It wasn’t until all of her dreams
Had faded to memories
That she realized they weren’t actually dreams,
But nightmares that had been haunting her,
Threatening to engulf her in every waking moment
As they did in her sleep.
They seemed normal, at first,
But the little nuances
Hidden within the mundane
Became clearer with every day that passed
Void of them.
It wasn’t always like that, though.
They started harmless enough,
Passing pictures of moments she wished for,
But over time they began to decay,
Gradually, so as not to scare her.
Eyeballs turned dark
And hair stared to fall out,
New scars forming and old scars
Bursting open.
But they were sometimes hidden,
So she didn’t notice the blood running
From everyone’s noses
Or the sharpened edges of fingernails
Painted black.
When she started to realize things were shifting,
That’s when the pictures started to move
And she became a part of this other world.
Her own eyes blinked to black
And her nails grew faster, longer,
And one morning she woke up
Unable to remember when she cut her hair.
Then things shifted again
And the moments stopped moving,
Started fading away, shorter and more distant,
Until she had no more dreams,
Just the memories of dreams,
And suddenly she knew why she was trapped.
Of course she didn’t cause the scars on her arms,
These nightmares did,
And if only she went to the doctor
Before these moments disappeared.
Then they would have seen.
They would have understood.

Kristin Howell