Anything can be a dream until it isn’t.
Lilith awoke with a pounding headache that made her want to go back to sleep to get away from the pain, but the world seemed to have another plan as the sun from the curtains hit her eyes with its full brightness.
She let out a long breath of annoyance and covered her head with a pillow but knew there was nothing she could do. Today was, of course, a workday meaning, she needed to get up and just like everyone else go to work at her retail job until the clock hit seven and she was allowed to leave, go back home, eat a depressing meal of fast food and go back to sleep and start it all over again until the weekend.
She threw the pillow back down and swung her legs over the side of the bed and got up.
She went into the bathroom and turned the water on for the shower, the steam fogging up the mirror. Lilith wiped it away and looked at herself, her eyes were ringed with deep dark purple bags, her hair stringy.
For a moment she just stood there looking at herself before a flash of red caught her attention. She looked behind herself but saw nothing. Shaking her head she let out a high laugh as she ran a hand through her hair, god she really needed her coffee.
She got into the shower and let the warm water wash that image of her own imagination from her mind’s eye.
She let her eyes close as she turned the water off and stepped out knowing she had stayed in far too long then she should have.
Lilith raced through the rest of her morning routine drinking a full 12-ounce cup of coffee in one go as she grabbed her bag and ran out of her apartment door and turned towards the hall and walked right into a guy.
She was knocked back a step but thankfully regained her balance and looked up to see a man, but instead of saying sorry he simply kept walking like he hadn’t almost just sent her flying across the hall.
“Asshole!” Lilith shouted after him as he kept going not even bothering to look at her. Instead, he looked at the flickering light that had just started.
"Really?“ Lilith said rolling her eyes as he shook his head and kept walking, she didn’t have the time to go after him and tell him off like she so wish she could have.
She stepped outside and found the world gray and rainy and she had to blink, it had just been pretty sunny when she had woken up but now it was a deep gray that meant only one thing, a storm.
A sharp breeze hit her then and snapped her back to reality from where she had been staring at the sky, god of she didn’t need the money she would just hop back in bed this day seemed to weird already but what could she do?
She made a run for her car that sat a little ways off from the building and luckily made it in with being only lightly misted.
Thankfully it was only a ten-minute drive to work meaning even if she was late, it wasn’t that bad and luckily even with rain it was a pretty smooth drive and she made it just as the clock hit 7: 30 and clocked in.
Haha, Kelly wouldn’t be able to bitch at her now.
Lilith walked over to her register ready to help the ever-growing line of customers, all ready to check out.
"Sorry for the wait,” Lilith said looking up at them with a smile, they seemed not to see it of course as they simply glared right through her. “Okay…..” Lilith said under her breath as she punched in her employ code to unlock the register but an error message popped up.
“What the hell?” Lilith said hitting the backspace and retyped it in but again the message popped up.
"I-I’m sorry,“ Lilith said looking up at awaiting customers, “I don’t know what’s going on with this regist-” her words were cut off suddenly by a familiar too cheerful voice.
Lilith turned and saw Kelly walking over to them.
Lilith watched her type in her code and it unlocked with a ding.
"Kelly what’s going on with my code? Why isn’t it working?“ Lilith asked looking from the register to Kelly but she said nothing as she started to ring up the first person.
"Kelly?” Lilith said waving her hand in front of the other women’s sees but she didn’t even react to it. “So what? I’m fired? Lilith asked thinking that was the only reason her code wasn’t working anymore and Kelly wasn’t responding to her given she had always hated conflict.
"Come on Kelly we’re both big girls you can just tell me if I’m fired I won’t be mad.”
Well, she would since she just wasted gas to get here but she wouldn’t take it out on Kelly.
But she only went on scanning thing after thing making small talk with the customers and it was starting to freak her out.
Lilith reached out a hand to grab Kelly and make her look at her but her hand simply went through her like a light in the mist.
Kelly’s shiver was her only reaction and Lilith stumbled back her eyes going wide and her heart pounding in her ears. “What the hell!” she said out loud looking down at her hand with fear.
For a moment she just looked at her own hand, it seemed perfectly fine to her.
Lilith let out a shuttering breath as she went around the counter and reached out once again to touch an old lady but was stopped by a voice.
"What are you doing?“
Lilith looked down to see a little girl, no more than five or six standing next to her looking up at her with bright green eyes, her red raincoat bright even in the light.
"You can see me?” Lilith asked on the verge of a panic attack now, her breath wheezing out of her lungs.
The little girl tipped her head to one side with a sweet smile. “Of course I can silly, you can see me after all.”
"Why are you the only one?“ Lilith asked.
"Why do you believe I would know?” The little girl asked right back.
"This isn’t happening,“ Lilith said turning away from her and rubbed at her head which gave a painful ache.
