The Storm, Approaching


1. hurricane

Every night, I have the same dream. A girl is standing on the shore, waters lapping over her toes. The sky is dismal and gray. Her hair whips about in the wind. A blanket is wrapped around her shoulders and she pulls it tighter. She only stairs straight ahead. Nothing can pull her attention from the funnel forming out over the tumultuous sea. The funnel grows - it's wicked noise rising to a deafening volume - and it slams into the water. It spins and spits the water in a fury. The girl just stands, ever still, ever clutching at the blanket. The funnel of wind and water approaches, faster and faster. My thoughts start screaming at the girl to move, to run, to get out of there. But she doesn't. And the hurricane sweeps her off of the coast, into oblivion. And I wake up.

"Elizabeth, I've told you many times," he says when he makes eye contact, "not to fall asleep in class. Go to the principal's office immediately."

He slides a note into my hand and I rise slothfully from my desk before leaving the classroom. Rather than actually going to the principal's office, as I had been instructed, I snuck down the hall to the nearest exit and sat outside in the grass, leaning my head against the brick to look up at the clouds passing overhead.

At the end of the day, I walk home with earbuds pumping music into my head - desperate to drown out the thoughts that beg and plead for no one to be home when I arrive. But, home someone is.

When sleep is all that's left in my day, I cradle my aching wrist and make an effort not to weep over the bruises that are scattered across my ribcage. I finally breathe out my last strip of consciousness and succumb to slumber. The same dream plays out before me.

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