My heart was pounding, racing, thumping out of my chest. I couldn’t breathe, I needed air soon, or I was going to die. I was getting dizzy, I could feel myself slowly slipping and letting go. I was going to die from drowning, and I didn’t even remember going into the ocean! That’s freaking crazy.
Just open your eyes. The calm voice inside of me seemed to urge me. It’s just another nightmare. Once you wake up, you’ll be fine.
…Could I trust my own self? I’ve known myself for 16 years; I’m still not sure if I can trust my gut instinct. Hell, I barely even trust Brite half the time. That girl has the attention span of a squirrel.
I slowly opened my eyes, and almost screamed in horror. I was seriously underwater. And everything looked so real and vivid, even though I had never even been in the ocean before. It was too frightening, too scary. Who’s idea was it to say, “Hey, I’m going to jump into this big, blue, scary-looking thing and see if I can float. See you later!” Who would do that?! That’s just ridiculous.
Even though I was terrified – and starting to have a panic attack – there was something that felt right about being in the water. Like I had done it before, and I was used to it. It actually felt…good. In fact, it felt a little fun, not constricting as it had felt before whenever I was in water. I started twirling around, enjoying it a little. Until I realized two things.
How was I breathing underwater?
And: DID I HAVE A TAIL?!
I let out another scream, although this one vibrated through my vocal cords and I was sure that anyone as far as five miles could hear it. I just about had a heart attack when I saw a stream of bubbles float out of my mouth.
Out of my mouth. Because I could breathe underwater.
My arms started shaking, and I looked at my hands. I always bite my nails so they’re left looking all scraggly and ugly, but now, they were grown out and rounded at the tip. And the top of my hands across the knuckles, instead of skin, there were marine blue shiny scales. I looked down, and realized that no wonder my legs had felt numb; I didn’t even have any! There was just a tail covered with the same colored scales as the ones on my knuckles. It was equipped with fins and everything, the whole deal.
I’m losing consciousness. My own voice echoed around in my head. But I barely even heard myself. My muscles felt so heavy, and I began to sink farther down into the water. Slowly, the shimmering top of the ocean disappeared, and let me sink into the black ocean of the unknown.
I felt my legs flap up and down – yes, legs! – and I awoke with a start. I suddenly lurched forward, causing a deep pain in my stomach to act up. I realized that my hair was wet and was sticking to my face. I coughed and coughed, until the water that was drowning me flew out of my nose. It burned like hell, and so did the inside of my stomach. I coughed up some more, and a waterfall of water gushed out of my mouth. With a collapsed sigh, I rolled off my bed and landed on the floor in exhaustion. Bojangles came over, sniffed my fast, looked at the water with disdain, and padded away.
Well, I sure had a nice cat. I slowly sat up on my elbows and my chest heaved one more time. By the time I coughed up all the water like my stomach had been pumped, I was sore and ache-y all over. It was an unpleasant feeling, and I found myself slowly waddling towards the bathroom. I flicked up the light, and stared at my reflection in the mirror.
I looked exactly like I felt; shit. My eyes were red instead of white, and there were even darker circles under my eyes. For some odd reason, there were thousands of tiny scratches around my left eye, by instead of being the same color of my skin or maybe red, they were a weird blue-green.
“Just like the scales,” I whispered aloud, right into the mirror. I rolled off my jeans (yeah, I had to actually roll them because they were drenched in water) and put my legs up on the counter. Just as I suspected, they were dotted with blue-green scabs, just like on my face. Just what the hell was going on? What, where my nightmares coming to life?
Originally, I thought the basement was flooding, but as I looked back at the floor, it was completely dry. Not a drop of water in sight. But I did notice that my bed was completely drenched, and the sheets were sticking to the bed. So what did that mean? What, my bed was actually a waterbed and no one told me? Yeah, right.
I really wanted to let it go, I really did, but I just…couldn’t! I knew it wasn’t my imagination because I was soaked in water, and so was my bed. Not to add the fact that I had these weird blue-green scabs on my face. What did it all mean?
I didn’t have anymore time to think about what was wrong for me because the doorbell rang. With a frustrated look at my weird looking blue scabs, I turned off the light, walked up the stairs (narrowly missing my fat ass Bojangles), and opened the door to find a panic-stricken Brite.
“Oh my gosh Mel, you sounded so scared on the phone,” She blurted as soon as I opened the door. “Are you okay?” She barely even paused to let me answer. “Goodness, I—, what’s up with your face? Why are your scabs blue?”
I didn’t even respond to anything Brite said. I blinked at her once, twice, and then again. Without saying anything, I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her in for a hug. I buried my face into her shoulder, only wincing a little when my tender scabs rubbed against her dark blue hoodie.
