Nightmares (Connor x MC)
[A little note: Yesterday, I was battling with all sorts of emotions and channelled it through some scattered thoughts. It ended up being pretty okay material for writing a story and it just kept going from there. I decided to tackle on an idea for an ilitw fanfic. It’s really short, and mostly just about the feelings more than anything coherent].
[Summary: It’s been years since Hayden (MC) and her friends had dealt with the circumstances surrounding the dark spirit in the woods. Although her mind has shoved most of it aside; every now and then nightmares reawaken, making it hard for her to keep a tight grip on reality].
[Word Count: 1055 words]
Everyday starts the same.
She wakes up, covered in cold sweats. She can barely breathe; chest heaving in and out from effort and the walls around her feel thin once her eyes scatter in panic; trying to piece together where she is. To remember why she isn’t in any danger.
But something insists she is.
She can never remember the dream – not entirely; there are only bits and pieces to that puzzle and not the entire picture as she rouses from bed. Her hands bury inside her hair and she lets out a frustrated cry as her fingers yank. They serve as a distraction until she’s able to breathe again. In and out. In and out. Until she’s able to push past what she thinks is despair and finally move.
Deep down, she thinks she’s terrified of remembering.
She winces before dropping her hands. Despite her best efforts, her body moves slowly; like a hungover sailor still trying to gather their bearings. She makes her way to the bathroom on unsteady legs.
Her dark eyes are wide in panic. She avoids lingering at skin too long; still clinging with sweat and an edge of despair. She knows she has to push past it. She knows she has to be brave.
By the time her feet lead her into the shower, she hears something. Words that are nearly inaudible. One foot at a time goes inside, before the glass door shuts close behind her. She’s afraid to open them again; body trembling as the words play on repeat. Like a loop they utter – murmurs at first, soft and gentle; small tendrils gripping her mind.
Apprehension makes it difficult for her to focus. She wills her mind to ignore the urge for it to disappear. She wants to know – she wants to remember.
And when she does finally loosen that block – the only block she has ever known, it is only then she realizes that it is not a gentle whisper that speaks to her. Not a coaxing sound that reaches out and grapples with her thoughts. Instead, it is a low and nearly threatening rumble – a hiss that reminds her of skittering insects across her flesh. It makes her skin feel ice-cold despite the hot water descending across taut skin.
She frowns trying to listen closer, trying to determine what the point of the voice was. The only thing she remembers from the dream.
Everyone plays together –
She doesn’t realize she’s moving at first.
It’s as though breathing is no longer possible. And no matter how many gulps of fresh air she tries to take, they get her nowhere. A hand grips the side of the shower’s handle – knuckles going starkly pale while the other reaches for her throat. Nails dig into her flesh as she struggles with one arm to slide the shower back open.
When she finally pries it open, her vision blurs. She’s coughing, struggling to make sense of where is and is only dimly of footsteps rushing towards her until the bathroom door suddenly swings open.
Her eyes meet familiar blues that for a second blur into a haze of red. She squints, before – blinking rapidly at the sudden shadow belonging to a silhouette of a man. Her throat aches and it takes her a moment to realize why. She’s been screaming the past minute; both hands still gripping and scratching the sides of her throat in a frenzy.
And in a flash, she feels his arms surrounding her; cocooning her into his warmth. His solid warmth. Relief floods her system, as shallows breaths leave her shaking all over. “Ssh, it’s okay.” His voice breaks through the panic. His voice is home. “Stay with me. You’re safe. Stay with me. You’re home.”
His whispers soothe her; like waves crashing against a shore – they wash over her. He’s real. She feels his hands touching hers, and cautiously removes them from the sudden stinging left behind across her skin. He’s real. And whatever that was – isn’t.
“Stay with me.”
She listens to the deep rumble in his voice, nodding as her eyes drift over his face. His concern, his love for her – it’s all there keeping her afloat - but barelt. She latches onto it desperately; allowing it to be the only important thing to fill her mind. And with every reassuring word he speaks, breathing becomes easier. As his fingers touches her lips, speaking becomes easier. “Connor, I –” She buries her head into his shoulder and the rest of her sentence becomes muffled, a gasp that she presses into his shoulder. She forces her eyes close.
She doesn’t feel her world shift, but she realizes very quickly she isn’t grounded anymore. The world has shifted. His arms are underneath her, bringing her closely to his chest. She feels the weight of his stare but doesn’t return it as she snuggles closer into his chest.
It isn’t until she feels the familiar texture of cotton sheets that her eyes slide open again. They watch as he undoes his tie and gets inside the bed with her. He drapes the sheet around them, bringing her back into the center of his chest before running his fingers inside her hair. He rocks her back and forth.
“You should go,” she says feebly; but every part of her wants him to stay. Every part of her wants him to never leave again. She shouldn’t be so afraid; years ago she had never allowed herself to be. But she was a different person then and if she had known - she crushes the rest of her thoughts.
She feels the ghost of lips by her brow. “No, I’m not leaving.”
Guilt pricks her like a needle seeking her softest spot. Sometimes ,she hates knowing that she can’t stop it – hates understanding that whatever stalks her subconscious never has to wait long before finding its way back to her. To the life she left behind.
She grips the folds of his dress-shirt, closing her eyes again to listen to the sound of his heart again. “Thank you,” she mumbles softly and she exhales slowly as her mind drifts again.
Everyday starts the same. But they only finish when he’s around to make a different ending.