11:23pm. Gaila’s husband was already asleep. She stared at the ceiling. The street lamp cast strange, unsettling shadows. Though she knew she had to sleep, the previous night’s dream and the literal mark it seemingly left haunted her.
She hadn’t told her husband. She hadn’t told anyone. The mark on her hand had to be a coincidence. If she told people that her nightmares seemed to be real, who would believe her?
She tried to shake the dread as she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Tonight, she would have normal dreams. Everything was going to be fine.
4:51am. Gaila sat on the edge of the bed again, shivering. The wasps from the night before had been ridiculous, but tonight’s dream had been outrageous.
A relaxing day on a flying cruise ship had turned into disaster. The ship was hijacked by faceless thugs. There was no way to escape, so she searched for the safest place she could find. A walk-in safe would do. Before she closed the door, she realized that a tiny boy was already cowering there.
“I’ll keep you safe,” she whispered as she closed the door.
Even as she bolted upright in bed, she could still feel his trembling body in her arms.
This time, she couldn’t bring herself to go back to sleep again. Instead, she sought the safety of the bright kitchen and a potent cup of coffee.
11:45am. Gaila followed her third graders to the lunchroom. As they hurried to their usual spots, she greeted the passing kindergarten teacher. At the front of the line was a little boy. The same one from her dream. He stared at her, mirroring her confused look as he followed the teacher out of the room.