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Universal Constance Ch 3

The Haunted Shadow

Chapter 3

~

Fiber:

Stone or metal? Either way the hard flat surface Constance found herself on was uncomfortable. She shifted from side to side looking for room to move.

The surface appeared narrow and long, an inch to either side would see her toppling down into darkness. An assortment of vacuum cleaner hoses, twisted and knotted with a variety of colored wires, lay across her body.

Miscellaneous sounds began flooding her mind, each one shockingly different to the others. Somewhere nearby a man screamed; his breath, infrequent around his own cries, reminded Constance of a spoiled infant. In his direction her eyes tried to penetrate the darkness but were greeted only with more darkness.

Most of the surrounding noises came in the form of high pitched whistles and chirps. Standing over her must be two giant birds holding down a very detailed conversation but again only pitch black met her eyes.

“I'm dreaming! This is a dream.” She sat up and examined her fingers. Normally this was a great way to wake up. The veins on the back of her hands would somehow shock her into consciousness. This time the bulging purple lines remained in focus.

“It's the book's fault.” Her mind recalled the diary she'd been keeping. In the last month Constance noted many simple dreams, mostly involving travel by car or bus, till now nothing unusual had happened.

Still struggling with the idea of not being safely tucked in bed, she reached for the book. Her hand turned white and began to shake. Slowly, before her eyes, the body she occupied became a wobbly shapeless lump, forming a powdery plastic effect which spread up her arms.

A white shadow formed in the darkness, shaped like a book – her book! With a thud her body shook the bed frame, consciousness came crashing around her. 'My eyes are open, how can my eyes be open?'

Looking at the book in her hand, in the twilight of 3 AM, its cover glowed brightly. Slowly the room around her came into focus. As an after thought color injected itself into her furniture and clothes.

Realizing she could finally move, one hand raced up her body looking for tubes and pipes, while the other dropped her book and scrambled about for a pencil.

“Wow!” She fell backward against her pillow. Both hands abandoned their tasks and squeezed at her temples.

Pain shot through them and burrowed deep into her mind. 'What on Earth was that?' The question didn't ease her pain.

Both eyes were squeezed tight by muscles in her shoulders. What started out as a small whimper turned into several minutes of coughing. Her body forced itself into a tight ball and tried to escape reality.

In the darkness of her eyelids, a crisscross of lines pulsed inwardly. A grid she'd known years ago filled the void. As a small child, it was her personal game. A secret inner channel that helped her contact imaginary friends in distant lands. Now it only represented the agony which was her sole feeling.

As Constance wished for an end, time began to lose all meaning. Occasionally, her world glowed a brilliant red. 'What? What? Let it end, oh please let it end.' The poisonous agony consumed her completely.

Afraid of pain and terrified of sleep, a full hour passed before she dared to unravel. There was a soothing rhythm coming from outside her window. Rain, torrents pounded against the glass, separating her attention from the past hour's nightmare.

“BOOM!” The walls shook as her window filled with light. Lightning streaked back and forth in front of her eyes. The glow slowly faded and for just a moment, she swore the darkness outlined a heavily suited man.

Breath raced inward at the thought of being watched. The pain in her head suddenly ended as she leaped from the bed. 'This is madness, I can't do anything, I need my dad!' An inner struggle urged her away from the window and towards the bedroom door.

Bravely, she crept towards the window's black frame, her eyes bulging at every sheet of energy. “Where is he?” Peering into darkness, the brave child struggled to pull human shapes out of nothing. Really, nothing out of the ordinary could be seen. A mixture of pain and exhaustion had created false images.

Walls of water hammered the familiar yard. Everything belonged, she recognized the van, the letterbox, even the neighbor's driveway; still something was different. She turned to examine her room. This had been home for over eight years, now it looked so alien.

Constance relaxed a little and turned back to face her room. Sitting opposite the window, an old TV reflected her own image.

Another feeling and another shadow in the flashing night sky. She turned to the world outside, was it possible for someone to hide so completely, so instantly?

“Tomorrow is going to be a washout. Bet trees have come down.” Still she looked further into the night, hoping to catch sight of someone braving weather to stand at her window.

'This is stupid, I must have been seeing things.' She pulled back from the window and turned to face the television.