“Oh,” Brite gasped, pretty surprised. I didn’t blame her. I rarely hugged people, even Dre. “I guess things are pretty bad, huh?”
I sniffed a little before nodding. “Yeah. It’s pretty bad,” I mumbled.
Brite nodded understandingly. You see, that’s what I love about my best friend. She really gets me. She understands how I feel about Dre, and she’s there to calm me when I have one of my frequent panic attacks. And that’s how it’s always been between the two of us. If it weren’t for Brite, I probably would have died of a panic attack by now.
She walked into the house, and took a big look around. “Jeez,” She said. “The same day you come back from the hospital, and no one is to be found?”
I shrugged. I was still a little shaken up to say anything. Calm down. I tried to reassure myself. It was just a dream, just a really vibrant, scary dream. No need to be a little bitch about. Harsh, I know, to my own self, but I really needed a boost to get myself out of this gigantic mess.
“Guess so,” I said, as I started to list stuff off my fingers. “Marshall’s gone, going to Criss’s house I think, Mya’s being a mute and playing outside for some reason, Dad’s in Rhode Island for his job, and Mom’s taking a nap right now.” I explained in monotone. The boring voice was keeping me from shaking and collapsing into a pool of my own body.
Brite shook her head. “That’s gotta be rough man,” She said. “So, you wanna go down to your room and talk about it?”
I nodded silently, and led her downstairs to my bedroom. I managed to flick on the light instead of tripping over fatass Bojangles on the stairs. My eyes were hesitant as I searched every part of the room besides my bed. As I slowly looked towards it, I noticed small puddles of water on the floor circling around the bed. I inwardly groaned with dread as I noticed that the top surface of the bed was drenched in water too.
“Mel!” Brite gasped in sock as she noticed my bed, too. “What happened? Did the basement flood or something?” She lifted her black combat boots to look at the bottom.
I turned back around to look at Brite, so that my back was facing the bed and I couldn’t see it anymore. “Bri…,” I said, feeling a tight constricting pain in my chest. Oh no, panic attack. I could tell by the way it was getting harder to breathe. “Something really weird is happening, and I don’t know how to explain it,” I started off.
Bri’s already wide light brown eyes opened as wide as saucers. She walked over closer to me, and leaned down to whisper in my ear. Her breath was cool on my ear, pulling me back into reality. For a second, I could feel myself slipping into unconsciousness…
“Melita Raphael Young,” Bri shout-whispered my entire full name like it was a curse. Despite the serious circumstances, I felt my cheeks heat up a little. Out of all the names my mother had given to us, I think mine was the weirdest.
My first name, Melita, was a biblical named that meant “dressed in dark or black”. And my middle name, Raphael (which she promised that could be a boy name and a girl name), was another biblical name that meant “healed by God”. In fact, I was the only one in the entire name that had biblical names. Marshall’s full name was Marshall Armand Young, Armand meaning soldier, which fit his brave exterior. And Mya’s full name was Myanria Isleta Young, (her name was Spanish because Mom is ¼ Spanish) and Isleta means little island, which perfectly described the way how Mya always seemed to be floating around in her own world. They were the ones who had the more normal names that were still unique. I was the one who was stuck with the biblical names that no one’s ever heard of.
“Yes?” I said a little shakily. Not because I was having another panic attack, but because Bri’s expression was really creeping me out.
She leaned in ever further – which I hadn’t known could be even physically possible – and said in the quietest voice I ever heard, “Are you…pregnant with Dre’s baby?” She whispered.
My hand almost immediately flew up to my mouth, and I stumbled back. I could feel my eyes widen enormously, almost as if they were about to pop off my face. “W-what?!” I stuttered. “No, no! God no!” I yelled, loud enough that Bojangles gave me that pissed off look and skittered to the bathroom.
“Oh thank God,” Bri placed her hand over her chest and took in a deep breath. “I mean, not that I would have stopped being friends with you or anything,” She prattled on nervously, trying to avoid my rapidly reddening face. “I would support you all the way, even at the hospital,”
“Bri!” I stopped her from going any farther. “It’s okay. Just calm down.” Usually Bri was the one who had to calm me down.
“Sorry,” She apologized before adding, “I wouldn’t even freak out when you had to do it the natural way, and it’s looked like a horse’s eye blinking down there…”
“Bri!” I snapped again, making her stop. “You don’t have to go any further, okay? It’s just…drop it.” I said uneasily.
“So, what’s wrong?” Bri asked, ogling my bed. “Are you sure you didn’t have sex or anything? ‘Cause I think there’s jizz all over your bed…”
I sent Bri a death stare that screamed “really?”. “Yeah, I’m sure I didn’t have sex with Dre!” I shout-whispered, afraid that my mom’s sensitive fox ears would hear about her eldest daughter talk about sex.
