001 – Garden of Dreams
Location – Spokane Valley, Washington
Date – Thursday the 8th of September, 2016
Part IV – Early Afternoon
The rain falls. It is not heavy, nor is it light, just constant and unrelenting. Hannah walks slowly down the stone path that’s in front of her. Water flows like little streams through the cracks, like the veins of the earth. Two wooden fences line the path on either side, beyond them is a forest of giant canes. Eight foot tall lamp posts dimly light the way.
She watches the water trickle along the pavement as she walks. Hannah stops and squats down to have a better look. Steadily, a deep red dye begins to seep into the water, corrupting its pure and clear appearance. She looks up to find that the dye isn’t falling from the sky, but is flowing from further down the path.
Hannah continues, all the while the dye getting deeper and darker. A potent stench starts filling the air and her sinuses. It smells like iron, or metal in general but somehow sweet. As she turns a corner, her imagination is put at ease and replaced with relief as the red water seems to be falling from the sky.
At the end of the path, she sees that two broken water fountains are spurting the red water out with a high pressure. Behind the fountains, a large mound like structure exists, looks like a tall hut with a dim blue light sitting at the top, like a beacon.
As she walks closer, the stench of iron grows stronger and the broken fountains start raining down red water on her clothes, staining them. Hannah looks up at the beacon, the beacon is strangely moving slightly up and down, as if it were breathing heavily, exhausted.
The tiny dim light becomes two and she hears a high pitched gasp, as she sees the beacon get taller.
“Hey, Miss?” a small, soft voice calls out. “Miss, why are you covered from head to toe in black lines.
“Black lines?” Hannah questions as she observes herself. “I can’t see any lines, just the red stuff!” Hannah calls back.
“There are deep black lines all over you miss,” the tiny voice claims. “Can I get rid of them for you with my knife?”
“Knife?,” Hannah questions. “I wouldn’t want anyone getting rid of any lines on my body with a knife”.
The clouds part and the moon shines down. The voice is of a very young little girl. Her hair is as dark as the night, but the shine of the moon shows its brown hue. Her skin is a pale white and her irises look like a black void, like her hair. She’s just a child, but she looks pretty.
Hannah’s eyes trail away from the girl to the hut, but it wasn’t a hut, it wasn’t a hut at all. Hannah falls onto all fours and throws up onto the smooth, stone pavement. The little girl stands atop of a mound, a bloody and gory mound of mutilated corpses and body parts, squeezing out pools of blood, staining the skin of separated arms, legs, torsos, and heads.
The eyes of the heads are peeled, and look like a dead fishes’. Some of the hands that are still attached to their arms have rings on their fingers. Hannah tries to get up and run but stumbles and falls on her behind, still gawking and horrified at the sight in front of her.
Something dawns on Hannah, and her eyes grow wider as she slowly turns to face the fountain to her right. Her eyes start from the bottom, slowly tracing up. The fountain is a kneeling man, who has been decapitated, sticky, thick red mess oozing from what’s left of his neck. Hannah darts her head to the left to find a woman has met the same fate, and screams.
Hannah begins crawling backwards, pushing herself as hard as she can to get away. As soon as she decides to get up and run, the dark girl appears in front of her. Her eyes glisten dimly in the darkness. Her irises glow bright blue. Her eyes and expression are solemn and calm, cold, it looks as if she’s constantly watching the universe slowly die, falling apart all around her.
“Can I cut the lines with my knife now miss,” says the little girl, juggling the knife with her right hand “It’ll only take a second”.
The girl thrusts her knife into Hannah’s chest. She sees the dull looking blades’ white hilt through the gaps in the girl’s grip. Hannah’s eyes peeled with shock and blurring up as she begins losing focus and consciousness. She winces as the girl pulls the blade out, Hannah falls to the ground. The engravings in the blade haven’t aged very well, as if it had just been pull out of an ancient tomb moments ago. Hannah gives a unconscious gaze as the little girl stands over her.
“It is okay miss, I’ll make sure to get rid of the jagged black lines, just sleep now” The girl smiles, blood splatter on her small, cute face. “Sweet dreams…”
Hannah wakes up in a jolt, letting out a small scream before realizing where she is, covering her mouth to muffle the sound. The nurse over hears it and opens the curtains between Hannah and the rest of the sick bay to check on her.
“Is everything alright Hannah?” the nurse inquires.
“Huh? Ye-yeah everything’s fine,” Hannah stutters. “Just had a little nightmare, I’m fine.
The nurse gives a small sigh of relief and returns to her desk. Hannah always thought that the school nurse was pretty. She has light brown hair that she wears in a ponytail, her bangs slightly curl as they reach past the bottom of her earlobes. She wears oval shape glasses that have no defining rim. Her skin looks pale and smooth. Hannah was surprised that the boys in the school didn’t fake being sick so she could dote on them. Maybe they do and she just hasn’t noticed.