Mr. Dowr called it the Boobtube, probably a play on words, he was addicted to Internet videos. “Color flat screens are a dime a dozen,” he'd say. “This old bird will give you a real experience. Classic.”

On its right side was three colored dots, two of them lied about the selection of colors. Ever since it had been placed in her room, everything was red. She pressed the large 'on' button until it clicked.

Nothing. Occasionally the button wouldn't make contact. Once or twice it had caused a bright flash behind its plastic frame.

A few more presses...

Nothing.

“Did I?” A quick calculation revealed she'd left the television on, before going to sleep. Normal enough, when you're thinking of a million things. The pleasant sound of familiar shows was just the sedative she needed.

“Oh no, I've finally killed it.” She examined the large box from top to bottom. In the corner, together with a long stripy sock, was the power lead.

“Really? When did it get unplugged? Why would he even do that?” With a deep sigh she reach down and plugged the trusty Telly in. Instantly it hummed into life.

The room flooded with red light, mixing with occasional lightning flashes, it created a stunning effect. If her head wasn't still numb from an hour of teeth clenching agony, she may have enjoyed the room's mood lighting.

“Tshhh...” High pitched squeals turned into a soft noise, it struggled to win out over the pounding rain.

“Stupid.” A thin plate just above the on button housed several tiny knobs.

They would need adjusting if she wanted to watch anything. “Should just get Internet.” Her thumb rubbed the dials until an image pushed its way through the static. “That'll do.” Too much scrolling would only remove layers of skin.

'What was that crazy dream about?' The soft spoken voice in her mind slowly echoed an almost too obvious question. For a few minutes she'd ignore it and turn some lights on.

Her shoulders shook off the uneasy feeling that people were hiding in her room. She bravely turned, flicked the light switch in defiance and spun about to make sure her imagination was over active.

Still the room seemed a little blurry. "On TV, when a person wakes up they wash their face, maybe it'll help?" A deep voice momentarily overruled the crazy thoughts about her dream.

“Yeah, maybe I'll do that.” Her door was conveniently close to the bathroom. With soft steps she monitored the snores coming from Mr. Dowr's bedroom. If he woke up she'd never hear the end of it.

With a long squeak, the door opened enough for her to squeeze through. Another long squeak and she was in total darkness.

Fumbling about, Constance managed to softly click the light on. Its switch glowed momentarily as power fed its way through the wire. Entertained with blots of white that could last minutes, her eyes shook off the shock.

A stream of cold water refreshed her hands and soaked into skin as she splashed it against her face. “Oh yeah, this could actually work.” She afforded a whisper to the occasion.

This had been a night to remember. 'What a weird way to wake up.' The water ran freely while Constance looked into her own eyes. Normally blue, in this lighting she swore they were green.

Her gaze locked on the reflection. If she looked long enough her facial features would slowly blur into the background. A variety of different faces formed and reformed before her.

Twitching from her nose broke the focus. She often woke up with a sniffle, normal enough. With the tap still running, she blew her nose into the flow.

“Blood!” The shock made it difficult to keep her voice low. There was a thin line of red mixing with water.

In the shower there was a small stiff washcloth, perfect for cleaning the mess up. A little hot water loosened the fabric enough to rub blood away. She took it to her room.

“It's so early, I should get back to sleep.” A comforting thought, those clumpy blankets had been her resting place since before the divorce. Right now all her body really needed was a fresh second start to the day.

'You'd better look into it.' Her eyes looked back towards the window. Had there really been a man in an old style hat standing there? “Nah, that dream just spooked me. Who stands at a window in this weather with a crusty coat?”

Nothing out that window seemed normal and now there was an uneasy feeling that something in the room watched her. She looked about.

In life it was important to collect things, anything could be useful in an emergency. What if the power went out? In the corner a half packet of slightly used candles, both matches and a lighter packed neatly...

“My lighter?” She looked at the lighter. Normally it faced the matches, now the matches sat beside it.

“No, that's wrong.” She picked it up and turned the lighter. Beneath, a thin line of dust confirmed the original placement.

'You're remembering it wrong. Nothing has been changed.' Deep thoughts undermined her beliefs.

'What was that dream about?' Again with the inner inquiry. 'Take it to class, take it to the group.'

