I ran through the bare cream coloured halls, naked and covered in blood head to toe, I wasn’t sure who’s blood it was but it was bright and sticky and I smelled of metal, it may have been mine but I wouldn’t have known. I ran around the corners, up and down concrete stairs, the adrenaline pulsing through me, I was running for my life. I ran through what seemed to be an old casino or hotel resort, seemingly abandoned but within it’s walls were people, mostly men, old lovers, old boyfriends, old male friends, my own dad and my brothers. Men from my past sat around at slot machines or dwelling in toilet cubicles and halls on couches and chairs, yet somehow completely unaware that I was there. A screaming, crying, naked and bloody mess. I ran into a dimly lit bathroom with wallpaper peeling from its walls and hid behind the door, wet and cold I stood and waited drawing shallow breaths as I stood. I could hear the men of my past bustling around within meters of me, still unaware that I even existed (despite the blood pouring from me, from my soul). My heart raced, I wanted to give in and let who ever wanted me dead to take me. Let this fear be over because the fear was too much but at the same time this fear was keeping me alive, I despised that.
The stalls in the bathroom fell still, the light above me flickered just like a real horror movie and whom ever it was I was hiding from entered the room, peeking around corners looking for my blood covered feet under the stalls. I took this as my cue to leave, I snuck out placing my sticky hand on the door leaving a wet red hand print, my hair still dripping in red wet blood as ran. Down the hall, past the slot machines where a boy I used to know sat with his friends, he glanced up but seemed to look right through me, I didn’t know if I even wanted his help. I stop at a door of what looks like a room or a storage cupboard where I am met by another woman who doesn’t seem surprised to see me, she’s my own age but she is not covered in blood. “Let me help you” she says, then she opens the door and lets me in the room. She closely follows behind me and we look around, it’s filled with boxes, old hotel furniture pieces and a bunk bed. But suddenly I know, she is not on my side, she lunges at my body with her arms as if to grab me and pull me into her, I jump back and she grabs my arm but I am wet with blood and she looses her grip. I scramble as fast as I can to the top of the bunk leaving blood smears on the white metal frame, I look at my hands, My hands are bleeding. I look down at her and she can’t quite get up to where I am, but i know she will. I look around on the bed and see a broom handle, I grab it and slam it into her face, she doesnt stop, I hit her again, but she keeps coming. I pause, I almost admit defeat because I just can’t keep myself alive anymore and I Think this is it, this is where I die and it’s all over, I know I should have given up in the beginning. But I don’t stop and I stab her in the chest with the broom handle, blood pours from the wound and she is still coming for me. She comes up at me from the other side using the wall of the small cramped room to hoist herself up an extra half a metre.
In my head I am begging myself to wake up, this isn’t real and I am begging myself to stop the fear, because it’s hurting, the fear and terror is hurting my chest.
But I don’t wake, she comes at me one last time when I stab her in the face with the handle, it is then when I look at her with a handle in her face with blood streaming down her chin and on the edge of death that I realise:
That woman is me.
I startle myself awake, my eyes on the ceiling and my breathing hard and fast. The fear and the terror still running through my body as though I was still there. Remembering the nightmare as I pull myself up and check the time, 4am, just great. I try to shake the feeling from my body but it stays, I recognise this feeling properly for the first time. These kind of nightmares used to be common for me, but this time I remembered the feelings, I recognise the feeling of waking up, these feelings are the same as those nights I woke up in terror as a little girl with a man next to my bed touching me and the nights I was already awake. The cold fear that washed over me as I heard the floor board creak or the door open.
I make all the connections, what he did is the stuff of nightmares. This is what it felt like to wake up night after night with someone next to your bed.
I stare at the roof willing the nightmare and the feeling from me. I hear the tiny footsteps into my room and I am startled yet again to see Little Flea. She drowsily climbs in as she does every night, she rolls to face me and she holds me tight with her little arms.
The feelings fade and we drift off to sleep together as though it had never happened at all.