This time the nightmare is different. It is darkened skies, streaked with a fiery red, like lightning reaching from the heavens has struck something solid and is blazing this fuel across the sky. It is bleeding roads, blood-red, before her, in a world that is lost and forsaken.
Somewhere nearby, across the sky again a falling star, the falling light, screams soundlessly but still she hears. She’s calling for Damien, but he’s nowhere to be found, nowhere to be seen.
And for a moment she sees Susan, waving photos at her, telling her to look for him there, he’s there, he’s there. And then the photos scatter at her feet and are absorbed in the running blood and there’s something in all this, something about her, something she should know. The roads awash with blood, the photos of the tragedies of the past melting with the tragedies to come.
Susan’s long gone, long gone, and she’d like to think good riddance but there are people walking this road with her now, many, many people, and she doesn’t know any of them. They are a procession of grey, slipping and sliding on the red road. She reaches out to one, to have them turn, but she can’t see his or her face, they don’t have faces, not a one, and possibly, neither does she. How would she know?
When one turns to her, its nothingness is a screaming maw of rage and pain and spite. They are angry at her for some reason, they are out for blood, out for blood.
I’m in a photograph, she thinks, one yet to be taken, and one day someone will look at it and wonder, and wonder what happened here and why and what part I had to play.
Then the thought is gone, and she’s alone on the road again, just crying out for Damien, who’s nowhere to be seen. And she thinks, I’ve been here before, I’ve been alone before, calling out to a man whose already gone, already gone.
It’s a pattern of her life.
Then she isn’t alone, there’s a figure coming towards her, quite distant yet. Stumbling, staggering, a girl in dull grey clothes, drab as the sky is bright and jagged. Her hair is stringy and as she approaches she’s mumbling and crying, mumbling and crying. And Lisa is afraid to reach out and touch her, see her face, because she won’t have one, she won’t have one, not her, not anyone.
But as the girl gets closer she’s suddenly afraid, so afraid of her, she wants to turn and run, run and run. You should be afraid of this girl, something is telling her, she’s dangerous, she’s wild, and mad and bad and dangerous.
But she’s drab and staggering and looks pitiful and cold and lost, just like Lisa feels.
And then she’s close, close enough to see, and then the deepest shock of all. It’s Mandy, it’s only Mandy, but she’s changed, she’s different, she’s not the same, not anymore, but Lisa can’t even work out what that means. And there’s this terrible overwhelming guilt and horror that she didn’t even recognise her own child, wandering these blood soaked streets. She didn’t even know her and she was afraid. She was afraid of her own daughter.
Mandy raises her eyes to her mother’s and where she should have tears are drops of blood. She’s weeping blood, holding out her hand, whimpering, ‘Momma?’
And Lisa backs away, backs away and screams and turns and runs and hears her daughter behind her, just calling out, over and over, lost in despair.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved