Bulging red eyes stare at her. Voices continue shouting from beyond the pane, hurling insults meant to damage. She pulls at her skin, hugging her legs to her, sitting on the cold tile floor. She closes her eyes, tired from the endless noise, but it doesn’t stop.
An arm reaches through the pane and pulls her through. She’s surrounded by the horrid faces and the angry voices. They tear away at her as she fights through them. The fight is arduous. Each voice screams louder. Their arms pull at her and push her. One trips her and starts to drag her through mud. She pulls out her sword, her only means of protection. She never learned how to use it, but it is as sharp as any fine instrument should be.
She starts hacking away at the grabbing hands of these beings, finds her footing, and runs through the fog ahead of her. She knows she’s being chased, so she keeps moving. She finds herself running along a wooded path, deep inside a forest. She trips over a vine and begins to fall down a ravine, losing consciousness.
When she regains her senses, she realizes she’s not home anymore, nor in the forest. She’s in a small cabin in the woods. She’s covered with a handmade quilt and her head is resting on a soft down pillow on a sofa in front of a fireplace with a crackling fire. She breathes in the calm for a moment; this feels like a good dream. Then she hears a creak from the pine floor.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you. I was just checking on you,” the voice behind her greets her. An older man, probably in his late 80s, steps into the light enough for her to see. His kind smile and dark eyes warm up the room. His salt and peppered hair is short. “You like hot tea now, right?” He hands her a tea as she sits up and then he pulls over a rocking chair to take a seat by the fire.
She looks at him puzzled.
“You used to like diet Coke, then Sprite, and iced tea pretty much anytime. I should know, you also used to drink water directly from the bottle we kept in the fridge like me. Man, your mom really didn’t like that!”
She smiles. Although his face looks different, she recognizes him. It was comforting. She sips her tea and looks around. She sees familiar items around the room, the quilt on her was sewn by her grandmother, a picture of her hangs on the wall from high school graduation. The pillow was even her down pillow from her childhood bedroom.
She looks at him questioningly and asks, “Is this a dream?”
He rubs his hands on his legs then folds his hands together. “No, not exactly. You hide here when things get to you too much. It looks different at different times. We’ve been at the beach most of the time. Once, it was so dark though, we couldn’t even see where we were. Oh, that was a hard one.” He looked around. “I like being here, however. But honestly, you shouldn’t stay here too long.”
She looked down into her cup of tea. “I know. I just don’t know what to do. They’re back.” A tear welled up in her eye and rolled down her cheek.
He reached over and patted her leg. “I know. I found you as they were coming and brought you here. Rest up, you will need your strength to get through this, but you don’t need to leave right away.” With that, he stood up. “I’ll make you something to eat. Hamburgers?”
She smiled and nodded yes.