Gabby widened her eyes impossibly large. Why could she not wake up? It was just a dream, it had to be! None of this was real. Still, the purple dinosaur was inching closer, growling and sniffing loudly.
“Please help me,” the terrified child cried to no one in particular. Maybe her mommy would come and wake her up. A warm hand grabbed her wrist.
Gabby shrieked, turning her head towards the thing that grabbed her. It was a boy. He looked a few years older than her, eight or nine. She stared at him, her curious little mind working furiously. He had snow white hair. Gabby had never seen snow before, but that is the color she imagined. He was also pale white, like all the color he had was drained away.
What stuck out the most for the child, however, were the bright green eyes that looked deep into her own. Gently, the boy pulled her up so Gabby stood next to him.
He leaned in closely, his breath flicking her hair back. “Run,” he whispered.
Gabby listened, running along beside him. Her wrist was still caught in his grip but it did not matter; they ran at the same speed, side by side. They continued running until the forest was gone. They were back in the field next to Gabby’s old house.
She looked behind her; the dinosaur was still chasing them. Now, it had three other purple dinosaurs with it, all intent on having a small four-year-old for lunch. The boy pulled Gabby so she was face-to-face with him. He blocked her sight so they could no longer see the dinosaurs.
“Why can’t I wake up? I know it’s a dream, so why can’t I open my eyes,” The small child glared at the boy demandingly. He was the oldest one near her, automatically making him the ‘adult’ in this situation.
He gave her a small smile, reassuring her with that tiny gesture. She did not know what it was about him that made her so trusting, or not shy at all, but whatever he said, Gabby was automatically ready to believe. Even if she knew nothing about him at all, there was that air about him. He knew what was going on, and he knew how to fix it.
“It is just because you are trying to wake up the wrong way. You cannot wake up forcefully, you must wake up gently.” He grabbed both of her hands, placing them over her blue and hazel eyes. “Now, close your eyes, gently. Don’t squeeze them shut. There you go. Now count to… ten and open them slowly.”
“Why ten,” she asked.
“I don’t know, I like the number ten.” Gabby smiled widely.
“Alright, ten it is. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.” Gabby paused for a moment, holding her breath. Nothing seemed different.
“Now open your eyes, slowly.”
Gabby lowered her hands, which still rested over her closed eyes. As slow as she could, Gabby opened her eyes. The first sight she could see was the pale white ceiling above her. Blinking a few times, she looked around. Beside her lay her stuffed bear, which she had gotten from the hospital when she hurt her neck a few months ago. Green blankets and pillows covered the bed. She was back, and she was awake.
Eagerly, Gabby looked around; hoping the boy with pale white hair was still in the room. Not seeing him right away, she shoved away all of the blankets and pillows and hopped off of the bed. Thinking that the boy was still hiding, Gabby looked under the bed and in the closet.
She must have been making a lot of noise, because soon her mother came in. “How was your nap. What are you doing?”
Still distracted, it took her a moment to reply. “I am looking for the boy. I can’t find him though.”
“There is no boy in here. He must have been a part of your dream. What was your dream about?”
“Dinosaurs trying to eat me,” Seeing her mother frowning, Gabby quickly tried to fix the situation. She did not want her favorite movies taken away. “But it wasn’t scary. I knew it was a dream. I just could not wake up. It was really weird. But the boy came and helped me wake up.”
“What was the boy’s name?” Gabby shrugged, now sitting on the bed beside her mother.
“Well, what did he look like?” Gabby went to reply eagerly, before stopping. She remembered something… green.
“I can’t remember.” Gabby stared at her teddy, hoping it held all of the answers. What did the boy look like? Why couldn’t she remember?
“Come on, dinner’s ready. Gail made your favorite, chicken and dumplings.” Gabby looked up, chicken and dumplings were the best.
Her short attention span was quickly captured by the sound of her favorite meal. She ran out of the door, tossing her red teddy aside. Eagerly running into the kitchen, Gabby held out her hand for a plate. Instead she got a big kiss on the forehead. Another kiss was given on her hand, this one was slobbery.
“Ew, Shaggy. Don’t kiss me right now, I am about to eat dinner.” The girl petted the small black dog anyway. The dog was jumping around on two legs, a trick Gabby and Shaggy had practiced until the dog could do it by himself.
“Now go wash your hands,” Gabby’s great-grandmother said.
“Aww, but Gail, Shaggy’s clean. I watched you give him a bath yesterday!”
The woman smiled, hugging the child. “I know, but his mouth isn’t. He has been eating dog food. Now go wash your hands.” Gabby walked dejectedly to the bathroom, scrubbing her hands with the soap. She did not bother trying her hands on the fluffy red towel, instead flinging them around, getting everything wet.
Rushing back to the kitchen, Gabby noticed her mother already grabbed a plate. She pouted; she wanted to be the first one to get chicken and dumplings. It was her favorite meal after all. Gail handed her a bowl of the delicious food. Gabby hurried to the table, stuffing the food in her mouth along the way.
“Did you tell Gail about my dream, Momma?”
Gabby’s mother laughed, “No, I thought you would like to do that, Gabby.” Her four year old bounced on the wooden seat. She waited impatiently for her great-grandmother to sit down before plunging into the story. Much like the child she was, Gabby had to restart many times, whenever she remembered something else important.
“Gail, do you think I will ever see the boy again,” Gabby asked, her voice full of child-like optimism.
“I don’t know Gabby, you will have to keep dreaming.” She smiled widely, shoving her plastic bowl into the sink to go and watch a movie. She could not decide between Pokémon and Jurassic Park: The Lost World. Thinking of the boy again, Gabby shoved the dinosaur movie into the tape player. She re-winded the tape impatiently.
Her mother took over after Gabby pressing play on the movie every thirty seconds to see if it was at the beginning. After the movie was completely re-winded, Gabby sat on the couch and watched the movie eagerly. Her mother had told her that they were making a new one soon; Gabby could not wait to see it. She loved the dinosaurs, even though they gave her nightmares.
Despite having just woken up, Gabby fell asleep on her mother’s lap. The excitement of her dream had drained her energy back to zero, and it needed time to recharge.