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Please Don't

In dawn’s pearly light, the woman rolled restlessly in her bed, blankets tangled around her legs, arms hugging herself as tears ran down her cheeks.

I watched it happen. The young man was someone I knew. I knew he was planning a wild weekend in the hills. Riding ATV’s and running his rock crawling Jeep through impossible trails. His Jeep clung to the trail, crazily canted to almost ninety degrees. He wasn’t wearing his seat belt, no helmet, no safety netting in the gapping doors. Nothing to protect him if something went wrong. I held my breath with the rest of the partying crowd.

Beer cans littered the meadow at the base of the cliff trail. The Jeep was close to the top. I watched it teeter and then in horrifying slow motion it went over like a turtle onto its back. Only it missed the edge of the roadway, and in a dizzying kaleidoscope of exploding parts it dropped into the valley below.

I screamed with the rest of them, struggling to get my feet to move toward the grisly scene, but I was mired in fear, the last meal I’d eaten threatening to come back up for everyone to see. Please God let me out of this dream, I don’t want this. Again.

Gloria screamed in her sleep, but no one was there to hear it. The house she was living in was way to big for her, especially since Morgan moved out. Her daughter and her son both in Montana now, her parents were a little over an hour’s drive away.

She woke, her throat raw with the scream. The same dream, and this was the third time this week. Darren O’Rourke was in her economics class and two others. His parents insisted on a business degree, and he didn’t seem to mind. A naturally brilliant student, he applied himself to his courses with the tenacity of bear looking for a beehive.

She remembered his thoughts about work hard and then play harder and shivered quietly as goosebumps raised down her arms and legs.

Why am I dreaming in 3D reality? This must be a premonition. I’m going to treat it as such. I’ll try to make him understand he can’t run his Jeep this weekend. I hope he’ll believe me. I hope I’m not going to see his name in the papers, another fatality on Satan’s Trail.

Why are these dreams happening? What have I done to deserve this horror show in my sleep? I’ve never had a single spark any talent, any sort of magick or ESP. Nothing. Why now?

Her parent’s talent for magick hadn’t passed to her. She never knew the joy of bringing flame to life with a mere thought. After the love of her life passed away, grief drove her to extremes, pounding a deep wedge between her and her children. She’d pushed her son away at fifteen, when his ability to read minds manifested, sending him to Eddy and Gail. The whole idea of him seeing her innermost thoughts was a betrayal. Her very being protested the thought and she couldn’t wait to send as far from her as possible. Let her in laws deal with it.

It didn’t matter that her daughter was only six, and barely able to make a meal in the microwave. Morgan was a biddable child, she did what was asked. It didn’t bother her a bit that Andrew was the one who took care of her and made sure she went to school with a lunch packed. Her search to replace the lost love of her life ruled her, and she shook her head as she thought about the horrible consequences.

Rounds of therapy, rehab and counselling brought her out of her funk, but not before Morgan had paid the price. And the despondent loneliness continued, even though she understood why she suffered and quit the drugs and alcohol, she still drifted without purpose. Still sought the one night stand hoping the next one would be the one.

Until Alanna spent a weekend with her. Her sweet darling granddaughter. The best thing in her life, and she only saw her for one weekend a year. Andrew insisted. He didn’t trust her for any longer visits. Gaia, her mother would drop her off, and pick Alanna up on the following afternoon.

“Remember Gloria, this is a privilege. Don’t blow it.” Her mother would warn her with the exact same words every year. She deserved it back then. The mess she’d made of her life, had forced everyone away from her.

She could hear the warning as clearly as if her mother was standing in the bedroom with her. She looked at the beside clock and shrugged. Half an hour before her wake up time and this dream had come for the third time this week. She had to warn Darren.

It was such an adventure going to university in her fifties. She was seeing life from a whole different angle, getting to know the challenges her children had faced during a point in their lives when she’d been absent by functioning insanity. She hit the shower, and then dressed in what she thought of as her school uniform.

Jeggings under an oversized University of Houston sweatshirt and three inch heels, because she always felt like she was too short. She pulled her hair into a ponytail at the nape of her neck, the silver streaks a dramatic statement against inky black curls. A hint of eyeliner and mascara with crimson red lip gel and she ready to go.

As she ate her bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, sipping Early Grey tea, she documented the dream. It wasn’t the first one she’d had about her classmates, but it was persistent and tragic. Others had been mild warnings. She’d told a couple of them not to eat at a popular fast food taco joint, because she’d seen them both in the ER with food poisoning. They hadn’t listened and missed three days of classes.

“Darren, listen to me.” Gloria insisted. “Don’t take your Jeep with you this weekend. Take the ATV’s, take the dirt bike but leave the Jeep at home.”

“Listen to Grandma Worrywarts. No way anything’s going to go wrong. I’ve been up Satan’s Trail dozens of times. I’m still king of the hill. No one has done it faster.” Darren’s eyes sparkled as he remembered the thrill.

“Come on, Izzy. You have to keep him away from that trail this weekend.” Gloria tried reasoning with his current girlfriend.

“You’ve never seen him do the trail. He really is king of the hill. You need to stop worrying about us like you do. You’re stressing out for nothing,” Izzy’s bright smile denied any belief in her premonition.

“Kelsey? Braydon?” Gloria looked around the class hoping some one would listen.

Both of them shook their heads.

Gloria sighed, standing up to move to her spot at the front of the classroom. She didn’t know if she could live with this if it did happen.

Her mind drifted back to the dream again. The bright neon green Jeep flipping and bouncing down the rock field kept haunting her.

“Mrs. Quade?”

“Umm, what was the question?” She blushed at her distracted answer.

“Why is demand a necessary part of an economy?”

