21 Dream (21)

I was sound asleep but a bright green light woke me up. As my droopy eyes finally unfurled, I realized I was in the middle of the woods. I found myself lying on the moss carpeted forest floor. Alarmed and shocked, I instantly stood up, aware in some part of my mind that this was not real. This has to be a dream.

Huge, green, moss-covered trees stood like skyscrapers all around. The bright sunlight tearing through the thick canopy turned green as it fell on the forest floor perpetuating mystical and spellbinding ambience. Gnarled entangled roots spread-eagled the ground beneath the giant trees.

Before me was a moss-veiled trail amidst the giant trees, stretching out far before finally curving towards left. I could hear the buzzing sound of cicadas all over combined with screeching jays. The enchanting forest beckoned me to proceed and I plunged forward into the overarching vault of leaves. The ferns rustled lightly as I advanced into the green realm and the trail snaked further along fir, maple, spruce, cedar and several other trees which I could not recognize.

As I went deeper and deeper into the forest, I started to panic. I was definitely dreaming. How else did I end up here. I wanted to wake up to reality. I wanted to get out of this gloomy yet enchanting forest. But the trail didn't lead me anywhere, other than more into the heart of the forest, which seemed endless and inescapable.

I would have covered almost a mile, when I spotted something white in the distance. I wasn't sure but it was woman, her back facing me. Her blonde hair stretched along her back.

"Hey!" I shouted feeling hopeful for the first time since I woke up in this forest. . . in this encaged dream.

The woman didn't turn back at my voice. Maybe I was not loud enough. I took a deep breath filling my lungs with air and shouted again. This time she turned. She resembled someone familiar, someone I have come across. I lurched forward towards her, stumbling over the slippery lichens and algae which grew along the moss. She stood immobile on her spot like a stone carved sculpture. As the distance began to close between us, I noticed her lips moving as if she was speaking something inaudible.

Finally when I reached her, I noticed her emerald blue eyes focused somewhere far away. The white dress she wore reached down to her feet, dwarfing her, despite how taller she was as compared to me. She was whispering an incomprehensible prayer, her vermillion lips moved slowly and constantly. 

"Hey!" I waved a hand in front of her face in an attempt to make her notice me but she didn't. I shook her arm slightly then stopped when I realized she wasn't paying any attention to me. Her eyes were still fixed somewhere in the distance. No, it wasn't that. She could not see me. I've seen her somewhere, her eyes bore a strong resemblance to someone I knew or someone I have come across. But I couldn't remember who. 

I stared at her as she stared somewhere in the distance. Then suddenly she closed her eyes and her lips stopped moving. A few seconds passed in silence, I stared at her and she didn't budge. I concentrated on recalling her. Who was this woman and what was she doing in my dream? It wasn't possible for me to dream of someone who I haven't met. She exists in my subconscious, the reason why I can see her in my dream. Finally I realized who she was. It was Daphne. The woman who was murdered recently. One of the solid proof that I was dreaming. 

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"Daphne?" I called out her name and her eyes instantly flew open but she still didn't look at me. And then she started walking further away on the moss with bare feet.

Where was she going? I followed her as she strolled into the darker parts of the forest.

The foliage gradually became thick and lush, forming an arch of fairytale-green above our heads. She ventured deeper into the murky shadow of a massive tree. The vines of the tree twisted up insanely like dispaired limbs. Ghostly horsetails of moss hung from the barrel-thick boughs making it spooky. Either it was the temperature drop or the apprehension of what's happening, but I felt a sudden strange chill run down my spine. 

Daphne advanced further into the greenish darkness until she reached the moss and liverwort covered tree trunk. I watched her from a distance as she dove into the waist-high ferns that infiltrated the area, crowding around the trunk. 

"It's time." She spoke, her voice rigid and bold. 

Soon after the words left her mouth, I saw someone walk out from behind the tree trunk. He was dressed up in white as well. He sauntered through the tall ferns towards Daphne. Something about him was familiar as well. It took me a moment to recognize him. He was Paul Jones, the first victim. 

He held something in his hand. It was hard to tell what it was but it had a metallic lustre. He stopped when he reached Daphne and she turned towards him. 

Daphne extended her arm nd Paul took her hand. When he raised his other hand, I realized he was holding a dagger in his hand. As he brought the knife closer to her throat, my heart raced and my feet began closing the distance between me and them. 

"No!" I yelled as loud as I could but I was too late.

He slashed her throat and the blood splashed across his face. Daphne's hands were around her neck, her lips twitched and her scream was inaudible. With a soft thud, she fell on the floor. 

"Daphne... " I cried as I struggled through the ferns. 

The next thing Paul did was even more horrible. He slashed his own throat with the dagger and fell beside her. My legs seemed to move slower and slower as I ran through the ferns. 

Rapid and plentiful stream of blood gushed out their throats and blanketed the ground beneath the ferns. 

"Daphne! . . . Paul!" Both of them were lifeless, their mouths agape. 

I was terrified and the next thing that happened was even more terrifying. The ferns turned blood-red. Even the moss and the leaves which hung on the branches turned scarlet. Blood continued to ooze out from their bodies and everything, the ferns, the leaves and the moss, turned a darker shade of red. 

My feet went numb as terror filled my system. I fell on my knees and tears that brim on the edge of my eyes began flowing. I couldn't understand what just happened. I cried to the point I couldn't breathe and felt dizzy. My body started to give up and I saw black and blue before finally falling unconscious on the ground. 

                                                            * * * 

My eyes popped open wide and I gasped. It was a nightmare indeed. 

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