Hannah lies back down and thinks back to her dream.
The knife with the white-hilt and engravings that the little girl had, it pierced me, sank right in, like my body was made of butter. My body posed no resistance to it all.
Hannah looks to her left to see a note attached to her phone and wallet. With her left hand, she reaches for the note and brings it to her center, holding it with both hands she begins to read.
I hope you had an enlightening couple of hours of rest and that you choose to continue today’s lessons. I can’t wait to see you in P.E. and your uniform.
Your substitute teacher,
P.S. Don’t hold back in P.E. 🙂
Hannah scrunches up the note while holding an annoyed expression.
“Your uniform?!” Hannah asks herself, still annoyed. “You sound like a perverted professor from a passé porno, I bet you liked the attention of those prima-donna princesses in homeroom” Hannah claims, throwing the white lined crinkled paper ball at the bed-side curtains.
Huh? Why am I so pissed at a teacher I’ve never talked too? Oh, well. I wonder what he means by ‘don’t hold back in P.E’.
Hannah sits up and her feet touch the cold floor as she stands up to look for her sneakers. After finding them at the end of the bed, she sits back down and struggles slightly to put them on. Once she ties the laces, she kicks both her heels back against the floor to improve the fit.
“Ms. Gilbert?” Hannah asks.
“Please, call me Kirsten” Ms. Kirsten Gilbert responds.
“Kirsten,” Hannah tries again. “How exactly did I get here?”
“That gorgeous male teacher carried you here,” Kirsten blushes slightly. “Along with a blond haired student”.
“Thanks, but I meant, like, what happened to me, so the result was me being carried here?” Hannah continues.
“Oh, that male teacher explained that you had tripped, fell, face-planted and knocked yourself unconscious,” Kirsten adds. “However…”
“However?” Hannah inquires.
“It was impossible to tell but I’m pretty sure he was lying” Kirsten declares.
“If it was impossible to tell, why do you think he was lying?” Hannah wonders.
“It was the blond boy’s expression when and after he said it,” Kirsten goes on. “It looked a bit like he didn’t approve with the teacher’s excuse”.
“Okay, but why is it you’re so perceptive?” Hannah tries to clarify.
“You wouldn’t believe how many teenage boys come in here lying about being sick, feeling unwell, or being injured, just so they can try and see up my skirt, or down my top,” Kirsten sighs. “That’s why I love the cold autumn days like this, I get to wear a sweater and pants. Those boys are literally only hands and dangly parts I tell you!”
Huh, so I was right.
Hannah leaves the sick bay, thanking Ms. Gilbert as she walks through the doorway. Ms. Gilbert calls out to her.
“Hannah,” she calls “Would you mind coming back for a moment?”
“Uh, sure!,” Hannah begins treading back. “Do you want me for something?”
“Yes, do you know about the regular blood donation requests that the school posed to the board at the end of last year?” Ms. Gilbert inquires.
“Yeah, I heard about it, it came about because of something to do with lasts years accident where that freshman was injured and needed a blood transfusion but the blood was scarce and he barely survived” Hannah recites.
“That’s the gist of it,” Ms. Gilbert sighs. “I was the one who proposed it to the school”.
“Really?” Hannah asks.
“Yes, and I was wondering if you could donate today, maybe even right now?,” Ms. Gilbert continues. “It’d be horrible if something like that ended up happening to you and we couldn’t help”
“I’d love too, but I’m not coming back to school after today and I’d love to help someone else, but my teacher expects me to perform well in P.E. after lunch,” Hannah turns her down. “I don’t think I’d do to well with a pint of blood missing”.
“That’s true” Ms. Gilbert giggles. “Well, it’s unfortunate that you can’t donate but I understand. You should head to lunch now”.
Hannah turns around and tugs her phone from out of her jeans and feels as if she should invest in something a little baggier.
I have a little bit of time to kill before the lunch bell rings, maybe I’ll take the long way to the cafeteria, maybe I’ll bump into Emory or that weirdo teacher.
Hannah arrives at the cafeteria without seeing either of the boys and is let in early by one of the servers. She takes her lunch to go and heads to the football field to sit down. Hannah takes a seat on the grassy slope that leads to the track and football fields. She looks down to the brittle plastic container with her tuna salad sandwich inside.
“I can never get used to seeing those sandwiches cut so perfectly diagonal, they look like they were made by robots” Hannah sighs to herself.
She reaches for her bottle of Coke-Zero and begins twisting the top carefully as she watches for the bubbles. The last thing she wants is to be covered in soda and needing to walk to the girl’s room while the jocks who come out early to play around with a football smirk at her along the way. The fizz shoots up quickly, but Hannah twists in the opposite direction even faster.
