I looked down at my hands and feet, wondering if I was in control. I must run. My feet moved, but not because I wanted them to. but my brain was floating above me. Sparks of electricity jumped from nerve to nerve throughout my body. Run, run now. Cold fingers tightened around my wrist.
“Ruth, come back. Come back to bed.”
My voice projected across the bedroom. “I am in bed!”
“Ruth, get in bed.”
The grip grew tighter around my wrist and pulled me backwards. I must go, I must leave. The room was dark, men stood around me. They had knives and various tools. One was grabbing my head. One was grabbing my arm and tugging. Should I be afraid?
“Ruth, you’re fine, get in bed!”
“I”m not okay! I need to run!” Boney arms wrapped around my chest, squeezing the air out of me. Fear paralyzed me. Suddenly I felt the cold sheets of my bed. Why am I in bed? “I must go! I must go!”
“Ruth, relax, I’m the only one here, go to sleep.”
A tiredness fell over me. My eyelids grew heavy as I inhaled. A voice next to me crackled, “Goodnight!”
The sun played peek-a-boo with my bedroom blinds. I felt a nudge, “Honey. Honey.”
“What...wha..what?” The words struggled to escape. My eyelids attempted to open. Dried yellow crust sealed them shut. My hand wiped against my face. The room became clearer. “I don’t think I slept well.”
“Ha. You had that dream again.”
“I did. I had that dream.”
“That dream? Oh..THAT dream. You’ve had that dream since I’ve known you. Last night, you were walking toward the door and I just didn’t want you to go anywhere unsafe.”
“Well, what do you think we should do?”
My husband Sean half smiled, “Bells. I want to keep you safe...or...I could put lasers!”
I brushed my finger under my nose only to find mucus hanging from my pointer finger. “Ha, okay.”
I leaned over and looked out the window. Tap, tap,tap. The rain fell steadily against the window sill. The clouds covered the sky. I could not remember the last day the sun beamed into my window. We have had many days similar to this. Boredom would often lay heavy on me.
When I had a night of rough dreams, I laid on the floor and stretched the kinks out of my shoulders and neck. Sean said he caught me sleeping in weird positions. I felt like the screws in my neck needed loosening. We laughed about that.
That day, I pulled out my dream journal. The dreams became so frequent, that I started to think there was truth behind them. I wanted to figure this out myself.
Later that day, I was pacing around my room and into the kitchen of my tight studio apartment. My steps became heavier as the day progressed.
“Honey, why don’t you eat something, or paint, or I don’t know, something other than what you’re doing.”
I walked into the bathroom, where I did my best thinking. I brushed my feet on the floor and heard a sound. Tap, tap, tap. What is that? The wood board below my feet started to shake. I popped a piece up to view the cracked brick. What the heck? Brick. Hm. The floorboards started to peel away. What’s going on here? Where am I? I quickly put the pieces of would back in place and pulled my pants up.
The remainder of the day I ate, read a book, and tapped my feet on the floor around my pretending to dance around my apartment.
“I swear you’ve lost your mind. You’ve had these dreams your whole life, now you’re tapping your feet on the floor of our apartment. I hope tomorrow is sunny so we can go find something to do. I think you’re going nuts!”
“Ahhh, well on that note, I’m going to bed.” I reached my arms out and brushed the palm of my hand across my open mouth, pretending like I was tired. I was in a hurry to get to bed, I was tired of doing nothing. I pulled the sheets up to my chin. The sounds of my husband in the kitchen echoed around our apartment.
My eyelids clamped shut. I rolled around my bed to find the comfortable spot on the cold sheets of my mattress. My body grew paralyzed. Quickly, I saw black. My body levitated and my breathing slowed down. Here I am, already. I looked over at my hands and watched my fingers move to see if I was really dreaming. A figure stood over me, “RUN!”
I sat up. My husband was standing over me. “Honey, you’re dreaming.” He leaned over onto my arms and strapped them to the bed. “You need to get your sleep, no walking tonight.”
I saw bells in my room. I tried to get my words out, but they started to blend together. “Are you trying to keep me safe with all of those?” I chuckled.
I felt a sharp stinging pain in my arm. “What was that!? I have to run!” I have to run, now. I don’t know why, but I have to get up. I started to wiggle my arms.
Two figures walked into the front door. “You got her?”
My eyes grew wider. Me? I continued to wiggle my arms.
“Yes, #235 started tearing the floor in the bathroom. We may need to reset her.”
Reset? “What’s going on?”
The two figures at the door stood over me, hands at their sides. “Excuse me, “#235 we need you to lay back down.”
“I was training her but she had that dream again.”
I looked over at who I thought was my husband, “Honey. What’s going on.”
He grasped my ankle. “You need to be quiet #235.”
A tall man walked to the side of my bed and tilted my head up, pulled my scalp revealing the wires and lights.
I shook my arms trying to loosen my straps.
Another man shouted to my husband.“David, push the reset button.”