I look around the dark, dusty room frantically, trying to sort out my thoughts. We have to get out of here. I look over at my friend and he seems to be doing the same thing, his eyes darting from the door to the man pacing back and forth. He looks so small and scared and I wonder if I do, too.
How did this happen? It seems like just moments ago we were two regular ten-year-old boys playing catch in the park. How did we become two children cowering and trembling in a windowless room?
The man was whispering angrily into the phone, walking from the door to the opposite wall and back again, restless. I considered trying to get to the door while his back was turned, but I wasn’t sure if I could reach the large, silver latch that kept us trapped inside.
Suddenly I hear a beep and realize the man has turned off his phone. He starts to head towards the door with more purpose than he had been pacing with. This was our chance. He didn’t even look back as he unlocked the door and started to push it open. I grab my friend’s arm and he looks at me with wide, fearful eyes. I shove him towards the door with all my might and we both take off.
We push past the confused man, running as fast as our legs will take us. Through long and unfamiliar hallways, we run. Suddenly, I realize my friend isn’t with me anymore. I start to slow down to look for him when I hear the man approaching behind me. I see an open window in the run-down bathroom at the end of the hall in front of me and pump my legs harder. I see my friend run by outside the window, along the old train tracks, and my heart starts to race a little, because I know I’m almost free. I barely slow down as I leap onto the lid of the cracked toilet to jump out the window when I feel two large hands wrap around my waist. I’m thrown to the ground, my hands grabbing at the sink, trying to keep from falling. I land hard on the faded tile and start to scramble for the door. The man lifts me from the middle and pins me against the wall at eye level, growling. I start to kick and scream and wave my arms around with every ounce of energy I have left in my body, despite being no match for this grown man’s strength.
Just then, I realize that I’m grasping onto something. In my fall, I had grabbed an old razor off the battered sink and had instinctively tightened my fist around it. I hesitate, but as the man shifts his grasp to place one hand square across my chest and the other around my neck, I know I have no choice. I start to scream at the top of my lungs and thrust my hand deep into his throat. Blood follows the blade as I remove it as quickly as I had stabbed it in. Frantic and terrified, I keep stabbing. Over and over. Swiping and jabbing. The red stands out so bright against the dull, grey room…
I awoke with a scream in the back of my throat. My heart thudded in residual fear and my eyes were open wide. I quickly survey the dark room. My window. My blanket. My bed. My room. I’m safe. I’m fine. It was a dream. I sit up and look at the clock, 5am. Still time to dream something else in its place. I close my eyes to take a deep breath and immediately am overwhelmed with images of a glistening blade and crimson spreading over my arms, the floor…
I shake my head to rid myself of those thoughts. What an awful way to wake up. I’ve had weird dreams before, but rarely are they quite this disturbing. And never so sequential. Never so clear.
And I’ve certainly never been a 10 year old boy in them.
Only once before have I ever attacked anyone in my dreams. I had dreamed that a man came up from a vent in my bedroom floor [that only existed in my dream world] and attacked me so I had to beat him with a baseball bat. Other than that, I have never harmed another dream soul. I’ve been harmed…got bit by a vampire once. Nothing quite like this. I racked my brain, trying to remember what I had watched right before bed…Nothing called to mind images of kidnapping and such violence.
Afraid to go back to sleep, but too tired to consider getting up, I remembered something my Nana always used to do if I woke up from a bad dream while she was babysitting. I flipped over my pillow.
Eventually I doze off again, but it is an interrupted, restless sleep.