She’s running home, it’s gonna be a close one…, Aww, and she’s safe!
Hannah tries opening the bottle again while the fizz powers down, and brings the bottle to her lips with her right hand, while her left is being pushed into the grass for support. The soft drink stings and tingles her tongue and mouth slightly as it passes through.
Hannah’s phone buzzes, and it’s a text from Emory. He asks where Hannah is, and she replies,
“Next to the football field having lunch, a lunch lady served me early”.
“k, be out in a bit” Emory responds instantaneously.
Minutes later, Emory came trekking towards Hannah with a hot dog, carton of chocolate milk, and a packet of salt and vinegar chips. He sits down alongside Hannah and gives an aspirated grunt as he does so.
“You feelin’ any better?” Emory asks with a grin on his face.
“Yes, I feel fine,” Hannah groans. “I heard you tried to help cover up that teacher’s lies”.
“Who told you that?” Emory gulps.
“The nurse lady did, who else?!” Hannah hisses, raising her fist. “How did I really end up in the sick bay?”
“You attacked Mr. Steins in the hallway and he knocked you out!” Emory quickly responds, cowering behind his hands and arms.
“Why would I attack him in the first place?,” Hannah questions herself. “What could I possibly have been thinking when I decided that?”
“How should I know?” Emory offers, looking down at his carton of milk, peeling back the sides to open it.
Hannah screws the top back on her soda, takes a big bite out of her sandwich before lying back on the grass.
“Hey, did you hear about Jade Martens in her recent Q&A?,” Emory asks Hannah.
“Depends, how recent was the interview?” Hannah returns.
“I think it came out yesterday…” Emory ponders.
“Then I haven’t seen it,” Hannah sits up in a jolt, staring intensely at Emory. “What’d she say?”
“She said…” Emory looks down.
“She said…?” Hannah continues, trying to get an answer.
“She said she was already engaged” Emory stutters as he pretends to cry.
“Ugh!, I care about her career in tennis, not her damn boyfriends!” Hannah whines.
“But…but, she’s only nineteen and she wasn’t even wearing an engagement ring” Emory continues sobbing.
“So?” Hannah sneers.
“So… She’s so in love with her current guy that she must have used that answer to pressure him into setting their love in stone, now I’ll never have my chance with that red hair, green eye, stony face beauty, wah” Emory cries.
“So what, she’s so famous now, if there were a boyfriend, I’m sure there would already be some kind of picture of him somewhere but I’ve never seen one” Hannah sounds.
“I looked around for one, and there wasn’t any picture of a boyfriend,” Emory crosses his arms. “Now I don’t know who to go and punch out”.
“That’s a good thing,” Hannah confesses “You’d lose to anyone, and in no way attacking Jade’s man would get you any closer to her… wait, maybe you could get pity points if her boyfriend ends up being some beef bus who wipes the floor with you” Hannah jokes.
“Rude” Emory declares.
“Was there anything important she mentioned in the Q&A?,” Hannah inquires “And what if her supposed boyfriend dumps her, then you’d have your chance”.
“She said stuff about growing up without parents, only having her sister for support, they suffered a lot of hardship together and then some rich family saved them from a future life of poverty that seemed certain,” Emory claims “and that’s impossible…”
“Oh okay, that’s grim” Hannah responds. “What’s impossible?”
“Who in the right mind would dump such a goddess?!” Emory explodes.
“You better hope they’re in the wrong mind, otherwise you’ll just have to settle for her identical twin” Hannah smiles.
“Identical?” Emory’s eyes glimmer with hope.
“Yup” Hannah assures Emory, showing him a picture of Jade on her phone with a girl who looks just like her.
“Wow, her twin looks awesome too, she seems more happy-go-lucky and more of a girly-girl than Jade,” Emory beams “You got any info on her?”
“Only that she lives somewhere in Baltimore,” Hannah recites “Not even a name”.
“You know, that’s strange,” Emory states “Jade is based out of a small town in Montana, so why’s her sister on the other side of the country?”
“No clue,” Hannah sighs. “College?”
“Maybe that’s it” Emory lies back on the grass.
Hannah watches some of the guys on the field play football. One half of the field was taken up by some freshmen just goofing around and the other half was made up of the juniors and seniors doing some proper drills for the upcoming season. Hannah begins to wish that she had started playing tennis so she could mess around during lunch too. Hannah checks her phone and finds that lunch is going to come to an end.
“I’m gonna head to the toilet,” Hannah bids Emory a farewell “Lunch is gonna end soon, so I’m just gonna head straight to P.E. afterwards, have fun groveling about your imaginary girlfriend”
“Hate you” Emory quickly responds.
“Hate you too” Hannah retorts as she walks away.