I haven't been sleeping well.
Not lately, at least.
I have this reoccurring dream.
I’m lying in my bed. I open my eyes. Drenched by cold moonlight in the darkness of my room is a figure atop my sheets. It stands at the foot of my bed, tattered white gown hanging on its rotting body. And there are others at its feet.
They’re small; feral, but unlike any animal. They’re graced with a touch of human familiarity, however bleak. They chitter with excitement, eyes red and lips curling. In their claws are chains, which they begin to flick like reins.
And then their slave moves.
At the figure’s wrists and neck are shackles with long trailing chains they pull like marionette strings. The figure sways with gruesome grace, limbs being pulled impossible angles. The dance grows feverish, crazed. It pulls against its shackles, flicking its hair back, and clawing for me.
Its face is a caricature of a woman’s, over-exaggerated and hideous, equally as rotten as its frame. Its eyes are a pitch void reflecting my fear. Her captors slacken the restraints, giggling as she gets closer and closer to me, only to yank her back last minute.
No matter how much I try to move, I can’t. So I watch, eyes wide and heart pounding. Night after night.
But last night the dream was different. Her captors dropped the chains. She fell upon me. Her eyes flicker with something other than the abyss—hope. She tears into me, literally crawling under my skin.
I can move again. I scream and flail.
And finally awaken.
I’m exhausted. But, you know, I’m feeling pretty damn good today. Like I can get up and dance this very second.