From my Dreams
A short story by Brandyn Petraschuk
Bright rays of sunlight were shining throughout the room; the beams were tainted by the rusty brown windows. Old furniture was scattered around the room with years of collected, decaying dust. Every inch of the wallpaper was peeling and stained from the years of water leakage. A cracked painting sat on every wall and where there was no frame clinging to the wall, there was a rusty lamp. A young girl was lying on a bed, not moving, not breathing. Her hair was motionless and her heart, still. The girl's skin was cold, blue and pale. She was dead. This is a dream that I kept having, a dream I never forget. This girl, she occupies my mind always... I am so sad for her, but it's just a dream. I always wonder if it really is a dream. I can't help but feel something for her, a certain feeling of love; a feeling of sorrow.
"Did I know her before?" I always ask myself this question, but if I did I don't remember her.
I woke up late one morning, jumped out of bed and got dressed. It was so warm in my room I had to open the window. The sunlight was almost tolerable but my eyes retaliated so I quickly shut the blinds. I stumbled out of my room, mildly admiring how messy it actually was.
"I'll clean it later", I thought to myself. I wandered over to the sink and ran some water. While splashing my face with the cool water I started thinking about the girl. I thought about how she looked so cold and so sad. I dried my face off and wandered outside. The sun felt so warm on my face and the fresh air was so good to breathe. I don't usually sleep in but I was at least happy I didn't miss the whole day. I soon found myself walking down the sidewalk, no destination in mind, just walking.
I wandered around town but there was nothing interesting going on so I thought I'd take a walk down some forest trails nearby. I stood at the entrance to the old scout camp exercise trail, it looked so inviting I decided to go in. I kept walking until the sun was no longer my friend so I decided to turn back and go home. Why was it that the walk seemed different this time? Why did these trail signs and trees look so different? I was lost. I was spinning myself around in circles, the forest was blurring. I was spinning around and around until I felt myself lose my grip, my grasp on reality. I fell to the ground and I just laid there staring into the bit of starry sky that was still visible through the trees. Then it happened, I heard a voice.
"Please don't leave, I'm so alone." It said.
I lifted my head and wondered, "Where was this voice coming from?"
I started walking, and then I started running. I knew whoever it was they were definitely close by. I had to find this person; I had to find this voice. I came upon a large house, one that was all by itself on a lonely grassy field. There were no streetlights and the land broadcasted a certain feeling of loneliness. I slowly crept through the tall grass, almost tripping on the stones that were scattered upon the overgrown yard and I stepped up onto the rotting stairs. This place must have been pretty old because the wood was cracking beneath my weight with such ease. I stopped and listened for a moment, I didn't hear the strange voice anymore and I could only hear my breathing and the wind blowing through the trees. I felt cold and uneasy but there was something comforting about this place, it was so dark and so eerie but I felt something good.
I came to the front door of the house and I just stood there staring, wondering if this really was a good idea. I don't know how long I was standing there for but it felt like an eternity. I made up my mind and proceeded to reach for the handle which felt so very cold to the touch. Clouds of dust filled the air as I pushed the door open. The air smelled stale and the wood smelled like it had been rotting for ages. The only sounds I could hear were the wind outside and the sound of dripping water from the ceiling within. I stepped further into the dark abode and saw moonlight silhouettes of long dead trees outside the windows dancing along the walls. I felt around to see if there was a light switch but the only thing I could feel was rotting wallpaper, it was so moist to the touch. I slid my hand across the side of the door until I found it. *Click* the whole room lit up before my eyes. I was quite amazed that this house still had electricity, although I was a little worried because the chandelier which I had just given power to had a good amount of water running down it. Of course, as the fairly responsible person I am I left the lights on.
This place seemed so forgotten and so neglected. The room contained nothing out of the ordinary other than it was falling apart and looked quite old fashioned. There were cups and broken dishes scattered upon the floor and old dust covered tables with bits of crumbled ceiling plaster speckled upon them. The paintings were so worn away the images were lost forever to time. This old place seemed so familiar to me; it's as if I had been here before. I felt as if there were memories of this place locked somewhere in my mind but I didn't have the key to the safe they were in. I ran my fingers along the walls almost as if to see if I could feel a certain sense of energy in the house, all I could feel was damp wallpaper. I looked down a hallway and I couldn't help but notice a faint glow coming from the left. Curiosity got the best of me and I continued towards the glow.
