Every night it is the same. In my dream I find myself on a dark pathway in a foggy night forest, moving towards an eerie-looking house with a single light in the upstairs window. I am petrified but unable to stop my feet from walking up to the front door.
It appears to be made of obsidian and is scarred with hacks; it is stained with dried rivulets of chalky powder. My finger touches one dried stream and pulls back at the cold. The red powder on my finger moves as if alive.
I’m able to lift my leaden feet to turn and run.
A root from one of the trees along the path shoots out and trips me. As my face smashes into the smooth stone of the path I wake up.
It’s been two years of the nightmare. I’ve had to quit my job. My boyfriend left me. I am turning to the bottle more and more for comfort.
One Friday night, I hear a tapping at the window and a terrible squawking. Turning on the porch light, I look out to see a crow perched in the apple tree. It caws when it sees me. I open the window. The crow says, “Go in or you’ll go mad!” over and over.
Now I really feel like I’m dreaming! I reach for the vodka and gulp my drink down.
That night, in a drunken haze, I lie down on the bed and cry out, “Give me the courage!”
In my dream, I’ve gotten to the door, touched the powder, and see the wriggling. This time I don’t turn. Instead I reach for the knob. It’s unlocked. I push and step through, into red and black velveteen wallpaper and carved obsidian furniture. The only light is a glow from the lamp upstairs that illuminates the dark oak staircase. I hear creaking stair steps as someone descends but is still out of sight.
I see her red-velvet-slippered feet first, where the black velvet hem of her gown brushes them. Each step reveals more of her, until I gasp and fall to the floor. It is me!
Laughter from deep in the throat begins. It continues and grows louder, until it is echoing off of the walls of the room. I don’t know where it’s coming from until I put my hand on my chest and feel it is coming from me.
Taking control of the dream, I now have a scimitar in my hands. I’m walking towards her, where she stands at the foot of the stairs. It takes one sweep of the mighty blade. Her head rolls, then it crumbles to dust, as does she and her beautiful slippers and gown.
I walk out, back into the night, away down the path, far from this place. No roots trip me. As I clear the woods, I see the sun rising over the lake and weep tears of joy.
Sadje is the host of What do you see?