The sound of dripping water pulled me from my dreams. It dripped constantly first showing waterfalls, streams and drinks and then causing me to want to bathe in the crisps and clear Lakes outside my home. The dripping woke me, resulting in me using the bathroom.
Looking around the bedroom all I saw was shadows. Shadows dancing across my bedroom wall, painting places in blackness like sticky ink. The white rocking chair sat in the corner rocked gently with the wind gusting in through my window. The pitter patter of the rain against my window dripped inside onto my windowsill. I tucked my hands between my knees forcing myself to not move, to not make a sound whilst I listened in the darkness for the whispered words that sometimes danced across my skin.
I desperately needed the toilet. I had been in this place before, sometime earlier when I was a smaller child. I knew that my mother would be angry if I stayed in the bed and just relieved myself. She told me often that I was now old enough to know better. But the shadows prevented me from leaving my bed, from leaving my sanctuary. They danced and swirled across the faces of my teddies, making them look as though they were laughing at me. Causing them to stare at me with those glassy eyes and stitched on red smiles. Oh god! I couldn't leave my bed.
The dripping grew louder. Drip, drip, drip. It fell onto the ledge, gathering into a puddle. I was bursting so badly for the bathroom that I could feel the tears building in my eyes, I could feel my stomach cramping with the effort.
"Please, please don't get me!" I begged as I closed my eyes. I felt something brush against my shoulder, something cold and sticky and I knew the shadow was trying to touch me. It wanted me, it always wanted me! I cringed and whimpered, the sounds leaving my mouth almost against my will.
"Please, please, I just need to wee." I begged and sobbed. The words were whispered and they tangled with the shadows, dancing and twirling. Almost like they were fighting, duelling for who would be the winner.
I opened my eyes slowly and gingerly looked around the room. I had to move. I had to go to the bathroom. I had to be brave! Clutching the blanket to my chest in my small hand I sat up and looked around the room. Everything was quiet. I couldn't even hear the dripping from the water. The shadows stayed in place, no longer moving, no longer hunting. I flung the blanket away and scooted to the edge of the bed taking huge deep breathes but trying to be as quiet as possible. Cautiously touching my small feet to the floor, I perched on the edge and stared at my door getting ready to run as fast as I could.
"One…" I spoke softly and kept my eyes on the large door waiting for me, waiting for me to escape.
"Two…" I whispered, never taking my eyes away from the door. I sucked in air, gulped it down and whimpered.
"Three…" The sound barely left my mouth as I flung myself from the bed and raced across the room on short legs and small feet to reach the gateway to freedom. I could feel the shadows gathering all around me but I focused on that door. On my release.
I reached for the doorknob just as I felt something touch my foot, it was too late. I wrapped my tiny hand around the doorknob and flung the door open, smacking it against the wall because I opened it so forcefully. That didn't stop me from peeing on the floor, I couldn't stop it. I couldn't stop it!
I bolted up in bed, gasping for air, sobbing for relief. The room spun around me and I felt myself smack into something hard. My eyes where wide open as I hastily stood up and searched around the room, trying to grasp a hold of where I was. The light beside my bed was still on, I never slept without it. My eyes scanned the room and I saw everything in its order, everything in its place. No shadows to be seen.
I plopped down on the bed and ran my hand down my face. It was wet from tears and sweat. It had been a long time since I had had a night terror. I looked up and stared at the door. The room that I was sleeping in looked nothing like the room that constantly haunted my dreams. It was bare of any soft toys, there were no pictures. In fact the room was never the same size as the one in my dreams. This room was barely big enough to fit in a bed, a wardrobe and a computer with a small desk.
My room was a box room in a house that had six other bedrooms. It was a shared house for troubled children and I had been here for as long as I could remember. I was never told why I slept here; all I knew was that I had no parents and a bad temper. I didn't fit in anywhere, so this is where they kept me.
The dream may have haunted me for as long as I could remember but that's all it was, it was just a dream.
©Katherina Selby 2013