First Meetings Are Less Than Appreciated
I woke up suddenly and sat up in bed fast.
It was that stupid dream. Again.
Every single time I slept, up popped this dream. Every single time it just got weirder and weirder. The second time I dreamed it, a giant marble was watching me take the test. And every time after that, something began to form in the marble, like those old movies where the genie slowly shows up in the gem or something, but something tell me that it’s no genie.
Maybe I should cut back on the movies as well as the sleep. This can’t be healthy.
Especially for the sixth night in a row. And I sleep a good bit in between.
I blinked and rubbed the sleepiness from my eyes, and picked the salt specs that always show up at the edge of my eyes.
My room was still dark, but my eyes were quick to adjust. There were a stack of boxes about to block the door. We’d be moving out soon, and going back to the states. My clothes were all thrown into a pile, ready to take up all but one box. Into that one would go the books I brought and any souvenirs, like the marble whose twin decides to violate my dream world.
Or maybe it was the marble itself. It seemed to be less glassy these days.
No, that was nothing. Just my imagination.
I got out of bed. I was wearing my usually clashing blue shorts and a white T-shirt I didn’t know I had until I dug into a pile of clothes that hadn’t been washed in a week. Mom kept telling me to put my clothes in the laundry room that we didn’t exactly have instead of leaving them on the floor with my clean clothes, which should be packed away anyway.
I informed her there was no room to put my clean clothes. The floor was a good a place as any.
Which got her all teary eyed when she realized that this house (despite it being an apartment) was not big enough for all of us to live in, and somewhere she had done wrong.
Which made me feel bad for even suggesting it, which was exactly what she was trying to do anyway.
But luckily, we would be moving to Kansas, because Dad had things to do, and wanted to travel a lot more than being with a family allowed. So, he would leave Mom and I in the house he bought in Kansas, and let me go to public school for once.
As if I had argued. I like people well enough, but being crowded by them makes me nervous. I remember, one time I went to a class in a school in Idaho, and when the teacher was gone, all the kids crowded me and started asking questions and invading my personal space.
I started panicking, not because they were all looking at me, but because it was crowded and hot and I felt trapped. I retaliated by knocking several kids down in an attempted run to get to the bathroom so I could revisit my breakfast in private. I ended up only making it to the janitor’s trashcan a few steps out of the classroom.
Of course, it could be contributed to the fact that I had to eat all of my breakfast as celebration of my first day at middle school. Mom made eggs and toast and burnt the orange juice.
Anyway, Mom had to come to school and drag me away, and that was the last time I went to that school for learning. Three months later we packed up and went to Alaska, to check out some old settlements. Since then I’ve been at several schools, and I’ve never had such a bad problem as at middle school, but sometimes I still get a little nervous.
I looked out my window. The heat was sweltering, my shirt was sticking to my back. But outside it looked almost serene.
One of the world’s most deceptive pictures. It only looks serene until you walk outside and realize it’s actually hotter than the inside.
The moon was big and full, almost looking like it was going to fall out of the sky and bounce down the street.
Now that would be a sight.
I rubbed my shoulder and walked out of my room to get a drink from the kitchen. I passed by Mom and Dad’s room. There were loud snores erupting from behind the closed door.
I don’t know how Dad stands being next to her when she’s like that. For someone who considers herself a dainty flower, she sure doesn’t sound like one.
I passed the room and went to the kitchen and took out a paper cup from the dispenser. I went to the fridge and pulled out a jug of water. I poured myself a cup, then looked at the icy drops on the outside of the jug and then down at the sweat soaked shirt I was wearing.
Things that live in the fridge have a better life than I do.
I put the jug back into the fridge, then, as an afterthought, stuck my head into the cool vapor flowing out of the fridge. It felt wonderful.
“Honey, what are you doing with your head in the fridge?” Mom asked sleepily behind me.
“It feels nice, what are you doing up—” I choked on my water as I turned while taking a sip to face my mother. Her hair was up in curlers, and it looked like she had horns. And slugs stuck in her hair.
When my eyes picked up what they were, I shook my head and closed the door.
“Are you laughing at me?” She growled, which considering her current looks, made it sound about as dangerous as it was.
Talk about a question that should never be answered truthfully. I mean, answering a question like that was asking to be put six feet under.
“No, I was just surprised. My eyes play tricks on me at night, that’s all.”
“You should go back to sleep honey.”
“I just wanted to get a drink.” I said, half raising my cup.
“Alright. Just go to be soon.” She trundled off, probably forgetting what she got up for.
I gulped down the water fast. I threw the cup into the trash and walked back to my room. Loud snores came from the room of my parents, and I knew Mom had already fallen back asleep.
Delicate flower. Right.
I reached my room, squeezed past the boxes and lay down on the bed, the blankets all crumpled at the foot of the bed.
I reached my hand under the pillow and pulled out the marble. I was beginning to feel a little superstitious, with the dreams and all. But then again, the same thing started happening when Mom had just quit her job and had tried cooking for the first time in about twelve years.
And they were just dreams. Nothing big.
Even with the heat, I didn’t find it all that hard to sleep. And now I was slipping off again.
He was almost alive!
He…yes, he. No longer It. He would need a name soon enough. Perhaps she would give it, if she felt so inclined.
Strange…he had a name before…he can’t remember it anymore.
