The Dream

Ancestor by Suni Sonqo Vizcarra Wood of the Institute of American Indian Arts
Ancestor by Suni Sonqo Vizcarra Wood of the Institute of American Indian Arts

If she had looked to the left fast enough, then everything would have ended up differently. But she didn’t, and she never found out what would have happened if she had. Before she could ponder what happened, she woke up. The sound of water lightly tapping on the window echoed throughout the room. As she got up, she felt a heavy weight on her lap. Her cat Felix claimed his spot and refused to move.

“Get up your highness! I have to get ready for the day,” she pleaded. Felix scurried away, leaving just enough time to give her an irritated glance. On her way to the bathroom, she noticed something peculiar about Felix: Did he always have three legs?

I must be hallucinating, she thought.

The first thing she did in the bathroom was turn on the shower. She took a quick glance at herself before hopping in, just to remember what she looked like. She always feared not seeing her own appearance because of all the old vampire movies she used to watch. So far, everything seemed to still be in place: the same boring, brown hair and brown eyes that she was used to. She was convinced that taking morning showers was the only way for her to wake up properly. The lukewarm water trickling off her skin gave her a sense of comfort she craved. Just as she was about to get out, she noticed something odd about the water. Was it always red? Am I showering in blood or is this another hallucination? Something was off, but she figured if she ignored it, it wouldn’t bother her. She dried herself off and took one last glance at herself before she put on her clothes. Her buzzed hair somehow changed colors within a couple of minutes. What was once a mousy brown color turned neon green. At closer inspection, she also noticed that one of her dark brown eyes had turned a pale blue color. She felt concerned, but the thing that bothered her wasn’t the irregularities in her appearance, but the lack of panic she felt. She considered herself a very anxious individual who overthought everything. Despite her physical changes, she managed to find peace within herself and continued with her routine as if things were normal.

Felix’s sounds of hunger reminded her of her own need for breakfast. Felix got his canned salmon, while she planned on having cereal. All she had left was Cheerios, but she didn’t mind. She grabbed her blue porcelain bowl as well as the milk from the fridge. As she poured the cereal, she noticed that the beige colored oats were now rainbow colored. The milk was off too. When she poured it, it came out in chunks, hinting at it being spoiled. The milk confused her because on the carton it said it expired in two weeks. “This isn’t right. Nothing is normal today,” she said to herself, “I need to panic or tell someone, anyone, I’m going insane. That’s the only explanation.” She didn’t bother putting her dishes away because what was the point? She came to realize that her surroundings were distorting. Everything looked and felt “off.”

Her curiosity convinced her to see if the outside world was just as unsettling. Walking towards the door seemed to take forever. The living room tripled in length, making it harder to leave. Maybe the house didn’t want her to leave. She felt like she was running in sand, trying too hard to go ahead without much progress. As she struggled moving ahead, she heard a voice in her left ear. The words weren’t clear, but she could tell it was female. She felt breathing in her ear and knew there must be someone behind her. The whispers got louder as she got closer to the door. When she finally reached the door, she could hear the voice say clearly, “Are you real?”

For the first time in her life, she was speechless. She didn’t know if she was real. This all felt like a simulation. She wanted to see who, if anyone, was behind her. As she turned to the left, she woke up. She never found out who was behind her. As she opened her eyes, she could hear the rain and was ready for another day.

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