While walking down the hallway, I could hear my feet squishing into the damp rotting carpet with the wood beneath almost collapsing with every step I made. I came to the end of the hall and to my left there was a large glass window and a wooden door. I couldn't see through the window too well the only thing I could see well was the flickering of lights. I pressed my hands against the glass and I closed my eyes, it felt so cold it was almost like touching ice. I felt a cool breeze pass across my hands and then I heard the voice.
"Don't leave, don't leave me." It said. It was the same voice I heard outside, the one I had come searching for.
"Who are you?" I asked. The cool feeling from the glass ran down my arms and engulfed my body, I felt like I was freezing to death.
"Please open the door," said the voice.
My body was becoming stiff from the cold; I was so cold I could see my breath.
"Please open the door," The voice said again. It was a girls voice, she sounded so sad and so lonely.
I reached for the door handle and turned the knob. I opened the door a crack and peaked in. My breathing became faster as I stepped into the room. I believe this is where I fell to my knees in disbelief. This was the room from my dreams. It was all here, the faded paintings, the rusted wall lamps and the bed. I looked over at the bed and all I could see was the moonlight casting shadows onto the sheets. I got back up onto my feet and I walked over to the bed.
"Are you still here?" I asked.
The wind started to pick up outside. I could hear it whistling and the faint sound of wind chimes in the distance. I felt the hairs on my skin stand on end as I felt a cool draft coming from the other end of the room. I didn't notice it at first but there was a doorknob protruding from an old wooden door that had the same dirty, aged complexion as the walls. I slowly stepped through several crunching piles of broken mirror and rotting floor boards towards what I assumed was a closet door. I stood in front of the door for what felt like years wondering what might be waiting for me on the other side. I tend to do that, sit and ponder my fate, most of the time making the wrong choice in the end. I made my choice; I put my hand to the doorknob and gave it a twist. I stayed behind the door pulling it back slowly while trying to have a look inside. As hard as I tried I couldn't see anything at all without first having to step into the dark crevice. Not one inch of the light that was in the room I was in dared to even try to enter the closet. It was as if I didn't even open the door.
I stepped closer to the black void and quietly said to myself, "Why the hell am I here? And what the hell am I doing?"
Just then the most frightening thing in my life happened. A hand reached out and pulled me into the closet. The last thing I heard was the door slamming and locking behind me. I stood there in the closet shaking, shaking in the darkness. Not one sound could be heard other than my erratic breathing and my heartbeat. The closet smelled musty, and the faint odour of mold emanated throughout the air. I thought about my situation for a moment then the words crept from my mouth.
"What do you want?" There was no reply. "I know you're in here, what do you want from me?"
Just then I felt a hand touch my hand, it was very cold. I jumped back and fell to the damp floor below. I pulled my knees up to my chest, wrapped my arms around my legs and buried my face. I was almost in shock when I heard the clinking of coat hangers above me and that's when I knew there was definitely something in there with me. I thought this was pretty stupid at the moment but I thought "what do I have to lose, Other than my life." So I reached one of my arms out into the darkness and started to feel around. I reached to every corner in the small closet and felt nothing but damp walls. I crouched down and stuck my arms out again thinking whoever is in here is probably ducking or lying down. I began to understand the real meaning of confusion when I realized that I was the only physical thing in this closet. I quickly stood up, turned around and put my hand to the doorknob. This is when I felt the hand again, it grabbed my shoulder and wasn't letting go. Yes, I was very afraid. I stood there frozen, knowing for sure that what I was dealing with was not human or even alive. It makes me wonder sometimes why we have our eyes open in the dark anyways but I stood there with my eyes open more widely than they have ever been before. Then when I thought my time was up it spoke to me.
"Why are you so afraid?" I felt my heart beating rapidly as it slammed into the back of my ribcage. I didn't say a word. The hand lightened its grip but stayed where it was. I could feel the coolness slowly passing into my body, just like earlier when I was leaning against the window in the hallway. "I am not going to hurt you; I have been waiting for you for so long." The voice silently said from behind.
I managed to speak a sentence. "Why have you been waiting for me? Who are you?" The hand slowly slid off my shoulder and I stood there not moving an inch, still staring into the darkness with my hand on the doorknob.
