"Come on, just five more minutes!" I mumbled at the clock that continued to shriek at me. I turned over and slammed my hand on the snooze button. I sighed at the instant silence. "Thank you, God." I said, and buried my head under the pillow and pulled the bright turquoise blue sheet and matching blanket overtop all. They were twisted halfway around my body from all the tossing and turning I'd done the night before.
All too soon the clock began to beep again. I sighed and popped my head out from under the blanket and pillows. I inhaled deeply, the cool air waking me up slightly. I shut off the alarm, knowing that if I let myself hit the snooze button and go back to sleep, I'd be late for class. I opened my eyes and was greeted by the sight of pale sunlight glancing off a slightly twirling prism. Rainbows played on every available surface, making me smile.
Sounds of early-morning traffic and people readying for work and school filtered in from the open window, and music played low on the cd-player. The ceiling fan swung around slow and steady, each revolution ending with a small, almost inaudible squeak.
With one last longing look at the bed, I climbed out of it. I began stripping off my knee length sleep shirt and my underwear as well, kicking them out of my way. I climbed into the shower in the adjoining bathroom. The spray was as heavy as it would go and the water was near scalding. I scrubbed my body with my favorite lavender scented body wash, and then washed my hair. Then I simply stood there, back to the spray, allowing the water to pound over my body, taking away the soreness of another restless, dream-filled night.
I stepped out of the shower and rubbed myself dry with an almost threadbare ivory-colored bath towel. "Reminder to me: Must get new towels." I told myself. I returned to my room and cranked the cd player, singing along as I pulled on clean underwear and a matching bra, both in a lovely lilac color. I yanked an almost-matching colored blouse, and buttoned it all the way to the throat with tiny mother-of-pearl buttons. Dark, brand-new blue jeans, socks and a pair of comfortable tennis shoes finished my outfit. Since it was still cool out, I put my jacket on, but didn't zip it. I put on very light makeup and lip gloss and felt like I was ready for the day.
For the finishing touch, I placed small gold hoops in my ears and placed a very special ring on the middle finger of my right hand. It was a man's ring, my father's ring. A large circle of platinum with a thumb-print sized square opal as the center stone, flanked on either side by triangular shaped blue-white diamonds which faced away from the opal. I rubbed my left thumb over the opal, always amazed at the fire contained within it. Sometimes it almost seemed to glow, the fire inside looked so intense.
It had been my father's. A man I didn't know, who I didn't remember, but was still a part of me. Even if this was the only thing I had to remember him by, it was something rather than nothing. Mom had told me that I'd also inherited his eyes, but Mom had green eyes the same color of mine, so I couldn't be so sure of that.
I looked into the mirror and grimaced at my still-wet hair. I slicked it back into a simple braid, the best I could do with it when it was wet. I wondered if I had inherited my father's hair as well. It was dark and curly, almost wild. I'd asked Mom once if my hair was more like hers or dad's, and she'd replied that she'd dyed and cut her hair so often that she didn't remember what her hair was like naturally anymore.
I grabbed my messenger-style bag and headed downstairs. Mom sat at the kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee. She looked up at me from her newspaper and smiled, her eyes still bleary from too little sleep and too much alcohol. "Morning, baby," she said to me. Her voice was gritty and low, her throat was probably sore from singing at the club the night before. She pulled a pack of cigarettes from her purse and lit one, taking a long drag before clamping it between fingers permanently stained yellow with nails that were an inch long and painted cotton-candy pink. Her fuschia-tipped blonde hair was slightly mussed from the few hours' sleep she'd gotten.
I grabbed a small bottle of water from the fridge as well as an orange. "Morning, Mom. How'd it go last night?" I asked, while peeling my orange carefully. I began sectioning it apart while listening to her answer.
"Last night went great! Full house and full tip jar. Murray was really hitting the high notes. Jim and Squirrel did terrific of course. How was your night? All your homework done? Any more strange dreams?"
"Wow, that's great mom!" I said, happy for her. "My night was boring, but good. Homework all done." I looked up at the clock on the kitchen wall. "Oh no! I've gotta go, I'm gonna be late!" I cried, dismissing her last question. I grabbed my bag and my water and tossed the last section of my orange into my mouth. I kissed mom on the cheek. "Bye, mom!" I yelled back at her.
"Bye, Allyna!" I heard her yell back, but I was almost out of hearing range. I climbed into the driver's seat of my mom's Jeep Cherokee and started the engine. A loud clunking sound made me cringe. Just what we needed, for it to fall apart on us. We'd just gotten it fixed a few weeks before. I slowly backed out of the driveway and pulled into the correct lane. After ten minutes, traffic cleared and I had a free and open drive.
As I drove, I thought about my Mom's question. Dreams, yes, there had been more dreams. Dreams of darkness, a scorched Earth that wasn't Earth. Of vast oceans and forests filled with strange creatures. Knights that wore silver armor and rode white horses. Too many fairy tales as a young child, I tried to tell myself.
As the traffic slowed, I stopped to pick up my best friend Tanya, noticing heavy black clouds forming as I pulled into her driveway. I got out of the car and yelled up at her open window. "Come on, woman, put a move on it! We're going to be late and it's going to rain!"
"I'm coming!" She leaned out the window and yelled back at me. She was still in her wildy colored purple and orange bra and sleep pants. I rolled my eyes in despair. We were definitely going to be late.
"Ok, but hurry!" I shouted, leaning against the car. I began to hum to myself and daydream about the hottest guy in our class, Jackson Mitzon, while waiting for Tanya, not even thinking about the coming storm. I'd never been afraid of storms in my life. I was like every other person, I was invincible. Or so I thought.
I heard a scream and looked up just in time to see an amazing blue-white light come crashing down around me. I could feel my hair raise from neck and felt pain shoot through me, coursing through my veins with my boiling blood. The world began to go hazy around me, colors faded and only shades of grey remained. I continued to hear screams, not knowing that they came from my own throat.
Then I lost consciousness, submerging myself into darkness and silence.