I woke up with a gasp. My chest felt tight and my heartbeat was quickened to an almost painful pace. It pounded against my ribcage and I struggled to breathe for a while. After a few minutes, I nearly had my breathing under control and my heart rate dropped.
I gracefully got out of bed, fixed the way my fitted nightdress fell and made my way through my flat to the small kitchen. Grabbing a glass, I filled it with water, leant against the counter top and took a small sip. Now calmer than I was as I woke up, I feel like I can stop shaking. I'm still scared, but less so now. Now I know he can't get to me. Here is my safe place.
I've had a gift all my life. At first, I didn't know what it was - I thought everyone else was the same. As a child, when I found out other people were different, I very quickly kept it to myself. Gradually, people forgot and now nobody knows. Except the others of course.
The gift I have is when I go to sleep, I enter a dreamworld. It's the same places each night, the same people - mostly. Occasionally some new people will appear, but sometimes, some people disappear. Nobody usually knows what happens to these people, so through a year, all the names are collected in a book. On New Year's Eve, a lantern is lit for each person that has left. The lanterns are released in front of the lake in Dreamland (its official title) and it's the most beautiful spectacle. There are also some more permanent residents of Dreamland. These are those who have the gift, but are in a coma, or who gained the gift when they fell into a coma. They generally organise the whole place, look after the newbies and make sure everything is okay.
The reason I woke up in such a state was a guy. He is two years older than me and he scares me more than anything else in this world, or the other. His piercing grey eyes are like knives to my mind. He'll stop at nothing to get what he wants. Right now, he wants me. I do what I have to, but no more.
I allow a stray tear to run down my face as I finish my glass of water. Checking the time, I find it's late enough for me to get ready for college. I've got a lecture at half past ten and then I've planned to do some work in the library later with a friend. As much as I loved her as a friend, I don't think I was up to the usual full blown conversations we had. The only comfort was that while I was awake, Lucas couldn't get to me. That's what made me hang onto hope.
It would only be another twelve hours until I visited Dreamland again, but those twelve hours were too short as long as Lucas was there.