Fallen from a Dream
There were flowers here. They swayed and dipped in the breeze. Dancing.
In the darkness they were brown: rusty, dirty things. They smelled nice, but fell apart when she touched them.
They melted away, and her eyes flew open.
Spinning wheel. Wheels, carriage.
The ride was bumpy and she felt choked in the high-collared dress. She couldn’t remember putting it on, didn’t recognize the gloves. She removed her hat, placing it on the seat next to her, and listened to the creaking of the carriage, the pounding of the horses, the yells from beyond the curtains.
Pulling one back, she took in her surroundings as they flew by: a water-soaked man, head hanging, a little girl being raised into the sky by her balloon, a skinny dog covering its face with its paws.
She scrunched up her eyebrows in disgust--confusion?--and leaned out to look at the young carriage driver’s back. Something struck her as familiar, but when he turned around to look at her, nothing stared back. His face was empty.
She fell out of the carriage, arms reaching out to brace her fall.
Her arms plunged into water.
The fish were murky and yellow. They had their eyes shut, like they were sleeping.
Her fingers closed around one, easy to catch. The other swam around, oblivious. She pulled out her fish, and it opened its eyes, opened its mouth, gasping. She realized she couldn’t breath, and water dripped from her mouth.
A thought tickled her mind. She’d been here before. They’d all been here before.
She turned over in her bed, restless. The sunlight slanted oddly across the room. Everything seemed… unfamiliar.
Her stomach heaved, and she dragged herself into a sitting position, then into a ball. Everything hurt: behind her eyes, her teeth, her stomach, her mind.
Stay with me.
She shook her head, because she didn’t need those words. They weren’t hers. They weren’t anyone’s.
She spasmed, holding herself together with her arms like if she let up the pressure her body would fall apart. Like her mind already had.
It was his laugh. In her dreams. Why? Who?
She scraped her hair out of her face, dragged her feet to the edge of the bed. Get up.
All she had to do was get up.
Get to the bathroom. That’s the first step.
Miraculously, she did.
No. No no no no no. She breathed heavily, tripping and holding onto the doorframe. Stop it. It had to stop. She was awake. She was alive, and she was getting a hold of her life.
She stood in the bathroom, not knowing what to do next. She didn’t think she could make it this far.