Flash Fiction- “Deja Vu”

I saw you first. That was usually the case.

But I thought it would be better if it was the other way around. Maybe then that would change things. I did believe everything happened for a reason. Even if I didn’t understand why.

Your back was to me. Again, as familiar as my own hand. Too tall, too skinny that’s what my mother usually said when she saw us together. But you had always been higher off the ground than me, and always thinner than a reed blowing off the wind from the ocean. At least for as long as I’d known you.

“I had a dream last night.”

You turned around immediately at the sound of my voice, your eyes finding me and following till I was standing right next to you. “Oh, really?” I couldn’t remember the last time we greeted each other properly, maybe it had only been that first time we met years ago.

“Yeah… you were in it.” Walking down the boardwalk everything looked the same. The bumper cars were bashing in the background and the kids were screaming from the mini roller coaster that didn’t tip upside down. How we wished it would tip upside down.

By flinging your hands in your pockets I knew you were going to go along with whatever game I was playing. The joke was there was no game. But I didn’t know how else to say it. It was quiet until you filled in with “Did I do something weird?”

I grabbed your arm and pulled us over to the line for the ice cream stand. You didn’t protest, which I considered a victory. “Not particularly.”

“Then what?” We stepped together as the line moved.

“Well… I guess you did say something weird.”

“What did I say?”

It was our turn next to order. I wished the line had been a little longer, and the previous orders more complicated. But, how complex could it get when there were only four flavors to choose from. They changed everyday but you never knew what you were going to get. “In the dream we were at the boardwalk, and we were getting ice cream just like this.”

You pushed your sunglasses off your face and gave me a good long look. “What did I order?”

“Butterscotch.” I smiled. “And I got mint.” Our turn now.

Pistachio. Mint. Vanilla. Butterscotch. Those were the choices.

I swallowed slowly. “See.”

The girl at the counter smiled. “What can I get you?” She looked very happy, but I felt a little worried.

Then you said it. “Butterscotch.”

“Pistachio. Please.” I said instead. I knew you were confused. Well. I had a reason. “Just go with me. I’ll explain.”

“What did I say to you in this dream?”

“Something awful.”

The girl came back a moment later with our ice cream. I didn’t try to fill the silence. Neither did you. So the counter girl said “$4.44 please.”

You paid, slapping down the money before I could even reach into my pocket. “I got this.” I know you do. Taking a big bite off the top of my cone I turned away. This time you were following my back, and I led you down the slope to the beach. “Don’t you want to eat at our table?” Your voice was out of breath, probably because it was hot and I had just power walked the long stretch to the ocean on adrenaline alone.

“Not today.” If I could change as much as I could then that would help. At least I thought so. My ice cream was already halfway gone. Yours looked pretty much untouched. It was even starting to drip onto the sand. The water was easier to look at. I looked so far the ocean and the sky were one. I knew you were waiting for me to say something.

“In the dream we were sitting at our table and you told me-” but I never finished the sentence. A piercing scream rose from the ocean and there was only enough time for us both to glance at the little blond head that disappeared under the waves. Our boardwalk was so small there was never a regular life guard on Sundays. That didn’t stop people from swimming.

“Darien!” It was my turn to scream, but your ice cream had already fallen to the sand.

“I have to go.” And my heart lurched. No. No. No. “She’ll drown.” No. She won’t.

By the time I moved to go after you, you were already in the waves and no matter how fast I ran I couldn’t catch up. You just got further and further away…

“No!” I yelled. “You will.” But it was useless, and then the water swallowed you whole. This time it had been the waves. They reached you quicker than I could. And then the little girl was next to me.

“He didn’t even say goodbye.” she said. I brought my fist to her face but then, my eyes blinked open. I was awake and the beach was gone. It was my bedroom.

And I was alone.

Every night this happens. Every dream feels real. No matter how I change the scenario you still always go.