"I am the one in your dreams, as you are the one in mine." The voice softly spoke.
I slowly turned around, and looked in awe. Standing there in front of me was the girl from my dreams. She was very pretty but she looked sad and her skin glowed blue in colour.
"Oh my god, it's you!" I said while trembling.
She looked deeply into my eyes and smiled slightly while saying, "Everything is alright, you are in a safe place." Her voice was so calming and peaceful that my heartbeat slowed and I stopped shaking.
"Why are you here? What happened to you?" I asked the girl.
"I died," she said as she looked down with a look of sadness on her face. She then looked up into my eyes again. "I have to stay here; I can't leave this place, I can never leave" She said this while sparkling blue tears began to pour down her cheeks and fall down through the air into glowing pools on the floor.
"Why are you alone? Why are you so sad?" I asked.
She looked towards the floor again, which was spattered with her tears. "Nobody loves me, I thought my life was worth keeping at one time but that changed, so I came here to be alone and I've been here ever since," she said while wiping tears from her cold blue face. She looked at me with that look a puppy gives you when it wants you to pick it up and said, "I'm just a lonely spirit destined to be alone, forever."
I felt this ultimate urge to just reach out and grab her hand, and I did. I held her hand and I stepped towards her and I said, "You are not alone, not anymore, I am here for you." Her eyes opened wide as if saying they wanted to know more. "You called me here and I was afraid but now I am not," I said calmly. I pulled her close to me unafraid and I hugged her, she laid her head upon my shoulder.
"I feel warm." She said. "I haven't felt warm in so long." We just stood there in the darkness, in this rotting house in the middle of nowhere hugging. She then stepped back and looked right into my eyes and said, "You didn't have to do that, I know I'm not alive anymore and I don't deserve any of this."
I put my hand around her hand which felt strangely warm all of the sudden and said, "Listen, nobody deserves to be alone and nobody deserves to be sad, not even you."
She looked up at me again as if to say, "Why do you care so much for that which you do not know?"
I quickly replied to my own assumption, "I want to be your friend." I squeezed her hand and said, "I want to be there for you and I don't want you to be sad anymore."
Her eyes opened wide as the words passed through her lips "You really want to be my friend? You really mean that?"
I put my mouth close to her ear and said "Yes I do."
The girl let go of my hand and suddenly pulled me close and held me so tight I almost couldn't breathe for a moment. I noticed that she was no longer cold anymore and the blue in her skin had slightly faded. I stood there comforting her for awhile while she rested against me with her head on my shoulder like a sleeping newborn baby. The girl put her mouth to my ear and whispered, "Thank you, thank you for being here for me."
I couldn't think of anything else to say other than "you're welcome, I don't mind." I turned around and faced the door, that's when I looked down and noticed a bright light was gleaming through the bottom into the closet. This seemed kind of odd because earlier when the door was open not one beam of light would journey in, "To kill the darkness within." I looked at the girl and said, "Are you ready to leave this place?"
She smiled and grabbed a hold of my hand and I turned the doorknob. I pushed the door and an immense bright light filled the closet, the girl and I looked at each other and with a big smile we stepped into the light. It was so bright I couldn't see anything at all. I began to feel this overwhelming sensation; it was so warm I blacked out.
I woke up. I was lying on the ground and I was staring into the sky. I rubbed my eyes and let out a few yawns. I almost forgot why I was lying there when I remembered what had happened and quickly jumped to my feet. I was in a huge field, the sky was a beautiful blue with puffy white clouds and the sun was shining brighter than ever before. I looked down at my hand, I was holding on to something. I lifted my hand up and opened it, there was a pink ribbon and on it was the name Sarah.
I looked up into the sky and spoke these words, "So your name is Sarah, that's a pretty name. I'm happy you're no longer sad Sarah, please wipe away your tears and know in your heart that we will always be friends."
I smiled and put the ribbon in my pocket. I then looked across the field. Through the distant trees I noticed a woman in a blue dress placing clothing onto a clothes line. I didn't recognize her so I wandered through the grassy field over to get a closer look. She was still busy tending to her clothing so I just leaned against a tree and waited until she wasn't busy. The woman looked weathered but she still had a grasp on beauty, she was at least in her 50's and it didn't seem like there was a man in the house because all of the clothing was women's clothes. She slowly lifted the last shirt and clipped it onto the line; she then picked up her empty basket and started to walk towards the house.
