Strange Eyes

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Six

I dreamt that it was snowing.

The white stuff was everywhere. I was all bundled up in my heavy coat and boots. Adam and I were in the backyard, stepping all over the formerly pristine blanket of the white stuff that had settled along the deadened winter grass. Our steps left holes in the ground, chunks of snow breaking up with cracks and crevices. White powder covered his dark hair. He smiled and laughed as I hurled a snowball at him, hitting him square in the chest. “Gotcha!” I said, a grin on my face. The powder caked along the fabric of his jacket. He looked up at me incredulously with a boyish sense of playful defensiveness.

“You’re gonna get it, Jane!” He moved quickly forward, and immediately I ran in the opposite direction towards the tree line of endless green. I didn’t look back as I ran further into the woods, the density of the trees making it look as though it were already dark. Sounds faded around me until all that I could hear was my own breathing that came out in vaporized puffs. My heart beat in my ears. My chest rose and fell, my feet clapping along the fallen leaves with remnants of snow that had fallen from the boughs above. Silver light escaped in thin ribbons.

The darkness swallowed me whole. It was then that I realized that something was strange. My playful glee replaced with something sinister. In my thoughts I wanted to stop running and turn around to call for Adam. I commanded my feet to slow, my voice to call out. But that wasn’t happening. I just kept running, as though I were in a mindless trance. It was as though my mind was disconnected from my body.

I was trapped in my own skin.

The air blurred around me in a sea of blackened green. The smells of the woods intensified- the wetness of the earthy dirt, the scent of dampened leaves. I could smell everything. Sense every flicker of movement. My breathing became heavier, denser.

That was when the heat began.

That painful heat. It spread up my spine, intensifying by the second. For a moment I couldn’t breathe. The strangled sounds of my choked breaths filled up the rush of the air around me. But I couldn’t stop running. It was as though the wild friction of the air created the fire that swallowed me, that burned through my clothes and my skin and tore me from my body. It was agony. With a wild cry I sank to the ground, the stillness of the air all that I knew.

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