Chapter 3.4Mature

She shot up on the sofa, her hands clinging to thin blankets she'd grabbed. She glanced around with panicked eyes but everything was the same. Normal, lonely house. She stood up quickly, her body shivering from the nightmare. She shut her eyes, trying to remember the details; as always though they faded fast. She cursed loudly and pulled dinner out of the oven. Something was going on, something big. She'd never encountered other people in her dreams, unless humanoid monsters countered now. She ate her food slowly, not finding the taste as appealing as she had when she was making it. She should've known better.

It didn't matter how long she slept, nightmares were always there. When she was done eating she turned on her computer and did her coursework. When she next checked the time it was ten o'clock. She spun in her chair, glancing at her bed. It was a small double with an expensive mattress. Dad had done literally everything he could think of to help her sleep. She had silly hello kitty covers on, mostly because she couldn't be bothered to buy more adults ones. She hit the hot water and ran a bath. She'd put off sleeping for as long as she could. Maybe then she'd be somewhere else, and the dragon would be far away.

“Maybe if I watch dragonheart, the dragon will turn nice,” Lucy said, forcing false hope and cheeriness into her voice. It didn't help much. She wasted as time as she could in the bath, refilling the hot water every so often. She didn't do much more than wash convulsively though. Funnily enough, she wasn't the type to get scared of dirt and germs. Eventually she had to leave the bath and face her bed. She dried and pulled on her Pjs and looked at the near tumbling stack of books on her bedside. There were about twelve she had to read still. She grabbed the one from the top and pulled the quilt round her for warmth. It was the second Dexter book. While she wasn't usually a fan of crime and detective novels, she did like reading a story from the perspective of a sociopath. She loved any of that stuff, even though she hated being psychoanalysed herself. Dr Franklin was the only person she would let do that. She forced herself to read until the clock flashed midnight and her eyes were struggling to stay awake. It was with a forsaken sigh that she put the book back on the unsteady pile and turned off her lamp. She shut her eyes and preyed to a god she didn't believe in for a dreamless night.

Darkness. Not brilliant, but she could deal. The engulfing absence of light that made it difficult to see her limbs was actually relieving. It meant she was having her usual, horrible dreams. She turned and saw the door again. The whispers were back. She remembered what Dr Franklin had said. She was going to keep working and developing her social skills. Eventually there'd be another door, whether her dreams wanted to reflect that or not. She heard a creak to her right and looked across instinctively. The door had flaking, blue paint on it and it's handle was a simple, brass knob. It looked innocent enough, but it was definitely new. Had the dream reacted to her … confidence? No, that wasn't it. This door, like the first, had a eerie wrongness surrounding it.

She pulled her hands into fists and forced out a breath. She walked towards it slowly. She shivered as she felt the temperature lower around her; her breaths fogging the air before her. She pushed the door aside and walked in. The door shut behind her with a whisper quiet click. She couldn't recall the small room before her, and yet she knew it. The walls were a mural of fantastical creatures and other worlds. The window before her was partially open, letting in a gentle breeze. The curtain were a cream colour, with intricate flowers sewn along the sides. To her right was a small, single bed made of white wood with animal patterned bedding. The floor was strewn with building blocks, stuffed animals and toy cars. She let out a shocked sound and bent down by one of the stuffed toys.

“Green-green,” she cooed, picking up the, well named, dark green dragon. It had a brown flare from it's head and down along it's tail. His little soft claws and underbelly were the same shade of brown. She hadn't seen it in years. It went missing during the chaos of their first move when she was four. She remembered crying for weeks over it's loss. Not even chocolate or Wham bars could console her misery.

“Lucy,” a soft voice called up the stairs. Lucy frozze. She hadn't heard that voice in a long time. She paused, wondering if she wanted to interact with this memory any further. She gripped green-green closer and walked into the corridor. The walls and floors were all simple panneling. She knew the stairs went down in three sets, turning at a right angle each time. So when she reached the banister, she could look straight down and see the corridor, and the person calling her name. A muffled giggle made her pause. She glanced at the cupboad built into the hallway walls and hesitated. She walked over and opened the door. Inside she saw herself, when she was around three years old. She looked up at her with wide eyes.

The End

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