A buzzing noise interrupts my endless dreaming and I slowing fade into consciousness. I slip out of my covers and cold feet follow the noise to discover the mysterious source. Outside my room the light creates a eerie glow and blends the room together, flowing from orange to black. I struggle to maneuver my way through the blurry picture avoiding the dark shapes that try to trip me. The buzzing has lowered to the bass of a drum and it lingers on the other side of the front door.
There are people everywhere. They cover my front lawn like bees swarming a nest, buzzing and mingling around. The dim street light on the corner jumps out from the black night reflecting in the millions of eyes turned in my direction. All these faces from different sections of my life conspiring together like old friends. They wave at me and mumble something that sounds like "Happy Birthday." Their smiles seem masked and they mindlessly invite me into the trap of the crowd. The overpowering current that takes free will away and drags a person from face to face until awareness of time is nonexistent. They are all puppets to the river and the water dances up to meet me. Hypnotizing and pulling me under the waves.
A flash of light and a screech of tires from my left rescue me from the waters trance. It's my older brother returning from another decade—my parents' house. I see it clear as day in my head. In the living room picture books line the old shelves. Every word and stroke of the colour in the images are memorized, hiding in the farthest part of my memory. Worn brown couches that carry the dirt and germs of my entire childhood, still sit in a dark corner unmoved. Our bedrooms, a layer of dust on the untouched comforters. The dressers full of little children's clothes that are filled with the stains of the past family meals. It stands, creepily colourful and bright, awaiting our return for eternity.
I start moving towards my brother as his feet fall out from the passenger side door. An unexpected set of footsteps peek through the gap between the cold dirt and the filthy belly of that old grey truck. His heavy steps round the corner of the car and his round shape comes into view. My heels dig into the ground and my toes freeze in place, eyes staying on him as he moves like a bear to unpack my brothers bags. I clench my teeth and watch in horror as my brother's head turns and his hand waves at me, calling attention to my existence. My feet jump in fear and bolt for the other direction, and the bear turns to toward me. I head for the river people but he spots my running figure before it disappears into the crowd. He calls out to me.
The puppets carry on with their rehearsed greetings and smiles completely unaware of the angry bear emerging from the trees. The house's front door stretches further and further away from me creating a long corridor packed with people. He calls out to me again and I ignore the deep voice following close behind my hurried step. I can never outrun him when he's angry. The crowd becomes thicker and my arms struggle to push the heavy bodies from my path. The waves of the river grab a hold of me and pull me backwards. I almost stumble and let the river sweep me away, I press onward. I make a final leap up the front steps and lung for the door handle. It welcomes me and my face falls on the itchy black carpet inside. My eyes dart to where I'd come and size up the bear flying right over the steps toward me. A shaky hand reaches out to push the door closed, but before it latches, a heavy foot kicks it wide open.
My frail body scurries back into the corner, and I shrink at the large hands coming at me. His black hands drop down and latch onto my skinny shoulders. His weight presses me into the floor and it cracks under me. My hopeless legs move to kick him away but there is no power behind the push. I want to scream and spit in his ugly smirking face, but I have gone completely stiff. My eyes trapped on his grin as he moves his claws to my neck digging them into my tender skin. He shakes me banging my head against the cold tile. I shut my eyes forbidding the tears to come falling out. My spirit still has some fight left and it will not give him the satisfaction. He keeps his cold gaze on me as his grip tightens and the blackness takes over.
I jump up gasping for air. Sweat covers my shaking body and it takes a moment for me to realize where I am. The warmth from my blanket comforts and reminds me that my neck is free from that monster's grip. He's not here. As my pulse lowers and adrenaline dissipates, the fluff of my pillow welcomes my tired head back into the world of dreams.