Some people see their beloved ones in their dreams or those who they lost. A few are visualizing their greatest fears, their past or perhaps imagine their future. Others don’t remember their nightmares at all. Dreams always intrigued people who tried to find a hidden meaning to them.
Elora was almost 20 years old. She was studying criminology and serving her internship at a local prison. When her roommate Phil asked her what she feared the most, she answered: “my dreams.” He suspiciously looked at her and probably thought that she was hopeless and would return home before even finishing her research on the causes of suicide in prisons. Phil was a practical man; he saw everything in black and white, he was interested in facts rather than feelings and intuition. The impassive man looked at Elora with pity. He didn’t understand why she chose to be a criminologist.
It was a gloomy, foggy morning when Elora woke up. The rain pounded on the window glass. She stepped barefoot on the cold floor of her room, and a small spider was rapidly crossing the chamber. Water was falling from the ceiling in the basin standing in the middle of the room. The young woman shivered, her roommate was snoring, and she could see a malicious smile on his face. The smell of a decomposing body was floating in the air. Phil probably just returned from the morgue. Elora couldn’t stand this musty odour, so she went out for a hike. Dry leaves were crunching under her feet, and she took a deep breath. The future criminologist could see in the vicinity the iron bars of the prison.
The home of deviants was calling her; Elora heard a voice of despair. Someone was suffocating in this prison. She accelerated as she walked and then started to run. Her wet hair was falling on her face, her clothes were sticking to her body, but it didn’t stop her. An unearthly scream was resonating in her head. In the tiny cell at the end of the dark hallway, a woman tried to commit suicide. Elora managed to save the old woman before she had the time to hang herself. The lady didn’t say a word; her eyes were empty, her heart was beating, but on the outside, she was dead. She had long, grey hair, her face was white with a green hue, she had a hunchback and scars all over her knees and arms. One of the guards whispered to Elora: “You should’ve let Marta die. It’s her second attempt to commit suicide. That woman is cursed!” Marta left the cell with the guards and cast a dreadful glance at Elora. For a moment, the girl felt that her soul had left her body.
She carefully observed the cell. There was a bed with a thin mattress and old blankets, a bowl of water was standing near the bed, some ghoulish toys were lying on the floor; an old doll without eyes and dirty clothes, a fluffy, white rabbit with bloody teeth and a plastic skeleton of a horse. “With whom was she playing? A rat? Perhaps she has a psychiatric disorder,” predicted Elora. The photos taped to the wall gave the criminologist goosebumps. There was a picture of Marta sitting in a graveyard and another one of her smiling in front of a burning house. Elora stormed out of the prison and fell on the cold grass. She was sweating.
When the poor girl opened her eyes, she saw Phil standing beside her in their room. “Hey, what made you faint in the middle of the street? Did you see a zombie?” he laughed. Elora didn’t react. She had to find out what had happened to Marta. In the evening of the same day, a guard told Elora that the devilish woman had successfully ended her life.
After a week of deep investigation, Elora discovered that the deviant lady was playing with an imaginary little girl. She interviewed a few prisoners that all told her that they heard the woman talking to a child. Marta had hallucinations that she was saving the girl from a fire, but some days she was menacing to kill the child.
Elora always had trouble sleeping, but during the internship, her insomnia worsened. She feared falling asleep. She could distinguish her nightmares from reality. After Marta’s suicide, Elora dreamed that she was continuously falling in a vertical tunnel of fire. Around her, in the flames, she saw the faces of her family members who had passed away. Elora walked up in the middle of the night. Her burn scars were red. She went to the bathroom and burst into tears. Her skin was hurting; something paranormal was happening. Elora had those scars since her childhood, but she couldn’t remember how she got them. Suddenly, the light in the bathroom turned off, Elora tried to open the door, but it was locked. A childish voice called her. Elora saw a little girl in the mirror, in her small hands she was holding a picture of Marta in front of the burning house: “Mommy tried to kill me,” she said and then she vanished.
The young criminologist was sitting in front of her professor, who organized the internship. “Elora, I know you are a very ambitious student, but I believe it would be better if you return home and take some rest. You fainted twice. I am worried about you.” Elora had to stay. She wanted to know more about this girl and demonic lady. She lied to the professor that she didn’t eat enough and was simply lacking energy.
In the gloom of a forest, Elora was drowning in a well with boiling water. Her ears and her mouth were filled with water, she was floundering, but it was unsuccessful. Around the well, six women were marching in a circle and mumbling. All of them had Marta’s face. Elora woke up. She was lying in the forest near the prison. The violent wind was breaking the branches. It was very dark, and the clouds covered the moon. A girl that Elora saw in the mirror was sitting beside her. “I am you, and you are me,” she whispered.
Phil was standing in front of the hospital room door and staring at Elora through the glass. If the young woman could notice him, she would be surprised to see Phil’s horrified face. Elora was talking to herself, then crying and walking around her room. “Doc, what happened to her ?” asked Phil with a trembling voice. “Her case is in the process of investigation. I can’t tell you the details, young man. I need to keep it confidential”. Phil knew that Elora murdered Marta in prison and that she had been unconscious for several weeks, but he didn’t understand why she did that. After he visited the hospital, the police interrogated him. He told them that Elora’s biggest fear was her dreams; that’s all he knew about this mysterious girl. “Did you know that she was adopted ?” asked the policeman. “No, sir,” answered Phil.
The young man, who could seem to other people emotionless, was suddenly expressing all kinds of feelings. He was secretly investigating Elora’s case. He found that Marta was her biological mother, who was suffering from a severe psychiatric disease. She was torturing Elora by putting her in a warm oven and ironing her back. For this reason, she had multiple scars. The little girl was hiding from her mother in an old well where she was found by a social worker and sent to an orphanage. Marta buried her house and was then put into prison. A lovely family adopted Elora, but the girl’s past continued to hunt her. Marta escaped several times from the prison to find and kill her daughter, but her attempts were unsuccessful.
Phil was staring at the bed where Elora would normally sleep. “I am bored, come to play with me, I’ve got toys with me!” said the little girl who suddenly appeared on the bed.
By Nataliya Nazarova