The Suspicious Dream
The suspicious dream
I am running barefoot through the forest.
The tree branches reach their gnarled fingers at me and tangle themselves in my hair, trying to pull every follicle out of my scalp.
I stop and take the knife strapped to my hip and slice off my hair, chopping it as short as a boy's.
I look back once, and see my dark veil fall to the ground, and for a moment, I wonder why it isn't in a braid.
But I can't lose focus.
Someone is chasing me.
They're fast. Faster than me.
Which makes me think that it might not be human. A lynx, a mountain lion, a wolf.
My lungs burn hotter as the sun goes down, but I keep running.
I run until I run out of forest.
The forest just ends. It ends like a short life.
One minute there is earth beneath my feet, and the next they're struggling in thin air, falling into the darkness below.
I give a terrified scream as I fall through the space, then I feel myself splatter onto some concrete, my bones flattening, my blood spilling, my lungs collapsing, my heart forfeiting.
I can hear someone wailing over my fallen body, his voice husky out of grief.
I can feel his fingers scrape at my pancaked organs. I can feel his tears mixing in with my blood as it flows away from it's origin.
He's calling my name in fright and pain, his lips kissing what used to be my head.
I didn't know people go on feeling even when they're dead. How incredibly terrible this is.
Being aware of your broken body for all eternity, and not able to move anything...is monstrous.
I'm thankful that I can be out in the open so my loose and rolling eyeballs can see what's around me, and not buried somewhere under the ground, where all you can see is dirt and worms.
Then something amazing happens.
With each kiss he gives me, Peeta puts me back together.
He directs the rivers of my blood on the concrete back into my veins.
He inflates my organs and swivels my eyes back into my skull. He hinges my bones back to their ligaments and sews my skin back together with pinpoints.
He blows his own air into my lungs and tells me he's falling in love with me, and that I can't die, because I'm his home.
My lungs begin to vacuum air on their own, my blood begins to clot, my muscles now in my control.
He doesn't say it, but he wants to shape my heart into one that will love him back.
But he knows that all he wants is purely me, with no changes.
He's prepared to live his life being just my friend.
I will not stand for that.
With my newly reconstructed arms, I take his face and press my lips to his.
He kisses me back and a fire and a love starts in my belly. I can taste his tears on my tongue.
He grips my head and kisses me back feverishly, whispering my name between each kiss.
As he holds me, I become a whole, scars are lifted off of my skin, sealed over with Peeta's amity.
My bruises turn yellow, my heart begins to pump.
I have to tell him the truth. So I do.
"I love you." I sigh.
"I love you." He says confidently. A kindness and a love reflecting onto me.
"Katniss! Wake up!"
I struggle to open my eyes, my lungs gasping in revelation.
Dreaming? That was a dream?
No! That can't have been. It was so awful, then so awfully amazing.
I did not want it to be a dream.
I finally conquer my heavy eyelids and see Peeta hovering above me.
His eyes frightened and perplexed.
"I couldn't wake you up! Do you know how much that scared me?"
"Sorry..." I murmur. "A bad dream."
I prop myself onto my elbows and blink at the sunlight streaming through my bedroom window. My heart begins to slow at the sight of him.
Peeta is sitting in the bed next to me, his mouth hanging open and hands shaking.
"Peeta it's okay. Really, I'm fine. Did I scream again?" I say turning my torso towards him. Though frightened looking, his eyes aren't dilated. I know I'm safe.
"Yes...I just never heard you scream like that before."
"I'm sorry, again. I thought maybe I wouldn't have nightmares anymore, but I guess not."
He looks at me as he reaches his hand at me and rests it on my cheek, then runs it through my loose hair.
"My hair..." I say softly. "I dreamed I had cut it."
"I figured it was something like that." Peeta says slowly. "You were clawing at it."
We're both quiet as we wait for my heart to slow. Peeta combs my hair with his fingers. We can hear Bird singing downstairs.
I think I hear Greasy Sae banging pots and pans around, and something delicious smelling floats into our nostrils.
"I'm glad you didn't cut it." He says then, his voice growing calmer. "I've always loved your hair."
"Thank you for staying with me." I say kindly, rapidly recovering from my dream.
With Peeta here, I've noticed, it takes less time to feel okay again.
"Your welcome." He says contentedly. "I enjoyed it...I mean, I didn't lose control, and that's a good thing."
I nod, realizing that I can't stop looking at Peeta's lips as he speaks.
"Want some breakfast? Sae's making something."
"Sure," he says as he throws the blanket off him and swings his legs over the side.
When we walk down the staircase, Greasy Sae sees us and for a split second I see her eyes widen, but then she goes back to her cooking and tries to hide her surprise at our sleepover.
Peeta is still wearing the same clothes he did yesterday, so he walks over to his house to change and bring more loaves of bread and art supplies.
I change and braid my hair back, and then sit at the table to wait for Peeta to return.
Out of the corner of my eye I can see Greasy Sae look me up and down to make sure I'm not hiding any bruises or cuts from him.
I pretend I didn't see her and try to remember the night before.
We had worked on our book, then Peeta had a flashback, he burned himself, tears, then we went upstairs.
How did we make that jump?
Better yet, what did my dream mean?
Do I really love him?
But my thoughts are interrupted by an athletic blonde boy as he lets himself into my house carrying a big box and more cheese buns.
He sets the box down in the living room and sits besides me at my kitchen table.
Greasy Sae feeds us our meal and then takes her leave, I call a thank you as she heads out the door. She seems surprised that I have remembered to thank her, but she just huffs a ' your welcome', and calls her granddaughter.
Peeta and I eat our meal quietly.
I can tell something is on Peeta's mind, so I try to work up the courage to ask him what he's thinking about.
"Penny for your thoughts." I say shyly.
He answers immediately, a fork halfway to his mouth.
"You said something in your sleep."
I only said one thing in my dream last night.
"Oh?" I say, trying to act nonchalant.
"Yeah," He says and takes a cheese bun from the basket. "I couldn't make it out at first. But then...I got it."
He looks at me, his expression looks like someone just said something funny.
But I don't remember cracking any jokes.
I struggle for words. "Well...what was it?" I cross my arms over my chest.
Peeta sets his fork down onto his plate and takes a swig of water from his glass. Afterwards he looks at me in the eye, a questioning look in it.
Seconds tick by.
We're still staring at each other, trying to figure out what the other one is thinking.
I think he can sense my awkwardness, I think he can see my discomfort.
"You were very upset about your hair. You said you regretted cutting it."
He shoves another cheese bun in to his mouth.
I take a sigh of relief. He knows what I was dreaming. I'm just glad he didn't say it out loud.
It was just a dream.
It didn't mean anything.
I will never tell him that I love him.
We finish our breakfast, and then work on our book in the living room.
We're both quiet as we think about what just happened.
I tell myself to forget about it, and focus on the page we're dedicating to Rue.
I carefully write about Rue's cleverness, about her singing voice and how she used to call District Eleven home after a hard day's work.
I write about how she used to jump from tree to tree and how she showed me where the Tracker Jacker's nest was.
When I finish writing, I lean over Peeta's shoulder to watch him work.
He's painted a beautiful, dark child on her tiptoes, eyes trained towards the sky. I give him a peck on his cheek and tell him it's beautiful, hoping it will help him relax.
We spend the rest of the day extra conscious of the other.
We often sneak side ways glances at each other.
When the day is done, Peeta takes me up the stairs again without a word. He tucks me in and kisses me again on the forehead.
"Thanks for not saying it." I say into the dark.
I can hear him grinning.
"It's okay. It was the thought that counted," He answers.
He chuckles and quietly falls asleep.