Authors: Tate Layman
by Tate Layman
©Copyright 2013 Tate Layman
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You encouraged me to write and believed I could do it.
I love you.
I didn’t really understand love until you came into my life.
About the Author
Whit woke up with a start. Not another dream. Not again. She’d thought that the two-hour run would have exhausted her body to the point where dreams weren’t possible. But evidently she’d been wrong. She rubbed her forehead, still seeing the horrible images when she shut her eyes. Why was this happening to her?
laughed sarcastically when she thought of the people who said they hoped their dreams came true. They didn’t mean it, not if they really knew. Because that was exactly what was happening to her, and it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It had been happening for the last two months. It had started out slowly, like having a conversation at school that she had dreamt about the night before.
ow, of course, it was in full-out nightly news mode.
night before, when she watched the news, Whit had already known that there was going to be a ten-car pileup on the interstate. Whit knew she should tell someone, but after everything that had happened over the past six months, she felt completely alone. Aunt Mona would listen, she knew, and then take her straight to the crazy house. Mona would probably think she was having a mental breakdown because of the accident.
It had been horrible. A large truck had rear-ended a mini-van which had caused the other cars to
swerve and wreck. A station wagon had flipped over an overpass and disappeared from the vision completely. Several smaller cars were crushed like tin cans. But the blood and bodies had been the worst part. One woman had been thrown through her windshield and landed into a twisted pile of arms and legs. A man attempted to crawl out of his car but only got halfway before passing out or dying, Whit didn’t know which. A few people managed to extract themselves from their crumpled cars, then ran around trying to help the others that were trapped or injured. A child screamed, although Whit hadn’t been able to hear it, she known just from looking at his face.
She rubbed her hands over her eyes hoping to make the vision disappear. She needed something else to concentrate on.
Whit looked over at her alarm clock; only three more hours until school. She slid out from under her comforter, and made her way to the shower. Hopefully, the hot water would clear her head and help her forget the dream. She didn’t like to keep them around any longer than she had to.
As the water sl
uiced over her head, Whit closed her eyes and tried to relax but the dream she’d just had came to mind without her permission. Somewhere in a building – she wasn’t sure where – there was going to be a man who decided the best thing to do was crawl onto the ledge and jump off. Her dream didn’t show what happened to the man after he jumped from the ledge; it only showed his decision to jump. She wanted to help somehow but the dream was too vague. It didn’t tell her when or where. It didn’t give her any specific, but she knew it would come true. Just as she knew it was pointless to try to stop it.
The throbbing headache that was always present after a dream hit her full force when she opened her eyes.
This couldn’t continue, or she would have to get psychiatric help.
After putting on jeans and a hoodie, Whit looked at herself in the mirror.
Her eyes had dark circles under them from exhaustion. Her chin-length brown hair looked as limp as the rest of her. She brushed the tangles out quickly and decided against makeup. It would help with the paleness, but it just took too much effort. She glanced in the mirror one last time, then made her way downstairs to the kitchen to wait. Coffee would help with the headache, and keep her occupied until Mona woke up. As she waited for the coffee to brew, Whit thought about how much her life had changed in six months. Her life had been so perfect and she hadn’t even realized it. That had been before the accident that took her parents. Before she’d had to move across the country to live with her aunt and uncle. As the memories of her past life bombarded her, Whit covered her face and began to sob for the life that she would never have again.
At the loud thud of footsteps,
she rubbed her eyes furiously to wipe away the evidence of her crying. Mona would still know she’d been crying, but she had to try. It hurt Mona when Whit cried. For the last month, she’d been trying harder for Mona and Luke, for that very reason. She had joined the cross country team at school and started hanging out with other students, trying to be normal. But sadly, she wasn’t normal.
People who were normal didn’t have horrible dreams that ended up being true. Normal teenagers didn’t lose their parents in car accidents.
Regular teens worried about crushes and sports, not going to sleep at night. But Mona and Luke had been so great when she needed them, and Whit knew she owed them to try to be “normal”. She had made life more difficult for them. They didn’t have kids and weren’t used to having the added responsibility, but they’d welcomed her with open arms when she needed them. Luke had even painted their office a nice pastel yellow, and Mona had decorated the room so it’d be homey for her.
Whit kept her eyes downcast
when Mona walked in, though she knew it wouldn’t hide the crying. Mona flopped down in the chair opposite Whit with her coffee, eyeing her closely.
“So you’re up early.
Everything okay?” she asked.
Now would be the time for truth.
Mona had asked and Whit knew she should just be honest and tell her about the dreams. She looked up into Mona’s concerned eyes and knew that she needed help, even if it meant medication or doctors running tests. But the words just wouldn’t pass over her lips. They were stuck inside by fear. What if there was really something wrong with her? What if she was insane? She just couldn’t tell her.
s fine,” Whit heard herself saying as she wiped a tear from her cheek. Mona scooted her chair next to Whit’s and placed a protective arm around her shoulders.
