My heart raced. I was frozen. Thoughts began flooding my mind. Did I leave the kitchen light on? What about the foyer? Did I turn the foyer light off? I remembered turning the entry and kitchen light on, but I do not remember turning either one off…I began to panic. Who would be here? Gathering courage I peered at the cabin’s reflection in the window. Nothing was there and the light was back on. What in the world is wrong with me? The awareness of the wine glass in my hand slowly came back to me. Maybe between the stress and wine I just imagined the shadow?
With trepidation, I walked slowly to the front door and peeked around the corner into the pantry, after verifying the front door was locked. I convinced myself I was seeing things due to tiredness perpetuated by a glass of wine. It was time for bed.
I jumped. What was that?
I jumped again. Was that a whip? The lights began to flicker, creating a disorienting ambiance. My breaths became short and quick. My heart was racing. Maybe I didn’t imagine the shadow. I rubbed my forehead in an effort to dispel the headache that was creeping up on me. My nerves were shot.
I shook my limbs out. I am an adult. It is time to assess the situation. I decided I wanted to be able to look outside without feeling as if I was on display. Starting with the foyer I turned off all of the lights, save the fireplace. Thinking back, the startling noise seemed to come from the behind the cabin. I can do this. I walked to the windows and looked outside. It was completely black.
In an instant the entire night sky became illuminated with the flash of a fierce lightning bolt. Two seconds later…
The thunder faded into a rumble and all was dark again. I was in awe. An incredible storm rolled in. Nerves calmed, I stood and stared eager to watch the show. With the next bolt of luminance came a succession of banging on the front door, resulting in my hearts attempt at escape, accompanied with a shriek. Whipping around, my breath caught in my throat. I moved slowly toward the front door…Again.
There were three more knocks followed by a muffled voice, “Ivy! Are you ok in there? It’s the sheriff, Todd.”
I almost laughed in relief. Rushing to the door, I quickly undid the locks and invited him in.
“Hey there, are you ok? You look frightened.” He was wet head to toe, rivulets of water streaming down his hat.
“Yeah, I’m ok. You gave me a fright, though.” I felt silly. I felt my goofy grin spreading across my face and I was having a hard time making eye contact. “How long were you out there?”
The sheriff removed his hat and hung it on a free standing coat rack by the door, I only just now noticed. “I just got here. I wanted to see that you were ok for the storm. It’s a pretty wicked storm and there are a couple of trees down. Are you settled alright? Did your power go out?” He looked around the cabin, running his fingers through his hair.
Now, what do I do here? Do I choose total transparency and tell him of my clearly unwarranted fear? What if it wasn’t unwarranted? Do I mention the shadow? What if I was just seeing things?
I rubbed my head again. “I’m settled. And, yes, the power flickered, but I chose to shut off the lights so I could enjoy the beautiful storm…Would you like to come in and warm by the fire with some hot cocoa?” I met his eyes, happy to see a slight twinkle within coupled with warmth. Though it’s dark the lighting was able to give enough luminance to reassure me. It made me smile and I am sure I blushed. Fortunately, I had the foresight to turn off all light. Stella would love this. If she were here, she would wink at me and then elbow my ribs.
He returned my smile, “I would love nothing more, but I still have a handful of patrons to check in on. We have a few other families visiting the cabins this week…” He paused in a moment of pondering. My heart was still beating rapidly, however the circumstances had changed.
“Raincheck?” He reached for his hat, placing it upon his luscious blonde hair. He paused in the open door, half in, half out awaiting my response.
“Uh-huh…” I am so eloquent…not! He was gracious enough to smile, and then he tipped his hat and was gone.
As I stared at the door, I thought about calling Stella to share this visit with her. Then I thought about Stella and how long I would be on the phone and felt my body screaming at me in agony from need of sleep. Choosing slumber over gossip, I put on my pajamas and brushed my teeth. Normally I read in bed a bit before lights out, but tonight my eyes did not want to focus.
I was dead to the world upon resting my head on the amazing feather pillow, taken to another place within the dimensions of my mind.
Floating on clouds, I approached a shimmering rainbow I wanted to slide down. Focusing my thoughts on said rainbow I was magically sitting on it. As the air rushed through my long brunette hair, I became invigorated. Laughs escaped from me, freedom wrapped itself around my being, and my thoughts were full of joy.
I wanted to ride this rainbow forever. Then I fell vertically, slipping right off the rainbow into a dark hole. Fear and confusion quickly replaced joy and laughter. Whispers assaulted me from everywhere. I felt a shudder, my momentum interrupted. Everywhere I turned, blackness, though I was under a spot light. The whispers echoed, haunting me. I tried but failed at making out their words. Petrified, I closed my eyes, trying to will myself back into my cloud floating dream. I did not go back to that wonderful dream…
The room, lavender walls from the whitewashed chair rail up the sloped ceilings. There were two windows, one to my right and a dormer directly in front of me. They were dressed in flowing white curtains possessing a minimal floral print. Something was different. The curtains are normally still, not flowing. This is odd. Why are the windows before me becoming larger?
My heart was racing. My palms felt sweaty. The pit of my stomach burned with nausea. Outside of the shift in room perspective, I was still outside of my body. As I approached the window, I heard a voice shouting at me from within: “NO!”
My senses heightened, coldness enveloped my body. I tried to stop, but the moment I entered this lavender nightmare I lost all control of my dream. The window grew in size. The anticipation of what was outside became an unbearable animal trying to break free of a cage. As much as I did not want to see what was out there, I could not help but wish to see in hopes the nightmare would be over.
There was a flash of light accompanying a sudden pressure within my ears, as an earsplitting sonic boom echoed around me. The explosion rocked me backward, everything in slow motion. The ringing in my ear became exacerbated as silence consumed the space. I fell backward, an irrepressible scream commenced.
I just fell…
Terrified, the scream encompassed my entire being, foreseeing the inevitable death awaiting me upon my landing – I’M GOING TO DIE!
I slowly came to the realization I was stuck in a dream, transitioning into reality. Still screaming with all of my might in hopes of being saved, I was aware that not a single sound was escaping my mouth. I felt frozen in the arms of fear, unable to move a single muscle.
Finally my eyes opened, reveling in the rays of sunlight streaming through the windows. Heart still pounding, I sat up looking about the room disoriented in my surroundings. It took me a moment to recognize that I was not at home in my bed, but in the cabin retreat. My breaths became regulated as my heart slowed. I let my head fall back to the pillow, covering my face with my hands. “It was just a dream. A dream…”