Once Bri finally settled down with a pensive expression on my face, I knew I could go on. “Really weird things have been going on, lately. Like, every time I pass water now, I can feel myself in it, like I’m actually swimming. And, now that I think about it, it seems like I get the same feeling whenever I’m around Dre. And just now, I felt literally paralyzed, and I felt like I was getting submerged into water. Like, I could physically feel it,” I emphasized, my arms starting to shake a little. I grabbed my right hand with my left to stop it from shaking, and collapsed onto my bed.
“Mel?!” Bri called out to me in alarm. She ran over to me collapsed on the bed – which was still freaking drenched – and pulled my limp head into her arms. “Are you okay Mel? Are you alright?”
My eyes started to roll in the back of my head as I tried to answer her. My sight became cloudy, and my hearing became fuzzy. I could see Bri’s mouth moving, but no sound was coming out. I wanted to really start panicking then, but my body was starting to fall in paralyzing-mode again. I felt myself slipping into that numb-feeling unconsciousness, and my eyes floated closed completely.
I wanted to get back to Brite, I really did, but it’s like I could hear voices calling my name. “Melita, come Melita, come to us…” They whispered, sending me into this weird trance. What was even weirder was that it was female voices, so it’s not like I was attracted to them or anything. But the way they were calling my name, it seemed to wrap a mist around me and pull me closer to them. Suddenly, I had the feeling that I wanted to be there. I needed to be there. All my defenses were taken down, and I found myself slipping into a different sort of state, one that I couldn’t control. I should have started panicking then, but the women who were calling to me, they had finally embraced me.
They hugged me close to their chests, and softly stroked my hair, like a caring mother would. It was so soothing and relaxing, I could feel myself sink into them, and rest myself. What harm could a mother figure do?
“Mel! Mel, God, please wake up!” I heard Bri faintly yell one more time.
I felt myself get a little concerned. I didn’t want to worry Bri, what was I doing here? I should be there, with her!
But another wave of calmness settled as a mist over me, and I felt myself relax once again. There was nothing to worry about. Bri was going to be just fine, and so would I.
“As beautiful as a muse, strong as the goddess Athena herself, she is exactly how the prophecy has described her,” An unfamiliar voice echoed through my ears, making me slowly wake up from my deep and peaceful sleep.
My eyes slowly opened themselves, and I felt my chest constrict as soon as I awoke. What in the hell? I questioned. I tried to sit up – was I pinned against a WALL?! – or move, but I couldn’t move my limbs at all. My eyes flew open, and I almost shrunk back in shock. I wasn’t in my bed, I wasn’t in my house, hell, I wasn’t even in Baltimore anymore. I was underwater…breathing…with fins…with a – oh God, no – a tail.
I let out one of the highest-pitched scream I ever had in my life, sending the water around me swirl around angrily in eddies. But other than the water stirring around, nothing happened. I didn’t wake up from my unconscious state, and nothing else changed. I was stuck underwater, and no one was here to save me.
“You have no need for saving,” The same voice said, suddenly closer to my ear. I turned to the right, and there was a woman with fins and a tail too, her hair an auburn brown and red color.
I could feel myself start to tremble. Who was this lady, why did she have fins and a tail, and why was I even here? No, scratch that; why was I even HALLUCINATING like this? There must be something really wrong with me, because I don’t think I’ve ever been this crazy before.
“Dear Melita, you are not crazy. And this is not a hallucination. This is all real,” She tried to reassure me, but I just felt myself become even more confused.
“Who are you? And I’m pretty sure I’m hallucinating, because I’m breathing underwater,” I said sarcastically, my eyes narrowing down at her. “So, let’s just get this whole ordeal over with so I can return back to the present and deal with the weird problems circling around me.” I said, trying to be a little brave.
“Melita, this is not a dream,” She insisted, her dark blue eyes growing darker in anger. “You should listen to me, I’m only giving the help to you.”
What was up with this woman? Who did she think she was; Yoda? “Listen, I’ve been going through a lot of stuff lately, so this is probably stress induced. I understand that what you’re trying to say you think is right, bu this is just my mind playing tricks on me,”
She narrowed her eyes at me, and with a slash of her (suddenly) seeming long fingernails, she cut the seaweed that had me tied to the wall, or, more of a cave wall I should say. I expected myself to finally wake up, but nothing happened. I stared at her like she knew something.
“What’s going on?” I said, getting a little frustrated. “I just need to get out of here…”
“Melita, I know you will not understand what’s going on, but you need to listen to me,” She said, growing serious. She grabbed me by the wrists and stared into my eyes gravely. “The kingdom is in danger. All of our warriors have fallen, and you are the only kind of us left. I need you help— your kingdom needs your help. Please help us, Ruler Melita,” She said.
