Chapter 4, The Stairs
I shut the door behind me, leaning my back against it as I slid down the wood panels. Tears slipped from my eyes, rolling toward my chin. I couldn’t stop it. I ran through the day in my head: Bad dream…Sunshine…Coffee…Stunning women…Woman freaked…Todd…Ah, the sheriff…Shopping…Lunch…Motorcycle ride–Exhilarating…Overlook Pass–me crazy?
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“Ivy, are you OK?” Concern dripped from his lips. Why is he looking at me like that?
“Uh, yeah, I think…” I look around, feeling darkness very near. I hear a shuffle in the bushes. My head snaps. Is that a shadow? Is it the same shadow from the cabin? “Did you hear that?” I ask, voice beginning to shake. I’m not even able to appreciate the amazing view, though somehow it is a memory. I hear voices, hushed voices. Everything shifts. Wait, did it shift? The light seems diffused, edges of my periphery hazy.
Someone reaches out and touches me. I yelp, jumping out of my skin. The shadow darts from the bushes towards the trail. “Ivy…” What a beautiful voice…A voice that doesn’t fit with where I am. “Ivy, what’s going on?” I feel that I am teetering between two time periods…
I close my eyes; take a deep breath, count to ten, and then dare to open my eyes again. I am blessed with the vision of Todd before me, his face pained taking from the joy I felt seeing him within my sights. “Yeah, I’m fine.” Do I play off that nothing happened, or do I divulge my crazy to him? Maybe I’ll start somewhere in the middle, “Did you see that shadow over there within the bushes?” I asked pointing behind him.
The bushes I speak of span from the hiking trail to the edge of the cliff, enclosed by a railing. They are thick and luscious, possessing beautiful pink flowers. To my right is the cliff’s drop, opening up to a valley with a wide river. There are steep stairs winding down the side of the slope to a dock with a pavilion. To my left, the hiking trail runs parallel to the cliff’s edge connecting two parking lots together. This place feels so familiar, it’s surreal. But, how do I know this place?
Todd turns around, as if noticing the bushes for the first time. “No, I didn’t notice, however,” he turned his attention back to me, smile forming in the corners of his mouth, “I’ve been too busy taking in the lovely view.” His stare penetrates me, as if he can see right into my soul. While slightly unsettling, I revel in it. “Seriously, though, Ivy, are you OK?”
I sigh, looking back behind him one last time before answering, “Yes, I’m fine. Sorry.” I am unable to recapture the moment from before I vacated this potential romantic juncture with Todd. He notices. With kindness he takes my hands and a step closer, “Why don’t I take you back to your cabin. We’ve been in the sun all day and – don’t take this the wrong way – you look like you could use a nap.”
Relief and disappointment wash over me…
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I’m being dragged up the stairs, not understanding what is going on. My dress catches. Fear emanates from the woman pulling me up the stairs, her grip like a vice. I am not fighting, though I clearly am not moving fast enough. A door opens and I am pushed through. “You know what to do, Ivy.”
She slams the door, I hear the lock click. I sit in the middle of the dark room, trying not to cry…
I begin to spin, grasping for something to hold onto. It is dizzying. I have no idea what is up or what is down. I am rotating so quickly everything becomes horizontal blurs of color. Short clips of breath are all I hear. I assume they are mine. My arm throbs from the woman’s talons. I am scared. I am cold. I am lost…
The spinning begins to slow. I close my eyes, nausea prominent within my stomach. I have stopped. I wait for the feeling of disorientation to dissipate; feeling as if my being is swaying from side to side, though my body is still…I open my eyes.
The room, lavender walls from the whitewashed chair rail up the sloped ceilings. There are two windows, one to my right and a dormer directly in front of me. They are dressed in flowing white curtains possessing a minimal floral print. The curtains flutter, the windows grow in size.
My heart is racing, my palms sweaty. The pit of my stomach burns with nausea. This time, I do not see the brown haired girl’s braid before me. I see everything through my eyes only. This intensifies the ominous throbbing of the room. I still have no control over my being. As I approach the window, I hear a voice shouting at me from within: “NO!”
My senses heightened, coldness envelopes my body. The anticipation of what is outside is an unbearable animal trying to break free of a cage. As much as I do not want to see what is out there, I cannot help but wish to see in hopes the nightmare will be over.
A flash of light, a sudden pressure within my ears, an earsplitting sonic boom; the explosion rocks me backward, everything moves in slow motion. The ringing in my ear becomes exacerbated as silence consumes the space. I fall backward, an irrepressible scream commences.
I just fell…
I sat straight up, a board whose spring had been let loose. I concentrate on my breathing, focusing on slowing my heart. I succeed much quicker than the previous morning. I patter to the kitchen to make coffee. I need coffee – Strong coffee.
There is a nagging feeling rolling around my mind. There was something so familiar about the stairs I was being pulled up in my dream. And that voice, it felt like I had heard my name and that voice connected before. The edges of my brain were being tickled by the tattered fringes of a memory. While I am still at a loss over the meaning of these dreams, I truly believe that I am getting closer to understanding them.
As I appreciate the surrounding greenery from the kitchen window, coffee in hand, I hear a THWAP on the door, closely followed by a thud on the porch. Curiosity peaked I walk to the door to peer through the peep hole, nothing there. Feeling brave, though not sure why, I open the door and venture out onto the porch. I stumble over something and looking down see the culprit: a newspaper.
A soft breeze lifts up a few wisps of hair; the morning sun’s light dances among the trees. Picking up the paper, I take a seat on the porch swing. The paper is a weekly events paper for the tourists. It looks as interesting as it possibly can. As I leaf through the programs and events offered for the next week, I mull over the aspects of my dream that have changed.
The first change: I began outside of the lavender room. I will admit that I am not sure that this part of the dream coincides with the lavender room, but something tells me they are connected somehow. The other change: I am the girl. I always knew I was the girl in the dream before, but usually I was outside looking in. This time, I was within the girl, within myself.
Ready for a refill, I walk back into the house, the hall and staircase illuminated by the outside light from the open door. The staircase! I flashed back to my dream. I was dragged up those stairs!
Unable to contain myself, I set my mug down on the floor and ran up the stairs. At the top was a very small loft overlooking the family room and the foyer, only about six feet by six feet. Crossing over the hall below, I came upon a couple of steps that led to a door. This is exactly like my dream!
I feel warm, my heart beating faster. The memory of my dream fills me up. Palms sweaty, breathing clipped. I reach out to touch the knob, slowly turning it. Only, it does not budge. The room is locked! Then I remember hearing the click of the lock falling into place from my dream.
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What is behind the locked door? Who is the woman from Ivy's dream?
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