I remember it being cold. it was the dead of summer, the nearby woods was engulfed in flames high as mountains yet I couldn't stay still, my teeth clattered as I watched the fire come closer. my door had been locked from the outside to ensure I didn't sleepwalk out of my room. I was powerless to warn them. my bedroom was the only one downstairs, my voice simply wasn't loud enough to inform anyone of the coming dangers. but I didn't grow desperate. I stayed in bed, I watched the fire. upstairs set fire first. I looked around my room and studied my surroundings for what I assumed would be the last time. everything was done in pale pinks and soft greens. my favorite colors. I closed my eyes as the screaming started. I felt the fire hit my room with a blast of welcomed warmth.
as the fire hit my skin and began to burn I opened my eyes and found myself in my room. my normal blue and yellow room, sports-themed and made for a boy. it was dark and cold. there was no fire, no danger. I looked out my window out into the city to assure myself that there were no woods to catch fire. I had had this dream before. I was always a little girl, I was always locked in my room, there was always a fire. trying to escape was a tedious task. there was no escaping. thus there was no use in panicking or worrying.
I sighed and sat up in bed. there was no use in trying to go back to sleep.
at age 15 I was a lover of the paranormal and unexplainable, nightmares were to be expected. but out of all the horror movies and creepypastas I had studied, what sparked this dream? what made me see this house burn and feel as the girl melted into the ashes of her bedsheets?
I sit down at my desk and open my laptop. no new notifications. I open my Tumblr and make a post.
May 19th, 2029
I had the dream again tonight,
that makes a steady week.
no one actually read my Tumblr. or if they did they didn't make me aware. I open google to where I had left off, I newspaper article about a local haunted house when my phone dings, once, then twice, then a third time. I quickly check it, Tumblr. someone was liking my posts. someone was reading my nightmare updates. someone cares. but why?
I go to Tumblr on my laptop and open my notifications. it's all from the same person, firestarter2020 . What the hell did that mean? I open their page and go to send a message. I stare at the screen as they continue liking my posts. what would I even say? 'hey why are you liking my posts at 3 am?' i didn't want to scare them off. they finally like my very first post on his nightmare and the little dots appear to show they're typing.
5011 n 34th st Kansas City Missouri
I've seen it too.
what the fuck? I open google maps and look up the address. It's that house, I recognize the yard and the woods, it's the house from the dream! I quickly do a search for articles involving that address. nothing comes up. no fires. no, anything.
I open back up the chat. what could I say to this?
lol, I've been having that dream for ten years
I found the house a couple of months ago
I found your account two hours ago.
what do I say to that? did they only decide to look for others now? I started looking for others when I was 9, when it started.
you only started looking now?
no, I check every couple of years.
today I went to page two of the google search
and taduh! there you were.
like I'm not a freak, you know?
it feels good to know your not alone
wanna tell me about yourself?
what would I even tell them?
name, age, interests, that kinda thing
oh, well, my name is Micheal, I'm 15 and I like all things creepy and weird.
aw, cute. I remember being 15.
my name is lucy, I'm 19 and I'm really into creepy stuff too
lucy?! I'm talking to a girl?! why didn't I say something cool?! She's probably way out of my league if she's 19. I lean back in my desk chair. the first person I've ever met who understands the dream and it's a girl. why do I suddenly feel nervous? don't tell me I have a crush on this girl I've never even seen! she could be a total butterface! or worse, some kind of dog! I shake my head and open her Tumblr page without responding. lots of creepypastas and scps, some show about time travel, ah! personal stuff. a mini diary from 2024, it's all about this guy she was dating and what a total ass he turned out to be, ugh, so girly and overdone. after a good 10 minutes I find a photo. she had long brown hair and green eyes. freckles all over her cheeks and nose. she was really pretty. wonder how much she's changed.
I reopen our messages
oh no, I scared you off.
was it the fact that I have the lamest name ever or that I unwillingly have boobs?
