Writing Catalog

Penina Seed

Grade: 10

Hathaway Brown School

Instructor: Erin Dockery

The Dangers of Dreaming

Short Story

The Dangers of Dreaming

My grandmother always believed in all the voodoo ways to heal someone. Whenever my mom was sick, my grandma believed that she was cursed. She would light many candles around my mom when sleeping and would lace the room in wolfsbane, aka Aconite. That's where my name came from. Since my mother had been around it so often, she found a liking to the name.

When I turned 15 on November 9th, I began not sleeping well. I don't know why it started, but when I told my parents they said to just ignore it. I don't think they really heard what I said. They're always so busy with work that they don't have any time for me. I come home from school by bus at 4:00 to a quiet house. No one is there and no one ever comes home until exactly 7:00 pm, and when they do they just go into their offices and work. I make dinner myself and leave whatever is left over for my parents, even though they probably had dinner before coming home.

After telling my parents and them not listening, I told my grandmother. She is the only one in this family that cares about me. I wish I could go live with her. It would make all of us much happier. When I told my grandma, she was genuinely worried and talked to me about it, but something was weird when she was comforting me. I don't know how to explain it, but it was kind of like she wasn't surprised, and she knew this was going to happen. I guess she had the same thing happen to her, so i didn't think anything of it. Before I went home to my unloved household, she gave me a dreamcatcher. It came in a plastic package, taped to a poster board with writing on it. It said something about how it will capture dreams and save them and get rid of any bad dreams. My grandmother suspected that bad dreams were the reason I couldn't sleep, but it wasn't that. I don't know what it was but it wasn't a bad dream.

Right when I got home, I immediately hung up my dreamcatcher and placed it right above my bed; right where I rest my head when I sleep. I went back downstairs and went to see my parents, but they weren't home. I looked at the clock and it was only 6:50, so they had some time. It was weird how they always got home at exactly the same time every day. It was like they were programmed to a certain schedule, almost as if they weren't real, and were in a simulation. I laughed as i thought that because of how stupid it is. I walked away from their office and went into the kitchen to find something to eat. Tonight I decided to make tacos; they're my favorite food. I opened the fridge and pulled out everything I needed. Tomato, peppers, ground beef, avocados, taco shells, and noticed I forgot the cheese, so I turned around to get it. When I turned back around. I saw that all the food was gone, not on the kitchen island anymore. I was shocked, so I blinked twice and saw it all again. I said to myself,

"I guess I'm just tired."

I checked the time and it said 7:03 pm and my parents weren't home. I went to look for them and… there they were, in their offices. How did I not hear them come in? This whole day has been weird. I finished making my tacos and of course made enough for my parents. I put theirs on a plate and took it to them. I knocked on the door and said

" I made tacos."

My mom gave me a head nod to the open spot on the desk where I should put it. Wow, a head nod, that's the most acknowledgement I've gotten in days.

After cleaning up the kitchen I went upstairs. Once I got into my room I sat down on my bed and fell right to sleep. I couldn't believe it, I finally slept!

It was Sunday and I woke up around 11:00 am. I have never slept that late before and never slept so well before. I thought my parents would have woken me up around 9, but I guess they didn't even know I was home. I usually wake up at 8 to go on a run to the gym and then work out for about an hour and half, so it is normal for them to think I'm not home. The weird thing is that they are usually home by the time I get back, which is at 10.

"Whatever, I have the house to myself" I think.

After a couple of hours, they returned and the rest of the day was normal.

Later that night, I was dreading going to school because I don't have any friends and it's extremely boring, but at least my parents aren't there. I went to sleep and slept amazingly that night. I dreamt of a perfect life with no school and just silence in the world.

I woke up in the middle of the night because of screaming and banging, but when I got up, there was nothing; complete silence. I was weirded out because I have never heard screaming in the house ever. I fell back asleep because nothing was happening and I woke up as usual at 6:45 to get ready for school. At this time usually the cars start to leave the driveway, but today, there weren't any cars in the driveway. I moved on because it's nothing. The bus usually picks me up at 7:20. I was sitting on my front doorstep at 7:15 and waited. I waited and waited until 7:30 and went back inside. I stood in the doorway for a second and was puzzled. I was confused, but I went back up to my room and began watching tv. I loved it. No school, no parents to not say anything to me, and the rest of the day to do whatever i want. I took my shoes off and laid down on my bed. Once I did, I felt something hard at the back of my head, so I got up and saw my dreamcatcher on my pillow.

"I guess it fell," I thought to myself. I held it up and kissed it and praised it. " Grandma was right, you really do work!"

I loved my new dreamcatcher. It made life worth living.

The day went on and I was having a blast. I lost count of how many movies I watched, and just started my 4th tv show? I wished the day would never end because that means I would need to see my parents again. I checked my phone and it said 8:15! What?! I was having so much fun I hadn't checked it at all today. I ran downstairs to see if my parents were in their office and nope. I walked away and had to do a double take.

My parents aren't home yet! "Could life get any better!" I screamed throughout the house.

I think I ran a good mile running around the inside of my house. I was starting to breathe heavily and went to go get a cup of water, but I couldn't make it to the kitchen in time. I felt a sharp pain in my stomach and ringing in my ears, and then I passed out.

I had no clue what happened. I have never passed out in my life, let alone been sick. I was the healthiest kid on the planet. I woke up and checked the time and saw it was still 8:15? Huh? I ran around my house around 20 times and then passed out. I know I'm a fast runner but I can't run around my house in milliseconds, no one can, at least no one real.

"I'm just delusional," I thought to myself, "I need to go lie down."

I went upstairs and stood in the doorway for a good minute. I just couldn't wrap my mind around what had just happened and what had happened the whole entire day. I mean like my world is just one big schedule put together for me. I wake up, go to school, come home, and do that all again. Every single day. Everything has changed since my birthday. That's when I started to not sleep well and grandma gave me the dreamcatcher. I needed to call my grandmother, if she isn't gone too. God I hope not. I didn't know what I would do if she was gone too, so I made the call. It was ringing forever and then it stopped. She didn't pick up. I felt tears coming to my eyes and then a sudden noise startled me. It was her! I picked up the phone immediately and started to sob when I heard her voice. She told me that her phone was on silent and she didn't hear it ring. I sniffled and told her everything. She was so concerned and told me that she loved me and I said it back. She is the only person I say that to because she is the only person I actually feel it for. Our call lasted for an hour. I told her about all the things that i did today and she told me about hers. I thought this conversation could go on for hours and hours, but I heard a bang outside the window and when I looked back at my phone, there was no call. It was just a black screen and when I pressed on it, it showed the time. I opened my phone immediately and went to the phone app and checked the records and there was nothing. I started to cry because today was the best day of my life and it just got crumpled like a piece of paper. I have no one, literally no one.

After a couple hours when I stopped crying, I went outside and just screamed. I screamed my lungs out and of course no one heard me because there was no one.

I had been lying in bed without moving for days and then just walked out of the house. I just got up and left. I couldn't take it anymore. I needed answers and love and that is something only one person in the world could give me, grandma.

I walked down the street and no one was in their houses. There were no cars, nothing. It looked like it was a newly built neighborhood that was waiting for someone to move into. I walked in the direction of school and on the way there was still nothing, but when I got close to the school I saw people. There were kids playing on the playground, the turf, sitting on benches. I tried running, but the faster I ran, the further away it got. I was stuck in my own hell that seemed like heaven. Hah. I was crying hysterically while laughing. This was the funniest thing that ever happened to me.

I ran all the way back home and went to the kitchen and grabbed a knife, but I couldn't even pick it up. Everytime i tried to, it disappeared out of my hand and was back in the drawer. I stopped trying after it had disappeared five times. I slid down my wall crying. The universe wouldn't even let me kill myself. I had thought about it before all this happened; killing myself. I wondered if anyone would even notice, if they would even cry at my funeral, if anyone would even come.

