He came every night for five nights now. Every night, he will make me go delirious with his touch. A small voice inside of me is screaming that he is a stranger. His touch shouldn’t be welcomed but it was immediately annihilated with the sense of security and familiarity.
The feel of his lips against my skin was like silk slipping through my fingers. His touch was exciting and stirred a longing inside of me that had my heart aching for more.
It was strange. I could never remember his face after I wake up even if I try my hardest.
Every time, I would wake up in a cold sweat and breathing hard. My body heated from my dreams. What I found strange was the fact that I can still feel him on my skin.
My throat felt parched like I have gone days without drinking. Pushing myself into a sitting position, I got out of my bed. My body felt cold and I shudder almost uncontrollably. I walked quickly to my basket of clothes and pulled out an old college hoodie and black sweatpants.
The second I stepped out of my bedroom, my mother’s eyes looked over my attire.
“It’s eighty degrees outside, Anna.” She mentioned.
“I know. I’m just not feeling so well.” I mumbled before walking to sit by the fireplace. She touched my forehead and cheek.
“Geez! You are running a fever!” She exclaimed before crouching down and lifting my face to meet hers. She touched my cheeks and my head, smoothing my hair back.
“I think I am coming down with something,” I whispered hoarsely.
“You are definitely sick.” She sighed before ushering me back to bed. “You need to go back to bed. I’ll go to the village doctor and bring you some medicine.”
I sighed—too tired to fight her. I got up and walked back to bed. Along the way, I grabbed an extra blanket to toss over me as I slept.
I woke up again when my mother shook me awake. She sat on the edge of my bed and with her hand pushed me to sit up. However, I felt a lot better than this morning.
She touched my forehead and frowned, “Your fever is gone.”
I drunk the medicinal tea she gave me but winced when I discovered how bitter it was. I tried pushing it away, but she was not having any of it. She pushed it back to my lips and lifted for me to finish it all. I gulped it down as fast as I could.
After that, I went several days without another dream. I felt completely fine but then I started sleepwalking.
The first night, my father found me trying to get out of the cottage one night. He whispered and helped me back into bed. He asked me the next morning what I was doing but I only frowned at him because I couldn’t remember a thing.
The second night, I got out of the house but this time I made it into the edge of town before my father turned me back around. He carefully led me back to bed.
They started locking the doors at night, practically barricading me in. I can hear their whispers and worries. This was not like me. I do not sleepwalk.
Barricading me at night, helped me for a while until they found me at the shoreline with my feet in the water. My mother snatched me before I can walk further in.
That was when they started to get worried. My father tied a protection bracelet around my wrist to keep me from harms or the evil spirit.
I have stopped dreaming about that mysterious man, but I couldn’t help but experience a feeling of emptiness like I miss him.
One night, I sat by the fireplace with my chin propped on my knees I stared into it. My grandma was sitting by and my parents were in their room.
“How are you feeling?” My grandma asked.
I shrugged, “I’m fine.”
My grandma went silent for a while and I turned my head to look at her. She gave me a sad smile. Confusion flooded me, and I frowned up at her.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
She shook her head, “Nothing. I have another story to tell you if you want to hear.”
I turned in my seat and settled my head on her lap. She brushed my hair back gently.
“There once was a woman who was married by convenience to the village chief. He was a bad man who only wanted the prettiest and richest of all. When he caught sight of the woman, he was immediately smitten with her beauty. He went to her father and demanded her hand in marriage. The woman’s family was a very poor family and so they agreed to give their daughter away at a high price. The village chief paid the price and brought her home. He showered her with the most beautiful gems and jewels but none of that made her happy. She felt empty. She couldn’t find herself to love her husband and part of it had to do with the fact that he had ten other wives in the same household.” My grandma started the story.
I sighed and closed my eyes, imagining the story in my mind. My grandma’s voice is soothing and sad. It was as if she felt everything that woman felt.
“She will go to the edge of the water and cry her heart out.”
My grandma then proceeded to tell me that the woman then saw a man approach her. He started listening to her and comforting her. Days went by and the woman started falling in love with the mysterious man. He will meet her there every day around the same time. He was handsome and kind. It went like this for months. One day, she went to the shoreline and he wasn’t there.
Her heart was broken, and she called out to him. All it took was calling his name once and he was there. He smiled down at her and told her that he was a dragon warrior. That he didn’t belong in this world. That he lived in a different world. He needed to stop coming. She was heartbroken. They were both so madly in love, yet they came from different places.
In the end, she followed him into his world—leaving behind her life.
“There are rumors that the reason why the woman never came to love her husband was that she was always destined to be with the dragon warrior. That their fate lines connected and intertwined. There was no breaking what was already written down in destiny.” My grandma sighed, still brushing my hair.
“So, she was destined to be his?” I asked sleepily.
“She was. Nothing could have stopped it. No spells, no rituals, no nothing. It was bound to happen.” She murmured.
I lifted my head to look up at her, “But the stories I have heard—it made them the bad guys. How come this one is different?”
My grandma chuckled, “Because what we can’t kill or see, scares us.”
“So, dragons aren’t the bad guys.”
“I’m saying not everything is bad.” She corrected. “I am sure that there are bad dragons, good dragons just like there are bad humans and good humans.”
I nodded quietly in understanding. Sighing, I slowly pushed off from my grandma’s lap before wrapping my arms around her. I hugged her tightly.
“I love you, grandma.”
“I love you too...so much.” She whispered softly and kissed the top of my hair.
I went to bed that night and decided that I’m going to try staying up. My parents and grandma were exhausted from watching over me. I should give them a piece of mind. I left the lantern on in my room and picked up a book to read quietly.
It worked for the most part until I glanced at my wrist watch and saw that it was almost two in the morning. My eyes were getting heavy with sleep. My head was rolling and nodding each time I fell asleep and jerked awake.
I groaned and slapped my face, but nothing worked. It was so hard, and I was so tired. I told myself that I would only rest my eyes for a few minutes. I closed them, finally giving in to sleep.