Aislinn’s face looked at me with panic in her eyes. She was gesturing violently at me and her lips were moving but I couldn’t hear any sound coming from her mouth. Fear began to grip me as I struggled to understand what Aislinn wanted from me.
She grabbed my hand, forcing me to run. We were both dressed in strange, medieval style clothes, the dress I was in tangling itself around my ankles, making me stumble forward. I could barely keep up with Aislinn but I knew I had to keep running, making myself hold my balance as we flew past trees towards a rocky cliff face.
Something was behind us, I could feel it but didn’t dare turn around. I was sick with fear by the time we reached the wall and Aislinn led me through a gap and along a dark stone corridor. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest as we ran towards a light at the end of the tunnel.
“Do it, Nessie!”
The words reverberated around my head as I woke up, my entire body sweating and my heart beating like crazy. Aislinn was fast asleep in the bed opposite me and looked perfectly calm and peaceful, untroubled by dreams. I climbed out of bed, crossing the floor as quietly as I could so I wouldn’t wake Aislinn as I headed to the kitchen for some water.
The corridor was dark but I could find my way across the hall easily, turning the light on in the kitchen as soon as I’d opened the door. I almost screamed when I saw Joanne sitting at the table with a mug in her hand.
“Oh my God,” I breathed. “I didn’t realise anyone was still up.”
“Well it is four in the morning,” Joanne shrugged. “I think even Eric is back in bed.”
“What are you doing up then?” I ask as I take a glass from a cupboard and pour myself some water to calm my nerves.
“I’m not a great sleeper. I prefer to be out of bed if I’m not going to sleep rather than lying in the dark staring at the ceiling. Why are you up?”
“Bad dream,” I said, leaning against the counter and sipping on my water. “Just made me feel a little shaken.”
“I used to have nightmares. It’s not nice waking up with that feeling but it will pass. You’ve just got to be brave enough to close your eyes and risk falling back into the dream. Chances are you’ll sleep dreamlessly for the rest of the night.”
“Let’s hope so,” I said, heading back towards the door. “Do you want me to leave the light on?”
“No, I like it in the dark,” Joanne said. “You think that’s a bit weird, huh?”
“Just a little,” I said as lightly as I could. “But at least I know about it now so I won’t be too worried when I walk in on a figure sitting alone in a dark room.”
“You make me sound like some sort of creepy intruder,” Joanne laughed. “Hope you get back to sleep.”
“Thanks. I hope so too.”
I tiptoed back across the hall and through the clutter on the floor of my room and climbed into bed, putting my glass of water on the bedside table. I lay on my side facing Aislinn for a while, my mind going over things that might have triggered my dream. I’d never suffered from nightmares before; I’d always been a pretty sound sleeper. So why were they bothering me now? And why was my new room mate at the centre of it all?
I thought back to what Pippa had said before she’d left that afternoon. Do you think there’s something familiar about her? I have this feeling that I know her from somewhere but I can’t quite place her. What was it that had prompted both Pippa and I to think that we had already seen Aislinn before? There was something different about Aislinn, something I couldn’t put my finger on, but nothing that should make her appear in my nightmares. She wasn’t threatening in the slightest.
I tried to turn my mind to other things, but no matter how hard I tried none of my thoughts were particularly soothing. I thought about Lloyd. Maybe I should just leave it, it can’t be that important and if he wanted to see me again he knew where to find me.
But thinking about Lloyd only led my mind round to Luke. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I missed him. I wanted to hear the sound of his voice, his laugh, the way he looked at me when I’d done something stupid. He was a part of me and without him I felt lost.
I desperately tried to sleep and stop my mind from wandering over subjects I would rather not encounter, but every time I began to drift off, all I could see was Aislinn’s face pleading with me and the fear in my stomach returned as I realised I didn’t know what to do.