Sebastian The Traveler

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Chapter 4 - Avery

I flipped on the stereo looking for inspiration through the melancholy music that now filled the room. Turning around to head to my easel, I stopped abruptly. My eyes focused on the dresser to the right of me. I cocked my head to the side trying to remember if I had absentmindedly forgot the shut the drawers once I got my clothes out. Sometimes, I tend to do things on autopilot without being consciously aware, so it was possible...

But not probable.

I didnt open all the drawers. I was organized and tidy with everything. Even my clothes. My painting shirts were seperate from my regular shirts and those were seperate from my shorts.

Two drawers.

I had only opened two drawers. Which meant I also only needed to shut two drawers. All six drawers were out. I did not do that...

I looked around my apartment in pure confusion. Was someone playing a joke on me? I listened carefully, trying to determine if someone was in my apartment. There werent a lot of hiding spots in a studio apartment.

I slowly crept closer to the closet beside the dresser. Quietly placing my hand on the knob and preparing my body for a fast movement, I inhaled as silently as I could. What would I do if there was someone in my place? What could I do? I would be no match for a man. A woman I could take but statistically, females were not the most likely to be intruders.

Shit.

One quick turn of the knob and a hard yank... no one. No one was in there. I pushed some clothes aside just to quell my uncertainty, finding only what I had already known.

No one.

Slowly, I turned around, scanning my room again looking for another possible hiding spot. My eyes fell on the bed. I quickly tiptoed to it, falling on my knees I flipped the draping covers over and peered beneath it. Again, nothing. Well, not nothing. A few of Milo's missing cat toys but no body.

I stood up, confused. Was I going crazy? Had I lost my mind? Maybe I did open the drawers for some reason and just spaced it...

...The bathroom.

Panicked, I ran to the bathroom and flipped on the light. No one. I looked behind the door. No one. I went straight for the tub and yanked back the curtain. Again, No one.

I dont know how long I stood there, staring at the empty shower tub, trying frantically to wrap my mind around how I could have opened all of those dresser drawers and not retained doing so.

You're gonna make yourself insane, Avery.

Finally, convincing myself it was some weird fluke, I returned to my easel. A little shakey and full of adrenaline, I took a few deep breaths to calm myself down. I was being silly... letting my imagination run wild. It had been a long day and I needed to redirect that over active imagination.

I needed to paint.

I sat at the stool infront of my easel, mixing colors on my palette, aimlessly. I never intentionally picked out colors. I just grabbed and began to mix. I had the amazing ability to mash together unique blends without muddying them into a brown or black mess. It had impressed my professors.

My brush swiped the white canvas effortlessly. I never had a plan for any painting. I just started working and it created itself. I found out long ago if I mapped out a specific scene, it would never turn into the beauty my brain had intended. This was just my process, so I embraced.

***

I crawled into bed, pulling the covers up to my neck. I felt Milo curl up on the pillow beside me, his normal spot.

I loved my bed. Fresh, cool sheets surrounded my body. My mattress was soft, but firm, it formed to my body making sleep as comfortable as anyone could expect.

I hated sleep though.

I wanted it. I craved it. But with sleep, came nightmares. Every night. I had never known what it was like to get a restful sleep as bad dreams had plagued me my whole life. I looked forward to getting in my bed, but I never looked forward to falling asleep.

It was a dark place, my dreams. But sleep always came, whether I wanted it to or not.

***

I ran.

Brick walls surrounded me on both sides. They extended to the sky, a sky as dark as night. How do I get out?

I kept glancing behind me. Someone... something was chasing me. I was panicked.

Cant let it catch me...

I searched frantically for an exit--a way out.

I had to get out...

I tried to scream but when my mouth opened, no sound came out. Tears streamed down my face.

Scared.

Always scared...

Running.

Always running.

Forever just running...

All there was was brick wall. It never turned. It never shifted. It was like one long hallway of brick. Nothing infront of me, nothing behind me.

No, that's not right. Something behind me. I couldnt see it. I looked back over my shoulder--hoping, yet dreading, to catch a glimpse of my pursuer.

Still nothing, only darkness and brick...

Suddenly, I slammed into a body.

Arms wrapped around me.

It got me...

I'm caught...

Shit...

Out of pure instinct I started to struggle within that embrace, frantically, as if my life depended upon it because at that time, I was certain it did.

"Hey, it's okay! You're safe," a soothing voice whispered to me. I immediately stopped my thrashing, stiffening.

Was this a trick?

"You're safe," he reassured me. His voice was smooth like honey, but not super deep. In an odd way, I suddenly felt comforted. Standing now within his arms I took a second to access... to feel.

Arms that felt strong... safe and warm.

Relief washed over me.

I smiled.

"Why are you running?" He asked me.

I nuzzled my face into his neck, "I cant let it get me," I replied.

"It won't."

I pulled away from him, looking at his face for the first time. He kept his arms around me which I was appreciative for.

Hazel eyes. They were soft and kind. Square face, lined with a strong jaw. Dimples. My God, there were dimples...

"Who are you?" I wondered.

"Sebastian."

"Avery," I whispered.

My eyes shot open. Light was peeking through the curtains, reminding I had forgotten to set my alarm. I looked at my clock. "Shit," I cursed.

I was going to be late for work.

I jumped out of bed throwing my clothes on as I made my way to the bathroom. I stopped infront of the mirror, staring at my reflection. I winced.

I looked worn. Dark circles flagrantly obvious beneath my eyes. My skin was pale and my hair had lost its shine and bounce. I didnt have time right now to put myself together though. Today, people would just get the raw Avery and I didnt really care.

Stepping into my shoes, remembrance washed over me like a flood and I was able to recall, for a split second, the man from my dream. The way he made me feel safe and protected.

My heart skipped.

"Sebastian" he said.

I had never created a man in my dreams before. And I felt a bit disappointed I had woken up. Stupid job. Stupid bills. Stupid adulting... pulling me out of those arms.

Strong arms.

Safe arms.

I would have stayed in those arms forever. Unfortunately, life was ringing me and I had to answer the call.

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