446 words. You fled from something in a dream. You awake to find that you cannot flee.

You had a dream last night. You dreamt that you were running from something late at night. It wasn’t normal. You never got a good look at it, but you knew that if you didn’t run it would catch up. Eventually, you slipped and fell into a deep, deep chasm.

You wake up this morning. You are in your room, thank god. Nothing is broken. You can’t find any scabs- though you often have scratches you don’t remember getting. It was just a dream. The sky is still blue, you are still alive, and your stomach can still growl.

You go out for breakfast and see someone in the kitchen, cooking. They’re a friend, they were over last night and were too drunk to drive home, so you let them crash on your couch. That explains the nightmare. Your dreams were addled by alcohol.

You call out their name, greet them. They turn around to face you and there’s nothing. There’s just a hole. A maw. The dream returns to you. The chasm was filled with red. Swirling, mortifying red. So is their face. You stumble backward, and fall down.

“Whoa, hey, what’s the worry?” They ask you. They start walking towards, but your fear overrides that. You scramble through the nearest door, slamming it shut and locking it as fast as you possibly could. “Hey, are you okay?” They call out.

Your breathing is ragged. You didn’t go to sleep last night. You tried to walk your friend home. They didn’t drive to your house- they don’t even own a fucking car.

They were the creature, weren’t they?

“This is going to sound crazy,” they say to you, “but I need you to look into the mirror.” You look into the room that you locked yourself into. It was the bathroom. You didn’t even realise.

Your heart pounds faster after realising this. You did fall into that chasm. You were consumed by that terrible, terrible color. Your body was ripped into pieces, yet you could still feel every single piece missing from you. It didn’t even hurt.

“Look, I know this is a little weird. Might take some getting used to,” they try to comfort you,“ but this is our life now. This is who we are.”

You look into the mirror. You didn’t wake up. You never went to sleep. You died. This isn’t your home. This isn’t even your reality.

“No…” is the only word you can manage out. “Estamos juntos en esto, amige,” they say, in their native tongue. You’re still not the best at Spanish, but you know this phrase. They’ve told you what it means. ‘We’re in this together, friend.’

Author: Kay Walker

I write short stories, and post them to my site justmynarratives.com

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