I’d laid my head down on the table just minutes earlier, but I could swear I felt warm hands on my shoulders, shaking me. I shot upright in the chair, turned to see Jake behind me, a wide smile on his face.
“Musta fell asleep babe.” He gave me a wink and went to pour a cup of coffee, at a coffeemaker I didn’t recognize, on an unfamiliar marble countertop.
I looked around, and realized it was all different. The table wasn’t a table but a bar, and the kitchen was a wide-open layout, with an island in the center where the stove was. I smelled the aroma of bacon mized with the coffee as he set a plate of bacon and toast in front of me.
“Gonna be late babe, what the hell are ya doin? Nappin’ down here?” He laughed softly, his eyes bright with happiness at my bewildered look. “You wanna take him to school on your way or should we let him ride with me on the bike?”
I was utterly lost, looking at Jake like he’d lost his mind.
“What?” I asked him, and his face contorted in a confused mask.
He went to answer me, but he was cut short by heavy footsteps bounding down the stairs.
I gasped, my heart skipping a beat when I saw a blond boy round the corner. He must have been at least 12, and his hair was wild, so much like the Jake I remember.
He looked at Jake, mimicking his confusion.
“Mom forgetting things again?”
MOM?! I looked at Jake, then back at the beautiful boy now standing next to him. As I looked closely, I saw a gold band on Jake’s finger, and wrinkles around his eyes as he smiled. Then I caught my reflection in the mirror of the stainless steel refridgerator.
I was at least 40, maybe older. My God…
“Yeah, think she’s hit her head or somethin’…”
I smiled at the boy, years now flying back to me in a rush.
A wedding. A birth.
Dawson… I smiled a bright beaming grin, and Jake echoed it.
“Forgetting? I’m not that old kid.” I snorted and pulled my son into my arms, hugging him tightly, kissing his perfect blond head.
As I looked back up at Jake, the sun shining through the window began to darken. With it’s enlighting rays went my view of Jake, then of the boy. I felt him dissipate into smoke in my arms, and everything changed. I was no longer in the bright kitchen, but in a dark, cold place. My arms were now wrapped around bars.
I saw blond hair, but not that of a smiling 12 year old. This man I knew all too well.
“Well well, dreaming again? Keep it up sweetheart. That’s the only way you’re getting out of here.”
Adam laughed as he walked down the hall, and I saw my hands and arms more clearly. Covered in scars, deep gashes that were healing slowly, I didn’t recognize myself. I was maybe the same age I had just been, but I felt so much older.
Where was Jake? Where was my son?
New, different, horrible memories flooded back to me, bringing me to my knees.
Jake, gone, Tray coming to the Pits to tell me he’d left. This time for good.
I fell to my knees, hearing the sobs rip through my chest. I’d been here ever since. I had no interest in life without him. So I’d spent every day in the cell, never going outside, never seeing the sunlight…even shifting in this box, to avoid the off chance I’d run into him.
I curled in on myself, the pain fresh and new, like it had just happened. I held onto the image of the smiling boy, and of Jake, pouring coffee, like it was the last glimpse I’d had of paradise. A visitor to some sacred land.
With a wave of my hand, one of the bars came loose, and I wrenched it from the door, the end sharp and ragged. I smiled a last gnarly, broken smile and took the bar in both hands, shoving it deep in my chest. I watched Jake and Dawson walk out of the house, holding my cup of coffee, grasping the image with my mind as I felt the warm, sweet blood pour down my chest, my last ragged breaths rattling from my lungs. Jake turned as he made it to the door, in time to see the mug slip from my hands.
He seemed to think for a moment, then turned back and walked through the door.
I wondered why he didn’t turn around, but something I heard yelled through the deep fog of my dream seemed to make it make sense.
“You can forget the house, ya can forget all this…and here I thought you were the one.”
I looked down to see my chest heave a last breath, and then I was on the cold dirt, feeling death coming swiftly. As the sweet relief of my last breath left my body, I jerked ramrod straight in my own kitchen chair, gasping for air.
Just a dream…but the relief of death in my dream was just that. Relief.
From a dream to a nightmare. only this time, I was very much awake.
- abbymasonwolf posted this