I was trapped in my own world, and not a good one. It felt like the complete opposite of what I wanted. For once I wanted my parents back and to go to school, I wanted nothing more, even if it makes my life miserable.

If I ever wanted my old life back I would need to figure out the cause of the shift in worlds. I mean this can't be real and maybe i was in a coma. That would be so much better than this. I thought long and hard about what the hell could have caused this, but I always came up empty handed. I mean like what in this world could make your seemingly best dream become your worst nightmare?

After a few minutes the only conclusion that i came up with was that the dreamcatcher did this, but that's just stupid, right? I mean grandma gave it to me and she would never do anything to hurt me. And if she had a reason what kind of stupid lesson is this. And if she did this, wouldn't she still be here. Why would she get rid of herself too?

I thought about the conclusion I came to. I just found it so unsettling that Grandma could do a thing, but she couldn't. Ugh. My head hurts from all this. I was going upstairs and passed my parents office. I went inside to just look at it. I never really saw everything about it. I always just looked at the floor when I was there. I saw that there were paintings on the walls and posters. There was actually color in the room. I walked around and looked at their desks. There was a picture of all three of us on my dad's desk, from when I was a baby. Tears came to my eyes. We haven't really taken family photos since I was a baby.

In the relationship between my parents and I, no one tries to connect with each other. We've gotten so used to shutting eachother out and not caring, that it's become a habit and a lifestyle. I wish we could start again, but that probably won't be possible because I'm stuck in hell, actual hell.

I went up to my room after closely looking at the office. While walking up the stairs I pictured a life where we had a good relationship. We would go to brunch on Sundays, and eat dinner together every night. They would pick me up from school and I would tell them how my day was. I laughed quietly when i thought about how dumb that sounds. No one has that as their reality and if they do, good for them.

I walked into my room and looked around. Seeing all the things that I bought myself and that grandma gave me. I have never once asked anything of my parents, but my grandma has given me all I ever wanted. I admired her for her generosity and for being the only person in the world who cares about me. As I was looking around, I saw that the dreamcatcher was missing. I looked everywhere in my room. Under my bed, behind my dresser, in the laundry basket. I couldn't find it. I then remembered about my theory and suddenly didn't think I was paranoid. I mean, I still did, but less than I did before. It was crazy, but what was happening to me was also crazy, so I would take anything.

I spent hours looking for the dreamcatcher. I gave up and went outside to listen to the peace and quiet. As much as I loved it, I hated it because it made me know and feel how alone I actually am. I looked around and there it was, the dreamcatcher. It was all the way down the street and I started running towards it. I got closer and closer and when I was able to reach my hand out I was physically . It was a barrier, but different than the first one; it was electrical. I touched it again and the tip of my finger was burning. I couldn't handle being stuck here for any longer, so I reached my hand out, through the barrier, and grabbed the dreamcatcher. My arm was burning and the flesh was starting to come off, but I kept on reaching. I finally got a hold of the dreamcatcher and pulled it through. I got burned on the way, but it just made it easier to break.

I broke it and everything stopped.

I woke up with bandages on my arm and my grandma sitting next to me. I immediately tried to get up and hug her, but she came to me. I gave her the biggest hug ever, but pushed her away and asked her about why she gave me the dreamcatcher.

"Darling, I know it caused you so much pain and will forever haunt you, but I needed you to see something important. Although your parents do not pay attention to you, you need them. Even having someone by your side can give you a feeling of safety. It was necessary for you to see that you want and need them. I am so immensely sorry for the way I showed you, but it worked did it not? You now know to be careful what you wish for darling and always listen to the dreamcatcher."

"Grandma, what?" I said

Right after that, my parents walked in, only they weren't my parents. Their faces were blurred and they had on matching jumpsuits. I looked back at grandma, and she was gone.

The room slowly started to disappear and I was back in my bed at home. No one was downstairs, no one was outside, no one was anywhere. I was back in hell.

As my vision became blurry from tears I knew I was never going to get rid of the dreamcatcher, and learned a lesson.

Be careful what you wish for.