State of Dreaming

The blog wasn’t going as well as Lila had hoped, and it wasn’t because no one was reading it.

She had definitely lured people in with her story, which is unfortunately what some people seemed to think it was—just something she had created in her free time. People were commenting on her posts, commending her for her creativity while she rolled her eyes. Then there were the people who claimed to have been gone through the same thing, which eventually led to them revealing their experiences with probing through an alien abduction.

She gave serious thought into giving up the blog, but honestly, getting everything into words that she couldn’t just share with those closest to her was freeing and helping her keep what was left of her sanity. It seemed lately that all she had energy for was this blog and crawling into Evan’s bed, her only two comforts, which weren’t very comforting at all.

She was tired of trying, really. She was getting zero answers everywhere she turned. Nothing made sense. She felt lost in her own body, like she was drowning in her own thoughts.

Sleep had been a good escape from these thoughts, but the more that she slept the more that she dreamed. And she knew these were no ordinary dreams. She had a sense that in some way that these nightmares held answers to what was missing from her memories. Lila just hadn’t been able to identify any part of the dreams with any certainty. The only thing she knew was true was the heavy emotions that came along with them. The fear that rattled her night and day.

They were tearing her apart from the inside.

There was a man in these dreams, though. Someone kind, but also scared. Someone who tried to bring her comfort. Someone she felt she knew, but she couldn’t place him. She had settled on the fact that he was a figment of her imagination, just someone she created to try and save her from herself.

When she woke one night, the feeling of this man’s hand still lingering on her own skin, a phantom touch that warmed her skin, she went to her computer and pulled up her blog. She started writing:

My dreams seem to occur with more frequency and greater clarity. I will share this about my dreams: There is someone always there, someone watching over me. A protector.

I still feel the unease from these dreams, but the presence of this stranger brings me lingers after I wake. I feel the warmth of his hand over mine. I hear his words of comfort.

For a few minutes, I feel safe. But the fear always returns. It haunts me more strongly than this stranger, overpowering me at any moment.

I worry about the day that I can not look past the fear that comes with my nightmares.

Lila read carefully over the post, making sure she had every detail right before posting it. She shut her laptop down and sat back, not knowing what to do now.

When she woke up like this, from these dreams, going back to sleep did not seem like such a welcoming idea.

Making up her mind, she got up from her desk chair and quickly changed into some sweats. She left her room quietly and went downstairs, trying to remember where her mother had left her car keys. She found them on the kitchen table, and instead of just leaving she wrote a quick note so her mother wouldn’t worry: “Couldn’t sleep, went for a drive… Might go to Evan’s. Please don’t worry.”

Once on the road, she turned the heat up, driving around her neighborhood. She had thought maybe she’d go to Evan’s when the sun had at least come up, but she could feel coldness spreading through her fingers and a shiver ran through her, the fear returning.

She pulled up to his apartment building and sat in the car for a moment before getting out.

She found his name on the door buzzer and hit the button next to it. She waited a few minutes before pressing it again, a little longer this time.

“Hello?” she finally heard Evan’s voice over the intercom, scratch with sleep.

“It’s Lila,” she said. She waited and heard the outside door click. She pulled it open quickly and then ran up the stairs to Evan’s third floor apartment.

He was standing in the hallway, yawning.

“What’s going on?” he asked. “Is everything okay?”

“I’m fine,” she answered, closing the space between them quickly, wrapping her arms around him. “I’ll be fine.”

She pulled back to press her lips to his, seeking out his warmth. Evan was more awake now and he pulled her into the apartment before lifting her, Lila’s legs wrapping around him as he brought them to his bedroom.

She buried her face in his neck, breathing in his familiar scent.

As they fell into his bed, Lila thought of the stranger from her dreams.

Everything felt wrong.