A flicker of light, from somewhere within the darkness. I can hear voices, strangely familiar voices, all around me. The picture soon becomes clearer, flickers of light turning into pictures, morphing into a scene that I know. Alliston Primary's school field.
I'd always loved the field. It was behind the primary school, down a steep hill, and into a vast area of green, and in the summer, daisies. Millions of daisies. We used to sit together in little friendship circles in our checkered blue school dresses, chaining together those daisies to seal our bond to each other.
I'm there now.
I'm sitting cross-legged on the grass, and there are other little children playing around me. The boys have made temporary goals from sticks and jumpers to play football, and some of the other girls are having piggyback races along the stretch of clear, lush green, falling and collapsing in a fit of giggles. It was just one of those perfect days.
I recognise that voice. It's an innocent, sweet voice, one I used to know well. I then hear my own voice - or I think it is, as this younger me is hardly recognisable anymore.
The picture becomes ever clearer. I see now. We're sitting at the top of the hill, just us two, looking out on the world. Making daisy chains, of course. It was the same every day, but we never got bored. My vision turns to look at her now. Her perfectly green sparkling eyes, full of life. Curly strawberry blonde hair that she always got teased for. Well, I called it bullying, and she called it 'Gingerism'. Her little smile with her slightly crooked front teeth, but that just added to her innocent, 8-year-old look. And I was so jealous of her freckles, although she hated them with a passion, I remember now.
She picks a few more daisies and adds them to the chain.
"Do you ever wonder, like.. what we'll look like and act like when we're all grown up? When we're allowed to wear makeup and stuff, and go out with boys?"
I watch her and study her for a while - she's so good at making daisy chains, and I watch the way she attaches each separate flower and try to mimic it.
"I don't really know... I guess." Comes my reply.
"I can't wait to grow up. I can't wait to be just like all those older girls at St Alexanders, and to look pretty and go out places and have a boyfriend. It's so exciting."
She's always been one of those girls that want to act older than they really are, but that's never bothered me. I was generally more of a live-for-the-moment person. Even as a little kid I just found the best in everything, and I didn't really know what I thought of St Alexanders. It just looked far too big and scary; and it didn't have a field, anyway.
"Mum won't even let me try her makeup, and I so badly want to see what it's like!" She sighs.
"Well..." I pause. "I think you look pretty the way you are."
She smiles shyly, and I smile back. She pulls a funny face, so I pull one too.
"Oh my god, look, Tristan's playing football!" She turns, pointing a finger, at the common school 'geek' who is trying to play with the 'cooler' guys. He runs, trips over the ball, and crashes onto the floor. We're both in fits of laughter in seconds.
If I had a pound for every time we had laughed like that, I'd have been a millionaire.
"Even when we're like those girls at St Alexanders, you'll still be my friend, won't you? We'll still sit in the playground and do handstands and make daisy chains and play truth or dare won't we?"
"Aw, Luce!" Her voice is suddenly patronising, "When you're in big school, you don't make daisy chains, geez!" I shift awkwardly, feeling strangely unfamiliar.
"So.. what do you do?"
She giggles again.
"You flirt with boys and top up your mascara and talk about stuff. Daisy chains are babyish when you're older anyway."
We sit in silence for a while, but I decide I need to be certain. I can't afford to lose Erin.
"But, we will do that stuff... together, right?" And then, she smiles that cheesy, cute little grin that I used to see everyday.
"Luce, we're going to be best friends, forever." She carefully places the daisy chain she's made on my wrist, and I place mine on hers - although it's nowhere up to her standard. She smiles, pointing at the one she gave me, which is beautifully made.
"And that proves it. You have to keep that now, for the rest of your life, and even when we're in the old people's home together you have to promise me to still wear it everyday."
The last two words echo in my head, and the image suddenly disappears... I can just hear a faint bell ringing and an adult's voice, calling "End of lunch, everyone in..."... And the bell continues...mixing with other sounds, to become a trill, high-pitched beep...
I wake up, and I scream.