She was back in a dark pit, too dark to see anything, only hear. And all she could hear was the eerie crackle of small legs against stone and the high-pitched whine of thin silk running too quickly. The room echoed with soft hisses and the sound of scales rasping over stone. She could feel the sounds getting closer and screamed. She felt something cold, muscular, and scaly wind itself around her leg, then the sharp pain as two thick needles were injected into her skin.
Ren screamed and thrashed around in her bed.
Her aunt ran in and tried to wake her up. “Ren! You’re not back there, it’s just a nightmare!”
Ren opened her eyes and blinked rapidly a few times, trying to wash away the scene from the pit where she’d been trapped for six weeks in her childhood. “Aunt Kathy?”
Her aunt nodded. “It’s alright, Ren. You’re safe at the house, not back in that pit, no matter what your nightmares say.”
Shaking, Ren pushed the blankets back and stood. “The nightmares are getting worse again.”
“Do you need to go see Dr. Franks again?” asked her uncle, who was standing in the door.
Ren shrugged. “I hate living through a fog of medicine, I’m only seventeen. Maybe we could talk about one of those other options she talked about for getting rid of my nightmares.”
“Do you remember what those were?” her uncle asked as he walked into the room.
“Hypnosis was the only one I remember her saying would be the least painful option for me.”
“So she’d hypnotize you to forget about it?”
Ren shrugged. “I guess. Or maybe so they wouldn’t be so scary and I’d stop having nightmares.”
“What do you think brought them back on this bad?” Aunt Kathy asked.
Ren shrugged, tears glistening in her eyes.
As if on cue, the baby monitor on Ren’s nightstand, the same one in every room in the house, broke the silence with the sound of a baby crying.
“I’ve got him, Tim,” Aunt Kathy said as she stood and ran into her newborn son’s room.
“I’m sorry I woke everyone up this early again, Uncle Tim,” Ren apologized softly as she wiped her eyes hard with the back of her hand.
“Don’t apologize for that, Ren. You can’t control it,” he said as he gave his niece a hug.
“Do you think Dr. Franks would be up at three in the morning?” Ren asked.
Uncle Tim laughed. “I don’t think that doctor ever sleeps.”