My eyes widened in shock. This was getting a little too serious for me. “Listen, uh, lady,” I stuttered, trying to think of what to say. “I don’t understand what’s going on. And you probably don’t know what you’re talking about. Because I could never be leader of anything,” I snorted, the idea was just so preposterous. “But you need to let me go because there’s nothing I can do for you.”
The woman or er, mermaid, opened her mouth as if she were about to say something, but then a dark cloud settled over the water, clouding over everything. The darkness dispersed into the water, and I was quickly blinded by the thick cloud. I struggled to breathe (I guess from the cloud and not that the fact I was in water) as it settled in. A menacing evil laughed emitted through the water, and after a few minutes of panicking, it started to disappear as soon as it had appeared.
I glanced towards the top of the water, and my eyes opened wide as I saw the cause of the dark cloud. There was a woman – if you could actually call her a woman – riding atop a shark, although she didn’t have legs. They were…tentacles, like she was half-human and half-octopus.
That completely blew my mind, it really did.
I mean, I’ve seen a lot crazy thing sin my sixteen year lifespan. You know, my brother’s penis, (awkward and gross) Brite naked, (we’re best friends, but that’s still awkward for me at least) Dre sleeping in nothing but boxers, (that wasn’t awkward, that was more like heaven) and a bunch of other things. I mean, I was standing next to a mermaid, even if she was just a figment of my strange imagination. But a woman with tentacles? Now, that was creative. Unless you’ve ever seen The Little Mermaid or something.
“Melita Raphael Young!” The tentacle-lady bellowed, making the water stir with bubbles. “Have you come to claim your throne?”
I didn’t answer. My mouth dropped open as she slowly descended into the water, inky black clouds puffing out around her. Her hair was dark black – just about the same shade as mine – and her strange golden-green eyes were framed with long, dark lashes. I was immediately envious and intimidated because she was really pretty. And despite the fact that she had tentacles like an octopus, she seemed completely comfortable and natural with it. I mean, she was just stealing the show!
“Answer me!” She yelled even louder, completely scaring the shit out of me.
“Uh…I don’t know?” I said, shrinking back a little as she finally arrived right in front of me. I looked to the crazy Yoda-Auburn-Haired-Mermaid-Lady, but she was unconscious, floating in the water.
I didn’t have time to look back at the octopus woman since I felt her strangely cold finger squeeze around my neck. She lifted me up without barely any effort – I mean, I’m not gigantic, but I’m still a person – and held me against the cavern wall.
“If you think that the throne is for your taking,” She said menacingly, her eyes now narrowed at me. “Then you’re as good as dead.”
I wanted to struggle or even say anything, but her grip was so strong! I could feel my lungs constricting, trying to breathe, but I just couldn’t. I locked my hands against hers, not even wincing when her long nails cut into my hands.
She started laughing, and finally let go, and I floated down to the bottom of the cave. I gasped for air – er, water? – and looked up scornfully at her. I mean, how had I not realized she was evil from the first glance at her? The whole ink cloud thing, not to mention her ridiculously long fingernails, and her purple lipstick?
Despite the fact that I was freaking out in my brain, I knew that I couldn’t show her that I was scared. “Well, Generic Bad Guy,” I said, referring to appearance. “You can have the throne. I don’t want it, okay? Because this is just a hallucination,” I enunciated each syllable in hallucination. “So I just need to wake up, get out of here, and get on with my life.”
Generic Bad Guy/Octopus Lady smiled back at me, even though I had kinda just dissed her. “We’re going to have a wonderful partnership, Melita.”
I raised my eyebrows at her. “What is up with everyone knowing my name? What, did someone send a memo around or something?” I complained.
“Foolish girl,” She said with a shake of her head at me. “Andre was right as to not inform of your true powers.”
The second she said Andre, my ears perked up. Was she talking about my Dre? “Hey, wait!” I called, since she had turned around and was slowly inking her way from me. Even though I called to her, she didn’t even bother to turn around or acknowledge me talking to her.
“Que una puta,” I muttered under my breath, because I’m pretty sure she would come back and beat my ass if she heard me call her a bitch.
“What have you done?” The auburn mermaid whispered in horror. I turned, to see her fully conscious now and aware of octopus lady leaving.
“What?” I said, obviously confused.
“You have doomed us all,” She whispered, her eyes looking glassy as if she was looking off to something in the distance. “Our race has been ruined.”
…Genocide? Okay, this dream was getting a little too deep for me. “I think it’s time for me to go,” I said, if that would get me out of the dream.
Unfortunately, it worked, because as soon as I said that, I began to cough of blood. I watched in horror as it clouded around in the water, my eyes wide open with shock. To my horror, I felt another spasm of coughs work their way up from my chest, and felt myself losing a lot of blood.
Is it possible to die in a dream and die in real life at the same time?