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"I'll never forget/ the smell of your skin/ the curve of your smile/ the way you laughed once in a while/ Your memory haunts me and I know, I know/ if you asked me just once/ I'd come crawling back to you."

-Kamree Philips, Dreams Ain't Nothin But Heartbreaks

My dreams turned to restless, haunting melodies. The type of nightmares that burrowed so deep into your sleeping mind they found a home and lived there during the waking day.

I dreamed of explosions. Vivid, horrendous explosions so real the heat would kiss my cheeks and debris slammed into my smaller frame.

I dreamed of car crashes. Of sitting in the driver's seat, my feet awkward on the pedals, feeling that half a second of weightlessness followed by a jarring stop that made my head slam into the leather steering wheel.

Then I dreamed of the graveyard.

It was the same one down the street from my foster home in Pellora. The only one I'd gotten close to calling home, at least for a little while. Translucent, cold drops of dew stuck to my sneakers as I shuffled through the grass. I tried to find the exit, but couldn't remember how to get there. And so I wandered through the jutting marble headstones and passed old trees with crooked finger-like branches. Stepped over drooping flowerless stems and muddy teddy bear trinkets left behind.

I needed to find the exit. Needed to escape this place of death and decay but the iron gates were miles into the distance. No matter how long I headed toward them, they didn't get closer.



A violent shiver crawled down my spine. I glanced around but saw nothing but the fog of my own breath on the air.

Slowly, the grass frosted over. I tried to pick up my steps yet they wouldn't go any faster. 

My feet stopped of their own accord. A jarring halt, as if I'd stepped onto a glue trap. While my brain screamed go, go, run, get out of here, my legs had their own plan. 

In the distance, a crow cawed, wings flapping as it took off through the sky.


My breaths came out in gasps. I had to get out. Had to. I could feel it in my gut that this space had become dangerous. But my feet wouldn't move.

The ground under me shuddered, dirt pouring up out of the grass as a deep gray marble gravestone pushed up from below. There, carved in jagged letters, was a name I was horribly familiar with.

Haven Matthews.

Under the date was a small explanation, killed by Aria Lewis.

Aria, the wind cooed.

Another gravestone burst from under the mat of grass, this one beige and reading Ryle West, killed by Aria Lewis.

"No." My breaths turned to sobs. I yanked at the back of my legs, trying desperately to get my feet moving. I needed to get away.

The ground shook under my feet once more and there, behind the two gravestones, a tall cement angel, her hands poised up in the air as she held a dove, rose from under the earth. It was another gravestone, one so familiar to me that I'd have to be dead myself not to know it.

The Initiative (A Sleeping Beauty Remix)Where stories live. Discover now