My eyes were wide, wider than usual. They darted, backward and forwards, backwards and forwards. They didn’t rest for more than a second, I took in as much as I could, in as little time as possible. My surroundings felt different, maybe a little tense. I glanced to the left, I saw a glass of wine (the usual), then my eyes shot right, my phone and car keys, I think I drove here … but where am I?
I turned my head slightly and saw something familiar as it moved, a face. A foggy image which was almost moving, it was out of focus and I felt my mind shift. I momentarily shifted into thoughts which I didn’t feel aware of. I thought I might be in my house, but I wasn’t sure how I got here. I wasn’t standing, or at least I wasn’t supporting my own weight. A strange feeling, but non the less, I thought “I’m safe.” There was a subtle movement on my back, and I was facing forwards again, involuntarily. A grey wall of material stood in front of me, I could tell it was some form of material because I could see a crease cutting across from the diagonal left and it bothered me. I need to learn how to iron properly, what is wrong with me, I’m an adult. The material took a breath.
My eyes shifted again and for the second time, I wondered where I was. Didn’t I just see my phone? It’s on the side. I looked, no phone. The material breathed again, and this time the motion was accompanied by a faint cough and the murmur of a voice. The voice was high above me and I had the feeling it was speaking to me, but I was preoccupied by the worry of losing my phone. I reached for the pocket in my jeans, but there was nothing. I tried the other pocket but still, nothing. I was conscious that my head was down, but I wasn’t looking at anything. My hair floated around my eyes and it untucked itself from behind my ears. Both hands were grasped at my jeans and I suddenly felt a sense of panic. The panic, only worsened by the realisation that my arms were restricted. “What is this? Where am I? Why can’t I move?” Thoughts started to race, things were happening too quickly and in movements which I wasn’t controlling. I looked around again with my head still down, quicker now, but slow at the same time. My head was heavy as if gravity was pulling at me, but I still felt like I wasn’t quite standing. Was I even upright? Confusion struck as I saw the grey sheet in front of me breath again. It was closer to me now, almost pressing against my body. I felt my lungs tighten, there’s that movement on my back again but this time it crept around my torso. It was pressure, something was holding me from all sides. I could still hear that voice, where is that voice? And why is it mumbling so loudly? I took a big breath as my head turned from side to side, quick and sharp movements as I made an attempt to see what was holding me. A noise of helplessness escaped from my throat as I suddenly struggled with the force which was holding me down.
And then … My phone! It’s there! My phone was on the side, to the right, exactly where I first saw it, and exactly where it had been missing from. How puzzling. I mad one last attempt at wriggling free from whatever was holding me and I heard “What’s wrong?” I was almost smiling at myself for being so silly, such panic for only a few seconds of worry.
What did I just hear? A sound that I recognised all too well, a sound which sent a tsunami of shivers down my ever so restricted spine. I was forward facing again and everything was suddenly still. I couldn’t help but think that my movements weren’t of my own accord, the grey sheet ever so lightly touching my forehead as I looked down, frowning into my realisation. Do I know what I’m looking at? I think I do. The wall of creased material came into focus as I concentrated and I knew I was looking at a grey jumper, a grey jumper which I can only assume was being worn by something much more sinister than anything in my darkest nightmares (which I was really starting to feel concerned about). There’s a smudge, and I wondered to myself what it could be. Then I tell myself I know what it is, because I think I know who’s in front of me. The smudge is likely to be fag ash, which would have been dropped as this person gave way into an over powering sleep, which I’m sure would have been induced by a small overdose of pills or heroin. This jumper stinks, “ew, gross” I thought. This jumper has been worn for the last seven days, for sure. And now my face is almost being squashed into it, this feels all too familiar.
My arm was suddenly free and I lifted it to the grey, dirtied material. I found my phone in my hand and I once again asked myself “What’s happening?” The mumbling voice had been quite constant while I was running through my thoughts and the pressure abound my waist tightened, it was hands. Hands were on my waist. The noise got louder and the words became clearer and then my deepest and most sinister fear became a reality as I heard -
“Baby, what’s wrong”
My whole world froze, and everything about my existence stopped. I was stuck, in the most terrifying moment of time that I could have ever imagined. Paralysed in a state of shock, I told myself to take a breath, but I didn’t. My eyes were fixated on the tobacco smudged jumper, the smell of sadness and sin reaching my insides, filling me further with fear. I had hoped never to recognise these feelings again. I felt my hands tighten in grip, not knowing what I was holding onto, I was grasping for air. Just breath. But there were no breaths, just intense horror, which overrode everything else. The voice echoed all around me, in front of me, above me, and behind me as it held me close, ensuring I didn’t fall into the earth, letting it swallow me whole. Which was all I wanted.
And then I was back.
“Baby, what’s wrong?”
Heart racing, beating overtime, pounding so hard I thought it might escape – that may have been a bonus at this stage, to lose my heart – I could hear it in my ears, bashing away, it almost hurt. I looked up, and within a second I realised I was dreaming.
Because standing in front of me, was him.