It’s just a dream… and I know you’re right next door. The universe though won’t stop showing me how with each and every nightmare it’s like seeing you for the last time.

Photo by Heather Barnes on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Living Life # 15 “Oblivion”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

It was just like a drum that was picking up the tempo. My heart, that was.

“Can you see him?”

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. A rising crescendo I couldn’t get a handle on. “I can’t see anything. It’s too dark.” The most I could make out was an outline. The slope of the stairs with the creaking last step, the lamp with the twisted metal where I had scraped my shoulder, and the barricade of wood nailed to the door. There were only traces of light trying to find a way in through the cracks in the boarded up windows. It had to be nearly dawn by now.

“Not for long.” Dmitri leaned back against the surface of the overturned dining room table, brushing his shoulder against my own. The contact pushed my already frayed nerves more on to the edge, making me wince. He didn’t seem to notice, as he continued “We have to hold out.”

That was the goal… but the longer the music played in the background, the harder it was to control my breathing. That drum in my chest and the phonograph were marching a perfect beat to the classical music that hadn’t stopped playing the entire time. In an empty mansion, with no one around for miles, I guess even monsters needed something to fill the silence that too much solitude brought on.

I almost felt bad, for a second. The smell of blood was too prevalent for the feeling to last any longer. It was dripping down my arm, faster than I could stop it and Dmitri was no better off. The monster had stabbed its nails into his side.

“He’s going to find us again.”

Dmitri grunted, guttural and low, and in hindsight it might even have been a laugh. “Beyond all doubt.” Between the smell of blood and the creaking last step it was a matter of moments.

The music was getting louder by the second and I knew that it was getting closer. It seemed to follow wherever it went. In the library it had been overwhelming, like trying to fight with an entire orchestra bowing in your ear. Not ideal circumstances for a hunt.

Behind the fallen table, I stood up. The hiding spot would not hold forever. Nothing could. Not even immortals were entirely safe. Dmitri looked up, but he didn’t say anything. I sidestepped carefully over his long legs but he caught me quick, with startling strength, and squeezed my ankle. Then just let me go… as quickly as the gesture had come. I nodded, but in the dark who knew if he saw.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. BANG.

Exposed and hesitant, I stepped into the center of the foyer. The strings were getting louder from upstairs so there was only so much time. Dodging any pointed furniture and watching for any debris on the tile floor I edged my way closer to the window. It was just planks of wood covering the light. All I had to do was rip one away. That would be enough.

Anchoring my fingers around the edge of the board, I pulled.

And it didn’t budge.

“You are not strong enough for that, Love.” My heart stilled. At the top of the stair, his shape was clear. Skinny like a scarecrow and his silhouette edged like barbed wire, a shadow moved taking one leisurely step after another easing his descent down. Splinters hooked into my fingers the harder I struggled and the music, despite my rush, became deceptively slow. Mellow even. Nice, soothing…

His hand was at my shoulder in barely any time at all. With almost no effort, he turned me around. In that little glint of light his fangs seemed almost beautiful. But then again all vampires were beautiful. And humans couldn’t help but be entranced by pretty things. But the wound on my shoulder put me in no mood for pretty.

Just revenge.

At the opposite end of the room, Dmitri ripped off a board from a different window and the sun came streaming in. The music hitched as the vampire hissed and with sudden, brutal clarity the world slowed into focus again. I stabbed the monster through the heart.

Then the music finally stopped.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

There was sunlight streaming in. Groggily, I opened my eyes to the window.

Bang. Bang. Bang-

With a thump my alarm abruptly went silent. I placed my phone back on the end table and sat up slowly. It was morning… one day over and another beginning. I threw the covers off of me, and then cringed.

“My shoulder…” I massaged it, squeezing the muscle to relieve some of the tension but not even that made all the pain go away. Rolling my neck, I blinked still not quite awake. “Must have slept funny… what was I dreaming…?”

But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember any of it at all.