Thank God she knew the answer. It could have been worse. He could have asked why price affected demand and whether inflation was a factor to be considered.

“Pay attention, this stuff is going to be on the mid term next week,” he warned them. And she buried her fears. She’d try one more time. Class dragged on and when it was over, she joined the younger students at the local Starbucks.

“Darren, I clearly saw you flip off the cliff. You have a neon green Jeep. You’ve modified it with oversized tires. It has some sort of lift kit because I know I couldn’t get in it without a ladder. You have to believe me; something is going to go wrong this weekend.”

“How the hell do you know about my rock crawler. I’ve never brought it to school.” Darren looked at her like she was some kind of circus sideshow freak.

“I told you, I dreamed it. Three times this week. It woke me up again this morning, screaming when I saw your body flying out of it as it tumbled down the cliff.”

“Well that won’t happen. I’ll be wearing all my safety gear. I never go up Satan’s trail without it.” Darren reassured her.

“Just promise me you won’t get drunk, and I’ll leave you alone,” Gloria bargained.

“I can do that trail blindfolded, drunk, or high. Don’t worry about me, I’ve never had an accident. It’s not going to happen.” Darren grabbed Izzy’s hand and pulled her up. “Let’s get out of here. Grandma Worrywarts is putting a damper on our fun. She’s such a downer sometimes.”

“Please don’t take your Jeep with you this weekend,” Gloria called after them.

“Like anything’s going to happen. Like I said, nothing’s going to go wrong. I’m too good.” Darren rolled his eyes as he held the door open for Izzy. “Quit worrying about me.”

I wonder if they’ll remember I tried to warn them. I tried. I’m not going to take on the guilt. I won’t kick myself. I need to talk to someone in the family about these dreams. But will they believe me, or will they shake their heads and send me off to another psychiatrist? She’d never shown a single bit of anything. Until after Alanna’s visit a couple of years ago.

“Grandma Gloria let’s go to the zoo,” Alanna tugged her hand. “I’d love to see all the animals, and it’s been forever since I’ve been.”

“All right sweetie, it’s Saturday, and there’s a deal for kids today, so let’s go.”

Alanna took her hand as soon as they’d cleared the entry gates and never let go. It was the strangest feeling to have her cling to her like a leech. Alanna always ran ahead and waited at the next exhibit until she caught up, taking off like a startled deer as soon as she caught up. Not today and as they walked, her granddaughter became more and more pensive, before she finally asked a single question.

“Why are you so sad?” Her voice cracked a little.

“Because I lost your grandfather. He passed away when your Aunty Morgan was only four.”

“You’re angry too,” Alanna stated.

“Yes, I’ve never forgiven the fates for it.”

“I’m sorry.”

For whatever reason, as their afternoon wandering from one favorite display to the next continued, the hard knot of pain centered in her chest dissolved. Alanna had kept her hand in hers for the entire time, only letting go when they climbed back into her car to go home. Her face was ashen, and she fell asleep as soon as she backed out of their parking spot.

“Mom, I don’t know what’s wrong with Alanna,” Gloria said.

“What’s up?” Her mother sounded so calm, she let go of the breath she’d been holding.

“I’m not sure, but I feel like something inside me has changed, like a block in me has melted, and Alanna has been asleep since we left the zoo.”

“I’m not sure, but I’ve sensed something changing in Alanna the last couple of times she’s been down to visit. I think her talent is manifesting. The girl is an empath, and I suspect a healer. Did she say anything?”

“No, not much at all, except to ask why I’m sad and why I’m angry. I told her about my Eddy dying so young, and we didn’t talk at all after that. Oh, and she said she was sorry. It was like she opened a dam inside me, mom.”

“Anything else odd?” Gloria could see her mother’s eyes narrowing as she assessed the problem. They always did when she was growing up.

“She never let go of my hand once, and we were at the zoo for over three hours.”

“I suspect she’s healed a rift in your psyche. You’ve been given a rare gift. I don’t know if she even knows what she did.”

“What do I do for her now? She’s exhausted and whiter than a ghost.”

“When she wakes up, get some hot chocolate into her, and then make sure she eats. Lots of water as well. This is what we call spell burn,” Gaia told her.

“You’ll come over early tomorrow? I want to be sure she’s going to be okay,” Gloria begged.

“Your father and I will be there before noon. Make sure she eats, as much as she can. It will help her recover.”

“Thanks mom,” Gloria said.

“Thanks for calling me mom again. I’ve missed you sweetie. I’ll see you in the morning,” Gaia hung up with a quiet click.

Why had that all come rushing back? I never thanked Alanna. Mom said don’t say anything. They would deal with it when Alanna was ready to talk about what had happened. They might never know exactly what her granddaughter had done, because it was instinct driven, and not a conscious action other than a deep desire to make me feel better.

The news broke on the Sunday evening news. Darren O’Rourke was killed in a fatal rollover on Satan’s Trail. Alcohol was believed to be a factor.

Gloria sat down and wept. Her relationship with her mother was still fragile, after all the years of abuse she’d heaped on her children. Maybe Morgan’s wedding would be a turning point. Maybe these dreams would be a blessing. She opened the hidden file on her laptop and added another entry.

Please don’t. I tried to tell him. Please don’t take the Jeep. Please don’t drink. He wouldn’t believe me. No one believed me. Will my family believe me? Will I ever have their trust again? I hope so. At least I know enough not to blame myself for another’s stupid actions. I did what I could.

She saved the entry and shut the laptop down. It wasn’t going to be the same without Darren’s smart mouth in class. She knew it would take some time before his friends would be able to speak of him without a quiver in their voices. The only thing that would help, was time.

Reedsy.com Contest #97

Start your story with a character having a premonition, but no one believes them.

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