With school the following day, Brian needs to sleep, but he can’t seem to find peace to do it. With the tape recorder in his room, he’s somewhat apprehensive.
Tossing and turning, he finally settled down and closed his eyes. He was aware of the recorder and that kept him awake for some time. Finally, he dropped off. Immediately, his mind was filled with horrific, nightmare images. He saw flames, explosions, blood and devastation. A big, black, nebulous something lurked in the shadows. He couldn’t see it clearly, but he tried to make himself describe it. Speaking in his dream, he hoped he would speak aloud as well.
The creature grew fangs, that lengthened and dripped poisonous looking green goo from them. Brian shuddered, cringing away from it. A large, warm body cuddled up next to him. He didn’t know what it was, but in his sleep, he clung to the warmth, holding it close.
The black thing lunged at him, attacking with claws and fangs. The teeth ripped into him. Brian screamed, but no sound came out. He woke in a sweat to find Zofia lying next to him. Her big head was on his shoulder and he held tightly to her collar. Before he forgot the images, he spoke aloud, describing what he’d seen.
“I don’t know what this all means,” he concluded. “But I have the impression that something really bad is coming soon. We need to be prepared.”
Brian fell asleep once more, this time without dreams. The images still haunted him and he felt the shadow lurking at the edges of his perception. Zofia lay beside him, warm, huge and comforting.
Heath drove Brian and Jordan to school. Brian told them what he could remember of his dream and warned them to be ready for anything. As he dropped them off, Heath cautioned them for the third time.
“Be careful today. Look out for each other. If you have any problems, look for Mrs. Finely. She’s the school counselor.”
“We know who she is, Dad. Don’t worry. It’s fine.”
“Take this salt and cumin. Sprinkle it wherever you go. Don’t take chances, Pumpkin. I love you.”
“I know, Dad. But if you call me pumpkin again, I’m seriously gonna have to kick your ass.” She kissed her father’s nose and hopped out of the car.
“Keep an eye on her today,” Heath asked Brian. “I don’t think she’s taking this seriously.”
Brian, who had some insight into Jordan’s emotions, didn’t say anything. He thought she did take it very seriously and the casual attitude was her way of coping with something that terrified her.
“I’ll watch out for her. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.”
“Remember, sprinkle that salt and cumin around….”
“Heath, we got it, okay? I seriously have to go. I’m gonna be late.”
“Go! Be safe!” He watched the two teenagers meet and walk in the school together.
Horns honked behind him. Waving out the window, he pulled out and drove away, feeling that something loomed on the horizon. He only wished he knew what it was.
The first half of the day went well. At lunch time, Brian made a point to find Chase and Marissa. Along with Jordan, he told them what had happened over the last few days.
Marissa clung to Chase’s arm, her blue eyes wide with fear. “Do you think that he’ll try anything here—at school?”
“Probably not,” Jordan assured her, though she wasn’t really that confident that Deidrich wouldn’t attempt something during the day.
“We don’t think so. But if you get in trouble, text Chase’s mom and then the rest of us,” Brian instructed. “It will be okay, Marissa. Just be strong.”
“I have my faith to protect me,” she replied piously.
Jordan, who was feeling snarky, patted her hand. “Sure, you keep on believing that when the big baddie is breathing down your neck.”
Brian gave her a dirty look. “What Jordan means is that your skills will protect you more—just as much. Oh, hell. Marissa, just remember what you’ve learned. You’ll be okay.”
“I haven’t learned anything,” she protested. “My parents never taught me that—stuff! They said I didn’t need it, that my faith in God would be enough.”
“Well, they were wrong,” Brian said, trying not to be mean. “Pray all you want, it won’t faze Mr. D. Stick close to one of us, we’ll protect you.”
As they went to class after lunch, Brian didn’t feel quite right. The atmosphere in the school seemed charged. His skin tingled and he kept seeing things in the corner of his eye. When he turned to look, there was nothing there. Peoples’ faces didn’t look right. They were all distorted, grimacing. He constantly heard whispering, but no one was speaking. The voices spoke in another language. Covering his ears didn’t help. The sounds were actually louder because he blocked out everything else.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes
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