I can't help but snort a laugh. all the nervousness and tension is gone. if feels like I've known her forever
definitely the boobs. lol
I smile at my screen. have I made a friend? I've had friends before but never close ones. I'd end up bringing up what my nightmares are about and they'd just slowly detach. except for Jason, my best friend for 3 years. he thinks nightmares are totally cool, but I never go into detail about it. maybe I should. I think about doing just that when lucy sends another message.
well I should get my stuff ready for school in the morning
maybe make some coffee.
yeah, me too.
no use trying to get back to sleep, right?
finally, someone who gets it
I was thinking the same thing
I smile again and close my laptop. I feel, understood. I text Jason to see if he's up
I get an almost instant response
how do you always know?
I was just getting my homework done
about to make some coffee
AP math is no joke man
so you say.
hey, you know how I keep having the same nightmare all the time?
yeah, ever gonna tell me what it's about?
Jason and I spend the next hour talking about my dream and what it might mean. finally, I tell him about lucy
did she tell you where she lives? at 19 she could be a senior at our school!
I doubt it, internet people are always in the middle of nowhere
yeah, but it would be totally cool. I bet she's a babe
I feel a pang of agitation. he shouldn't talk about her like that. but, hadn't I? we're 15-year-old boys, what should anyone expect? I shrug it off. it's no big deal really.
I didn't get a pic, but she's totally cool.
I send him a link to her page and stand as he goes to check it. I stretch and make sure I have all my homework done. I pull out my sketchbook and a colored pencil. I draw over an old drawing with slight variations, just for practice when my phone dings.
I snicker, he always says that when he's speechless. I always found it funny because it always sounded like he was high off his ass. I tell him this. he sends a gif of a high guy giving a thumbs up. I chuckle and look at the clock, it's almost 530. my dad will be up soon. I sigh and get back in bed. he will worry all day if he knows I was up last night. he knows I have nightmares but I haven't told him about it. I don't want him thinking I'm crazy and sending me to some mental hospital. I roll over so I'm not facing the door and close my eyes, might as well try and get a cat nap in before my alarm goes off. after about ten minutes I hear my dad open my door. after a moment of silence, he whispers a soft goodbye and closes my door again. he does this every morning. he can't stand leaving for work without saying goodbye. I have a theory as to why but it makes me sad to think about it. my alarm goes off an hour later and I get up. toss on a t-shirt and jeans and head to the kitchen to make myself breakfast, only to find a plate of pancakes waiting for me with a small love note. I smile, dads in a good mood, he only cooks when he's in a good mood. I eat slowly, he's an amazing cook, the pancakes are perfect, and bearly needs syrup. afterward, I down a cup of milk and go to find a jacket. once I have it on I double-check that I have everything for the day. then I head out. I stand on the porch of my complex and stare at the parking lot. do I wanna drive today? am I ready? I only have my permit but one of my neighbors, a really kind old man says he'll gladly ride with me so long as I keep him company on the weekends. I'm yet to drive him anywhere, but weekends with Mr. Richards are peaceful, a refreshing break from teenage life. makes me feel like I have a grandpa. my dad's dad died when he was ten and my mother never spoke to her parents after she moved out.
I shake my head and start walking, heading to Jason's house. his family is loaded, he has an actual two-story house that his parents actually own. Jason's life is perfect, his parents let him do whAt he wants when he wants. he already has his own car and he doesn't even have his permit yet. I shove down a wave of jealousy and stand on his porch. I shoot him a text and wait. I wonder if he fell asleep, or if he's popping caffeine pills again
I took a caffeine pill once. I thought I was gonna have a heart attack. but then again I don't even drink coffee. I'm kind of a caffeine lightweight
just as I'm about to shoot him another text, the door flies open and Jason excitedly hops outside with a quick verbal hug and kiss to his mom. I lightly punch him in the arm and tease him for it. he laughs it off and we start walking
Jason "I'm surprised schools open, it's gotta be a foot and a half of snow"
I kick some snow up with my boot.
