The willow in my dreams stood above ten feet tall, rain heavily assaulting it and battering it, the droplets riveting the leaves so as to not sway under the harsh winds. I was unable to move as I watched this willow begin to drown in the never-ending rain, and it dawned on me that this willow must be dying. 

A crack of thunder and the whip of the lightning forced my mind to jump, as my body stayed stone still. I could hear the willow weeping, each bullet of rain that fell off the willow's branches vibrating violently in my cranium. The sound makes me want to grip my head in agony as I crumble to my knees, the sound suffocating me, drowning me like the- 


A woman's voice whispers right in my ear, the sound stopping time itself.

I turned at the sound, but there was no one there. I swear.. I've heard this voice before. 

I'm awoken, abruptly, by the sound of my alarm. While I have no place to be, at this specific time, the alarm has rescued me from the firm grasp of my sleep paralysis demon, who has the tendency to lay parallel above me at it's usual 5:27 a.m.

"5:20 a.m." my alarm clock reads.

I stare blankly until the digital clock's red numbering turns into 5:21 a.m., and only then do I look away. It was time to get up. 

I struggled to free myself of the blankets holding me captive before I eventually managed to force myself to sit up, which caused a slight period of vertigo, quick to come and go. Once my mind had stopped twirling, I was able to run a calloused hand over my exhausted face.


I can hear her, her voice hoarse and quick, the name called in a whispered haste. Chills erupted along my spine, the hair on my arms and neck standing straight up like that of a bunch of tiny needles. 

It was like she was beside me, but I know there's no one there. I've lived alone for three and a half years now. Reserved and in the middle of nowhere. 

The smell of rain fills my home, my dark room silent aside from the droning of my air conditioner, challenged only by the pathetic sounds of my labored breathing, my chest constricting.

I get up, my bare feet slapping noisily on the concrete ground as I walk the five steps to the tattered dresser I had banished to a corner of my room closest to the door leading to the hallway. It was made of cedar wood, which I had poorly taken care of, resulting in it's dried out, neglected state. 

The light from the moon shines into my home, illuminating under my closed door, right beside the dresser. My room, however, has no windows, out of the fear that I'd one day wake up to someone watching me sleep, and so, I'm left mainly in the dark.

I open the bottom drawer and slowly lower myself to my knees, lifting several notebooks filled with all my thoughts over the past three years out of the bottom drawer, setting them aside as I move a couple of stray, old papers out of the drawer, probably a bunch of old house bills and receipts, maybe even a couple torn out pages from when my mind got too dark and I wrote words I didn't mean. I look back into the drawer, my eyes barely able to make out the items I had been searching for. 

A cigarette, lighter, and an old photograph, torn and barely kept together by scraps of tape. 

I give the photo a glance before setting it aside and returning the notebooks to their home, closing the drawer with a small amount of difficulty as it croaked loudly in my home. I stared at it for a second, taking in the tacky design of it. I'd made it myself as a gift to someone years ago, but I'd never done anything of the sort, and so while it was functional, it's beauty was another story. 

I turned my back to it slowly leaning my back against it, letting my head rest on the bumps of the wood, and as I sat there in the silence, I took the cigarette from the place I'd left it on the floor and placed it between my lips. I snapped the cap off the metal lighter and sparked it's flame, the flick of the small flame casting dancing shadows in my room, only to become dark once more as I replaced the lid on the lighter, the room once again filling with dark as it clapped shut. 

I pick the photograph up, at the same time, inhaling the toxic fumes and watching as the reddening of the cigarettes embers lit the picture up enough for me to vaguely make out. I didn't need to see it though, to know what it was. Every piece of this image was carved into my memory. All I wanted to see was the writing on the back, and as I exhaled, I flipped the image over, the smoke smacking against it before freeing itself and disappearing as it blew around the image. 

Preparing myself, I placed the cigarette between my lips again and inhaled deepy, the small ember sparks lighting up what it was I wanted, needed, to see and read:

"𝐹𝑜𝓇𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓇 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝐹𝑜𝓇 𝒜𝓁𝓌𝒶𝓎𝓈 𝒲𝒾𝓁𝓁𝒾𝒶𝓂 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝑀𝒾𝓁𝒹𝓇𝑒𝒹."

The writing had long since faded, and I could barely make out what it was that the messy handwriting spelled out in its skeletal state, but I'd read it so many times over the years, I knew what it had said before I began to read it. 

It'd been engraved into my heart. 

I let out the cancerous air, the smoke burning my lungs as my heart painfully mourned. I could no longer tell if the pain was ignited by the suffocating smoke or the memories that filled me immediately after. 


The sound of her voice forced a choked sob out of me as I wiped away a stray tear. 

I put the cigarette to my lips again, staring at the words in the dark before I flipped it over to look at the image. As I inhaled deeper this time, my eyes watery, I looked directly into the woman's eyes, and just as the light of the cigarette went out, I closed my eyes, her dark green eyes imprinted there as they were surrounded by the familiar nothingness, white specs floating around her intense eyes. 

