Still Life: Extracts from Seth’s journal: Dreams

You know the worst thing? When you become numb to amazing. When you see things that no-one, no-one, else in the same universe as you could ever believe, and you just shrug. Fairies, magic, stuff out of books…

Because that’s normal.

Hell, if I put on a red cape tomorrow and started flying round the sky, I’d probably just shrug. While flying, but it’d still just be a shrug.

(A smudge mark where the pencil has broken and a hole in the paper follow.)

I think I’m going nuts.

#

I hate the dreams. Or rather, the dream. It’s recurring. Got to write this while I still remember.

Heavy chains on my wrists, my ankles, and darkness. Darkness like you wouldn’t believe, so dark it actually has substance. Darkness, and stone.

Darkness…

Stone…

Cell. I’m definitely in a cell.

Being dragged out of the cell, set on my knees before some kind of throne. There’s a little more light, but the room’s still too dark, everything still looks grey. I realise that I can taste something coppery, rusty, and I gag slightly. I remember the times I’ve bitten my tongue. It’s blood.

A woman on the throne. Crown. Some kind of queen, then, I don’t know. Black hair so long it’s brushing the floor. She’s very beautiful, very pale, but she has these heavy black markings round her eyes. Like stars, or spikes, or something, all in what looks like black paint. I have no idea. Her eyes are inhumanly green, because I know, instinctively, that she’s not human. Maybe that explains the beauty. Knowing what I know now, she’s got to be faerie, I think.

Then she smiles, and I see her teeth. Perfect, pearly white, and sharp, all of them, sharp enough to go through skin. And in that moment, no matter how beautiful the rest of her is, she’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.

I used to wake up there, but it’s been going further; now she puts a hand on my chin, makes me look at her, eye to frighteningly bright eye. Her hands are very soft, very pale, and her nails, like her teeth, are very sharp. I don’t like them near my throat at all. Her smile widens, and she says, like she says every night, “Her name. All I need is a name, and then you’ll be free.”

And I know exactly who she means.

#

Last night, I dreamed it again, the way I always seem to, and I know it’s this bloody place that’s affecting me, making it happen.

Except this time… this time, I look up of my own will, and I say, “Violet. It’s Violet.” My voice echoes in the silence, the only sound other than the occasional creak of leather where her men are standing guard, waiting to take me back to the cell.

I remember Sofia’s words, the words of the witch in our little group: “There is power in names. Old, nasty power.”

The queen in front of me laughs, tinkling like bells, sweet, and it’s the most terrifying sound I’ve ever heard.

#

I wonder, sometimes, how far the dreams will progress. And I wonder if they’re just nightmares, if I’m going crazy…

… Or if I’m seeing the future.

And it terrifies me.

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