time though, the so-called ‘crap’ came from her dad. He’d bought it hoping it would help her get some rest. He knew better than anybody how long she’s been fighting this particular battle.

   She propped up on her elbow, focused solely on object sitting on the desk. It was beautiful; she had to give him that. The fountain was about twelve inches tall and maybe as wide. Both the base and waterfall were made of sandstone. Six copper tiers were placed here and there to switch up the flow of the water. Each one was free to move either side to side; up or down. Though their movements either way was limited to centimeters.

   Sage threw the covers back and walked to the desk, resolving to finally give it a try. Seventy plus hours without sleep was too much. She looked at it for a second, unsure of where the reservoir was. With a shrug she jammed the plug into the socket. If nothing else she’d know where not to pour the water in. As she turned her back to go into the kitchen she heard the distinctive sound of trickling water.

   “Huh,” she said to herself, “problem solved.”

   She crawled back into bed and watched the water roll off the copper tiers. Listening to the gentle flow was the most calming sound she’d heard in a long while. Not long after she pulled the covers up she began to feel her body relax. The warm feeling started in her feet and gradually spread throughout her body. Holding her eyes open had never been hard before, but now it was next to impossible.

   Within thirty minutes she was asleep; sound asleep. A figure moved hesitantly from the shadows of the bedroom. As it approached her bed, the temperature in the room dropped considerably. Sage pulled the covers tighter. Every exhale was marked with a thick cloud of smoke. Despite the warmth the heavy down comforter provided goose bumps broke out all over her body.

   The shadow reached out, placing an oversized hand on Sage’s head. His head fell forward as his free hand pressed down against her chest. He traced the side of her face with his thumb…Did he really want to do this? Did he really have a choice?

   Sage’s body went rigid. There were hands wrapped around her neck. Big hands. Strong hands. No matter how hard she fought against them she couldn’t get loose. The more she squirmed, the tighter the hands gripped her throat. Her airway was closing fast. Panic ripped through her as she lost consciousness. No, not lost; nearly lost. Through the fog in her mind she could see a huge dark figure standing over her. She didn’t move. If he thought she was dead maybe he’d go away.

   For a second it seemed to work. But then he went for a rope and yanked her feet towards him. He hadn’t been fooled. She kicked furiously, clawing at the mattress underneath her. If he wanted to tie her up he was going to have to fight her. Not that he had to fight much. Once he put his fist to the side of her head it took all of ten seconds to secure both her hands and feet.

   “Didn’t think I’d find you, did you?” the man said. His tone was neither friendly nor reassuring. She tired to get a look at his face, but it was too dark. “Sure it took me months, but I here I am. You never should’ve run. A quick death is so much easier.”

   “What do you want with me?” Sage asked quickly. “Why do you want to kill me? I don’t even know you!”

   “Oh come on now, Russ,” the man chuckled. “Let’s not play these games. You know me as well as I know you. Well, you thought you knew me.” He pulled something shiny out of his boot, a satisfied smile settled on his face. Fear took hold when she realized the shiny object was a knife. “Now tell me son, what did you think you were going to gain by running from me?”

   “Running from you? I don’t even know you!” Tears rolled down her cheeks.

   She glanced frantically around the room looking for some way out. Some way to get help. Her search ended when she felt a blade slide deep into the lower portion of her calf. She screamed out as he sliced her leg open all the way up to her knee. She could feel the blood oozing down the side of her leg, pooling onto the sheets. Who knew blood smelled so bittersweet?

   “That’s for being hardheaded,” he said dryly, slapping the side of her head. “The stupid card isn’t going to work here, boy. You best tell me what I want to know and take your death like a man.”

   “Look at me!” she screamed. “How can I answer anything if I’m not who you think I am?”

   This time it was a fist to the gut that forced her quiet. Her stomach lurched into her throat. Her vision blurred. She instinctively pulled her body into the fetal position just in case he decided to strike again. The man standing inches away from her laughed, but didn’t raise his hand. He was too busy enjoying the pain he was inflicting.  

   “If this is the way you want to play it that’s fine by me.” He pushed the knife into her side just under her ribcage and twisted the blade.  The pain was so intense it blinded her. “Nobody knows I found you anyway. Your mom will go on thinking you ran away and after a while the cops will call off the search. Not that they’d find you anyway. I’ve got lots of good hiding places out there.” He yanked the knife out and tossed it on the floor beside him. He pulled a gun out of his waistband. She heard it cock as he took aim. “You really should have stayed out of that garage, Russ.”

   Sage sat straight up in bed as she heard the gun go off. She grabbed her chest and found her hands were free. She yanked back the covers. Her leg was fine. She ran her hand over both sides of her ribcage. Nothing. Besides the sweat coating every inch of her body there were no signs of the harrowing ordeal she’d just been through.   

   Shaking, she flipped on the lamp beside her. As she looked around the room she found it empty. No knife, no rope, no gun and more importantly, no man.