A bad dream, that’s what I tell myself. Nothing else can explain what is happening to me at this very moment in life. The world has become so unpredictable and my fate is left in the hands of the unknown. I don’t know what is going on, and I don’t know what to do.
It started one night, where a full moon sat on the blank canvas of a sky. There were no stars and no clouds, just blackness overhead. I can’t recall what actually happened or how I got there, but I remember feeling an intense amount of pain. A kind of pain that left my ears ringing and my head throbbing even after it ended, pain that made my eyes teary and my body weak and clumsy. It took a while, but by the time I got my bearings, I found myself in a forest.
I tried to pick myself up, but the world was still spinning around me. I had no balance and no matter how hard I tried, I could not pull myself together. So, I crawled. Nails digging into the wet soil, I dragged my feet one at a time. I was moving very slowly, until a strange smell wafted in a cold night breeze. It was an odd smell and the more I inhaled it, the more I felt like gagging. It was not foul, but it churned the insides of my stomach. Moments later, the trees around me began to fade and I lost a few hours of my life.
When I woke up, it took me a long time to make out my surroundings. The sun was shining on my face and I knew night had long gone, but something did not feel right. My body was aching from head to toe and there was a smell, a different smell from the night before, that lingered in the air. As I sat up on my bed trying to put two and two together, I screamed.
The curtains were drawn back in my room and there was no denying what I was seeing. Scrambling out from my bed and hurrying far from it, I stared in horror at the colour of my sheets. They were red. The sight of red made me choke up and when I covered my mouth with my hands, I saw more. My hands, my arms, my legs and my clothes were caked with blood, dark red blood. This time, there was nothing that could stop me from emptying my stomach with a retch. My world began to spin again, and then I collapsed.
Since that night, I have told myself that it was simply a bad dream. When I woke up after the whole nightmarish affair, I was shocked to find no blood and a clean bedroom. My mother said it was a bad dream and my father told me to forget it. But how could I? It felt so real… it smelt so real. Just thinking about it makes my stomach uneasy, so how can it be a figment of my imagination?
A few weeks after the horrible ‘dream’, my grandfather came over for a visit. My grandmother left us a few years ago and my grandfather found company in us. My parents and I love him, so we never complained when he made unexpected visits. It was a weekend when he arrived, and he stayed for a few nights. On the last night, I found him in my room just as I was about to hit the sack.
“Aren’t you going to bed, grandpa?” I asked.
“Soon. I just want to tell you something,” he said.
“What is it?”
“Find the moon.”
“Find the moon. That was what your grandma always told me. She said if you find the moon, you will find yourself.”
“Okay, grandpa,” I said. What he said was irrelevant at that moment, but I thanked him for his little advice anyway.
A week after my grandfather left, it happened again. I woke up in the middle of the forest, weak and disoriented. I tried to stand up, but my legs could not hold me up for long. Soon, I was back on my knees, crawling. I crawled for a longer time this round, and when that same strange smell swirled around me, I held my breath and pushed forward. When I was finally too tired to continue, I dragged myself to the side of a river, hoping to quench my thirst.
Pushing my head towards the water, because my hands were too tired to feed me, I saw something I would never forget. It was unforgettable in a horrifying way as I violently pulled my head away from the water. When I finally gathered enough courage to look at it again, I held my breath to the point of suffocation. I would rather suffocate than acknowledge what I was seeing; a beast with yellow eyes, sharp teeth, and wild hair glaring back at me. My reflection was a monster.
In the state of confusion and horror, my mind raced with unanswerable questions. There was nothing to stop it, except for the words of my grandfather. When it hit me, it did not make any sense, but something within me acted on it. Find the moon, he said, and that was what I did. I searched for the reflection of the moon in the river, and when I found it, I dragged myself over and hover over it. As though those words were magic, the monster I saw in the water was gone in the reflection of the moon. What I saw… was simply me.
After that night, I woke up in my room again, and when I told my parents about it, they insisted it was a bad dream. Until they tell me what is going on, I’ll just pretend it is. I don’t know what is going on and I don’t know what to do, but if I ever see that monster again I will find the moon. The moon will show me who I really am.
I wrote this on the same day I heard Owl City’s new single, Wolf Bite. I guess it is safe to say it inspired this story; a story about the changes and transitions in life.
From playing, to schooling, to working, to marriage, to starting a family, life is always changing and we are always transitioning. These changes and transitions can be dark and scary, and it’s normal to feel lost when we start a new journey in life, but it is in these moments that we find ourselves. The moon that turns us, is the same moon that shows us who we really are. We just have to find it. Day will come soon enough, but in the night, let’s find the moon and never forget our true reflection.
I hope you enjoyed this story! Do let me know what you think about it in the comments below 🙂
*Btw, if you’re an Owl City fan like me, do me a favour and tweet and FB this to Adam. It’ll be really cool if he reads it too, don’t you think?
© 2014 Jeyna Grace
(For more short stories, click HERE)