A swarming fog crept through the crisp night air. I was standing at the edge of a very small, deserted lake, the black waters so still beneath the gathering mist it looked as if a piece of the starless sky had fallen to the earth. The full moon rested directly above it, a huge orb illuminating the scene before me. It was so peaceful. I didn’t even mind that I was alone, until, quite suddenly, I wasn’t. There was a young woman, a girl even, standing atop the water on the other end of the lake. No, it couldn’t be, I rubbed my eyes drowsily, it must be the fog playing tricks with my eyes. Very soon I realized I had not been mistaken. For a moment both she and I both stood, unmoving and silent. Then she walked, but in a graceful way that seemed to be more of a glide, on top of the darkened waters.
The air, now heavily laden with fog, separated before her as she approached, as though she were not a living person but a beautiful figurehead on some invisible ship, cutting through the sea of mist. I waited, almost indifferent to the impossible sight. I felt vaguely content, almost detached from my surroundings, an unconcerned observer. With dreary eyes I gazed at her, and, as she approached, a steady drumbeat began to throb through my head, matching the rhythm of her step. The hypnotic beat grew stronger, transfixing me. I found myself walking to the shore, then wading slowly into the water, always matching the rhythm of the invisible drum. When my irrepressible limbs had waded me far enough that the icy waters grazed my knees, the woman stopped. So did the drumbeat. She was probably fifteen yards away, near the middle of the lake. Though I could not make out details, I could tell that she was breathtakingly beautiful. She wore a simple dress, a tunic of embroidered tan material that extended to her knees. She looked like a young Indian girl, with mahogany skin and a cloud of jet black hair. While I mused I realized I had stopped as well. I also noticed that the girl had begun to sink. But it was not the thrashing, desperate sinking of a drowning person, but rather a calm and controlled descent into the lake. I watched, confused, as the top of her head was submerged under the lake.
A ripple began around the place she had stood. It grew larger and larger, until it broke as a small wave around my knees. Another ripple started, grew and broke. Another followed, and then another. Each time the resulting wave grew larger. My legs were immobilized, controlled by some independent power. Soon the waves crashed over my head, drenching me in cold water. The force of the water pulled my under the surface. I flailed and screamed, clawing at the dark waters, until a piece of hard debris knocked the little air left in my lungs from me.
A voice reverberated through me, through my mind, my body, the very essence of my soul.
Such an alluring voice… It was not obviously male or female, but dripped with a sense of overwhelming, all-consuming power.
I didn’t hesitate, didn’t think. I could only obey. I breathed.
But my lungs were not filled with rushing liquid death, instead my aching body was rewarded with much-needed air. By now all was dark, and I could not feel water around me. I could not feel anything, actually. I was blind, deaf, and without a sense of touch. It was as if I was nothing more than a floating brain. The sense of peace that had taken me earlier again returned. I felt I could lay in this darkness forever and be content.
But it was not to be.
Without warning, her face floated above me. Now that I could see her clearly, I saw she was a world of contrasts. Unimaginably beautiful, but somehow wrong. Her mass of black tresses drifted at once eerily and seductively around her face. She looked as familiar as a dear friend, yet as strange and foreign as an unexplored planet. And her eyes-such eyes!-contained such madness that you could only keep your own sanity by staring into their dark depths.
Again the voice shot through my head, more insistent now, and though her full lips did not move, but kept their demon’s smile, I knew it was her that spoke.
“Will you find me?”
It was a question, but I made no choice to voice the answer that spilled from my mouth. “Yes”
“Will you free me?”
Again my lips deceived me, consenting to her plea with a will of their own.
She laughed manically, and her features grew darker, sharper. I wanted to turn away but couldn’t, couldn’t, couldn’t look away from the glowing numbers on my alarm clock.
I sat up quickly and breathed a sigh of relief. The same dream had haunted me for over a week now, and I was dreading the long nights more and more every morning. Wiping the cold sweat from my forehead, I vaulted the edge of my bunk bead and landed hard on the wooden floor, jarring the shin splints that had vexed me since a hard day at practice last week. I almost fell over. Gotta love such a wonderful start to the day.
Don't worry. I shred.