Bad Dream

I hear the garish ring of the cell phone again, and I take it out of my pocket and glance down at it. Across the tiny screen reads “Cody”. I smile and press the ‘answer’ button. “Hello?” and I continue what I am doing, all the while wrapped in my conversation.
After some time, I see Josh, and I sit with him. He has done something bad to me, and he comforts me and apologizes. I curl up in his lap, smiling. But he does not let us stay for long. He grabs my hand and pulls me to my feet, an innocent smile on his face as he leads me away from our safe haven and into a white room.
Here, there are three doors. One of them, I came in through. I am somehow aware that another leads to the Outside, and to Her. Still one more remains a mystery to me. Even as I realize that, I realize that I hold two keys: one to the mystery door, and the other to the outside- but the lock is on the outside, not the inside.
I turn my attention towards the middle of the room, and I see four people. I recognize Josh, and I recognize Tony. The other boy looks like Tony, but with a longer face. The last girl, who could be any one of many, looks at me and smiles.
I take her hand and show her the key to the mystery door. She looks into my eyes and nods, and we hold each other’s hands tightly as I slip the key into the lock.
Inside is reminiscent of ‘The Grudge’. It is the same girl who grips my fingers, but she is hunched over in a bathtub, dirty and staring out of unseeing eyes. Her wrists and back are slashed and bloody, and she swings her head to look our way as we open the door.
Even as my skin is crawling and I am drawing the girl next to me closer to my body, I hear another door. The door that leads to Her. My breath becomes shallow and my eyes dart around the room. I hug the girl close to me, feeling her breathing rattling in her lungs in unison with mine. We are frozen, but She seems not to notice we are missing. She begins to talk of driving lessons, how the three guys have passed, but we two girls must take them all over again.
She banishes the boys from the room, and turns the corner to beckon to us. We shake in fear and cling to each other, but She rips us apart.
Grabbing the girl by the wrist, she yanks her to a bed in the main room. I follow fearfully. She is holding the girl’s arm, digging Her fingers into a cut in her wrist, yanking and ripping at the skin. I hear myself scream, and Her face twitches as She accuses me of causing the mark, “Who did this?? This is called a twitch. It’s used to control people. Who did this??” She spits at me.
I fly at Her face and my fingers act like claws as I reach for Her eyes. She knocks the girl to the floor and grabs my hands, both in one of Her hands. She grabs my head with the other hand and makes me look Her in the eye. “I warned you…” She rumbles.
She throws me away from Her and pulls her hands up in intricate patterns, murmuring under her breath. The girl screams, crying out in pain. I rush to her side and try to hold her in my arms, but She makes her disappear.
She steps towards me and backhands me across the face, leaving me crouched on the floor holding my cheek. She cackles and tells me I must undress and propose to my husband. I look at Her in horror and fear.
She points to the door that leads Outside, and several small people come in, carrying a baby that looks massive next to them. They snarl and laugh as they carry the brown-haired child to me.
I know somehow that this is an illusion, like all the others. There may be a doll sitting here, or a grown man, or a dog. But I know also that She has made me believe that this baby sitting here was once my husband, when it was grown. She has made me believe She has made it younger, and She had made me believe I will do what She wants.
As the little people set the baby in front of me, and my stomach turns with what I know I must do, the little people’s faces turn to expressions closely resembling that of “The Scream” and their pants drop, and suddenly I am


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