Clara tossed and turned in her bed, shivering from the nightmares that she didn't want, shaking from the realism of it all. She was tired of this - it was three years ago, and here they are again. Clara didn't want to go back to sleep, she dreaded night time nowadays anyway, but she needed too, she knew that. She had to keep having these nightmares and solve their meaning, in order for it to stop.
Clara rose from her bed, fluffed her pillow, and buried her head down into it again. "I need to figure it out." She mumbled to herself, barely being able to breathe herself. "It's the only way." She then willed herself to sleep, and the nightmares began what seemed instantly.
The cobblestone streets were ancient here, but that's what made them beautiful. She loved the cobblestone streets, the way her shoes clacked against it, the overall look of it. It was an amazing sight, and nothing could ruin it.
Except for the fact that she was lost.
She had taken a couple wrong turns on the way back to their cabin, and now she was somewhere farther downtown than she wanted to be. Stacey thought about the layout, the map, the way back home, where she was, if only she knew where she was in the first place. When she came to this next corner, she took a right. All the shop lights were off, meaning she couldn't ask anyone for directions, meaning she had to figure this out herself. She kept walking, however - she had to be close by now, right? She had been walking for the past few hours, making several turns. It was a giant maze, but Stacey would find a way back.
After walking a bit farther, the road forced her to make another right, and Stacey found herself at a deadend. She grunted with frustration - could down town really be ts hard? Stacey looked left and right again, and to her left she saw a little alleyway, stuck there between a buliding to a tattoo shop and the brick dead end wall. Stacey, instead of turning back, went into this alleyway, seeing a brighter part of town at the other end - not that she would ever make it there.
"Stop." A voice commanded, and like a fool, she stopped. "What brings you here?" The voice asked, gentle but rough, like something was wrong with his vocal chords. Stacey turned around, sensing someone behind her, but no one was there. She looked around more in that direction as she slowly stepped backward. "Didn't I say stop?!" The voice said, now angry.
"I"m lost," Stacey pleaded, not frightened even more. "Please, help me." She was still unable to see the speaker. She looked around several times, but saw no shadow, no body, no nothing, as if the voice was speaking out of thin air.
"Why are you here?!" The voice asks. It sounds like a man. "Don't move!" He yelled, loud enough for her to get the message to not move, but not loud enough for anyone at the end of the alley to hear.
"I'm Lost! Please!" Stacey started to back away faster now, despite the orders to stay where she was.
"You're with the cops, aren't you? AREN'T YOU?! YOU'VE COME TO TAKE ME AWAY! NO! I'M NOT GOING THERE AGAIN, I'M NOT GOING TO JAIL AGAIN! NO!" The voice screamed, this time loud enough for anyone within two miles to hear.
Something clicked, something shot, someone cackled, and Stacey fell to the ground, dead.
"No!" Clara tumbled out of bed, started by the thud when Stacey, her own older sister, fell to the ground. She breathed heavily - it was all so real, as if she was Stacey. She put her hand over her heart. It was thumping twice as fast as usual, and it seemed ice cold. A sharp non-existent pain was coming from it, but Clara didn't know what to do about it. "Why...?" She cried, into the darkness of her room.
"Clara?" She heard her mother's voice coming from down the hall. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. Just... I think I saw a spider."
"Do you want me to come in?" Clara's mother asked, just as the door knob started to turn.
"No!" Clara said, almost too quickly. "I mean, it's okay. Thanks Mom."
The knob stopped turning and went back to its original position. "...Okay, but if you need anything just call okay?"
"Okay, Mom. Night."
Clara waited for the foosteps outside of the door to fade until she looked at the digital clock on her bedside table, glowing red number that said 2:25. Clara clambered up from her place on the ground, and walked to the lightswitch to turn on the light. She dimmed the light slightly - the light burned her eyes, but she grew accustomed to the small bits of light coming from the above blubs.
Clara looked around her room - it was just the way she liked it, even for the past seven years. It was a somewhat dull room, with the gray blue type paint on the walls, and small circular windows nearer to the ceiling. But the things that were inside it, the decorations, the detail, down to every little speck of dust, was interesting. Clara was organized, but odd. Every time she swept the cold hard wood floors, she swept every single speck of dust into one corner of her room - nearly a months worth of dust there, since she was forced to clear it out every two months. What she drew on the walls, much to her pleasure, were random scenes of dreams or nightmares, or scenes of her life that she enjoyed, song lyrics that she liked, strange quotes that she found intrest in, and practically everything else. Her bed cover was a mixture of them all, so many words and phrases, drawings and pictures, that it would've taken several hours to examine them all - much more if you made the very quilt, as Clara had done five years ago.
