Only a dream?

Alex jolted upright in her bed, gasping for breath. Shakily, she pulled herself free of the tangled sheets, eliciting a sleepy, questioning sound from the cat.

This one was worse than the last.

“What, I’m dreaming about Jack-the-Ripper now?” she asked herself, half in anger. “How about Rudolph Valentino? Or...”  Her voice trailed off, and she rubbed her face. The clock hummed, and the time flicked from 3:27 to 3:28. The soft clack of the numbers falling together was almost a rebuke. It had only been a dream, after all.

“Dammit.” Alex rubbed her face again, then staggered off to the bathroom, wincing at the harsh glare of the fluorescent lights as she hit the switch by reflex. She leaned over the sink, and ran water to wash her face.

Lifting her chin, she regarded her reflection in the mirror. The slim, dark-haired and -eyed image gazed at her solemnly. She gave it a wry smile, and bent again to the tap, cupping her hand beneath it to get a drink. She froze as she caught a movement from the corner of her eye.

Gracefully, Minerva leapt to the counter, where she sat herself imperiously.

Alex sighed at her paranoia. Was she expecting the terror from the dream to come out and catch her here?

She glanced into the mirror again as she reached for the tap, and was surprised to see the echoes of fear in her own eyes.

“What is wrong with me?” she asked herself, angry again. Why these terrible dreams, every few nights? Dreams of people and places she must have read about once upon a time; dreams that had more clarity than documentaries she’d seen. She shook her head.

As if in answer to her question, the cat crept closer, and took a half-hearted swipe at the pendant which hung from Alex's neck, tantalisingly swinging above the sink.

Alex looked down in surprise, having forgotten she was wearing it. It had been her mother’s - a gift from a woman she barely knew.

She caught it up, away from the cat, and examined it...

The End

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