Colors began to slowly cover my vision as the sight of her eyes began to disapear, and it was as though there was light trying to break through my closed eyes, like I'd stepped out of a cave for the first time in days, to the bright sun of a chilly winter morning. 

I don't recall opening my eyes, but found myself blinking back against the harsh lights.

When I opened my eyes again, the air was replaced with water, and shark-like creatures rushed past me, my ears popping under the waters pressure. 

Immediately, I shook my head and my forced my eyes to open, only this time, when I opened them, the familiar lack of light in my room forced my eyes to refocus as my pupils dilated violently and rapidly, unable to keep up with the change of lighting.

I'd always had a fear of the ocean and sharks. 

How did they get into my room? Was I hallucinating? Had I just imagined it all?

Dumb-founded, I looked at the photo, bewildered, and then gave my cigarette a concerned glance. 


The call made me jump and my skin crawl as it whispered right above my right shoulder. 

I dropped the photo in shock, trying to gather my wits as I slowly reached down to pick up the image. I turned it over again and looked into her eyes.

She'd always worn such a mischievous smirk. 

Experimentally, I placed my cigarette between my lips once more and stared into her eyes as I inhaled, my eyes forced to close right as I finished. 

Through my closed eyes, I could see the sunshine breaking through what seemed to be leaves. Warily, I opened my eyes. 

To my surprise, I was greeted with crystal blue skies and rolling hills of grass, a single apple tree above me. A bright red apple hung lowly on the branches, and I reached out hesitantly to grab it, unsure of it's actual presence. 

My hands clasped haphazardly around it, as though it were really in my hands, and I immediately brought it to my nose to smell it. The smell of apple pie bounced around in my nostrils and I tentatively took a bite, the taste exploding in my mouth. The taste of a fuji apple laced with sugar and cinnamon blew up in my mouth, and I was immediately left salivating. 

I pulled back, caught off-guard at the taste. 

As I pulled back, movement in the corner of my eye caught my attention and I turned to look at what it was that had been watching me. 

The apple fell from my hands as I let out an audible gasp. What was looking at me seemed to be a hybrid of multiple creatures.

It had the head of a beautiful white fox, red markings adorning it's mystical face as the outlines of it's elegantly long ears were adorned and pierced with multiple tiny gold hoop earrings. The fur of the majestic fox turned into scales as it faded into it's slender neck, the entirety of it's body aside from it's head, covered in beautiful, glossy white scales, like that of a dragon. Where a foxes body should have been, there was, in it's place, the body of a horse, it's long, slender legs coming to a stop at it's blood red hooves. 

My eyes then moved to the tail of the creature, flailing in the wind. It's tail was long and slender, also covered in the bright white scales, all of which came to an end at the end of the tail, which stopped with a tuft of beautiful red fur. 

Around it's body, four long red whiskers floated, like that of a Chinese dragon dancing to the tune of the winds song. 

My eyes wandered to its head once more as horns like that of a greater kudu antelope rose from the top of its luxuriously furred head, beads of silver and blood red hanging from them, gems at the end of each string. 

I could feel the blood drain from my face as I looked into the creatures eyes. 

That same dark green color. 


The creature spoke with her voice. 

Out of reflex, I let out a yelp and immediately looked away, the sky now a dark purple color, like it was just past sunset. 

I looked back, terrified, to where it had been standing, only to come face-to-face with it, it's eyes staring right into mine, into my soul. 

Scared, I closed my eyes and shook my head, wanting out of this mystical place I'd somehow wandered into. Before my body went numb, I felt it's sharpened teeth latch onto my hand, hot like that of blue flames, burning me. 

I reopened my eyes to darkness once more, but became worried when I realized that this darkness wasn't the same as the dark in my room that I had been hoping would greet me. 

My eyes strained against the darkness, trying to adjust and make out where it was that I had winded up, my ears painfully ringing. 

With no warning, there was a sudden flash of light and a large boom of thunder as both rolled across the scene before me. The flash of light illuminated my surroundings and I looked forward to find the willow from my dreams before me, rain assaulting it once more. However, unlike my dream, there was no wind there to battle the rain and sway it's branches. 

From below the trails of leaves and branches, something long flicked, like that of a cat tail. Squinting, I tried desperately to make the image out. 

Another roll of lightning revealed to me the long, scaled white tail with the fiery red tuft of fur of the creature from the field. Panic began to consume me as the tail smacked against the floor and slid below the cover of the willows branches. 

My eyes stayed fixated on the spot as the rain started to lessen. Instinctively, as the leaves and branches began to move, my body went taut, ready to fight or flee. 

The first thing I saw were her green eyes. 

Her flowing, long platinium hair rested at her hip as her pale white skin seemed to shine against the dark background. Her lips were a beautiful apple red against her milk white skin.

I couldn't move, though every fiber of my being fought to run towards her. It was like I'd been planted into the ground. 