"I don't think its that thick, but yeah, its a lot"
he nods in agreement
we walk the rest of the way to school in comfortable silence. nothing much to say after our long talk last night. nothing much on our minds. or at least his. I can't get that picture of lucy out of my head. suddenly, Jason stops in front of me, we're right next to the school, and he's looking into the courtyard. I know why without having to look. Sarah Mannings. She's one of the most popular girls in school, she has long well kept blonde hair, usually in a fishtail braid. her makeup is always done, her cheeks and nose unnaturally pink, and eyelids done in dark sparkly colors with lipstick to match. do say she wasn't hot was a straight-up lie. I feel bad for Jason, cause I know he has no chance in hell with her. we're not exactly popular. I'm the school weirdo and he's the punk with a black buzz cut and 4 piercings in each ear. his eyebrows, nose, and lip are pierced. I think his belly button is too but I can't be sure. we look so different that people probably wonder how we're friends. you know, if they think about us. I look like a relatively normal teenage boy, with mild acne, dark brown hair, I'm thin but not fit. as is Jason. I don't really worry about how I look. I've never really had a crush on a girl except for those puppy crushes everyone gets in grade school. not that those ever went anywhere. I asked a girl out once and she said ew and wouldn't talk to me for the rest of the year. I never tried again.
I look down at my phone and keep walking. no new messages from lucy. I sigh and start to put my phone up until I run into someone so hard I fall down. I wait a moment for the expected 'watch were your going freak' but instead a soft female voice whispers
"oh no, I'm sorry, I wasn't looking, I I I" I look up to find a shy looking girl with black hair and blue eyes looking down at me. She's in a knee-length blue dress and black tights. her coat is too big for her and so are her headphones. they blare dubstep as I stand up. she presses her hands into her abdomen and bites her bottom lip.
"I'm fine, really, I thought I ran into you!" I chuckle awkwardly and hold out my hand "I'm Micheal"
she looks at my hand but doesn't take it. "I'm Alice" I smile at her
"nice to meet you, Alice" she beams at me in response
"you're nice!" she giggles a little and it makes me smile brighter. She's kinda cute in that innocent little kid way. the bell rings for class and she gives me another smile
"I'll see you later, Micheal!" then she rushes off, her hair bouncing behind her. I feel star struck. Her smile sticks in my mind as I head off to my first class. Oklahoma history. worst class for the first hour, I nearly fall asleep, until the overhead speaker pops on
"will Micheal Riley report to the art room?"
confused, I stand up. I've never been to the art room before. I haven't had an art class since sixth grade
it takes about 15 minutes to find it and another 3 for someone to hear me knocking. when I'm finally let in I notice that most kids have headphones in, and the teacher is playing music for those who don't. I look around trying to find the teacher when I spot Alice. her face has paint on it and she's wearing a messy apron. she looks so happy. so at home.
the teacher finally sees me "you must be Micheal"
I nod. She's small with casual clothes on. I thought she was a student. she holds out a small book that I recognize instantly. my sketchbook! I hadn't even realized it was missing! I smile and eagerly go to grab it and she pulls it out of my reach.
"have you ever thought about taking an art class here? your really good, it could get you a scholarship"
my mouth drops open. my drawings are good? I always did it for shits and giggles. a little thing to pass the time, I never thought it would be useful in my day to day life. I answer honestly and shake my head
"well, think about it. I have open seats in most of my hours"
I nod and smile brightly as she hands me my sketchbook. I walk out feeling like I'm walking on clouds. I walk weightlessly back to my first hour. I pack up my sketchbook and get back to work. but I can't get Alice's face out of my head. her soft smile, how peaceful she looked as she painted. I wonder if she's any good. I go in and out of my thoughts in waves. I just barely get my work done in time. the teacher gives me a look as I walk out. I don't think he likes me but I don't like him so I'm not worried about it.
I rush to my next class, eager to tell Jason about Alice and the art teacher. as I walk into my ap English class I see a tall woman, or older teen standing at the front of the room. I stare at her as I sit by Jason, who has his bulky headphone blaring rock music as he scribbles in his notebook. he writes a lot. no one knows what he writes but loud music gets him in the mood. the bell rings and I take his headphones, turning them off. he gives me a little glare but packs up his notebook.
I go back to staring at the person at the front of the room. I pull out my phone and text lucy to distract myself from her. I shoot her a text about the art teacher. a phone dings in the room and I snap my head up. the girl at the front of the room checks her phone and starts texting. my phone dings and I look, it's from lucy. is that "lucy?!"