By Mizani Brooks
I’m in the middle of a dark misty forest walking, looking around in the blackness, my feet cold; crunching against dead leaves on the forest ground. Why did I go outside without my shoes, what’s wrong with me? I can’t see anything except the silhouettes of the tree branches and fog as I walk. Where did he go? Wait, where did who go, who am I looking for? Why the hell am I in the forest at night? But before I can think about it, I hear a deep menacing growl coming from the darkness. Matching the growl came the head of a black wolf, with bright golden eyes and sharp teeth.
I’m frozen in place with fear. As I and the dark fanged creature have a stare down with one another. Willing myself to move, I take one step backward slowly, but the wolf matches my movements moving one clawed paw forward. I take another step back; it takes another forward. Still making eye contact, it snaps at me. Us staring each other before it finally starts coming at me.
Immediately, I start to run, the branches tearing at my clothes, face, and hands. I can still hear the black wolf chasing after me. Soon I see an abandoned cottage in a clearing, some distance away and start running toward it, panting, willing my feet to move faster. My feet give out on me suddenly and I crash onto leaves and dirt, I hear the growl of the wolf dangerously close and I turn. The menacing golden eyes and black fur are the last things I see before it jumps at me.
I bolt upright in my bed, gasping for breath, tangled in sweat-soaked sheets. Is it possible for the human body to sweat that much even in a dream? My heart’s pounding in my chest as if I’ve been running a full marathon. My room is pitch black as I look around to see if any golden eyes appear, watching me in the darkness. Nothing. Calming down with relief, I grab my phone to check what time it was. Four-thirty in the fucking morning. I groan, knowing I’m not going to be able to go back to sleep. I reach for my nightstand, trying to find my lamp in the dark. Once I do, I turn it on and become greeted with moving boxes everywhere around the foreign room. Oh, right. Dad got a new job. New job, new town, new house, new beginnings. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the dream, the same old horrid nightmare. Same one since I turned thirteen. Same dream, same ending with me getting ripped to shreds by a wolf no doubt and some odd reason I’m in a dark cold forest with no damn shoes on my feet.
I’ve had the dream for about a thousand times by now and never knew what happened at the end. I always woke up during that part. Sometimes I’m glad I do, I don’t want to see my expected death, even in a dream. But then I wonder, what if I don’t, that instead of attacking me, the wolf in my dream was protecting me. I know it’s ridiculous and I sound crazy but I can’t help it. Sighing, I get out of bed, bypassing the boxes and heading downstairs to the kitchen, bypassing more boxes with unreadable labels on them.
I go into the kitchen, open the refrigerator, take out the leftover Chinese food from last night, and close the door. I grab one of the plastic forks that are sitting on the counter and release it from the plastic wrapping it’s in. I put the container in the microwave, heating it up and then sat on one of the barstools on the kitchen island and ate out of the container. There is nothing like sitting in the kitchen eating Chinese food for breakfast at four in the morning in a purple pajama tank top and matching pajama pants with crescent moons printed on them after a vivid-no-sense-making-nightmare.
Suddenly a sound of wood creaking and then the kitchen lights came on, making everything too bright for a moment before my eyes adjusted and looking up to find my dad, baseball bat in his hands, ready to swing at any time. Realizing it was just me; he sighed and place the bat on the counter.
“One of these days I’m going to attack you without even realizing it’s you down here. I thought we were being robbed.” My father said sitting on the barstool next to me.
“Why would we be robbed now? We just moved in yesterday.”
“That’s not going to stop a thief.” He sighed. “What are you doing up so early anyway?”
“Having an early breakfast,” I said, raising the container filled with fried rice and beef slightly before going back to eating. Dad gave me a look that said to be serious. I sighed.
“I had a nightmare again.”
“Same one or different?” He asked. It was my turn to give the look now. He already knew the answer to that question.
“Can’t blame a father for being hopeful.” He sighed and then said, “Did anything change?” I shook my head.
