I tossed and turned in my sleep. I was having the most vivid dream. It was like I was there and it terrified me.
It was me as a child, I looked no older than 8, and I was running. No, I wasn't running, someone else was running and I was in their arms. I poked my head up and peered behind the woman's shoulder. Behind us there were buildings engulfed in flames. I could here nothing but screaming and the crackling of the flames. I turned away and huddled in the woman's chest.
“Mummy,” I said, sobbing “Why are they doing this?”
“It’s okay, sweetie. We’ll be alright.” The person who I claimed was my mother had said. She held me tighter.
There was a sudden bang, the loud deafening sound echoed around me. I peaked up and met my mother's blank expression. She whined as her face screwed up in pain. She shrieked and fell, I fell too – She dropped me as we both crashed on the ground. I stared at my fingers; my hands were caked in blood.
What happened? I asked myself. I stared down at my mother's body lying on the ground. She wasn’t moving and blood was pouring out of a gaping wound in her back. She’d been shot.
She wasn’t breathing.
I shrieked. I was shaking; I didn’t know what to do. I then heard footsteps from behind me. They were getting closer and closer. I turned. Four men with guns in there hands running towards me. I shrieked again.
I was frozen. A voice echoed in the back of my head ‘Go, run. You can’t save her, she’s gone already.’ I trusted this voice and did what it said. I got up and ran. I just kept running and running with tears streaming down my porcelain face.
I screeched. I was awake in my room. I felt around me, as reassurance that I was really back in my bed. Well, I wasn’t really in my bed. I was only half on the bed, with the covers spread on my floor. I gasped and fell. I hit the ground with a thud. The intensity and fear of my dream still pulsed in my veins.
I awoke to my senses when my father entered the room.
“Stephanie, are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine dad.” I replied, with a meek smile and brushed my fingers through my long, ebony hair.
“Are you sure? What happened?” he asked, concerned.
“Nothing,” I laughed, “It was just a nightmare.”
“Alright, go back to sleep.” He shut the door and left.
I sighed and slowly got back into bed.
It seemed that I was asleep for no more than 5 minutes then my alarm went off. I groaned and checked the time. 7:30.
“Damn.” I muttered. I had no time for extra sleep. I got up and dressed for school. I rushed down stairs, grabbed something for breakfast and headed out.
At school I couldn't concentrate, I kept thinking of the dream. It was more vivid than seeing with your own eyes. I can remember every detail and how it felt – it's not something you could easily forget. I could have sworn that I was there. I could feel the warmth of my mother and the smell of the flames. I could taste the embers in the air.
At home, I was very quiet and I watched T.V all night, although I couldn't tell you what programs were playing. My thoughts were somewhere else entirely.
I tried to go to sleep early but every time I had fallen asleep, I woke back up what seemed like instantly.
I gave up on sleeping and turned on the computer. If I wasn’t going to sleep, I might as well do something to keep my mind off that horrible dream I’d had the night before.
It didn’t work. I ended up searching things randomly on Google. All these things had to do with nightmares.
The first thing I had looked up was 'nightmares'. There was no help with the general definition. But being stubborn, I didn't give up. I searched everything I could think of on the topic of nightmares. I typed in "What causes nightmares?” I found a website that explained, "Nightmares can be caused by trouble, stress or trauma in your present, past or future"
Past. That word hit me hard. I have no memories of anything before I was about 10. They say that no-one remembers things from before they were 5, most of the things you think you remember are actually things people have told you or things your mind has made up by itself. Although, I don’t have any memory at all before age 10, which is quite abnormal. I'd never given it much thought until now but, my parents have few photos of me when I was younger and we rarely talk about my childhood.
Could I have been adopted?
Was it possible for my nightmares to be memories?
The next thing I searched was memory loss. Again, the definition gave me no extra information. 'What causes memory loss?' I typed.
'Amnesia (memory loss) is a memory condition in which memory is disturbed and ‘erased’ from the mind. The cause is either, organic or functional. Organic causes can be damages to the brain by trauma or disease. Functional causes may include psychological factors such as defence mechanisms.'
My dreams were highly traumatic, that’s for sure. Could it have really been me?
I yawned and checked then checked the time. 2:30 am. I groaned. ‘I should get some sleep’ I thought. I snuggled tight into my blankets and hoped I’d get to sleep soon...