Since I started traveling into the dreams of some of the characters who live inside my Writer’s head, I’ve seen wonderful things, dreadful things, uncanny things… and I’ve met people whose actions have made me wish for a glimpse of their death under my veil.
Last night, I visited the dream of a character I didn’t particularly like. I went in wanting to see her at her worst. I had never met her, but I resented the fact that my Writer had turned me into a murdered darling in order to write some wild girl’s story.
When I entered the dim room in her dream, AlmaMia Cienfuegos lay on her right side in a small bed, with a yellow sheet covering her from toe to neck. Her body trembled slightly under the thin fabric.
Puny and frail, I thought, all dark curls and shaky bones.
My eyes focused on a spot where the sheet seemed to be sticking to AlmaMia’s skin. I squinted, and saw something oozing through the sheet.
“Crap marring The Veil,” I swore through my teeth, realizing the girl was bleeding.
AlmaMia’s eyes popped open and stared at me. “You aren’t Soledad,” she said in Spanish. In dreams, I could understand and speak all tongues.
“You can see me?” I didn’t know what else to say. Most dreamers couldn’t see me or hear me. And if they did, their dreams would shape me into someone the dreamer had seen in the waking world.
“You’re standing right there,” AlmaMia said. “Of course I can see you. I’ve never been blind. Are you blind? Is that why you’re wearing that red rag over your eyes?”
“No.” I touched my veil. “I’m not blind, I…” My voice trailed off. “AlmaMia?” I said. But she didn’t answer. Her dark eyes were set on something behind me. I followed her gaze and saw Soledad, AlmaMia’s older sister, walking slowly towards the bed. Soledad was looking right through me. I was turning around towards AlmaMia, saying, “She can’t see—” when the child’s wet scream cut my words.
I wanted to scream too, but my vocal cords were made mute by what I was seeing: Soledad was standing in front of AlmaMia with a bizarre grin curving up the corners of her thin lips; and AlmaMia was looking at her sister and bleeding out of her eyes, nose, ears, and out of her scream-widened mouth.
I was yanked out of the dream. When I opened my eyes, Ebon was watching me with huge worried eyes that didn’t belong on the face of any ordinary dog. One of his large front paws was pressed firmly against my chest. I could hear his tail thumping the floor, a nervous habit he couldn’t always control.
“You were crying,” he said. “Thought I should wake you. Are you all right, Red?” He licked tears off my face.
“Yeah,” I said, in a voice so thick that I almost choked on the word. “Thanks.”
“You were saying ‘blood’ over and over.” Ebon removed his paw from my chest and lowered his head. “Then you started thrashing. Are you sure everything is all right?”
I shook my head. “She saw me, Ebon. And we spoke.”
“I didn’t know she had crossed The Veil,” he said.
“She hasn’t,” I said. “AlmaMia Cienfuegos is alive.”
“Son of a feral cat,” Ebon growled and bared his teeth.
I nodded slowly, feeling as spooked as Ebon looked angry. I couldn’t get my head around a child who felt at ease talking to a murdered darling, but hemorrhaged and screamed at the sight of her sister.
posted by Red Veiled
Jack Skellington and Zero concept artwork from The Nightmare Before Christmas
AlmaMia Cienfuegos and Other Stories, available at Amazon