It was dark. I couldn’t see a single thing in front of me. I didn’t want to. The rain was pounding on the roof and against the windows so hard, it was shaking the house. The thunder made car alarms go off in the distance.
All I could do was hug my whimpering dog under the covers of my bed until the storm passed. I could hear my mom in the other room jolt awake and lie back down. I thought I heard footsteps, but I knew that was my own paranoia, reflecting my fear of the thunder in other ways. The lightning came only seconds after the thunder. Seeing it through my blanket, it felt like the hold world was lighting up. One big, hot, lighting strike. Everything was white, for just that instant. Then, everything went black again.
My dog was whimpering again, and all I could do was hold him tighter. His ears were pinned back in fear, his nose under my chin, trying to hide. Such beautiful, black and brown fur. Thinking about my dog distracted me from the sound of the rain. Until another bolt of lightning came crashing with the sound of the thunder. Again, everything lit up, and immediately went black again. It was horrifying. The windows kept rattling and I could still feel the vibrations of the walls and floor. I shut my eyes and tried to go to sleep. The next clap of thunder didn’t bring lightning with it. After that noise, everything stopped. My eyes were still closed. I felt something on my ears. Hands? Not quite. It felt more like my blanket, but not quite. I tried to open my eyes and turn around, but it was futile. My eyes felt like they were glued shut. But… wait… they were already open…
I shifted my focus to my dog once more, but he wasn’t there. The warmth that was coming from hugging him was gone. My arms were wrapped around nothing. The feeling of his nose against my chin was gone. The feeling on my ears didn’t go away either. I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know who I was. In that instant, everything was gone. All of my senses were dulled to zero. I could hardly breathe. Then the lightning came without the thunder. Everything turned white. My eyes were searing from the light. It was too much, too fast. I tried to shut them, but they were already closed. My thoughts were spinning in my head, trying to come up with an explanation. Suddenly, I felt myself being lifted. It was relieving. The bed was getting so cold. The hands beneath me were so warm. I could feel myself bouncing at the step of the intruder. My mind was completely blank. Blank enough to ignore the alarm that should have been going off in my head. I let myself be carried. Then I woke up.
The room was unfamiliar. All I remembered was the storm. The feeling of the warm hands underneath me as I was carried away. Away from the storm, away from the shuddering windows and vibrating walls. Away from everything I feared. I almost fell back asleep at that thought. Until I realized that I was not in my room. My dog was nowhere to be seen. The walls were bright, blinding white. Unsettling compared to the cool blue color of my room. The bed was softer than mine. The blanket was heavier. Warmer. I didn’t want to get up, but the walls were terrifying. All of a sudden, I was sinking. Back into unconsciousness. I was safer there. Then I woke up.
My alarm was going off for school. My dog was already licking my face, trying to wake me up. Partially because he knew I needed to be awake, and partially because he wanted me to feed him. I was too sleepy to really think about it, but I picked myself up anyway. My head hurt from the dizzying dream. There were no memories of it. I don’t even remember falling asleep. My mom walked into my room, just to make sure I was up, as she did every morning. She saw me sitting at the edge of my bed, nodded, and went back to the warmth of her own bed. It was six in the morning. There was nothing I wanted to do more than go back to sleep. But there was something unsettling about my bed, so I got up and got dressed. I had a bad feeling, but I couldn’t explain it. I just ignored it instead. As I picked up my bag and started to head out an image flashed across my mind. The white room. The heavy blanket. The warm hands. Then everything went white as I collapsed. Almost as if I was struck by lightning.