Tea Leaves and Sapphire Earrings

Dreams, Pipeline, and Promise

Match Eight: Dreams, Pipeline, and Promise:

-Ju-

I am six months pregnant now.

I am starting have strange dreams again. But these were different. I always woke up with a sense of foreboding. My heart always felt so heavy.

“Is something wrong?” Yao asked. I shook my head. How do I explain this?

“Nothing,” I lied. “It’s just pregnancy stress.” He never questioned it. I know that I shouldn’t do this again. But how do I tell him the truth? “Honey, I am starting to have weird dreams again. They are just that weird.”

Last night was no different.

Howling winds hurt my ears. Think of a dog whistle blowing right next to you repeatedly. It’s so dark around me too. I held out my hand but I couldn’t see it. The cold stung at my skin. My lungs ached as I walked. But I was not alone.

I slowly turned my head.

“Who’s there?” I asked. No one ever answered. But I wasn’t alone. I didn’t know what they were or what they wanted. They didn’t try to do anything to me. Instead, they just watch me.

I had no choice but to keep walking. Where could I go? I didn’t know how I got there in the first place. Even Little Bean was still inside of me. I worried that they might be dead. I pressed my hand to my stomach.

My feet started to hurt. Almost like walking on spikes. I think I might have left bloody footprints in my wake. I just held my stomach, trying to wake up my child.

Suddenly, I heard the sound of steel striking against each other.

I turned and looked ahead of me. A small speck of red started to form in the sky. What was that? I walked towards it without a thought in my head. The howling of the winds had suddenly stopped when that light appeared. My feet stopped hurting too. The wind changed to that steel striking each other.

Wait, what was that?

I had to walk and find out. The sound got louder above my head. It was then I noticed that the ground got harder. Almost like rock and soil. The sudden change of temperature in the air about made me fall over. The heat stung my face. I could barely see anything. It felt like my eyes were swollen shut. The whole time, Little Bean did not respond. Were they still alive?

Suddenly, the heat turned itself down. I lowered my hand and opened my eyes. A desert landscape awaited me. Brown and red as far as the eye could see. I stopped just at edge that dipped downwards. When I looked down, I got a good look down at the source below.

The people looked like ants below. They looked to be making something. I had to walk down for a look. It was not easy to walk through sand in real life. Imagine it up to your waist. Yes, it was that bad. The sounds grew louder as I got closer. I began to see what the people were doing.

It looks like a pipeline.

People were working on a giant pipeline that led across the desert. Their sledgehammers beat against the fresh steel. The more I watched, the more questions I had. What were they building this pipeline for? What would it connect to? Who wanted this created?

I couldn’t stop walking closer to the pipeline. I could hear the steel calling to me. Its voice sounded like singing. I walked further down the sandy hill. The workers could not see me. Some of them collapsed from exhaustion while they worked on the pipeline. I didn’t think they would get back up again. The remaining workers stepped over the bodies to keep working. A pang of sadness filled my chest just watching.

Suddenly, someone or something grabbed me by the wrist. I whipped my head around.

“What?” I asked.

I felt a sharp kick in my stomach. I about jumped at the sensation. Little Bean! Another kick came to my stomach. They were still alive?

The force started to drag me up the sand hill. The pipe shrank out of view. I could still hear it calling me.

Suddenly, I rose in the sky. Wait, where was I going? Then I heard a soft whisper in my ears.

“Don’t go down there.”

I turned my head. There was no one there. Yet, they were still speaking to me.

“You can’t go down there. They need you. I need you.” That last part sounded like a child. My body went limp. Well okay, then. I will not go down there. I just let the unseen force take me away.

And then I woke up.


-Reality-

I sat up in my bed the next morning. My room looked the same as it always did. I could feel Little Bean kicking again. I moved my hand to my stomach. Glad to see they are still okay.

“Oh, you’re up,” I heard Yao say. I looked and saw him at my full-length mirror.

“Uh-huh,” I said.

“Sleep well?” he asked. I paused. I still couldn’t tell him the truth. I couldn’t make out that pipeline myself.

“Actually… I have been having dreams again,” I admitted. Yao walked over to our bed.

“Ju…” he said. I shook my head.

“I will be okay,” I said. “There are other things we have to worry about.”

“But…” Yao said. I gently took him by the face.

“I will be fine,” I said. “Things will get better when we have Junjie and Jianjun rightfully punished.” My husband stared at me. I dropped my shoulders.

“What do I have to do to prove it to you?” I asked. Yao kissed me on the forehead.

“Take a rest today,” he told me. I stared at him with big eyes.

“You can’t be serious,” I said.

“I am, my dearest,” he said. I frowned.

“Oh come on,” I whimpered. “You keep cutting me off from everything.”

“You need to rest,” Yao insisted. “We have three more months left. I am putting you on maternity leave right now. Do not argue with me, please.” I frowned as I puffed up my cheeks.

“Fine,” I grumbled. “Can I at least read over paperwork in bed?”

“No,” he said.

“Please?” I asked.

“Maybe later,” my husband said. He gave me a quick kiss on the lips and walked over to the wardrobe. I groaned as I flopped back onto our bed. I can’t this anymore.

“Ass,” I muttered to myself.

“You say something, dearest?” I heard Yao ask. I didn’t answer.

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