The power lead had been unplugged, her lighter sitting wrong, nothing outside seemed right. “No, no this isn't right. I don't know who's out there but this is wrong.” Even in her own ears the words were barely audible. There was no way they reached the walls, never mind outside.

'Yeah, so you think someone crept into your room and moved things. Then gently shifted the dust to make it look right?' Always the thought of common sense. Sticking to sanity — the easiest way to win an argument.

“I'm not going mad! My stuff it being moved.” A search of the local area began, there had to be more proof of invasion. It was so difficult to recall what had been moved and what was just normal bedroom mess:

'Shirts on the chair?' – “Normal.”

'Shoes near the door?' – “Yeah that seems right.”

'What about my hairbrush?' – “I think it was like that.”

'Cap off the lipstick?' – “I don't know! Wait, what?”

Laying on the cupboard in front of her mirror was lipstick, scrolled out like it had just been used. “That belongs in my pencil case?” Her body leaned over the area, closely examining every side of her misplaced items.

Great care was being placed in not touching the item, at least until she'd determined the validity of her claim. 'Didn't you use it last night?' A nice try at dismissal came from a deep inner voice.

'How often do we put on lipstick before bed?'

“Yeah, no. This is wrong, my pencil case is still zipped up and it's laying upside down.” No one could call Constance a neat freak but the name on her pencil case always faced up!

Something moved in the room's corner, a short sudden dart of darkness shifted from one corner to the other. In a super casual manner she remained completely still. Not even her eyes shifted from the focus of the pencil case.

Slowly her vision relaxed, trying to absorbed details from both peripherals. At first, focus shifted from one extremity to the other. She scanned the edges of her visible world for movement.

“Think I'll watch a little T.V.” Her voice was artificially casual. Hard thumps echoing from inside her chest, revealed a more accurate level of calm. 'This is really starting to scare me.'

'Try not to worry, I don't think anything is here now. You're just a little shook up from that dream.' A soothing thought struggled to even out her breathing.

'This is ridiculous. You were right before, tune the television into something good and clear your head. It was just a stupid dream.' Again a deep voice of dismissal filled her mind, 'Heck chat with those crazy Yoga women about it if you must.'

A pillow always made the perfect chair, she pulled one to the floor with a few clumps of blanket. “I'll just watch something, for a bit.”

Three easy to find channels, on the dial were memorized. Each one only took a few quick winds of the knob to tune in. Like a professional she dialed up her favorite signal.

Another shadow scurried across the floor. “Ha! I'm so stupid, it's just from the lightning. That or a car.” Her head poked over the window's edge, timidly alert in case a darkened figure stood to greet her.

Comforted by a paid television interview, she waited at the cold sheet of glass. In her mind, slow minutes counted over. "Should have been another car by now or lightning. Something." The world produced no effect that would satisfy her explanations.

'It's on purpose, whoever, whatever is doing this must be able to control weather.' As the thought unraveled, another shadow shifted across the sealing. Her head spun toward the movement.

Constance looked at her hands, while they seemed normal her whole body was under enormous pressure. “Is the air getting thicker?” She imagined the room filling with thick soup like air. Could it become so think she couldn't breath it?

'What's on?' Focus drew back to the interview, she needed a distraction now more than ever. Two people sat in easy chairs holding down a pleasant discussion. Until now she'd not bothered to work out what they were talking about.

The volume was low, from their body language she could tell they liked each other very much. Leaning towards each other, both used mirroring actions. Whatever was going on they shared a great deal of enthusiasm.

One of the two was nodding, way more than casual conversation would allow. What kind of professional nods so much? Now the actions no longer looked casual or friendly, it was all staged.

“Oh no.” Midway, while reaching for the volume dial, her hand redirected toward the on/off button.

“Stupid infomercial.” Through experience she should have known, at this time of morning nothing was on.

The screen collapsed into a small central dot, with it all sound faded away. Her head rested in both hands, now there was nothing to do but sit. Outside a single bird interrupted the silence.

“A bird. What time is it?” A second bird replied to the first, as it finished more joined in. Outside the morning stretched into life. Constance looked to her alarm clock.

Soft blinking indicated 1:48 and a tiny dot in the corner implied it was AM. “Blinking? It should be...”

The clock had been reset. Fumbling about the clothes, she found her wrist watch. “4:48... It's morning!”