“Sweetie, you just need time.
Everything will get better. I know it seems impossible right now, but you’ll make it through this. Just know that Luke and I are here for you. Whatever you need, okay?”
,” Whit said quietly. She got up and placed her coffee mug in the sink. A glance at the clock told her it was only an hour before school. “I think I’m going to head on to school. My art teacher said I could come in early and work on my painting. I need all the help I can get on that thing.” She forced a laugh, hoping it sounded more natural than it felt.
With a wave in Mona’s direction
, she grabbed her backpack, which was already sitting next to the door, and headed to the garage. As she pulled her bike off its hook on the ceiling, she noticed that her back tire was a little low. Well, she thought, at least she had the extra time this morning to stop by the gas station air machine. She turned and guided her bike down to the street, wondering what the man on the ledge had been thinking about as he jumped. The dreams were hard to forget, so she couldn’t keep herself from wondering about the people in them. The worst part was the guilt; the inability to stop them or help the people. That guilt was driving her to the breaking point and she knew it, but every time she tried to tell Mona, her brain just wouldn’t let her. She knew she couldn’t escape the dreams forever, but maybe the bike ride to school would free her mind for a few minutes.
Whit glided down the hill toward the gas station, she felt the wind rush over her face. She didn’t even care that the chill in the air was making her shiver. She loved the feeling of the wind on her face and the rush of going fast. Her parents had been adrenaline junkies, and if anything, Whit followed in their footsteps. Before her parents had died, they’d all gone on trips for mountain biking and climbing … anything that would push them to the limits. Whit smiled as she remembered their last family vacation to Moab, Utah. They had camped, hiked, biked, and anything else her mom could think of to plan. Her parents had loved the outdoors and tried to instill that love in their only daughter. In the end, though she loved being outside, she loved reading even more. It had horrified her parents. They thought reading was good, but never understood her obsession with it. There was just something about a good book, an escape from reality.
Since her parents’ car accident
, reading had become her one companion. She spent hours immersed in books every night, hoping to escape the reality in which she was forced to live. But she could never outrun her new life without her parents, no matter the book.
When she arrived, t
he gas station was empty except for a few early morning customers stopping for coffee. Whit hooked the air pump to her rear tire and watched as the tire filled. If only there was a machine that could fill the hollow, empty area in her heart the way the air pump filled her tire. She shook her head and rolled her eyes at her crazy thoughts. She just needed to focus on more positive, less sad thoughts. She glanced inside the gas station as she pulled away from the curb and noticed the people talking, smiling, and laughing. That would be her one day, she was sure. Just not today. Not yet.
The bike ride to school was one of the highlights of Whit’s day.
It was relaxing to just cruise and not worry about talking to others, or listening to others, or worrying about others. Whit let her cares and worries be dashed away by the wind. The trees rustled and she heard birds chirping nearby. The smell of Fall was in the air. She noticed raked piles of leaves that just waited to be jumped into. People had decorated their houses with wreaths of harvest colors and flags picturing leaves and pumpkins. The ride made her feel free, even though it only lasted a few minutes.
She coasted into the school parking lot and hopped off.
After locking up her bike, she walked slowly to the art building. Art was one of the classes Whit had been assigned when she transferred to the east coast high school. She’d tried to get another elective, but to Whit’s dismay, the small school hadn’t had anything else available. It wasn’t a bad class, she’d actually started to enjoy it even though she struggled with the assignments.
Once she got into the classroom, she
collected her canvas and apron from her cabinet. Mrs. Moore, her art teacher, had assigned this project a week ago. It required students to sketch and paint their representation of love. She’d been completely overwhelmed by this assignment right from the start, and taking some extra time to work on it couldn’t hurt. She knew what love was and felt like, but to represent it in a painting was really stretching her to the limit. She wondered what represented love besides hearts and flowers. Mrs. Moore had immediately knocked those two choices out, so that the students would have to think deeper. Whit had thought about doing a picture of her parents, but she quickly realized that was a bad idea – it would be too hard on her. She finally decided to paint a family biking.
Whit looked at her canvas with a critical eye. It wasn’t good, she knew that much. Whit knew her artistic abilities were limited, and the picture made her shake her head with a grimace. The bike and adult figure she had been painting looked like something a second grader would paint. She concentrated on the figures face, trying to make it more life-like instead of cartoonish. As she glanced at the clock, Whit realized she had been working for thirty minutes on her painting. It was already time to go. After putting up her supplies and canvas, she hurried toward her locker on the other side of the small school.