Chapter 1: Flashbacks
Images flash through my head. An image of a dry, cracked desert. Rain pours down on the wasteland in storms, and yet the ground remains parched. Stormclouds rumble in a sky that appears to have never seen the sun. It’s dark – impossible to tell the difference between day and night. It seems almost timeless in a horror movie kind of way. The image changes to a small log cabin, and the family that cowers within. They stay against the wood of their miniature home, as far away from the door as possible. They seem to be almost afraid of it, for reasons I could not explain.
The image shifts again to show smoke drifting across the lifeless desert. You can see nothing for miles except hazy outlines of cottages that seem to ripple in the air that quickly switches between freezing cold and humid and sticky.
I feel almost a sort of magnetic pull to something in this village, something that I can’t explain. It’s just there, like a kind of essence that I can’t see, just feel.
It scares me, not knowing what’s beyond this feeling, what’s making all of my worries rise to the surface and bubble out in a heart-stopping fear.
I almost call out before I see something in the distance, something that makes my eyes widen in a mysterious terror and my mouth scramble to shut itself before it can make a sound.
A figure dressed all in black is seemingly floating toward me, and anger seems to drift off of it in waves. A loud ringing fills my ears, and I automatically wince back in shock and pain. The thing seems to not have noticed me, and I pray silently that it stays that way, that this creature will just leave me alone. Somehow I know it’s not a human thing that is coming for me. No human is capable of causing the blood-pumping horror that comes naturally to this demon.
I hear a loud nice ring out, followed by a scream and a baby cry. I gasp in shock, pressing my hands to my ears and dropping to my knees, praying to be saved from whatever is happening.
Whatever I’ve done to deserve this, I’m sorry, I think. All I want now is to be dark far away from whatever is happening.
The creature is drifting closer and closer, and its presence seems to weigh on my chest like a heavy load has just been placed on it. The hissing still rings in my ears, quick and sharp like a snake’s. As the creature gets closer, still appearing not to have noticed me, the weight gets heavier and heavier, making it much harder to breathe.
I see a black hood concealing it’s face, and a black cloak wrapped tightly around its body, so that it’s impossible to find features underneath. I find myself wondering if there are any features to speak of.
Its voice rings out in my mind. Vanessa, it says. How lovely to see you again.
“Who are you?” I scream, forgetting myself. Though the rain has a problem soaking into the ground, it has no problem drenching me – my hair is plastered to my face, as is my black bomber jacket my father bought for me for my birthday last year.
“You know who I am,” the creature tells me. I can almost sense its smile underneath the hood. “Or, you will, anyway.”
“No, I don’t!” I shout to be heard over the din.
The creature turns away from me, and I hear its voice in my mind again. Alli good time, Vanessa. Now, though, I’m afraid we must part.
“Answer me!” I scream. “I’m not afraid of you!”
This is a lie, of course. My heart still feels like a wrecking ball tearing at my chest, but I keep a brave face. I have a feeling the creature can still see me, despite its turned back.
“Oh, you can only fool yourself with that for so long,” the creature says without turning back to me. “Soon, though, you will have to accept the truth. And oh, how I long for that day!”
I hear the smile in its voice, and start to question it, but then the stormclouds that have been brewing in the air my whole encounter with this creature start to bunch and gather around me. I call out, afraid, but all I hear is the creature turning to face me, a smile the only thing visible through its hood, and yelling, “Until we meet again, Vanessa!”
It waves its hand in a last goodbye … and then disappears as I swirl through the vortex back to my home.
“Vanessa? I heard you scream!” my mother exclaims, rushing to my bedside. She grabs my hand, and seems confused by something.
“I just had a nightmare,” I say breathlessly, almost unable to get the words out.
“Oh. It’s alright, honey,” my mother says, rubbing my hand. “Well, it’s time to get ready for school. You’d better come down for pancakes in about a half hour, okay? And do yourself a favor, change out of those wet clothes. Were you out in the rain?”
“Wet clothes …” I mutter to myself as she leaves the room. I glance down at myself and realize that im wearing my black bomber jacket, white tshirt, and blue jeans from the day before. I must have forgotten to change out of them.
I shrug and head to my dresser to grab a new set of clothes for the day. Then something odd strikes me, something my mother must not have thought of.
It hasn’t rained here in at least a week.
Then a thought hits me as I gaze in the mirror above my dresser, thinking nerd, a thought that makes me recoil in horror from my reflection.
It may not have been raining here …
But it was raining in my dream.