I still get nightmares. In fact, I get them so often I should be used to them by now. I'm not. No one ever really gets used to nightmares. ~ Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
My heart fell to the pit of my stomach as I hopped up on stage, my crutches in my hands, helping me along. I had to walk up in front of all these pupils that attended my school. I had to see all their eyes linger on me as the principal shook my hand and thanked me for my bravery with my best friend, Lucie, by my side, for something that I wish had never happened. Something that I wanted to forget about, not remember. I wanted to keep it locked away in the back of my mind and throw away the key but everyone liked reminding me about it. They want to tell me well done after all the pain I went through, after all the nightmares. Those terrible nightmares.
I could remember everything happening, all the screaming, and most of all, all that blood. It covered my hands as I cried out in pain. I wanted to help but nothing seemed to be working. I knew Lucie was as terrified as me, but she hid it behind all the hope that was shown on her face. I remember screaming out in frustration as nothing worked.
I needed to save him. I couldn’t be that helpless, little girl again, I knew it was time to show everyone my full potential, but I was scared about what would happen next. I was especially scared if something was to happen to him.
I looked towards the front of the room which was full of eyes that were looking at the three boys walking on stage. It felt as though my heart split in two as I saw their faces, covered in battle scars and purple bruises. I felt tears well up in my eyes as I looked at them, realizing that I could have maybe done something more to prevent what happened.
I looked around the hall at everyone’s faces. They quickly changed from sympathetic faces into snarls, the whole picture going red as they shouted abuse at me. I blinked quickly and it was normal again. It was just a hallucination. I kept saying those words to myself but I saw those faces every night once I shut my eyes. They were attacking my dreams.
I shuffled away from the principal, realizing that I had probably been standing there a little longer than I was meant to. As I walked away, I could smell the lovely floral scent on Lucie’s body as the fragrance hit my nose. I continued walking to the other side of the stage, walking past all three boys who were standing in a row waiting to shake hands with the principal. I quickly hobbled past them but I glanced slightly at the boy who was standing on the end.
He was different inside. He wasn’t the same boy that I knew, the one who I used to laugh with as we teased each other at lunch time as we sat together. He wasn’t the boy I so dearly loved. Not anymore.