She closed her eyes as she talked to herself under her breath, "This isn’t happening, this isn’t real. I’m still in bed asleep right now and I’m going to wake up any minute now and I’m going to laugh about this as I drink my coffee and get to work late.” Kelly bitch at her and she would take it happily.
"What are you talking about?“ The little girl asked tugging on the hem of her t-shirt.
Lilith opened her eyes and looked down at her. "What is happening?” Lilith asked, her voice shaking.
The little girl just looked at her with innocent eyes and after a moment of it she pulled away from the girl and started for the front doors. She weaved through the crowd, not caring if she knocked into someone because they didn’t even take notice.
Lilith pulled out her keys as she stepped outside not giving two craps about the rain now. It was the least of her problems.
"Where are you going!?“ she heard the little girl call after her.
"Home!” Lilith shouted back clicking the unlock button and opened the car’s door before getting in and closed it after herself.
Lilith struggled with her keys a moment before jamming the key into the slot and started the engine.
She looked behind herself to pull out but ended up letting out a scream instead.
"Why are you screaming?“ the same little girl from the store asked from where she sat in the back.
"How the hell did you get in my car!” Lilith asked.
The girl just looked at her as if she had just asked why it was raining instead of it being sunny.
"Because I want to go with you, your the only one who talks to me.“
Lilith just stared at her for a second but shook her head, she didn’t have time to deal with this.
"Whatever,” Lilith said and pulled out of the parking lot and turned on to the street.
"Why are you going back to your apartment?“ the little girl asked.
"I’m not,” Lilith answered, “I’m going to see my family. My mom lives fifteenth minutes away. She’ll know what to do, she always does.”
"Why do you think she’ll see you when no one else can?“ the little girl asked.
Lilith swallowed, her body going cold at the idea that no one would see her, hear her. But no. Her mom would know what to do. She would help her.
"She will… she’ll fix this,” Lilith said as her head gave a painful ache again.
The girl said nothing and the car filled with silence and stayed that way for a good few minutes before Lilith finally had to fill it. “What’s your name?
"Az,” the little girl said as she watched out the window as the rain kept falling.
"Does that mean something?“ Lilith asked as she turned into her mom’s driveway.
"What?“ Lilith asked as she grabbed her bag and opened her door before getting out.
"You’ll find out soon,” the little girl said as Lilith turned around and jumped as she found the girl standing behind her.
Lilith made a face at her vague answer but as she looked up it disappeared from her thoughts as she saw the front door of her mom’s house standing wide open.
"What the…?“ Lilith said sidestepping the girl and started running up the drive, but she slowed as she reached the door.
The rain had gotten harder, turning the world misty in the sheets of rain that hit them, but Lilith didn’t feel it as she stepped through the same white door she had grown up with and stopped in her tracks as she looked across the living room.
There were people standing around that she hadn’t seen in years, Aunt May, Uncle Dave who she hadn’t seen since she was six. Rylee Ross and Steven Norm from high school. June and Jason the twins she used to babysit when she was fourteen and hadn’t seen in over thirteen years.
The mood seemed dim and heavy even in the fully lit room, everyone was wearing black and gray clothes and Lilith felt her heart drop. Was her mom hurt? Now that Lilith thought about it she couldn’t remember the last time she had called and spoke to her …or even seen her.
Lilith felt her stomach drop to her knees as she walked further into the room and stopped next to her Aunt. "Where’s mama?” Lilith asked her voice breaking.
Her Aunt said nothing and only looked through her, the older woman’s eyes pained before she turned away and looked up at her Uncle Dave. “We really must get going, there’s nothing more for us to do here for them.”
Lilith stepped aside for them and watched as they started for the front door pulling out umbrellas and popped them open and Lilith followed after them.
"Why do you want to see where they’re going?“
At this point, Lilith wasn’t surprised when she heard Az behind her.
"Because I just need to,” Lilith said not sure she really wanted too but it was like something was pulling her.
She stepped back outside with her family and friends and stopped dead as they started for the line of cars parked on the sidewalk.
"What the hell!“ Lilith said out loud and of course, no one even looked her way as she stared at the spot where her car had been parked that now lay empty.
"Well, you could always join your friends, there seems to be a seat left.”
With every part of her body cold Lilith looked back and saw that yes, there was a seat left next to her old high school crush Steven Norm.
She closed her eyes a moment as she let out a shaking breath before she turned and made it in right as the door was closing.
She looked up and saw Az standing in front of the door as it closed slowly.
"What are you going to do?“ Lilith asked.
"I’ll see you there,” Az said.
Lilith looked her at until the door shut and the car started to pull away and before they turned the corner she looked back and saw that Az was gone.
The ride was quiet, almost cold with the mood. The only sound in the car was the rain hitting the car and as she looked out the window she wondered where they were going.
She watched the clock tick away watching the gray sky, her heart pounding in her ears. Could it have something to do with her mom? The sinking feeling told her it wasn’t good.