I watched as she stepped out from under the willow, the rain ceasing completely then as the moon shone through the clouds.

I couldn't move or utter a word as she all but glided towards me, watching in disbelief as the woman I'd fallen for made her way towards me. 

As she approached and got closer, I could feel her body heat, and I inhaled, the scent of apple pie filling me. My body remained statue still as she stood before me, a smile breaking onto her lips. 

"What are you doing, silly? You're gonna catch a cold." She says, taking a final step towards me and engulfing me in a hug, the heat from her body drawing attention to how I had seemingly no body heat. 

Her touch burned me, and I felt as though I'd been set ablaze, my lungs filling with this suffocating sensation, like every time I inhaled the smoke of my cigarette. 

Just as I felt like I'd die from not being able to breath, a sob erupted from me, and her body heat became normal once more. 

"Mildred." I whimpered. 

"William." She replied joyfully, "What's wrong, Pet?" She asked me, reminding me of the old days when she had first given me that name. 

I couldn't say anything as I held onto her, broken sobs escaping me in choking sounds. 

We stayed like this for several minutes until she pulled away, "No offense Pet, but you need to shower; you smell like wet, burnt meat and smoke." She teased and led me like a puppy into our old cottage, hidden behind the weeping willow. 

As I blinked and opened my eyes again, I found us in bed, her facing opposite of me as I held her from behind. I could feel exhaustion beckoning me to sleep, but I feared waking up alone in my room once more, and so I tried to fight it. 

Five minutes in and my eyes began to close. I opened them quickly, the sounds of sirens rushing by and alerting me. To my surprise, I was still in the bed with her in my arms. 

I smiled, already in an unconscious stupor as the sounds of the sirens faded until there was nothing.


My eyes broke open immediately and I found myself staring into green eyes once more, though I had to blink back tears as the scent of smoke made it's way into my lungs, choking me. I tried to move away as all the feeling returned to my body and the feeling of smoke and fire licking my back began to hurt me, but found myself unable to move. 

I tried to let out a scream of pain as I looked into the eyes of it before me. 

My sleep paralysis demon was floating upside down before me, the stringy white hair wet and cascading over my burning legs. I watched in fear as the pale white figure started to laugh before me and my eyes managed to move away, looking at my clock. 

"5:27 a.m." It read. 

"Forever and For Always." A voice broke through, and tears immediately welled in my eyes as fear completely overtook me, the fire spreading onto my clothes and melting my skin. It mocked her tone of voice, but this was malicious, I could feel, with every fibre of my being, the nastiness it hid. It spoke like it was spitting these words out. Harsh, cruel. 

Movement caught my eyes as the blood red of the digital clock ticked and changed.

"5:28 a.m." I looked back to find the demon gone, and only then did I scream. 

Only then, did I scream until my voice was gone, until the sounds of the sirens broke through the air and the rushing of water, like that of pouring rain hit upon my home, until there was nothing but ashes, as my still lit cigarette rest on top of me. 


April 23, 2020 21:53

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


David Rodriguez
18:33 Apr 28, 2020

Its Great! I don't read alot of books but your story got me entertaining.


Show 0 replies
Patsie Lange
16:49 Apr 28, 2020

Found it interesting!


Show 0 replies
Cyndi Mena
16:20 Apr 28, 2020

This story is so vivid and made me feel like I was William! Bravo Ms. Salma! Bravo


Show 0 replies
14:09 Apr 28, 2020

I loved it and I'm not a reader.Great job Salma!


Show 0 replies
Sosalie Palacios
12:36 Apr 28, 2020

This was very well written. I truly enjoyed it! Great job!!!


Show 0 replies
Lucy Bustamante
03:45 Apr 28, 2020

Enjoyed it! Good job!


Show 0 replies
Licha Apodaca
01:42 Apr 28, 2020

Wow, impressive


Show 0 replies
Lily Delgado
01:08 Apr 28, 2020

What great imagery and sensory details! Beautifully done.


Show 0 replies
20:27 Apr 29, 2020

Very vivid, well executed.


Show 0 replies
Lee Mar
19:10 Apr 29, 2020

Very entertaining!


Show 0 replies
Tina Laing
01:08 Apr 29, 2020

I liked your story and it was really interesting.


Show 0 replies
Cynthia Prokarym
22:36 Apr 28, 2020

I really loved your story. Lots of great imagery and suspense!! Great job!!!


Show 0 replies
Jerica Bornstein
02:01 Apr 30, 2020

I loved the cadence and rhythm of your story. I love the ending too- it left me wondering and wanting more of his story. Fun read!


Show 0 replies
Joy Barton
07:24 Apr 29, 2020

Could really feel for William in this story! Did not want the story to end!


Show 0 replies
22:42 Apr 28, 2020

I'm not a reader at all ..however this had me in suspense..WILLIAM!! ..I LOVED IT!! GREAT JOB


Show 0 replies