1 DREAM

I am waddling my feet through the bitter darkness. My mind warns me to stop and turn away but my consciousness keeps on moving. I can sense my bare feet stepping into the wooden floors of the dull hallway, dressed in my white stringed sleeping gown made of satin.

I notice the lengthy stairs in front of me. Do I go down without any light to guide me? There is no option, no choice to go to, the shady hallway where I came from is now a void of space that I can't go back into. I lay one of my feet down delicately, feeling the anxiety build up as each step brings me closer to the dreary part of this sanctuary.

At the end of the treads, comes the gloomy center hall. The tedious setting of the antiques that my father collected from Europe is presented on the wall like displayed articles in museums. The pair of iron knights on each side of the gallery are holding their swords in an upright position, illustrating a stance of preparedness to hit me if I get a hairsbreadth closer. Next to them are the paintings of a blurry place. I know it's somewhere I have been before, a familiar estate, yet I can't seem to see it in this clouded memory of mine filled with doubt and anxiety brought by the pain of my past.

I step back, I know what will happen next. My skin shivers from my neck to my arms and feet. The hair in every corner of my body tinged with fear. I don't want to go in there. I don't want to see it. The inanimate objects in the hall seem to disappear in the emptiness behind me. 

Inch by inch I can see the door on the right side of the center hall draw closer to where I stand like it has its own feet running towards to drag me inside.

Reaching...

The door opens...

The vision appears... 

….

….

….

Soojin can recognize the blue shade paint of the ceiling in her bedroom. Her eyes are wide open but her body is stiff as a wooden plank under the blue sheets of her mattress. Her jaws are clenched with her teeth gritting together inside her closed mouth. Her body trembles as she struggles to fight the invincible shadow holding her down. Her breathing is shallow and her heart beats fast inside her chest, battling to survive the terror of dying alone in her bed.

Is this what it feels like losing your life?

Rigid.

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The woman inhales in a steep short whiff to loosen up her body and tries to consciously move her fingers one by one to make a fist. When she was able to close her hand, she immediately sat up and breathed deeply from her mouth. Gasping for air like getting out of a drowning accident from a deep pool of water and being alive again after a brief time of departing.

!!!!!Brring!!!!!

!!!!!Brring!!!!! 

!!!!!Brring!!!!! 

The alarm clock blaring made Soojin's body jump from the noise. She stretched her arm to reach the button on top of the white rectangular digital clock resting at her bedside drawer. The room is bright by the light of the sun seeping through the glass window beside her bed. Her room is now filled with a deafening silence of loneliness.

It's seven o'clock in the morning and the sunlight begins to brighten everyone's house. She stood up from the bed and began to perform her routines starting with fixing the covers of the mattress she slept in before taking a warm bath to start her day.

Under the showerhead, she let the flowing water pass through every curve of her bare body. The warmth gives comfort to her senses, soothing her mind from the nightmare she had encountered this morning. There is nothing more reassuring than bathing in a hot clear liquid of the earth's natural blessing.

After her bath, she wraps herself in a white towel from her chest to her thigh and selects her clothes inside the closet located at the corner of her room. Hanging on the rack are her shirts and dresses arranged neatly by their shade. From white to the darkest color of purple and grey. Soojin chose a subtle tone of pastel blue long sleeve shirt, tucked in by slacks of navy blue color. She covers her shirt with a thick long knitted grey robe and matches her outfit with white flat shoes.

The slight makeup on her cheeks lends a humble blush on her face and the rose peach lipstick on her thin rims provides a natural yet luscious effect on her lips. Her brows are naturally thick in a perfect arch above her brown eyes and her lashes are long making them curl innately above the lids of her sights.

Before leaving her apartment, she took her notebook out of her bedside drawers and set it inside her black leather shoulder bag. She grabs the car keys hanging behind the door and strides towards the vehicle parked in front of the house. Soojin didn't bother making breakfast, she felt tiresome making them alone for herself.

The blue car she owns is plopped in front of her apartment. A modest old model that she finished paying last month after a five-year loan from her bank. Before she got in, a neighbor greeted her with a kid in hand.

"Soojin!!!" A woman shouts, smiling widely with her left hand raised full straight up and waving to get the attention of the woman standing beside the car.

"Mrs. Nam!!!" Soojin stops at the door before coming inside her car and smiles at the friendly neighbor who waits for her every morning to say "hi".

"You are early today." Mrs. Nam comes striding down from a few steps in front of their house.

Mrs. Nam Joomi recently moved into the apartment next to her. After giving birth to a boy named Siwoo, the couple decided to leave the noise of the city and stay in a quiet neighborhood in the suburban village of Yonhi-dong in Seoul.

"I have an early schedule with a patient." The young woman replies, clasping both her hands on her back and letting out a bright smile towards the woman and her child.

"Why don't you just call me Joomi, we're almost the same age." The woman with an infant suggests with an embarrassed look on her face, turning her eyes away while swinging the tot around as he starts to cry on his mother's arm,

"Okay, Joomi." Soojin flashes a gleam as the baby continues to wail. She holds the baby's arm and looks down at the woman's bag behind Joomi's back. "Baby wants to have his pacifier." She adds.

"Oh, how did you know?" Joomi inquires, reaching for her baby bag where she hides the teeter but couldn't reach it while holding the baby. "Can you hold Siwoo for me?" The mother appeals

"S-Sure…" The young woman is reluctant to take the infant into her arms. Looking into the baby's small mouth spilling saliva onto his chin makes her wish not to see the neighbor again and prevent herself from holding the kid.

When her hand brushes into Joomi's skin, a surge of emotion comes rushing into her senses, like electricity enveloping her mind and sending her to a quick trance of blankness witnessing images flashing like a movie in her memory.

["You are late again?!?! I called you twenty times on my phone, why aren't you answering my call?!?!" Joomi yells at the man sitting on a couch. Her hands are on her hips while leaning down at her husband slouching at the couch.

The man looks away and starts to loosen the black tie on his neck. His red face, messy hair, and sluggish action come with having too much drink that night.

"Will you SHUT UP?!?!" The man shouts at his wife who got startled at the sudden repulsiveness the man express.

Her husband did not treat her this poorly before they move out of the city and into this suburban home they have. Now, the man constantly ignores her and their child, coming home late every day, driving home intoxicated from alcohol, and shouts at her whenever she asks why he neglects her call.]

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