Outside the sky began to dry, it had cleared faster than electricity could streak across it. An array of blues blended with orange and yellow to form a most amazing sunrise. Far too few people stood witnessing it's magnificence.

Constance quickly threw on some baggy, round the house, pants, and a coat. Perhaps, roaming around a few blocks of familiar streets, would ease and settle down her mind. It had worked in the past, a quick walk and a good book makes everything alright.

Typically Mr. Dowr would sleep until ten then race out the door, running a comb through his thin hair. If the routine was broken he'd be extra obnoxious in the evening. She crept down the hall and outside, all on one breath.

Toes spread out to embrace the cold wet ground, it was a wonderful feeling that instantly changed her outlook. If she turned around now and went back inside, it would have been well worth the trip.

Normally, on a refreshing walk, she'd start out heading down the back alley then end the trip circled back. Passing an old shop front house a few blocks away, the stroll would take no more than thirty minutes. She knew it well, perhaps too well.

Today would be different, turning left from the driveway she forged a new path. One that took her down a road paralleling the highway. This provided an opportunity to explore those thin woods she walked past daily but from the other side.

It had become her experience, walking every day as she did, that there are two types of wind. One type, cut through clothes making her cling to an outfit and forcing her to curl inward; willing the trip to be over.

Today she embraced a refreshing surprise, the other type of wind blew. About her, felled branches, rubbish and twigs were everywhere. Water flooded the roads, washing over the gutters and pooling at street corners. Still a soft warm breeze encouraged her to enjoy the crisp morning air.

Stuck to the end of her foot was a large deep green leaf. The thing had attached itself before the end of their driveway and she'd carrying it ever since. Now the deep water on the street corner washed it loose.

As a companion it sailed beside her for several steps, then their relationship ended as her journey continued onto dryer land. “See ya little partner.” A smile formed in the corners of her lips as she said goodbye.

Standing there on the street's corner she looked down at the poorly maintained road. "That must have been some storm!" Her words came out with confidence, until well after noon there would be nobody around.

'No one is watching, at this time of day you can do anything.' Her brows furrowed to the feminine thought encouraging mischief. 'Anything!'

“Yeah, why not.” With that, an invisible weight lifted from her shoulders. Normally she'd avoid doing anything that might cause people to look.

Now, with an air of defiance, she turned around and picked up the leaf. “You're coming with me. Bet you've always wondered about this side of the park.”

Pinched between a finger and thumb the leaf twirled in small circles. Its wooden end forced a wobble, creating the illusion of life as it danced about.

On the top side, the green skin was smooth as silk. In an office environment people could easily believe it was fake. Underneath it possessed a dull more pasty texture. She looked about for a moment, wondering what tree it had come from.

It didn't stand out as being particularly original, but none of the local trees seemed a perfect match. Perhaps it had traveled a long distance. Blown in the wind from some foreign garden.

Walking down the road became an automatic action. Undisturbed, her focus could settled on the plant's vein covered underbelly. How similar it was to the back of her hand.

Of course there were differences, all the veins on that leaf ran from a central stem. To the best of her knowledge, her own veins seemed random. They did the same job though connecting every part in ever finer detail to a central supply.

All things connected through a common thread. Nutrients filtering down into individual cells, everything had a purpose and a function. Every part of that leaf was interdependent with all the other parts.

“I wonder how the tree could ever survive without you?” She whispered a joke into the leaf's imagined ear. “Guess you needed it more than it needed you though.”

While still damp, most of the water had found hiding places from the impending day light. Now only a few isolated puddles remained to entertain her steps. The leaf was discarded into one of them.

She looked about to gage distance. Her walk had been faster than she thought. Behind her was the long road leading back home. In front of her, a small strip of shops.

If she turned right now, eventually, she'd be at school. Fortunately it was a Sunday, there would be no school and little to do. At home she'd spend the day editing notes and preparing for midyear exams.

No matter how hard she studied, somehow they seemed harder than any other. It didn't matter how deeply she understood the topic, her teacher was bent on marking her down.

One day, she imagined, he would be working as a teacher at that university. She would be running the world or on some project of global significance. Revenge was forgetting his poor choice of grades.

“What a quiet day.” She looked both ways while considering the options. Perhaps, she should cross the road and look into shop windows.

