➼ Title: That One Night➼ Word count: 750➼ Warnings: Graphic details
➼ Troptember: Plagued by Nightmares
What a beautiful moon it is today. Or should I say, moons? There was the bigger one, the older sister, Deihiri, and the smaller, younger brother, Abos. I watch it from the window, an arm over my husband. He looks beautiful in the light, a mixture of orange candlelight and silver moonlight. How peaceful he looks. His chest rises and falls, and my heart follows the rhythm. Watching it, I realize I must sleep. The most hateful thing in my life. I clutch the amethyst pendant hanging onto a thread around my neck. May the Gods bless me as I traverse the realm of sleep.
I gently close my eyes, letting my body shut down one by one. Toes, knees, arms, and finally my face. I slowly relax, thinking of all things beautiful. Sleep comes in swift, gentle waves.
Something tickles against my cheek and I jolt awake. The room is empty. Empty. I am on the cold, hard ground surrounded by walls that remind me too much of my childhood house. Realization hits me like a slap. Oh Stars, it is happening. I claw my neck, searching for the amethyst. Gone, gone like everything I have. The floor is filling up with a thick liquid. It smells like a slaughterhouse. I scramble up, stifling a scream. Blood. I turn around and find a hallway, leading somewhere far, but there is light. I run without caring what I will see.
I run for what seems like an eternity. I can still feel the blood on my clothes, thick and smelly. I want to cry and scream, but nothing happens. I just run and run and run. ‘Giving in only makes it stronger. Just keep running or fighting. Don’t feed it,’ a voice echoes around the dark hallway. Zai. My husband’s voice encourages me and I run faster. The door finally gets closer. I slam into the door and bruise my face. It matters not, I must leave. Bright light shines through the frame, promising an end to this hellscape. A smile crawls up my face.
As soon as I touch the door knob, everything around me dissolves. Walls, door, ground. I’m in a lake filled with blood. Driftwood floats my way and I grab it, holding it under my arms. There are things in this blood and one of the swims by my leg. I slap my mouth, swallowing a scream. Stars, save me. I pray to the moons and stars, every one of them, begging and bargaining. I cannot see land anywhere. Everything is red: the sky, the moons. As I close my eyes, I can feel the driftwood change into something else. I run a finger across it. What I find freezes my blood. A severed arm. I’m holding a severed arm. Panic settles in, burrowing deep in my heart and blocking my lungs. The red light reveals something else: a tattoo. More precisely, High House Alidras's coat of arms. It is my father’s arm and I let go as quickly as possible.
The sudden motion pushes me underwater. Moons, save me. Stars, save me.
The lake drains out and I fall. Nothing makes sense anymore. This is like any nightmare I’ve had.
The floor is made of wood, and a fire crackles in the fireplace. This feels familiar. The room’s door breaks and in come a hoard of people, dressed in HIgh House fashion from the last decade.
They surround me, and each one of them has a wound on them. Some are missing limbs, others have holes through them. Some are missing heads. High House Alidras. “WHY DIDN’T YOU SAVE US, RILLON NE ALIDRAS? IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT. EVERYTHING IS YOUR FAULT. WE ARE DEAD BECAUSE OF YOU.” Every single one of them screams, a medley of nightmarish voices.
‘I wanted to. I couldn’t. I was a child,’ I want to scream back, but nothing comes out. Only ugly sobs and hot tears. The smell of rotting corpses overwhelms me, clouding my senses. The circle of corpses closes in around me, clawing me, scratching me, wounding me. ‘Stop. Please. Is there no God who hears my cries?’ I can only cry, as the shuffling, rotting feet scrape against me.
“Rillon? Rillon! Wake up, your spasming! It’s just a dream, wake up!” The voice gets louder and louder until the corpses disappear and I’m on a soft surface.
I am back in my room, with my husband, on my bed. Yet, the rotting smell still lingers.