"Excuse me Ma'am!" I hollered towards her.
She obviously didn't notice me standing there because she dropped the basket and almost fell to the ground. The woman spun around and looked me right in the eye and with a big grin on her face she said, "Well that was quite unexpected, thanks for scaring me half to death!"
I ran up to her and apologized with a sheepish smile on my face.
"What are you doing way out here Dear? This farm is an hour away from town, where are your parents?"
I looked towards the ground, suddenly remembering a bit of my past, "I don't have any," I said. "My parents died when I was young and I live with my uncle now."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that." She said, showing obvious signs she didn't expect that sort of an answer. "Listen, Ill just put this inside and I'll give you a ride into town, ok?" She said with a smile.
"Alright, I'll wait here for you" I replied.
I sat down on the invitingly cool steps and stared off into the field. I watched again the grass and the trees all swaying with the wind, the shadows beneath the trees were dancing around while the sounds of wind chimes were ringing above me. "Those sound like the same wind chimes that I heard earlier." I said to myself. I looked up at the rusted steel tubes hanging from string slowly hitting each other and letting a soft soothing melody flow through the air. The woman came out of the front door and I jumped to my feet.
"Are you ready to go?" She asked with a smile.
"Sure thing thanks a lot" I said, while climbing into the passenger side. She started the car and we drove off down the farm road. I rolled down the window, closed my eyes and laid back in my seat letting the cool breeze rush into my face. I was awoken from my pleasant state when the woman spoke to me.
"You know, earlier when you spoke of your parents and how you lost them it reminded me of how I lost someone myself."
I sat up in my seat and looked over at her. "You did?"
"Yes," She answered. "I lost my daughter a long time ago."
"Wow, that's so sad" I said in a glum tone.
"Yes, her name was Sarah, she was so beautiful," she said with a reminiscent looking smile on her face.
I felt my heart jump as I looked in disbelief at the woman. "This is Sarah's mother!" I yelled inside. I couldn't believe that I found Sarah's mother, I knew there was only one thing to do. "I have something to tell you,"
"What is it dear? Are you alright?" She asked, giving me a look of concern.
"Yes, I am alright but I have something I feel I must tell you." I looked her in the eye for the split seconds she looked at me while also trying to keep her eyes on the road and said, "I think I might have met your daughter before."
The woman mildly chuckled and looked at me as if amused and said "I'm sorry dear but my daughter left me 15 years ago, you would have only been a small child then."
I reached into my pocket and I pulled out the ribbon, I held my hand out and said, "She gave me this, Sarah is ok now and she isn't sad anymore." The car came to an immediate halt; I would have surely gone through the windshield if I was not wearing my seatbelt.
She took the ribbon from my hand and stared deeply into it. I could tell the lady knew whose ribbon it was because tears began to form in the corners of eyes. She put the ribbon to her nose and smelled it, "My god, it still smells like her!" She said with tears running down her cheeks. "She said she was ok, and that she was happy?" The woman asked.
I looked at her confidently and replied "Yes ma'am, she was smiling and she looked so happy."
The woman reached over and hugged me tightly while crying at my side.
"Thank you, Thank you so much, I wanted her to be happy for so long."
Sarah's mom dropped me off at the front of my house, and she got out for a moment to thank me for stopping by and said to come by again any time I wanted.
Before saying goodbye, I had to ask Sarah's mom something I was thinking about.
"I was wondering something."
"What is it dear? What's the matter?" She asked.
"I was just wondering what happened to the old house in the field?"
She gave me a very puzzled look and said, "We tore that old thing down 14 years ago Dear, how would you know about that?"
I thought to myself for a moment and then I said the first thing that came to mind. "It just seemed like a good place to have a house" I said, knowing how dumb that actually sounded but I knew it was the right thing to say.
She started to smile and then walked back to her car. Before she got into her car she tied Sarah's ribbon to the antenna; she waved one last goodbye and drove off. I sat down on my steps watching the car fade away into the distance, watching the ribbon flutter in the wind.
"Fly free Sarah, Fly free and be happy".