Emily Rae Robles

the paradoxymoron

Living Dreams (Flash Fiction: Day 11)

She spent the night lying awake in bed, staring at the shape drawn crudely on her wall.  It had not been there when she had first gone to bed, promptly at 10 pm as was her habit.  Forty-five minutes later, something had startled her out of her sleep and into a state of terror that was illuminated by the single bright lightbulb she had made sure to turn off before climbing onto her bare mattress.

She could have called her mother, but her mother had hung up on her the day before after a screaming fit over what she had done with her life.  She could have called her father, but her father had disappeared into the anonymity of workplace answering machines.  She could have called the police—but she didn’t take that idea seriously.  They would probably just laugh at her and tell her to go to bed.  It was what she was trying to tell herself.

As the minutes ticked past, the shape seemed to blur before her eyes, filling out and becoming almost realistic in its shading.  She rubbed her eyes and considered putting in her contacts, but decided she wasn’t going to play along like that.

If she had been afraid of monsters as a child, things might have been different.  She might have summed up her long-avoided courage and taken to the wall with a wet rag until her nightmares disappeared from its surface.  But it was to her detriment that she had been raised by over-rational parents.  She decided she must have forgotten to turn off the light.  She must not have noticed her niece scribbling on the wall the other day.  Or perhaps she was still sleeping.

If she was, it was a painfully long dream.

It was two in the morning when the terror that had never haunted her as a child began to rise up and mock her attempts at apathy.  Why this particular shape?  Why would her niece, only two years old, have drawn such an accurate sketch of her deepest longing?

She felt herself shifting with the picture, imitating its contours, feeling its colors rise up in her own body.  She fell into waves of what could have been either slumber or the deepest kind of awareness, rocking back and forth with the drawing on the wall.

It was five in the morning when the wall began to creak and shudder and throb with a living heartbeat.  Stepping out of bed, she walked towards it and put her hand against the drawing, which was now completely black against the white wall.  The heartbeat pulled her into its embrace and heaved its way out of the plaster.  She gave a startled gasp before smiling with the realization that her lifelong dream was coming true.

The next morning saw a black horse curled up on the mattress, whinnying its contentment.



February 5, 2011 - Posted by | flash fiction, stories, writings | , , , ,

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