But that was no longer of consequence.
Because the dream was over. He now had the belief in place, and he could appear to her in her waking.
And that was exactly what he planned to do.
I woke up to ringing. The bell had ringed on my test, it was over. I don’t remember if I finished it. I might have gotten and F. I don’t care. It was getting tired of it. Every time I tried to get up to find a teacher or something, I found no doors. It was really irritating.
I got up on my elbows and searched for the clock whose alarm I never use. I found it on the ground, little red numbers displaying the time: 4:30 am.
I groaned slightly and considering getting out of bed, but I didn’t have anything to do. Mom and Dad wouldn’t be up for another hour, so watching the television that makes horrible screechy noises was not an option.
Though, if they could both sleep through Mom, they should sleep through that. But it was like the cussing thing. Mom would hear.
I flopped back down on the bed for a second. Then I sat straight up, intending to go to the kitchen for another glass of water.
But I was stopped by the furry rock I knocked my head against.
“Oww!” I hissed to myself, rubbing my forehead, not quite understanding what happened.
Then I realized that something was floating, floating in the air where my forehead had impacted.
I stared, and my mouth slowly went dry. I fumbled with the wall next to my bed, not remembering the light switch was by the door. My hand went too far, and I slipped off the bed and onto the floor, still trying to keep my eye on the floating mass in front of me.
I stumbled up and backed up and slapped the wall next to the door, and a couple of seconds of searching found the switch. I gripped the switch for a second, pausing, trying to decide if I wanted to see it in the light or not, than switched it on.
It was…a floating cat. In a blue waistcoat. With glasses. And it was rubbing its head.
I should not have eaten the casserole.
“I see you are awake, this is most good. We shall be good partners.”
“I must say though, I did not expect to be injured…why are you staring like that?”
My hand was beginning to shake. There was a talking, floating cat in my room.
“Are you alright?” It began to move forward.
And I did what I believe every sixteen year old that has an impossible hallucination floating towards them would do.
At first she didn’t know what she had woken up for. Then another scream ripped through the house.
She threw off the blankets with such force that she hit Edwin in the face with the covers. She immediately realized it was sweltering, but shoved that off in favor of the screaming girl down the hall.
She threw open the door, leaving a hole in the wall when the doorstop failed to catch the speeding door, and barreled down the hall as fast as her nightshirt would allow her.
The light was on in her daughter’s room, and she scattered the cardboard boxes in a manner that any football player would be proud of.
Helena was standing at the light switch, about to open her mouth to scream again, looking straight ahead.
“Helena!” She grabbed the girl’s shoulders, breaking the girl’s trance. Confusion, then a lost expression passed her face. “Helena! Are you all right?!”
“Mom?” Helena looked dazed, then turned suddenly to where she had been looking.
“What is it?” She asked, hushed by her daughter’s strange behavior.
“It’s gone.” Was relief or something else in the tone of her voice? She couldn’t tell.
“What is? Honey, you were screaming.” She looked down in concern, gripping her daughter’s shoulders.
“There was…I swear I saw…”
“What’s going on?” Asked Edwin as he stuck his head in the door. He seemed perturbed, to say the least.
“I thought I saw something.” Helena seemed to have shaken off whatever had caused her to stare off and make those strange comments.
“I think you may have been sleepwalking. You were standing next to the light switch and screaming, and you stopped when I grabbed you, you must have woken up.” She said, though part of her whispered that something else was going on.
“Yeah, that must have been it…” The daughter looked around, as if expecting her phantom to jump out at her.
“Well, we might as well start packing.” Edwin said as walked back into the hall. “We won’t get any sleep after this excitement.”
She wanted to turn around and glare at him, but Helena did seem alright, back to her old self.
“Sorry I woke you up, Mom.”
“Oh darling, you know I would come running if you screamed, everytime.” She said a little absently, still wondering about what had scared her. “Gp ahead and get dressed and start packing like your father says.”
She left Helena in her room, slowly picking up clothes and shoving them into boxes.
The first contact was less than helpful. And he was to blame. He had the form, but the way he appeared had less than impressed her.
He would have to study it more. She obviously was afraid. There could be so many reasons why.
And he’d have to be more careful. She was bigger than he was, and already had proved that she could hurt him.
Very well in fact—he was not immune to headaches.
I packed the last piece of clothing into the boxes Mom had scattered everywhere. It was the last thing I had to pack, and thankful of it. I’ve been living in this close space too long, and I’ve finally gone loopy.
Almost seven hours after my walking nightmare, I think literally, I was more than happy to be done and go out to the kitchen for some chow.
As I got up, I saw the marble.
It was sitting in the middle of the bed. I picked it up and examined it.
It was no longer glassy, not like a marble. It looked like there was a depth to it that I couldn’t see into.
And it was still as cool as it was the day I found it. But there was something underneath the surface of that glass, and I suddenly realized (how, I do not know) that if my little hallucination came from anywhere, it came from it.
I dropped the marble fast. I didn’t need to be thinking about that.
Talking cats. It was something out of a fantasy book. The kind kids believe in.
I’m way too old to believe in those sort of things. In my dreams, maybe.
“Helena! Come out and eat!”
Yes, food would be best. I walked towards the door almost mechanically/ And as for the marble…
It would be just fine on the bed. Even after I leave.