I Dreamt of Shattered Skies

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I Dreamt of Shattered Skies

Post by Riftwalker on Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:23 pm

Before all this...I thought I had a pretty average life. Nothing special, really. Grew up in a small town up in the Adirondacks. Dad was an army man, until mom's car went off a mountain, and he had to come home and take care of my baby brother and me. He remarried a few years later, and we got a sister. Dad's a mechanic now. We'd go hunting on the weekends, and sometimes I'd see or hear things in the woods, but it was never anything you couldn't put down to an overactive imagination. We'd fight a lot, me and my dad, because I wanted to go to art school and he wanted me to play football and join the military, like he did. And there was tension, because my family--the whole town--is really religious and, well, I'm never gonna have the 2.5 kids and white picket fence kind of life.

It was the last straw, when he found out. He wanted to send me to one of those "therapy" camps, so I sold some stuff, took all my savings and got a bus ticket to my aunt's house in Boston.

Things were better for me there. I missed the woods, and it was tough adjusting to the big city, but Auntie let me be myself, let me bring boys home, and helped me get into art school. Then in my second year she got cancer. She got real bad real fast, and I had to quit school to take care of her. Then she died.

I was alone, and I was broke, and there was no way in hell I was going back home. I got a cheap apartment in the shitty part of town, started working at Starbucks, and started selling art on the internet, Whatever sold--which was usually nasty crap and fanart. Settled into a rut, living day to day, hoping for a lucky break or a miracle to get me out of it.

It was a hot August when the dreams started.

I dreamt of shattered skies, Of things with teeth and talons and wriggling, writhing tendrils. I dreamt of endless fields filled with glowing points of light that winked out one by one. I dreamt of spiderwebs and piercing cold, a numbness that spread from your heart until you couldn't recognize your own hands, a black tsunami that crashed across the sky and rose around my feet until I was drowning in it.

I dreamt of voices in the dark, the smell of pine in winter, and of tiny buzzing things that crawled over my skin, into my mouth, into my ears and my eyes and every part of me.

I stopped sleeping after that one.

Then I started seeing things while I was awake. At first I thought it was the sleep deprivation. Little flashes of movement in the corner of my eye, strange lights around certain people. Sometimes I'd be looking at a customer at work or just somebody walking down the street, and for a moment they'd...flicker...briefly change into something...else...something not human.
A brief flash of wing, a green hue to the skin. Fangs. Like they were wearing holographic disguises that were on the fritz.

I tried to ignore what was happening. I thought about going to the doctor, but, what were they gonna do? Put me on antipsychotics? Sedate me? I couldn't afford it anyway.

I tried not to sleep, but it would catch me off guard. I'd zone out for a few moments and find myself in a nightmare. I'd usually wake up screaming. Once I woke up to find myself outside my apartment building, in my underwear, with no clue how I'd gotten there. Or how I'd locked the door behind myself. My landlord was pretty pissed about having to come open my door in the middle of the night. Too bad, it was gonna get worse for him. Much worse for me.

It was sometime after the exploding bones dream that stuff started to break when I touched them. I smacked my alarm clock one morning and it literally flew into pieces. My phone caught fire and melted. I was making an espresso at work and the machine just straight-up exploded. Coffee everywhere. They fired me.

I fried three computers looking up magic, vodoun and anti-curses on the internet. Got paranoid and locked myself in my apartment. Didn't answer the door, even when it was my landlord banging on it for rent money. I broke a second phone and didn't replace it. I stopped eating. Couldn't afford food anyway.

I painted to keep myself awake. Filled up all my canvases, all my notebooks, all the planks of wood from my shattered furniture. When the paint was gone I switched to pens and pencils, scribbled and sketched on every book and piece of paper in the apartment. When I ran out of paper I drew on the walls and the floor. I drew with the charred ends of wood my touch had set on fire.

Between bouts of hypergraphia I would lie on the floor and fade in and out of consciousness, between waking and dream, and one would merge into the other until I couldn't tell the two apart.

I saw lights, dancing fire in front of my eyes. Something with wings, and the smell of honey.

I can't explain what happened next. There were convulsions like seizures, a burning light that seared me from the inside and shot out of my eyes and my mouth and my ears and every part of me. I was burned raw from within and felt my veins fill with fire. I couldn't even cry in pain. I don't think I could even scream.

I don't know how long it lasted. When the fever broke and the pain finally faded, I felt...cleansed. Purified. Like I'd been burned empty to my core and filled again with something new.

Over the next few days, I learned to control the fire. To calm the little ripples in reality that followed me and would un-do the things I touched. I learned to reverse the undoing. I calmed the nightmares and dreamt of trees.

Before I could begin to wonder what came next, the door to my apartment unlocked and opened itself. Before I could react, the figure in green raised a hand towards me, and threw me into dreamless sleep.

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