Daring to Dream
“Please, please, please go away,” my whispers echo across the empty room. I’m propped up against the door; my aching back is protesting, but I cannot get up. The door is locked. Of course, it is. But if I can’t feel the solid barrier between us, it might as well not exist. I’m going mad.
“Lily!” his sickeningly familiar voice calls out again, “Stop hiding and come out. I’ve had a long day, and these games are getting tiresome.”
A small, involuntary gasp escapes me as I try to keep the tears at bay.
Why is this happening?
I fumble with my phone; it’s dead. The power went out hours ago, so I can’t charge it either. I can still hear him wandering the halls downstairs. It isn’t a big house, sooner or later he’s going to find me. I’ll have to answer for what I did.
The bedside drawer catches my eye. I slowly get up and open it, taking out the only thing in there: a picture. It’s from our wedding day. We were so happy then. Micah is standing next to me, grinning at the camera as I gaze at him, a small smile playing on my lips. It was his favourite picture.
Two years weeks later, he hit me for the first time. Two years after that, I snapped from all the abuse and killed him. Good thing he needed all those pills to live; good thing he relied on me for those pills.
Nobody figured it out; they decided he’d committed suicide, and I was free to return to what was left of my life.
Things had been perfect for the next six months. My life was back on track. I had a new job, new friends, and the nightmares of Micah had all but stopped.
I take the picture back to the door and recheck the locks. Downstairs, the wind pushes hard against the windows, and the rhythmic beats lull me into a less panicked state.
The next thing I know, I’m being shaken awake. I jump up with a start, only to see sunlight pouring in through the windows and my neighbour’s face scrunched up in concern.
“I tried calling, dear. The storm knocked out the transformer last night, and I just wanted to make sure you were alright.” She gives me a hand as I get up.
“Thanks, Mrs. Thompson. I must’ve fallen asleep,” my voice shakes as I look around. Everything seems to be in place. “My phone ran out of charge last night.”
After a few more minutes of making sure I’m alright, she’s on her way home, and I’ve never felt more scared to be in my own house.
I call the realtor on my way to work. I can’t stay in that house anymore; it reminds me too much of him. Now, I’m even hallucinating his presence.
Was it really a hallucination?
Everything around me makes me feel uneasy like I’m being watched under a microscope, all my moves being studied.
In another minute, I’m at the office, and I look down at my clothes. When did I get dressed? How did I even get here? I was driving just a second ago.
“Lily? Are you alright?” It’s my boss.
But everything’s wrong. The walls are closing in around me, and I can’t breathe. I get up and start running. Anywhere, anywhere away from here will do. I’m going mad.
People shout as I barrel past them, but I continue running, and as soon as I exit the building, I’m somehow in the plaza. It’s crowded today. The afternoon rush pushes at me, people nudging at me to move one way or the other.
I enter one of the little cafes, hoping for a bit of respite. Everyone at the office is going to think I’ve lost my mind. I probably have, anyway. Hopefully, I don’t get fired.
“Can I get you something?” The waitress appears before me, a giant smile plastered on her face.
“Yeah, just a-,” I stop abruptly as her face transforms slowly, looking on in horror as she turns into my husband.
“Did you have to do it, Lily? We were so happy. We can still be happy. Just come with me,” he smiles, an expression so sinister on him that it knocks me out of my trance.
I jump up and hurry out. The waitress has turned back into herself; she looks confused. “Miss?”
As soon as I step out of the shop, I’m in my backyard again. The moon shines through the trees; somehow, night has arrived.
“Please, stop.” Tears are streaming down my face now. “I’ll do anything. Stop.” The world goes black.
When I open my eyes again, it’s still night; the power is still out, and in front of me stands the man I killed.
“Did you have a good dream, sweetheart?”