Chapter 9 – Hide and Seek
Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
Cory and I fell asleep soon after going to bed. I called my parents, I called Annika, and I told them I’d go to school with Cory in the morning. Annika was a bit disappointed, but she understood.
And she was happy that I try to help Cory with the same problem, instead of leaving him on his own.
But as soon as I was falling asleep, I felt like something was off, and I couldn’t exactly explain what it was that was off.
We’re in Kim’s bed, which is a two-person bed. But other then the fact this room offers enough space for a double bed, there isn’t much more in it then in Cory’s room. A closet, a desk, and a bed.
Besides, there’s not much stuff in here either. At least Cory has a bookshelf, a computer and clothes scurrying around his room. This room is spotless.
So, as soon as I blinked, and found Angie in the corner of the room with a small smile on her face, I wanted to wake up again. But I knew it was too late, as she would only be visible if I already tipped over the edge towards dreaming.
And telling myself to wake up would be ever worse, because I know that triggers sleep paralysis and then I couldn’t grab a knife and scare her off.
So, when I open my eyes again, I’m in the same bed, with Angie in the corner of the room, and Cory right next to me; wide awake and staring at her in horror.
Since she’s standing in front of the door, we can’t do much other then sit and stare.
“Come play?” She tips her head slightly to the left. “I’ll hide, you two seek.”
I blink and gone she is, confusing me further. She never left on her own.
“Don’t be scared!” Her voice again in a sing-song way, a giggling following close behind the words. It echo’s through the house.
“What if we stay and ignore?” I wonder aloud, realising Cory must just be an addition to my dream.
“She’ll get worse,” he answers with a slight shudder in his voice. “It’s okay.” He holds up an empty fist and I frown, wondering what he wants to do, before I realise I’m having a regular conversation with Cory.
In my dream.
“You want to beat her to death?” I drawl sarcastically. “That’s just cruel…”
“What!?” Cory stares at his fist in shock. “No, what?”
“I pictured a knife… I should hold a knife. Where’s the knife?”
“It’s Sid’s dream.” Angie is back in the room, now looking upset. “Why won’t you seek for me?”
“Am I in your dream? But I’m…” He frowns, before he jumps in his spot and hurries towards the wall.
I turn my head, facing Angie, who is a couple of centimetres away from me.
“Why. Won’t. You. Seek?” She demands an answer, the sing-song voice is gone.
I yelp, scooting backwards away and towards Cory.
“What the hell do you want from us!?” Cory cries out, actually in tears now. “Leave me alone!”
“I want you to seek. I want you to find.” She pouts, like only a nine-year-old can pout.
“Will you leave us alone after that?” I ask her with a shaky voice. “If we seek?”
She nods. “If you find me, I can leave.”
“What, I’m not following her!” Cory cries out again, pinching my wrist painfully. “No fucking way!”
Again, Angie tips her head slightly, stepping away from the bed and I wonder if Cory ever spoke to her like this before. I haven’t. I never took the time to listen to her.
Or ask questions.
But what if Annika was right and Angie wasn’t the one to hurt us? What if she’s just the ghost of a nine-year-old that wants to play hide and seek.
“I’ll play.” I breath out a shaky breath.
“Promise, but only if Cory can stay here, I’ll play. But rules first.”
“Rules?” She stares at me curiously. “There’s no rules to hide and seek. You just find me.”
“Not in the Miller Woods. I’m not going in there. I can’t even go in there…”
“Off course you can, silly!” She giggles again. “Come out, come out, wherever you are!” She calls out and laughs, visibly enjoying herself.
But all that matters to me, is the fact she hasn’t tried anything to harm us.
“No Miller Woods.” I demand again, causing her to stop laughing, blinking a couple of times.
“Find me, Sid, and I’ll leave. You promised to play.”
I look at Cory shortly, who sends me a scared look. When I look back, Angie is gone again.
“Sid, you’re not actually going, right?”
“I think I have to,” I whisper in fear, wondering what will happen if I break a promise to Angie.
“But, you can’t. She’ll hurt you…”
“She could’ve hurt both of us just now. She didn’t.” I pull my arm away from his hold, grabbing my hoodie, wondering why I would even wear a hoodie since this is a dream and I don’t feel cold at all.
“But she will once we’re alone.”
