A dagger to the heart, believe it or not, hurts like hell.
I wouldn’t have been this nonchalant about it if it were my first time, but after being stabbed over seven hundred times - give or take - the whole thing had lost its novelty.
I figured the universe had a sick sense of humor, or I was an awful person in a past life, because the nightmare never changed. It never ended early either, for all of my attempts to wake myself up, I had to see it all the way through. The dagger piercing through my heart was the only way out of this torment.
I rubbed my chest with my fist as I rose from my bed, the phantom pain unleashing a tidal wave of barely suppressed emotions and unanswered questions. A quick glance at my phone informed me that it was a few minutes past four a.m. and I knew that sleep was a lost cause. My room was engulfed in silence, the only sound in my ears was the loud and frantic beating of my heart.
A miserable sigh escaped my lips. To say I was getting sick and tired of this nightmare would be a laughable understatement.
As my nerves calmed down and my heartbeat slowed, I decided to go down to the kitchen and make myself something to eat. I always craved something sweet when I was distraught, a habit I had picked up from my father. I went down the two flights of stairs as sneakily as I could manage, trying so hard not to wake my parents up-again. The nightmare made them worry a lot and so as time went by I had stopped sharing my horrific night visions with them and turned to food instead. My mother would sometimes find me in the kitchen -no matter how silent I try to be- and I would just pretend to be getting a midnight snack, assuring her that everything was fine and that she should go back to sleep. Everything was far from fine, of course, but there was no need to ruin her night as well.
Once I was in the kitchen, I headed for the cabinets without turning the lights on (you can never be too careful when your parents have incredibly strong senses) and got the Nutella jar out. Fetching a spoon, I scooped some delicious hazelnut chocolate into my mouth and sighed, wondering when life got so stressful to the point I would find myself awake in the darkest hours of the morning. I couldn’t remember a time where I would sleep through the night and I would often ask myself if there was ever a time where I wasn’t a gigantic ball of stress, anxiety and night terrors. I jumped up on the counter and tucked my legs under me, savoring the taste that soothed my soul.
After a few minutes I decided I had had enough, so I jumped off, dropping the chocolate covered spoon on the marble floor in the process.
As if this night wasn’t annoying enough already.
I sighed as I grabbed a cloth from the counter, setting out to wipe up my mess, when all of a sudden it caught on fire. I yelped in surprise and threw it on the floor. “What the hell?” I half whispered, half screamed. I wasn’t using the stove or a match and there was absolutely no fire source of any kind around. I was about to stomp the fire with my foot when just as suddenly as it started, it fiddled out.
“What on God’s green earth was that?” I exclaimed louder than I should have, still too dazed to make sense of the situation.
“What was what?”
“Mom!” I jumped ten feet in the air. For all my efforts not to attract attention I had failed and my mother woke up. She stood at the door, looking poised in her pink silky robe. Her fiery red hair was swept up in a classy chignon that looked far too complicated for this early hour of the morning. It was only four A.M but my mother looked as beautiful and as composed as ever.
“Lilith, honey what’s wrong? Why are you up so early?” She came closer, eyeing me carefully. She glanced over at the counter, took account of my late night snack, and turned back to me. “Are you having nightmares again?” she asked softly, wrapping her arms around me.
“No mom, I’m fine. I was just hungry,” I said. I was honestly far from fine, between the nightmare and the freak accident earlier I was sure I was losing my mind, but I didn’t want to bother my mom, especially since I couldn’t even begin to explain what happened.
“Are you sure sweetie? You know you can talk to me about anything.” She smiled at me, a warm, comforting smile that managed to always make me feel better, and I smiled back.
“I know mom. You have nothing to worry about.” I washed the spoon and headed for the door. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to sleep. Goodnight mom, I love you.”
“I love you too Lilith,” She said as I walked up the stairs and back to my room.
Alone again, my mind started to race. There was no possible explanation for what happened with the cloth that I started doubting it even had happened in the first place. I was sleep deprived, tired and emotionally drained from the reoccurring nightmare that I had to have imagined it, right? How else would you explain a kitchen cloth catching fire all by itself?
I pulled my white hair out of my face and sat on the bed. My usually bright golden walls looked dark and somber, a perfect reflection of the night outside and the mood inside. Flashbacks from the nightmare combined with the fiery cloth invaded my thoughts, and even as I closed my eyes they refused to go away. I lay back in my bed, hoping that the darkness would consume me just as it did the world outside my window, and slowly but surely, it did.
I drifted back into a dreamless slumber.
An obnoxious ringing pulled me out of my deep sleep, and I opened my eyes to find myself tangled in between my blankets. I groaned, burying my face deeper in my pillow and cursing the day I forgot to deactivate my stupid alarm clock. It was eight in the morning and my foggy mind somehow put together that I had four hours of undisturbed sleep. I managed to stretch my arm long enough to knock the clock off of my bedside table, silencing it in the process.
“Thank God,” I mumbled, feeling satisfied as the silence took over my room again. My eyes started to get heavier, and I began to drift once more, grateful for not having any plans this weekend and I get to sleep in as much as I need. But my satisfaction didn’t last for long, for seconds later my lovely parents burst into my room, smiling brightly and saying their good mornings as loud as humanly possible so early in the morning. I winced slightly as my mother opened my curtains, letting the sunlight bounce off my walls in a golden hue. When my eyes finally adjusted to the bright light, I stared at my parents dumbfounded. My mother, in all of her glory and pink robe, stood smiling like an angel next to my father who was holding a giant cake in his hands.