'Have you forgotten something?' For a soft spoken thought it knew how to redirect her attention. Constance looked back down the way she'd come.

'Go, look at the shops. It's Sunday, no one around and a perfect time to window-shop.' A reasonable request from the deep spoken counter thought.

“Oh yeah.” Realization leaped from her eyes.

“I was going to look at those trees, see if anything happens.” Her voice held a tone of mystery.

Steps quickened to carry her back down the now familiar path. Her mind took a moment and considered solutions to a daily problem. 'If I walk this way to school and back, I can avoid those creeps at the alley.' A perfect plan formed on what became a perfect day.

Looking into the trees, Constance found the area she walked past daily. From this side they seemed bright and green. Normally, deep feelings of belonging would pull her towards the area. Now she looked at it coldly.

No creepy feelings of dark doors, no mysterious shadows, nothing. She walked back and forth passing the area several times. Examining each tree in detail for any hint of supernatural qualities.

“OUCH!” A stone dug into the soft flesh between her toes.

'Go home and get of your feet.' Now her thoughts grew angry at the pain.

“Stupid! I should have been looking down!” For a small rock its sting was excruciating. Fingers dug into long grass, looking for the culprit.

“There! I'm going to chuck you so far!” The pointed black rock was squeezed tight between her fingers.

'What's that?' A thought dragged her attention back towards the ground.

Echoing in the back of her mind were her earlier words, 'looking down. Been looking down, looking down, down.'

'More stones! Maybe this isn't a good way to school?' The deep voice of logic again encouraged her to head home and abandon this area for good.

“More? This is a driveway, it's been grown over.” She scouted the ground closely. A section of the gutter was missing.

An old bitumen driveway snaked its way into the woods, leading toward wild trees and thick bushes. On close inspection an area of the thicket was thinner than the rest. Smaller thin trees and what now looked like twisted pipes had been completely grown over with grass.

“Is that? It's a light pole!” Shock washed over her as the words rang in unbelieving ears.

In total, she could make out five posts, perhaps more. What might have been a wooden trash holder sat broken at the tree line. "This was a parking lot. My parking lot!" For the first time all morning her voice quivered.

She limped towards the bin, watching closely so as not to ruin her remaining good foot. “I, I see this.” Her lower jaw swung loose while eyes absorbed the full image.

In the middle of a thick wooded stretch, was a large parking lot. Nature had reclaimed it so well, she struggled to make out the area's limits. This lot, in the middle of a built up city, had been long forgotten.

“Well, now what?” She looked to the strangely quiet thoughts that normally commented on her every action. There was no deep echoing voice, no soft spoken words of comfort. For now she would have to come to terms with the site, alone.

She sat on the wooden framed bin, water soaked into her pants as a reminder of the early morning rain. Soon people would start walking about, examining the damage. She'd need to get home quickly and change.

“I'm not done with this place. You here me?” Her head tilted back and she spoke to the sky.

“This is really, odd!” The air didn't reply, though she half suspected it would.

While it was only a five minute walk to home, the limp slowed her down considerable. Each step carefully selected in favor of her sore foot. The ground had quickly soaked up all evidence of the rain and sun rays beamed through the tree tops.

Other than a small patch of stones, this walk really was better than her regular route. She'd definitely be back. Perhaps later in the day with shoes, to explore the area in more detail.

At home the van was parked close to their letter box. Normally that meant Mr. Dowr had been out. It was definitely parked in the yard when she left for her walk.

Each step became labored. “He's up, now I've got to be nice.” Her shoulders rolled forward as she mumbled. Had she left the T.V on? What if she was the cause of him waking up?

In the kitchen, nursing a cold beer and dressed ready for work, was Harry. In his youth he'd grown two very bushy sideburns. They hid his emotions, making it impossible to tell mood until after he spoke.

“Welcome home sweetie.” Clearly he was going to pretend to care about her again.

“You're up? Good morning.” Constance decided to play nice while making a drink. If she could keep it pleasant for just a few minutes, a closed bedroom door would ensure privacy.

“Good one. How was your day then?” At no point did he turn and face his daughter. Ever since the divorce papers were finalized, he could tell she was hurting. Until she was ready he'd just keep a cool head and focus on the television.