“I don’t think she will.” I frown, overthinking the situation. This isn’t any ordinary dream, but then again, seeing ghosts isn’t a normal thing either. “I’m going to seek for her, but I’ll stay out of the woods. As long as I play, I kept my promise, right? It doesn’t mean I have to find her.”
I get up from the bed, put on my shoes and walk towards the door while biting my lip.
“Wait, Sid?” Cory calls out after I left the bedroom. “I’m coming with you.”
We’ve been walking around an empty, dark town for what feels like the entire night. But for as far as I can tell, the sun still isn’t rising and it’s nowhere near rising either.
And here we are, both every so often calling out for Angie to play along with her game. But it’s entirely silent around us. No giggling Angie, but no Angie in its whole, which is what matters to me most.
As long as we keep playing until we wake up, she apparently will leave us alone. Hiding, waiting for us to find her.
Probably in that damned forest.
The thing is that this is a dream and I first thought, by now, we would feel sleepy, or have sore feet. But none of that is close to the truth.
I could keep walking like this, for hours.
“We’ve been walking for hours or something.” I whine, wanting to wake up and get this over with already. “When are we waking up?”
Cory suddenly stops, grabbing my wrist, again squeezing it hard. “Wait I just remembered something.”
“What is it you remember?”
“She made me walk before. But back then I wasn’t aware I was dreaming.” He turns to look in the direction of the forest. “I woke, and I woke up where I was during the dream. What if we’re walking around town, sleep walking in real life?”
“Then we would look like idiots.” I mutter, now definitely done with this game. “Go home?”
“I do feel like we should just go back to sleep in our dream and then wake up regularly again.”
“So, go back to your place?”
“And sleep.” He nods. “This shit is weird anyway.”
“But it gave us one answer; as long as we play hide and seek in a dream, she won’t bother us…”
“You can’t go back!” Angie is in front of us and we both yelp and jump away from her.
I cover my heart, leaning over to grasp for air and calm back down. “Jesus, you scared us to death.”
“I’m not Jesus, you silly.” She giggles again, but then she looks serious again. “You haven’t found me yet.”
“You’re right here.” Cory gestures. “We found you.”
“What, no!” Angie’s eyes widen and right there, in that moment, I realize I’m no longer afraid of Angie. “That’s not fair! You have to find me!”
“Look, Angie?” I awkwardly scratch the back of my head. “My head hurts and…”
“Liar.” She stares at me annoyed while squinting her eyes. “You can’t feel pain in a dream.”
“Like how seeing ghosts isn’t normal either?” I deadpan. “I have a concussion because you pushed me.”
“But I didn’t mean to!” She calls out, and then, much to our surprise, Angie starts crying. “I just wanted someone to find me.”
“Cory!?” Weirdly enough, there’s an angry manly voice. “Cory where the fuck are you!?”
Cory’s eyes widen and while I was getting curious because Angie started crying, the whole world shifts, and I black out, only to wake up the next moment, in bed, next to a confused Cory.
“Why are you in your sister’s bed!?” A voice demands close. “Who is this!?”
“Morning dad,” Cory yawns and stretches. “This is Sid Hayes and we were working on a school project until late.”
His dad stares at me with angry eyes, but then he huffs and leaves the room again. “You’re late for school.”
We share a look, before looking at the time on my mobile. We have about 10 minutes to get to our first class.
“Ugh, we’re not going to make it.” Cory grumbles, climbing over me and out of the bed. “It’s a ten-minute ride to school from here.”
“That’s it, Cory?” I ask him in surprise. “We’re going to ignore the dream? Or did you not dream about Angie?”
He swiftly turns around on his feet, staring at me with wide eyes.
“You really were there?”
“I was, and so were you.” I stare at him, unimpressed. “We played hide and seek with Angie.”
“And she cried.” He frowns, and then we both smirk. “We made a nine-year-old cry. That’s something to be proud of…” he mumbles, leaning down to grab his sweater, stopping as he realizes, he’s already wearing his sweater.
“Okay, we’re going to talk about this, but only with Edward and Davy present.” He states with an annoyed sigh.
“And Annika, she’s the smartest in our group.”
“And Annika, because I think we need her brains, yes.” Cory nods in agreement. “And we’ll skip first class?”
