My room was very bright, brighter than normal. I sat up and stared out the window at the huge full moon slung low in the sky. It looked stained, as if by tea, or rust. It was ominous and compelling.
The nightmare had been powerful, and shaken me badly. At first I did as I always did when my mind troubled my sleep – I stared at the ceiling and waited for my heart to calm itself.
Eventually it became clear that sleep wasn’t going to be a reality, so I quietly slipped out of bed, down the stairs, and out the front door. It wasn’t difficult – my father and his obsessive east-European need for bomb-proof structures had left our house squeak free. I sat on the front step and put my shoes on. It was late May and it was warm.
I trudged along the country road toward the Silo.
The ladder was slick with dew, so I took my time climbing it. I had been cast free for a few weeks and I didn’t want to return to that particular hell. Hand over careful hand, I made my way to the top. Once there I felt the familiar release of tension I always did when I was in the Silo. It was like coming home is supposed to feel.
I sat down in my chair, and stared through the hole in the roof. It framed the tarnished moon perfectly, and spilled a wedge-shaped river of light across the pine floor and around me. I felt like I was sitting on a moonbeam.
I picked up my sketchbook and thumbed through it. Sketches, both my own and Amy’s, flicked past my eyes one at a time as I turned the pages of the cheap book. One drawing – by Amy – made my blood freeze. I felt my chest clench, my whole body tense up, and I threw the sketchbook on the floor.
“I can’t sleep,” a voice behind me. Amy’s voice.
I screamed. I leapt from my chair and spun to face her.
Her eyes were wide. She looked terrified. The long white nightgown made her look like a ghost in the pale moonlight.
“Sorry,” she said, with no hint of a smile on her face. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
I stood there a moment, regaining control of myself. I had been scared deeply by the image in the sketchbook, and again by her voice. I opened my mouth to speak, but too many ideas crippled my tongue, and nothing was said.
“You okay?” she asked. She still looked frightened, but concern was edging the fear off her face.
I nodded. I leaned down and picked up the sketchbook, still open to the page that had startled me, and handed it to her. She shuddered with revulsion and pushed it away.
“Yeah. I drew it after I had a nightmare about that. About you. And Him. Chasing you.” Her voice had dropped to a whisper.
I felt the blood drain from my face. The world was spinning around me, and I sat down hard on the moonlit pine planks. Amy’s face again registered concern, and she knelt down beside me.
“What’s wrong? What did I say?” she asked.
I looked up into her eyes , into her deep, endless, eternal eyes.
“I had that nightmare tonight.”