I used to dream of a dark hall. Dim. Empty with thick cheap navy curtains.
The breeze. It felt hot and old. It shivered in the curtains that lined the walls on both sides.
The breeze. It must have been a stiff breeze to blow those heavy curtains. It makes them appear as if gentle waves, moving ever so slowly. Rising and falling. Mockingly.
The hall reminded me of my school assembly hall. I’m still not sure though if it was.
The light. Was dark. Pitch black to my eyes only I could see.
The light. It was as if fluorescent. The kind of light that you would find in toilets at a mall.
You go to wash your hands. Look in the mirror and see 20 years into the future.
Every pot, wrinkle, freckle, dry flack, burst blueing irreparable cluster of veins.
You stand, staring at the reflection with revulsion.
Do I look like this now?
Yet, that is not truly my reflection. It’s the light.
It glows pale and hums. Old electric heaters sound the same. I can hear it.
Maybe the way it refracts. Such a harsh light must slice through air. Sever it. Leave it thinner.
The light. The way that it seeps inside parched flesh. A sallow tint and vile shadows.
That was the light in the dark hall.
The hall reminded me of my school assembly hall. I’m still not sure but I think it possibly was.
It bounced. Off the frayed navy curtains and the bulk buy wood tiles with a diamond pattern.
It bounced. Off jaundiced walls with sticky fingermarks.
I can see every scratch as if they were fluorescent themselves. Every speck of dust.
Parasites and dead moth wings are clear to me. They seem enlarged. Not clustered. Every detail of decay individual somehow.
I wonder why I’m recalling this dream. I can’t shake it. I don’t think it’s the dream that bothers me. Not that dank, dim hall that stays with me.
It was the curtains.
They moved so naturally, yet they didn’t seem so.
As they undulated back and forth feeling *****.
The hall reminded me of walking home on biting winter nights. Dark short days
The curtains. They watched night appearing. They mimic its gloom shadows.
The curtains. Every rustle, creak, crunch of dead leaf, pebble mistakenly kicked underfoot along the icy pavement in front of me. Magnified. Tuck my fingers inside pockets and twist. White knuckles balled into fists. I sensed something. Pressed mute. Looked behind me. Nothing. I pressed play.
I remember thinking the shadows were stalking me. Eyes hidden to stare. Just watch.
I stare back at bulging bins outside a block of flats putrid with rotten food. Nothing.
A hum of white static. That was the ***** feeling when I watched the curtains in the dream.
I remember I looked for them. Eyes in the shadows. Eyes Hiding.
Behind curtains is a good hiding place.
I regarded them, watched the rhythmic inhale then exhale. Chalk dust choking lungs.
Do I dare look?
The hall reminded me of that feeling. That ***** feeling as it began to mutate. Multiply. Violate.
The chalk. Surrounded me. It wasn’t chalk. It was derma taken without my consent.
The chalk. It reminded me of a spring I saw when I was 13. A mundane day. Dragging my heels;
tripping on sharp rocks, crushing parched pebbles into fine sand. Clutched my hair.
Filled the air with sharp fine white asbestos. Clung inside my blue lungs. Body parched. We reached the spring. I craned to see above my hostage takers matching rucksacks. Saw a tap.
A tap that’s been running for days. Years. Pressure slow. A mineral cleansed virgin snaked a path downward. She gets musty from chalk. Slicing scars into the rock with bitterness.
I watch her descent until disappeared into a dank black hole.
That reminded me of when I played catch in the driveway, losing the ball down that overgrown dark hole at the left of the rust flaked garage door under the house. The driveway steeped;
a way to let rain pour away unseen through the gutter. I didn’t care! Let the basement flood!
The hall reminded me of that feeling. Black behind curtains.
The black hole. Let the whole house flood if that’s what it takes!
The black hole. When I would have to retrieve that ball. Reached my hand.
The shadows of the drain pipe hid the tip of my fingers. A chill dread would infect me.
A snake sinking fangs into me, letting my own blood do the rest. That dread;
I would feel as if sunburnt. A warmth. A gradual cancer while you lie there and crust.
Except the blisters are cold. Burning ice venom tiptoeing up my arm freezing the blood.
I snatched. Blisters burst. Forgotten until the ball taunted me again to play hide and seek.
I watched, they looked heavy the curtains. I studied them intently. The way the breeze trickled slowly strumming invisible fingers along them. The air snaking through folds of faded navy.
I thought it was dancing. Charmed. I watched as it slithered upwards bloated belly inhaling.
It wasn’t. The curtains were shifting uncomfortably.
The hall reminded me of a disco we had at school. Stand shuffling feet and barely touching just fingertips on shoulders.
My shoes are shrieking. Leaving thin layers of black tar etched on the polished wood with a diamond pattern. Tips of my ears began to scold. I think they are all watching me.
That feeling I’m fire fresh timber with bone dry kindling. A pet store mouse taken home for a snakes dinner in a box. I can’t remember his name. I don’t care. My head ached.
I looked upward to gasp cool air while flames licked my face. I try to scrape the embers off.
A fluorescent light is shining. It’s the one from my dream.
I realise I haven’t moved. Apart from my eyes chasing the shadows away.
I wonder if I tried I would turn. I’d see a door and run. Even if I tried would the doorknob be there?
Or are 1000 black arachnid pupils staring at me. A necrotic skull sockets empty just two black holes.
Daring me to touch it.
I remember those curtains. Rising and falling. Mockingly.
I’ve seen these curtains; I’ve seen this room. That smell should be ambrosial but my nostrils burn as I suck in dead, scentless air; I suck hard. If I were a flame I’d be blue.
A stiff breeze lifts the curtains; curling their lips up at me. Mocking me. I’m behind the curtain.
Copyright © Cierra Thomas | Year Posted 2015
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