Every single object in her room had something peculiar to it. If it came to Clara normal, then she would make it interesting. She glued several small googly-eyes to several of her number two pencils just for the pleasure of "how it feels". She pinned voodoo dolls to the wall with push pins covered in grass that she replaced when the old one died. The pictures had odd borders around them, and weren't in picture frames, but posted amoung the wall, not showing one inch of the icky paint on only that wall. Her clothes were ragged and old, but had peen patched up several times but her own sewing. The lamps had dead flowers taped to them, as if the fragrance helped the lighting. The small rug in the center was normal enough, except the fact that it made popping noises every time you stepped on it because Clara placed bubble wrap underneath it.
The most interesting thing, however, and probably Clara's favorite as well, were the keys. Tens, maybe over a hundred, were hanging from multicolored strings from the ceiling. She didn't know what they were for, perhaps they were a lost car key dropped on the street, or an old house key a friend had let her borrow but had forgotten to give it back. Clara went into the shops that sold these types of keys, and these were Clara's favorite types of shops. There was such a variety of keys, Clara smiled every time she looked at just one. There were ones with curly handles, oddly shaped ends, or perhaps a molded handle to fit perfectly in your hand - the exact shape of it. These keys were Clara's prize collection - she even labeled them by organizing the color of the string she hung it by. Pink strings were house keys. Black strings were car keys. Blue ones were keys to small places, and the green strings were for hanging the keys that Clara didn't know went too. The mojority were pink strings, but there was a fair amount of every other key, except for the green strings. There were only a handful of those.
Clara smiled once the light flickered on, and walked throughout the keys, bobbing and weaving through them even though her head didn't even touch them. She eventually stopped in front of a odd tiny key, tied with a blue string, which Clara carefully untied and clenched that key in her fist. She then went over to a jewelry box, unlocked it, and took out a strange looking necklace - a golden chain with several little trinkets, like an oversized charm bracelet. Clara tied it around her neck, closed and locked up the jewelry box, retied the now hanging key to the same blue string, turned off the light, and hopped into bed again, still dreading the nightmares. But this time, this time perhaps they would make more sense.
"Let me understand," She muttered, fluttering her eyes closed. The cold metal chain against her neck made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, but soon enough, Clara fell asleep anyway.
She was herself. Just herself, nothing more, which refreshed her more than anything. She was in her living room, walking towards a tiny door next to the fireplace, a door she had never noticed before despite the amount of times she had been in that very room. She took held up a blurred thing, blurred because the dream wasn't clear enough, blurred maybe because that was for her to figure out - she held up the blurred thing, muttered something, and the blurred thing flew straight into the door, whih clicked open a mere few seconds later. Clara reached out her hand, turned the doorknob, thrust the door open, and - and -
Clara awoke again, this time her father shaking her by the shoulder. "Clara - sorry to wake you, but mother wanted you to know that today we'll be going to a carnival in an hour, so you'd best get up and do the nessecities." Clara nodded, rubbing her eye, and her father walked out of her room, ducking slighlty because of the hanging keys.
Clara rose out of bed again and scrambled downstairs, grabbing a banana from the kitchen. She slid into the living room and looked beeside the fireplace - nothing was there. She ran to it, and ran her fingers along the wallpaper, expectimg to find something. She dug her finggernails into it, making a dent, and did that repeatedly - until the wallpaper broke through. Clara stared unbelieveingly at the ripped wallpaper. She tore away at the newly made hole, and found herself facing what other than a door - the door she saw in her dream.
She could sense that this was important - whatever lay beyond that door was the answer the nightmares of her sister's death that were visiting every night. She ran her fingers along the keyhole, trying to find what kind of key she would need here - a house key maybe? They were in the house, after all...
But the green ones, of course.
Clara ran back upstairs and ripped all the keys hanging by green strings from the ceiling, then running back downstairs. She attempted to fit every one in the key hole - all were close, but nearly none fit. Except the last one. Clara slowly fi t the key into the lock, turned it, and heaved a deep breath. She was going to find out what lay beyond the door - whatever lay beyond, she knew would stop her from having these nightmares...
Clara sighed again and unlocked the door. She took hold of the doorknob, turned it...
Thurst the door open...
Something clicked, something shot, someone cackled, and Clara fell to the ground, dead. She would never have nightmares again...
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