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Let Me Out

Laurie Delaney
[writerinboulder@gmail.com]

I woke at six am this morning with a throbbing pain in my head. I pressed the tips of my fingers to my right temple, trying to massage the pain away. As I did this, I felt a thick residue on my fingers, and slowly drew them to my eye. As I followed the blood from my index finger up my arm, I at last felt the throb in my left arm. The cut was nothing more than a scratch, really, but the drinking from the night before made my blood thin. It covered the top of my arm. I didn't have to ask myself what I might have done. I knew it was another night terror.

           When your a sleep walker, you dread waking up. Climbing the stairs, I knew I would hear that same moronic question from a room mate. Do you remember what you did last night? It was the same question I got at least once a week from family and friends if they were to spend a night under the same roof as me. The pain rushed to my temple again, and I cringed. I stopped for a minute, hand to my head in pain. I decided to skip the shower and go for a walk.

           I opened the door quietly knowing everyone was still asleep. The cool morning air brushed against my arm softly, easing the pain in my wound. I wish I knew where it had come from. I turned my eyes to the sky seeing the sun slowly peeking over the Colorado mountains. Blue, pink, and yellow shown over the tips of the Rockies, and eased my pain. I wondered why I never remember the dreams that I have.

           I started to walk down the street, taking long strides, carrying me farther from the house. My thoughts turned back to my night terrors. What was the thing that pursued me so desperately when I was asleep? My eyes felt heavier with time . My legs ached, despite the short distance I had walked. The feeling of a presence behind me filled me with fear. I felt warm breath on the back of my neck. Deep growls and snarls filled my ear, only inches away. I stopped, my heart sinking deep into the pit of my stomach.

           I turned slowly seeing for the first time what pursued me. It was six feet tall, drool pouring from it's snarling snout. It's body was strong, and it stood on it's hind legs, staring down at me with contempt and hatred. It's red eyes glowing with rage. It raised it's lips in a grotesque smile. I ran for the park up the street, my lungs bursting from the pain. Yet another moment where I wish I wasn't a smoker. As I climbed the hill I paused for a moment, out of breath, my head screaming in pain worse than ever.

           Panicked questions filled my head: What the hell is this thing? Where did it come from? Why me, oh god, why me?

           The feeling of a presence grew stronger behind me. I felt a momentary gust of wind, followed by searing pain. The gash in my arm had been reopened deeper this time. I stumbled down the rocky slope leading to the lake. My right temple smacking against the ground.

           I rolled onto my back, arm raised in fear and anger. I clutched a rock in my left hand ready to bludgeon the beast that stalked me. It was then I looked down at my clothing. When did I change to go for my walk? I stood up and climbed back up the slope, wincing in pain blood dripping down my arm. My bare feet for the first time felt the pain of stepping on the sharp rocks, felt the wind whipping through my pajama pants and t-shirt. The beast was gone, and so was the sunrise.

           I walked home, humiliated from the embarrassment of another night terror. Wondering if anyone had noticed I was gone. It didn't matter now though. I knew I would wake up tomorrow and hear that awful question.

           Do you remember what you did last night?

           As the blood dripped from my arm I walked home, feeling that a presence was still there. My heart ache with fear, confusion, and frustration. Where does this come from? Where do these dreams come from? How did I know in my first dream that I would hurt myself? That I would hit my temple and cut my arm? Unanswered questions flooded my head, as I walked the final block to my house. I could feel beast staring me down as I walked away, and wondered: Am I still asleep?



About the Author (click here) © 2001 Laurie Delaney, all rights reserved
 appears here by permission



Author Notes

           This is the first chapter of a story I've been thinking about for a while.

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