“It’s the same thing. No changes, like always.” I said. It was always the same. Wondering a dark forest at night for some reason not knowing why. Wolf with golden eyes in the darkness to go with the dangerous white dangerous teeth snarling. The chase. I fall and then get mauled by a wolf…I think. I always wake up before knowing what happens but I’m pretty sure I get attacked and die.
“Well, you know if having a dream about a wolf chasing you can mean happiness is coming into your life and with the attack part just means you need to be careful with the people you’re surrounded by.” Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Turner.
“I know Dad,” I said and then sighed. My dad had said this a thousand times. But I still highly doubt that being chased by a wolf can mean anything but happiness coming into my life and being careful of people I hang around with. What I do think it means is my upcoming death, but I don’t say that to my dad because it would just get him further into Dr. Turner mode.
“Well, I’m going back to bed and try to sleep for another hour or two. Are you going to be okay?” Dad asked getting up from the barstool.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine Dad. I’ll probably start unpacking boxes since I don’t think I’ll be going back to sleep anytime soon.” I said and Dad nodded before heading upstairs, taking the bat with him.
I continued eating alone after my Dad left. Once I was done, I put my fork in the trash and went upstairs to shower, trying not to think about forest and wolves. After my shower, I went to my room, got dressed in something comfortable, and started unpacking some of my things from the boxes, starting with my clothes; putting them away in my closet. My name is Nadie Turner. I’m seventeen, the average height of five foot five inches, the weight of one hundred and sixteen. I have brown almond-shaped eyes, and curly black hair and light skinned with a blessing from my Native American grandmother from my mother’s side and my African American grandparents from my father’s side. Now, as I mentioned, my dad got a new job. My dad, Dr. Turner, is a child psychologist, working with kids with depression and other mental disorders. To hopefully not have the parent’s kids turn into serial killers or commit suicide or something that would end or destroy their lives. So, yeah, my Dad tries to be a lifesaver, a hero if you will, and I’m proud of him, at least when he isn’t diagnosing my brother and me all the time, mostly me. Well, anyway, my dad got this new job in this town, offered to him, in Beaufort, South Carolina. So, without a choice, my brother Andre, Dad, and I left our home and friends in Jacksonville, Florida and drove the three hundred miles to our new home with a fresh new start more or less.
By the time I’m done putting everything away I can hear my brother getting out of his room and walking to the bathroom across the hall, just waking up. I laid back down on my bed and thought about what exactly happened in my dream for the thousandth time. Who was I looking for in the forest?
Later on that night, after unpacking everything and putting boxes into the garage, Andre and I were watching a movie in the living room when Dad came into the room.
“So what do you guys want for dinner tonight?” He asked. “This will be our last day eating take-out for a while.”
“How about pizza?” Andre asked.
“Sure. Sausage and Pepperoni?” Dad asked
“Yeah,” I said. Dad started dialing the number to the restaurant and ordered the two pizzas for delivery.
“Also, you guys start school in two weeks. So we are going to go back to school shopping soon.” He also announced and then left the living room. Once out of earshot Andre spoke.
“New school, new people.” Andre sighed. “I hate this. Especially without mom being here.”
“We’ll be okay. It won’t be that bad.” I said.
“Yeah.” Andre simply said.
“Look, just think of this as a fresh start, okay. I’ll be with you every step of the way and Dad will be too.” I said laying a hand on his arm, trying to comfort him and gave him a small smile. He returned the smile and then we both turned back to the TV.
Soon the pizza delivery came and Dad paid for the pizza before sitting it on the island table. We ate in the kitchen while dad talked about his high hopes for not only the new place but his job, as well as for us. After we ate our fill, we all relaxed in the living room, watching TV.
Soon we all went to bed, feeling tired after a long day. I laid there in bed in the dark, watching the crescent moon, being the only source of light coming through the curtains of my window.