I had shifted from my sitting position against the wall to laying on the floor in between the times when I'd fallen asleep and been woken up to my iPod loudly playing Boys Like Girls. Still half-asleep, like any other morning, I quickly pushed the down volume button until it was playing where my parents across the hall couldn't hear it anymore. With the music softly playing, I leaned against my bed and focused on the words to the song, a small trick I came up with so I could doze, but not fall back asleep and be late for school. My mind drifted along, until it touched on the small memories of last night's terrors. My eyes flew open again and I sat there in the dim glow of my iPod, frozen. It was just a dream, right?
Repeating that as a mantra to myself, even though part of me said sullenly it was a lie, I reached for my lamp and switched it on, the warm light brightening up my room. I paused the music and looked across to my mirror.
“It was just a dream, nothing more,” I said with a decisive nod to my disheveled appearance. Apparently sleeping on the floor made my hair even more unruly than sleeping in bed. Just my luck.
I reluctantly stood and walked to my door and opened it, the rush of cooler and unscented air hit me like a refreshing wave. My bathroom down the hall only took two giant steps before that light was spilling out into the hallway. The same feeling of terror suddenly back as I looked around my bathroom. Part of my nightmare had happened in my bathroom. When the mirror had fogged up during a shower, a name was written in the condensation on it. I couldn't remember the name, to mixed feelings of relief and curiosity, but I did know that the first three letters were “SEE.”
I shook my head and repeated my new mantra.
It was just a dream.
It was just a dream.
It was just a dream, right?
Deliberately thinking of how happy I was that my parents had moved us to a house that was still in the district to my high school, I turned on the water in my shower and waited for the water heater to kick in. Fears temporarily dispelled by the familiarity of hot water and my regular routine, I quickly began to forget about my nightmare. It wasn't until I turned off the water and the room was silent did the slowly nagging thoughts begin to return.
“It was just a dream,” I said to myself, my voice echoing slightly in the empty bathroom. I pulled back the curtain and grabbed a towel, purposely avoiding looking at the mirror. As I stepped out of the shower, I suddenly felt a cold chill and the feeling I wasn't alone in here.
I shook my head. “I'm the only one awake right now. I'm along in here. The AC just kicked on.” Unfortunately, my subconscious new the angle I was playing at, and was determined to have the last word on the subject. Of their own accord, my eyes slowly drifted up to the mirror. At first, there was nothing to see, just a mirror fogged over with water. But then I saw it. The bottom half of one letter, all of another, and the top half of a third, as if something or someone had gotten disturbed as it was writing. My heart slowly began to pick up its tempo as I forced my eyes to stare at the letters, to tell me that it was just an illusion of terror.
Unfortunately, it wasn't.
Written on my mirror were the first three letters that I remembered from my nightmare.