Chapter 1 of Dream On, a story I'm currently working on.
| Chapter 1
I slowly lowered the phone to the receiver and tried to make sense of the news I had just heard. My dad is dead...it was not unexpected, but it still shook me to the core. He'd been in the hospital for three weeks, experiencing what the doctors considered health deterioration at an exponential rate. He was fine just six weeks ago, and I couldn't think of a reason for the change, but now...
The thought of not even being able to feel his heartbeat, as I could whenever I had held his hand, was too hard for me to think about. I knew the only person who was going to take this news harder than me was my mom, who was already comatose even when he was just hospitalized. She had refused to come out of her room since the night he was taken away in the ambulance, much less go visit him in the hospital.
That was the night the dreams had started; not just normal dreams (it seemed as though nothing in my life would ever be normal again) but dreams that seemed so real I was convinced I'd lived through more than one of the scenarios already. I had chalked it up to stress the first couple of nights, but after six weeks of them growing stronger and sharper each night, I was starting to question my sanity, especially when one of the more vivid dreams came true two weeks ago.
Rena helped put my mind to ease, telling me I had an overactive imagination and it was just coincidence that I happened to bump into and apologize to a man on the street after dreaming about the exact scenario the night before. Of course, that couldn't have been the same tacky fedora on his head, right? And wasn't he wearing a black suit in my dream, when the real man had been wearing a deep blue suit? Surely there were minute differences.
I was thankful for a friend like Rena; she kept me down to earth.
I took a deep breath and forced my feet to move towards the stairs. I went up to the second level of the house and found my sister lying on her bed with her headphones on, shutting out the world as usual. I took a moment to study Jess before I walked over and pushed the headphones off.
"Hey! What's your problem girl?" Jess demanded.
"I have news." I said in a voice that hadn't been cleared yet.
"Okay...?" Jess waited for me to elaborate.
I was silent for a few seconds before I said, "The hospital just called, Dad's dead."
"Oh..." Jess went silent and stared down at her bed. "Well, it's not like we didn't know it was going to happen."
"I know, but..." I sighed, "Never mind. Now I get the unpleasant task of telling Mom."
"Oh." Jess shuddered, "You think it'll make much of a difference?"
"Her husband is dead; don't you think she ought to know?" I asked.
"I'm just saying, Mom hasn't done anything since Dad was moved to the hospital, you really think she'll do something now that he's actually dead?" Jess asked.
"She still needs to know!" I yelled, then admitted, "I just don't want to tell her."
"So don't." Jess shrugged, "She'll find out eventually. Either from one of us, or the lawyer who'll be at our doorstep within 48 hours."
"Don't you think we owe her?" I asked.
"We don't owe that woman anything, she hasn't done anything parental since we were five, and it's not just because of Dad." Jess said, "And I've been meaning to talk to you about something."
I sat down on Jess's bed, guessing what Jess was about to say.
"You think it's time to put mom in the hospital." I said, knowing I was right from Jess's guilty expression.
"Well yeah, don't you? I mean, mom has never really taken care of us, it was always dad. And since he was in the hospital she hasn't even taken care of herself. We don't need her, and she could get help in the hospital." Jess reasoned.
"I know, but it still doesn't feel right." I said.
"Listen, I know you, you're not yourself right now, where's that annoying Chazzy confidence eh?" Jess asked.
"Screw you." I said as I turned to leave.
"That's more like it." Jess said as she slipped her headphones back on.
I walked to my own room and shut the door softly behind me. I lifted my cell phone from its usual spot on my bedside table and hit the speedial button. After a couple of rings a groggy voice answered the call.
"Hello?" Rena asked.
"Hey, it's me." I said.
"Dude do you know what time it is?" Rena questioned.
"Yea, it's ten in the morning. And?" I asked.
"It's not just ten in the morning; it's ten in the morning on the first day of summer. Now why in the world are you not still enjoying a long lie in bed like I am?" Rena asked.
"The phone woke me up." I replied.
"Ever heard of an answering machine?" Rena asked.
"It was a call from the hospital..." I stated.
"Oh...what's the news?" Rena asked carefully.
"My Dad is officially dead." I answered.
"Oh, Chaz, I'm so sorry, I know you two were close." Rena said in sympathy.
"Yea, well, it's not like we didn't know this was going to happen." I said in defense, quoting Jess.
"That doesn't make it hurt any less." Rena said.
Somehow Rena always knew what I was feeling or trying to say, ever since we had become friends five years ago we had had this connection that sometimes scared me a little. Rena was the type of friend who if you needed her would drop what she was doing and come over right away, which was exactly what she offered to do right before we ended the call. I didn't really feel like seeing anyone at the moment, and I had to make arrangements for my mom, so I called Rena's advancement off and just lay back down in bed.
I didn't intend to dream, but my eyes closed without me knowing and I was thrust into swirling colors which eventually sorted themselves out into a clear image. This time there was no fog, and the scene was as sharp as if I were awake. Yet again, I had no idea where I was or why but I knew I was there for a reason.
The building I was standing in front of was made of old, gray cement with windows that were shut tight with bars over them, in a way it looked like a cross between a jail and a factory, an odd mix if you asked anyone's opinion. I knew I had seen the building before but I couldn't place when or where. This building seemed to blend into the background as well as if it had been camouflaged. I could tell I was facing a side of the building rather than the front, and I debated seeing if there was some name around the corner that might hint at what the point of this building was. I had barely taken one step when a side door opened and a guy stepped out. He looked about the same age as I was and he had shaggy light brown hair. His eyes were chestnut brown and weren't anything special, but when they locked onto mine they showed curiosity mixed with fear.
He seemed to be asking me something urgently, but I couldn't hear anything he was saying. I was at a loss for words, a first for me. The guy started advancing towards me and something about the way he was looking at me made me want to run.
I had never been the type of person to run away from a tense situation, so I stood my ground. I could tell that I was somehow at odds with the guy, though I didn't know any reason why. It really bugged me how I couldn't hear anything, since I couldn't read lips either I had no idea what was going on.
I never saw the guy respond to what I was apparently saying to him; it had to be me, there was no one else around. I was woken by the shrill sound of the doorbell and briefly thought about answering it, thinking there was a chance it would be for me. I heard Jess's laughter and knew the person at the door was for her, and I was free to lay in bed as long as I liked. It sounded good, but I knew how tempting it would be to doze off again, and a repeat of that confusing vision was not what I wanted.
I walked down the stairs just in time to see Jess grabbing her favorite black leather studded purse. She didn't really look at me as she opened the door and I watched her climb into her friend's car until they drove away. Just what I needed; more quiet time for me to think.