“It’s Mr. Gerard, right? He loves me.” I grin slyly. “We’ll get in if we leave soon.”
Davy is fumbling with a pen, biting his lip while Cory and my story sinks in. We told him, Edward, Annika and Amara what we dreamed about.
They’re shocked, mostly because apparently being together doesn’t really help to prevent her from visiting us in our dreams.
And then Annika pulls my sleeve, nodding to indicate she wants me to follow her without the rest.
I frown and shrug, getting up and following her away from the group to a spot where nobody is listening along.
“Sid? I’ve been thinking about all of this. And I know you got hurt, and the concussion is proof of that, the marks…”
“So, what did you think about?”
“I think it’s not really a haunting thing when there’s only nightmares. There’s nothing happening in real life. And now you tell me Angie didn’t even try to hurt you and now I just wonder whether or not she is harmful at all.”
“It’s easy to not call it a haunting when you’re not experiencing this. But the sleep paralysis is real, and I heard her, Annika. While I was awake. I heard her voice.”
“You did? When did that happen? And why didn’t you tell me?”
“Yesterday, in your room. Cory heard her too. Did Davy perhaps say anything about it to you? He didn’t seem fazed at all.”
“Is that why you suddenly went silent?”
“Yeah… I was trying not to freak out over it.”
“And that’s why you went to Cory. Because he knows more about it.”
“You shouldn’t trust him.” It’s Amber’s voice that suddenly sounds behind us. “I found Kim. It’s his sister, and she claims there’s nothing there and he’s just playing mind tricks with you guys. He did the same to her and she got in a lot of trouble for believing him.”
I frown, staring at her while feeling slightly annoyed. “She was the first to talk about Angie and she caused trouble for him. She’s lying.”
“She was in those woods before him, and she never experienced anything like that afterwards. There’s something in those woods, yes.” Amber nods with a sad face. “I believe that part now. But Angie isn’t real. Just because Cory tells you so much about it, with details and everything, you believe him and after going through things in the Miller Woods, you’re probably just open to it because you’re affected. It makes sense…”
“No, it doesn’t.” Annika and I both snap at her.
“I dreamed about her last night, and Cory was there, and he knew exactly what I dreamed without me telling him. He was there, for real.”
Amber opens her mouth to speak but closes it back down while cocking her head a bit, now confused.
“I know what I see, what I hear, what I dr…” I stare over Amber’s shoulder, and for a second, I swear I saw Angie in the crowds close by the door. But when I blink, she’s gone. Or I made it up, or I confused another girl with short yet dark brown hair for her. “Dream about.” I finish the sentence a bit uncertain about my mind playing tricks on me.
“What’s wrong?” Annika let’s her hand glide through my hair with a worried look on her face, her eyes darting over my face on the look-out for an answer.
“Nothing.” I mutter with a shrug. “I’m just really tired.”
“Just promise me you’ll be careful,” Amber whispers sadly. “I’m worried this is going to blow up in your face even worse.”
“We should’ve never gone into the woods,” I admit in defeat, wishing I could turn back time and refuse to go when Davy suggested it.
If we wouldn’t have went in there in the first, things would still be the same and I wouldn’t feel like I’m slowly losing my mind. So now I do not just dream about her, I hear her too. And I swear I saw her a minute ago, but I simply can’t prove it to anyone, not even myself.
And the rest of the day I keep scanning my surroundings to find her, not once actually seeing her.
But one thing changed in the last 24 hours; I’m no longer afraid to dream about her. I can wave a knife, I can play hide and seek and pretend to put in effort, and she’ll leave me alone.
And secretly – and I’m not going to admit this aloud – I hope I will see her again tonight. Because I have questions that have been left unanswered since Cory’s dad woke us up while we had a somewhat decent conversation with Angie.
And she started crying when I reminded her she pushed me. And she admitted she did but didn’t mean to.
She got upset when I got angry about it, which tells me she feels sorry for pushing me.
But I want to know why she pushed me in the first place. If she didn’t want to harm us, then why did she try to drag Edward back into the woods? Why did she push me away for trying to help him?
I need more answers, and somehow, I feel there’s only two options to get them; ask Angie or go back into the woods.
And I’m not going back in there.
Not even if I would get a million bucks to do so.
So, asking Angie is my only hope in getting answers.