In the Streetlights
The dream starts, and I'm sitting on the curb at the end of a cul-de-sac.
Behind me: the desert; the moon blooming over the mountains and bathing them in it's pale light, a sky the color of ink and mountains the color of bruises. In front of me: the cul-de-sac bottlenecks into a two-lane road and curves into the neighborhood, the neatly clipped lawns and pastel colors of my suburbia. It's almost as if I'm watching this like a movie, like I have no control, like this is someone else's life that I'm living.
There's no sound.
Clouds cover the moon's face. The ink stain of darkness spreads and soaks into the fabric of the mountains.
Suddenly: the sound of wet feet scurrying across the concrete, beating against the sidewalk in a quick sprint. I spin, looking, hoping, my heart seizing in my chest and ice water filling my veins and my breath catching in a ball in my throat. I can't see it, I can't see anything, but the sound is everywhere, all around me, and my ears can't fix on a single source. It's moving so fast and as soon as I think I know where, it disappears, reappears, and I don't know what to do.
I see it in the streetlights. It's small, child-sized, silhouetted by the amber light. It moves in jerks and ticks, twitches and skips, and even from here I can see the clouds of it's breath jetting from its nostrils even though this is the middle of summer and I know that isn't possible.
I can hear it again, the pitter patter of it's little feet on the ground, and all of a sudden it's giggling, the high-pitched giggle of a child. It's all around me, echoing off of the mountaintops and filling my ears, incessant and maddening and not altogether human.
Itís right in front of me.
I can feel itís cold breath on my skin, listen to itís labored breathing, and itís teeth are chattering even though this is the middle of the summer and I know that isnít possible. I almost wish I could see it even though I know I donít want to look. I canít look away and I canít move and I canít scream. But I want to see.
The moon peeks around the edge of the clouds, as if it wants to see, too. Itís pale light shines down and as soon as it does Iím wishing for darkness.
It is something resembling a child, four or five years old and very small, skin the color of bone and slick with wetness. It is dripping on the pavement and still shivering, itís teeth chattering obscenely, itís eyes rolling back into the skull to reveal solid white. Something in itís hand, shining; a straight razor with an ivory handle, so very large in the childís tiny fingers. Itís chest contracts and expands, and a hand raises, the razor about to arc into me, and I can hear itís voice moaning the same words over and over and over, broken by his chattering teeth, so cold so cold so cold so cold, and the razor whips down and effortlessly cuts across my face.
And just as my black blood runs down my face like a teardrop, I realize that the razor felt like a blade of ice, and my teeth begin to chatter.
The dream ends.