It was so loud. Booming music reverberated throughout the massive room. Not that I had been drinking alcohol, but my head was spinning in the most amazing way regardless. I had no clue what was playing, because it was so loud. But it had an energetic feel with lots of background techno-like sound. There were so many people, all crammed together. Shoving against each other, people didn’t even know who they were dancing with. But with a smile so glorious and care free on their face, they didn’t care either.
The whole world seemed to lock into place in that gymnasium. Everybody was in synch, and nobody cared what race you were, or how tall you were, or how much makeup you wore. Every single person just was, and every single other person enjoyed you just being. It made you feel like you belonged. Like maybe it was somehow possible that someone out there in the world wanted you to be there at that exact moment so they could dance with you and a hundred other people.
A person walked by and grabbed me around the waist. Colors flashed and there was a flood of movement around me as people repositioned for the next song. Strobe lights glazed the walls and ceiling. The air was thick and heavy with the summer air. The arms around my waist loosened and the rhythm of the crowd quickened. The floor pounded from the jumps of countless people.
A breath in my ear, and I twirled to face it. Oh God, there was perfect face, the perfect person to share this moment with. My senses blurred into a grin. The lips facing mine mirrored my action. It was all I could do not to gape at this magnificent boy. This boy of my dreams, with coffee colored hair that smelled of the woods and reminded me of crashing waves. Hazel eyes with specks of white, yes there was an endless white in the color of his eyes. He had a soft jaw line that gave his face a lighter look, less serious. And finally, thin, but lush lips, which were moving. Why is he talking? Shut up boy, I just want to dance away what little time we have. But now that he was talking, of course I heard every word that came out of those delicate lips.
“I miss you. Come back to me.”
“Stop it! What is it with you and talking at the worst times possible?”
“You need to understand how much I-“
“Don’t care? Okay I get it. Can you please just leave me to savor this splendid moment? Thanks.”
“Willow, that’s not what I was going to sa-” His brow furrowed, but I didn’t want to hear it. Any of it.
The music turned up louder to drown out his words. Now it was impossibly loud, so loud I couldn’t hear a thing. I watched his chest rise and fall in an exasperated sigh. Giving in is easier, he would learn that eventually.
I took that moment to look around. The once exotic and beautiful party members had now turned to cardboard that moved stiffly. The bodies had no shapes, no faces, just a slab of cardboard with rough and pointy edges that wobbled around.
“LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO MY BEAUTIFUL PLACE. YOU’VE SPOILED IT. YOU’VE RUINED IT ALL.” The music changed to a dull, monotone beat. It sounded the tick of a clock, but deeper and more eerie. I pushed the boy away, but he didn’t stumble, didn’t even move.
“You are the one who has tainted the worlds. You can’t control anything. This is one thing you have to give up. No longer are you in my mind, Willow, never again will you be. What was the past stays in the past. We will never be. Stop trying.”
“My glorious dream… you turned it into a nightmare. You monster.” The girl’s voice shook. But I couldn’t connect with her body to make her strong again. I couldn’t bring reason to her, as her mind blocked it all out.
The boy sneered, and walked out. He just kept walking off into the Edge. The girl cried out and I reached for her, but it wasn’t enough. The cardboard beasts turned on her and beat her. One in particular grabbed her hair and pulled her head back. It had a face, and eyes of the color of a midnight storm, with evil laced through them.
“You should’ve known you would be no better without me. You’re stupid, and I pity you for that. But I won’t help you, because I don’t need you anymore. In fact, I never did. I used you, Willow. We all did.”
The girl bled from her wounds but made no sounds. She sat in silence and took blow upon blow. And I sat, far away, feeling every touch she received.
I woke up to the drone of my alarm clock. My face streaked with crusty tears. These nightmares won’t cease, and it kills me to remember in the morning.
I rushed to the bathroom before my mother could point out anything strange. I turned on the bath so no one would hear my cries. I washed away the evidence, and I sobbed, and I pretended to forget. Because that was the new routine these days.