“No, please don’t!” I sobbed. Collapsing to my knees, I stole a glance at the man kneeling to my left. The sight of him, bound in chains, was agonizing, and my need to liberate him intensified with each passing moment. “I’m begging you to spare his life.” My heart felt as if it were being torn asunder. An enormous axe blocked the prisoner’s face from my view, its harsh blade stained with red.
“Who are you to beg anything from me?” The voice sneered at me from the shadows, mocking my very presence. A grand throne loomed in front of me, its inhabitant’s face drenched in darkness.
“There was a time when you would do anything I asked of you,” I answered, my voice shaking.
A shrill laugh echoed off every surface of the great hall. I could see his hands clench around the arms of the throne, his nails gouging the gleaming wood. “Unfortunately for you, that time has come to an end.” He lifted his hand and beckoned for the masked executioner to proceed.
“No!” I buckled forward, bracing myself with trembling hands. The stone was frigid, shocking. Breath caught in my throat—I was suffocating. The tips of my fingers clawed against the floor as I began scrambling toward the prisoner. If my pleas couldn't free him, my hands would.
“Hold her still!” the man from the shadows bellowed. Someone grasped my arms from behind. I thrashed wildly, desperately trying to release myself, but the grip was firm. “And pry her eyes open if you have to. I want her to see this.” His words oozed with triumph and satisfaction. Dread settled in the pit of my stomach, gnawing at my insides. The man kneeling next to me was about to die, his life snuffed out as easily as a candle, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. There was nothing I could do to save him.
“Please, no!” Panic coursed through every inch of me, causing my muscles to convulse violently with the need to act. Immediately, I focused on the axe. It lifted, allowing the man’s face to become visible. Brown locks of hair offset the brightest blue eyes I’d ever seen. I wanted nothing more than to stare into those eyes until the end of time, but even as I had the thought, the axe sliced through the air, severing the man’s head from his neck. “NO!” I screamed with all the power I could muster, but my plea rang hollow.
I woke up clutching my hand to my chest, fingernails dug into my skin, dotting the area over my heart with tiny crescent moons. Sweat trickled down my arms and neck. “A dream,” I said to myself. “It was just a dream.” I glanced at the clock next to my bed. The bright red numbers glared at me showing 6:07 a.m. It was almost time to start getting ready for school. I collapsed on my pillow in defeat. My dreams had gotten steadily worse over the summer. Every night while I slept, they became more detailed. Colors sharpened, smells grew more potent, and each time I relived these nightmares, it felt more like reality than fantasy. An unrelenting sense of terror riddled my body. I couldn't shake it, couldn't explain it. What was happening to me? I was a normal girl. I should be picking out prom dresses and visiting colleges, not holding myself accountable for the imaginary execution of a mystery man. Electric blue monarch butterflies fluttered in circles above my head. I exhaled deeply, causing the mobile to pick up speed. It spun, morphing into a blurry halo. The jarring sound of my phone’s ringtone cut through the silence of my room. I jumped, answering it quickly and pressed the phone to my ear.
Comments (0)See all