Response: Presque Vu
My bones ached as I crawled into bed. I felt as though I had been thrown under a steam roller. My body was taut with anxiety and pain that lanced up my leg from my twisted ankle.
My head throbbed as I settled into my pillow - my temples pounded with an uneven, heavy tempo. I just wished I could return to the beginning of the day before and remove that day altogether. I cried myself to sleep, ashamed of the hot tears but unable to smother them.
I stood in a long green hall, that twisted like a snake. It moved with me as I walked and disappeared as I passed - when I looked back nothing existed. I saw him as the hall twisted to the right, he disappeared when it returned. I could never quite see his face.
His hands reached out to me and I heard a voice though I could not be sure whose it was, or if it was even male. It sounded distant - fluctuating from inaudible to deafening, but its clarity never increased.
The floor humped as I approached tipping me at his feet. I looked up at him - as still as a wall etching, two dimensional in deep relief. He was all sharp edges - razor sharp. And then he smiled and I could not help but smile back.
I stood. He kept smiling the exact same smile.
"Where am I?" I found myself asking.
I noticed something in his teeth as he kept smiling - as he did not answer. It looked like a grain of sand. The instant the thought entered my mind, little grains of sand began trickling out of his smile, between his teeth. It began pouring from his mouth.
I screamed and suddenly the hallway was a glass room, filling rapidly. My fingers slipped on the smooth surface, leaving streaks of blood as my grasp became desperate - as the sand rose higher.
I could feel it crawling up my skin, sliding into my clothing like wriggling worms.I struggled. I screamed - it sounded muffled as though I was outside the box rather than behind the glass. When I looked behind me, the man was smiling. He never seemed to be covered by the sand. The voice echoed around the enclosed space, though I still could not understand what it said.
The sand slithered into my collar, came up around my neck. I scrabbled at the walls, bleeding on the glass. The grains of sand began to fill my mouth and I was sinking, drowning in a sea of sand.
I woke gasping for air, clawing at my sheets. The man's indistinguishable was still ringing in my ears - his smiling face flickered behind my eyelids when I blinked.
My breathing slowed and I shifted in my bed, trying to get comfortable. When the sun peeked through my window the next morning I could not be certain whether I had fallen back to sleep during the night or not.
The garbled words of my nightmare seemed on the cusp of cipher, I had heard him speak before - I was certain of it. The phrase rotted on the tip of my tongue, making me uncomfortably awake despite an acute desire to return to the embrace of sleep.