In my dream, I was drowning. Sinking to the bottom of an endless black ocean. There was no light, no sound, nothing. Only the feeling of burning in my lungs. My veins were turning white under my brown skin, just like cobwebs in a haunted house. I tried to swim up, but I only sank deeper. My vision blurred, and my lungs filled with water. My veins started went cold, and started burning again. Burning with ice. My blood was pumping fast, and the adrenaline even faster. I screamed into the ocean, but no one heard me."Help! Please, I don't want to die!" But just as the last piece of oxygen drained out of my body, I woke up.
I fucking hate that dream. It was the third time I had it this week.
I got out of my bed and looked out the window. The sky was beautiful. It always is at night. The moon was glowing brighter than any sun, but it would be morning soon. The stars would normally be shining bright but the streetlights of Camden polluted the sky. Those giant grey ugly lights destroy the beauty of our world.
The city was coated in an amber glow, and the only people on the streets were what some people would call ruffians. I see them more as people who have fun. The girls stumbling home from bachelorette parties, covered in pink and glitter. The teenagers sneaking back home from parties with their friends, laughing loud enough to wake up everyone. The people who know how to live.
They have all their friends and their fun and their laughter. They might be living recklessly to others, but to me, they’re living free.
I liked to play this game when I can’t sleep where I look at the people on the streets and imagine their lives. There was Richard, a regular here on this road, who went back to his dog Angie, and she waited at the door all night for him to come home from his job as a bartender from The Fighting Saints. There was Alice, who partied with her friends every night, and always had a smile on her face to hide the fact she had to go back home to an empty house after her boyfriend left her. And finally, there was Praeses, my neighbour who lived in the apartment across the hall. I knew her well enough to say hello to be polite, but nothing else. I didn't even know her last name. So every morning when she sped past on her yellow bike, I would imagine where she's going today.
Maybe she's visiting her mother to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos, or maybe she's heading off to go to some underground concert in a hole in the wall nightclub, or maybe she’s going to the airport to go somewhere fun with her friends. Or maybe she's just living a normal life like me and I keep on romanticising the lives of the people on the street.
I grabbed my phone from my desk and looked at the time. 05:23.
It would be pointless to go back to sleep now. I got out of my pyjamas and put on the clothes I was wearing yesterday that were still on the floor. I tied up my boots and left, slamming the front door to my apartment shut behind me.
Snow was starting to fall, the first snow of winter. The cold night air was cutting into my skin, but I didn't mind. I kinda like the cold. It's refreshing, like as if the weather was a pack of mints. Not the best ananolgy ever made, but you get the idea.
I’ve been getting nightmares all my life, and nothing ever seemed to stop them. Until one day, I found something that made me feel better. These long walks under the night sky. The clear skies help to clear my mind. It's become a routine now: Go to sleep, have a nightmare, wake up, walk.
I was going down my usual route, and I was passing by the old playground in the park. That park was where I spent most of my childhood. My mom would take me there every day, and I’d play on those swings for hours. But then one day a few years ago some kid fell of the monkey bars and broke his leg. The dad threatened to sue the council who owned the park, but they just shut it down instead. Now the place was abandoned. The red and blue paint was peeling from the slide, the metal on the roundabout rusty and brown. No one had been there in years.
So when I heard this weird noise, I knew something was wrong. An usual sound, like an explosion but played in reverse. I looked towards the noise and I saw something that no one would expect to see at a quater to six on a cold snowy November morning, while still groggy from sleep:
Praeses was dressed in full knight's armour, minus the helmet, standing on top of the landing on the slide, with a sword held to some poor woman's neck. The woman was begging for mercy, but Praeses’s face showed no signs of it.
Welp. This is definitley going to be an intresting day