“Mom, dad, what’s going on?” I asked, as confused as ever. Was I missing something?
“It’s your special day princess,” My father answered cheerfully as he came over and sat on the edge of my bed.
“Happy birthday, my sweet Lilith,” My mother said softly, pulling me into a tight hug.”
“Oh. It’s been two years already?” I felt a tight pang in my chest.
My parents considered this day to be a happy occasion, the day I was brought into their lives and became the daughter they never had. I, however, saw it differently. This was the day I had lost everything. On this day two years ago, I lost my memory, my family and my life. I had no recollection of what my life was like before that day, or what was it exactly that caused this sudden memory loss. I just knew that I had this gaping hole in my soul that no amount of birthday cakes, celebrations or gifts could ever fill. I had asked my adoptive parents several times about what they knew of me, but every time I got the same answer and it always left me unsatisfied. I was dropped at their door by a stranger who found me injured, bleeding and unconscious. They claimed to have no idea who that stranger was, or why he would bring me to them instead of taking me to a hospital to get treated. Nevertheless, I was eternally grateful for them for taking me in and taking great care of me. I may not have known who my real parents were, but right then it didn’t matter, especially considering the fact that no one looked for me for two entire years.
Nathaniel and Genevieve Ignis were my parents and they were looking at me with all the love and tenderness a girl could ever need.
“That cake looks delicious,” I held back my tears and smiled at them. “Chocolate?” I asked.
“We wouldn’t dare get you anything else.”
Dad held the cake closer to me, urging me to blow out the candles. I took a deep breath and blew as my parents proceeded to sing me happy birthday. It was loud and out of tune, but I didn’t care because I wouldn’t trade this moment for anything in the world.
“I love you guys so much,” I said as I pulled them into a tight hug.
“We love you too princess.” My dad beamed as he tried to balance the cake on one hand and hold me with the other. “Now get ready and come downstairs, your mom made your favorite breakfast.”
“Chocolate chip pancakes?” I beamed hopefully.
“Your obsession with chocolate is beyond me,” My mother laughed. “But yes, your pancakes are waiting.”
“I’ll be right down.” I bounced off my bed. “And don’t hate on the chocolate mom, it’s one of the best things on this planet.” I grabbed my towels and hurried into my bathroom, welcoming my warm shower with a deep, satisfied sigh.
Twenty minutes later, the calmness and relaxation brought about by my shower vanished into thin air. All thoughts of the nightmare and the fire from last night were-temporarily- put aside as I focused on my new mission, finding my god damned phone.“Where did it go?” I mumbled as I searched through the drawers of my night stand. I huffed in annoyance when I didn’t find it in there as well and I bent down to search for it under the bed. I was more than excited to rush downstairs and dig into heavenly chocolate chip pancakes and my birthday cake but since I felt the need to constantly photograph every moment of every day, my phone needed to be found. To anyone looking in, I may have looked like a social media obsessed teenager throwing a fit over her phone, but the constant fear of losing everything all over again pushed me to document everything I could.
“Not here either...” I said with a pout as I stood up from the carpet. I scratched my forehead, trying my best to remember where I had last seen it, but my mind was blank. My frustration grew as I took a look at the mess I have created in my attempts to locate my precious device.
“Well, it can’t just disappear,” I mumbled and threw my pillow on the ground. “It’s not like I have a black hole in my room.” Checking again under my blankets, I started to wonder if there really was a portal to another dimension somewhere in this room; it definitely wouldn’t be the weirdest thing to happen around here.
“This is so frustrating!” I yelled, grabbing the blanket in an attempt to throw it on the ground next to its pillow friend, but to my utter shock, the blanket instantly caught on fire. It was so quick and so sudden that it took me a while to register what took place right in front of my eyes, but when I finally did , a loud and horrifying scream left my mouth and all I could do was watch as my bed was engulfed in bright orange flames.
Seconds later, my door flung open and my parents burst in, faces pale with shock and astonishment. They looked around my room, and when their eyes caught the fire, their expressions took a turn for the weird. I expected them to look afraid or confused or even dumbfounded, instead they looked relieved. They looked like they had finally gotten something they’d been expecting for a very long time. I however, was completely terrified. But to my utter dismay, my fear was soon replaced with confusion instead of relief.
In a situation where a huge fire was consuming your bed, blankets and walls, you’d expect someone to find a fire extinguisher and put it out or at the very least get a bucket of water and hope you don’t run out of energy before oxygen. What happened next was in no way possible. My father stepped forward, looking at the flames with what seemed to be pride, his deep blue eyes glistening, and with a flick of his fingers a drop of water formed right above his palm. The drop then started to grow bigger as my father turned his hand around in a circular motion, and soon enough, a stream of water appeared and took down the fire in a matter of seconds. My eyes almost bulged right out of my skull as my mind scrambled to come up with a logical explanation for what I have just witnessed. I looked at the spot where seconds ago a fire was burning high and hot and to my utter disbelief, it was all gone. My bed was intact, no traces of burns from the flames or even drops from the water. It all looked perfectly fine, as if what happened was just a figment of my overactive imagination.
“What the hell?” I whispered, suddenly finding it difficult to breathe.
“Honey,” my mother said as she took a step towards me, “I think it’s time for us to talk.”