Finally, they pulled into the place she had prayed it wasn’t. The kindly cemetery.
“No,” Lilith breathed as everyone started to get out “No, this isn’t happening.”
She got out slowly and swallowed the fear down as she followed after Uncle Dave.
They walked through the maze of gravestones weaving around them as if they were trying to find the center of the maze that she felt held something she didn’t want to find.
Lilith felt her heartbeat pick up as she looked up to see a row of chairs sitting in front of an open casket. People milled around the line of white folded out chairs, they were all dressed in black. The feeling of grief heavy in the rainy wet air. “Oh God,” Lilith breathed as she got closer and saw faces she knew. New and old friends, more family she hadn’t seen in years.
Her body felt cold as she looked around panicked, where was her mother!
“Who are you looking for?”
Lilith froze for a moment before she turned and found Az smiling up at her.
"How did you get here?“ Lilith asked anger lacing her words, "How did you get here?! What are you?!”
The girl only kept smiling up at her before her eyes drifted away to look at something behind her. “Is that the woman you were looking for?”
Lilith turned around and felt her heart lift, her mother stood in the front row of the chairs looking lost as she stared blankly at the gray sky her eyes almost empty.
"Mom!“ Lilith said breathlessly as she ran over to her, and stopped. She reached out a hand but stopped herself, scared of what would happen.
"Mom look at me.”
For a moment her mom looked up at her and Lilith felt hope go through her body before her mom looked back down and walked right through her like a ghost.
Lilith stood there a moment feeling as if she had just been cut in half, her head once again giving a painful throb something wet started to ran down the side of her head but it was nothing to the pain that went through her chest, her heart.
"That’s not what you wanted was it?“
Lilith stood there a moment hugging herself as her whole body went numb as she looked down her head killing her now as she turned on the girl.
"What are you?!” Lilith hissed.
The girl tipped her head to the side, a wicked smile across her face. “That looks like that hurts,” the girl said before looking towards the casket.
Lilith shook her head, a freezing feeling running through her now as she let the fear that she had been keeping down ran free. “No.”
“Go on,” the girl said, “Don’t you want to know why everyone is here? I’m sure you already have an idea.”
"Go to hell,“ Lilith said shouting Az down.
The girl said nothing only looked away and towards the casket, the rain getting heavier. The mist turned to droplets that sounded all around her, hitting the grass and gravestones.
Lilith turned to look at the black box as her family and friends went to stand under the covering over the chairs.
"Go on now.”
Lilith swallowed as she took a step towards the casket, her head pounding harder and harder as she got closer. The rain seemed to pass through her, her feet didn’t seem to make a sound as she got closer and closer. She stumbled over her feet as her world started to blur either from the rain or the tears that had started to fall.
She reached the casket after want felt like hours and looked down as the rain dripped off the seer silk blackness, but she didn’t see her reflection. She sucked in a breath as she looked at the stone that lay in front of her.
Her stomach fell as she saw her name
Lilith felt the air from her lungs leave her and her legs gave out. She fell to the damp grass. “What happened?” Lilith asked her head killing her now.
"I’m sorry,“ Az said moving to stand next to her.
Lilith looked up, but found the girl gone.
Lilith looked around herself her eyes wide and found she was alone. "Hello!” Lilith called out as she pushed herself up from the ground turning around. The world was empty.
Suddenly thunder boomed from somewhere above her. Lilith looked up and saw a flash of light before everything when dark.
Lilith opened her eyes with a start as she sat up and looked around herself to find she was back in her bedroom.
Lilith let out a breath, the dream still rattling around in her head. She jumped up and ran out of her room and through the living room and opened her door to the hallway. She sucked in a breath and ran down it wanting to see the world outside until she ran into something that knocked her off balance and she had to catch herself on the wall to not fall on her face.
"Sorry about that,“ a man said, he reached out a hand to help her but she could only look at him with wide eyes.
"You can see me?” Lilith breathed as she held onto the wall.
The guy only rolled his eyes, “I said I was sorry what more do you want?”
Lilith only looked at him as he went around her and continued down the hall.
As he disappeared Lilith looked back to the front door. The frosted glass showed sunlight, not the rainy day in her nightmare.
Lilith walked over to the door and pushed it open and breathed in the clean air. She stepped down on to the sidewalk. After that nightmare, she would call Kelly and tell her she wasn’t coming in she would go and see her mother. Hell, she would just stay home and watch t.v..
"There you are.“
Lilith froze. That voice, the small airy voice. No, no, no, no, no. It couldn’t be.
Lilith turned around slowly and found a little girl wearing a red jacket, her blonde hair up in a ponytail just like in her dream……wasn’t it a dream. Just a bad dream.
Az smiled up at her as Lilith slowly started to back away.
"I thought you were going to get away from me for a second there.”