“Day? Yeah, cause you're always up early. Whatever Harry.” Her best efforts were being strained by his obvious sarcasm. The kettle sat cold, obviously he'd decided to start the day with a beer.

Turning up for work drunk was low, even for him. “Are you taking the day off work?” She asked only to provoke an argument.

“Been already. Are you alright?” Now he was calling out, to guarantee there would be no misunderstandings. When he watched the news he liked the volume up high, a rude level ignored by the neighbors.

There was no reason to reply. The thought of engaging in conversation with that shiny bald spot forced an uncontrolled shiver up her spine.

The soothing smell of passionflower tea helped melt away her tension. Jillie had purchased a few extra boxes by mistake and given her some for home. Apparently the store manager wouldn't accept refunds and they just had to be used. Better to take it than let her throw the expensive tea out.

At first she felt bad about taking some but there was enough for everyone, so it must be okay. “Goin to my room, have a good day at work.” Sometimes the subtly of her sarcasm even amazed Constance.

If she'd taken a moment to look, the dirt on his clothes would have shown, he'd already been working. That or he was wearing yesterday's shirt.

The news was almost over, then he could wind down for the evening. Sunday may have been a short shift but it was still exhausting.

Back in her room, Constance pressed her body against the door, guaranteeing solitude. Free from that man's persecuting tones she could sip tea and relax.

Her foot still stung, plans of laying back and drifting into a nice deep sleep would have to wait. First she'd need to rub the injury, work out how long it would last and how she could reduce the pain on her long walks to school.

“How much longer must I put him being in the house?” Returning to the kitchen for ice was definitely out until he'd left for work.

The watch, still discarded in a pile of clothes from her earlier efforts, drew her attention. “Well, at least you haven't moved.” A fair statement considering recent observations.

“Six o'clock!” Shocked she forgot to keep a low voice. “I've been walking for over an hour?” So many unusual events had happened recently, it really wasn't too difficult to believe.

Then, after glancing towards the light, shining into her window, she looked back at the watch. “PM! Seriously?” Shock threw her up and out of the bedroom door.

“Harry, what time is it?” She looked at the wall clock while asking her question.

“Sorry what time? Well, I was just watched the 5:30... So it must be...” Before he could finish an analysis, she ran back to the room. The door slammed with its usual enthusiasm.

Procrastination had always been his problem. Mr. Dowr's former wife often accused him of lacking any real ambition. In hindsight he should have listened, now he spent every night considering his life's choices.

'If only I'd done something. If only I'd made more money. I could have expanded the business.' Each regret dug into his stomach, twisting knots that only beer could unwind.

Really it was his best friend's fault. “Friend” what an odd word, do those things really exist? No! He'd been a fool for hiring him and a bigger fool for making him an equal partner.

'No such thing as friends in the business world.' The words of his father came haunting back before sleep every night. Harry had taken a successful business his father created and destroyed it, totally.

Well, he hoped they were happy. Taking the business, clients, house, they were welcome to all of it. Constance wouldn't be back out till he'd vacated the kitchen. Slowly Harry staggered of to bed, two more beers in hand.

“Yeeep, goood day!” Alcohol was a good excuse for speaking loud and a great way to tell her she had the run of the house. Harry didn't like to get in anyone's way, especially his daughter's.

Back in the master bedroom, Constance found herself facing larger problems than failed business ventures. Time itself seemed to be playing favorites.

'Some days you're ahead, some days you're behind. Win some and ya lose some'. Thoughts of inconsistent rules didn't fill her with confidence.

She paced while talking to herself, “What if, this was a work day? What if, I left class and lost a day before work? I'd be fired.”

'You probably woke up late. The storm made it look dark out.' A list of reasons popped into her mind, none of them believable.

“No!” Every muscle in her body curled up with anger, “Shut up, shut up, shut up! This is serious. Something is wrong!” She fell back on the bed, head instantly braced by both hands.

Was it possible? Had she really slept all day and woken up in the middle of a storm? Stranger options were currently on the table.

Now the feminine sounding thought was loud and harsh. 'And the dreams? The parking lot? Time? Something is up. I've been telling you, something is up.' The deep sounding thoughts were no longer welcome.

“I need some rest, I've got to clear my head.” She looked into the cup of tea as though it had been drugged, sniffed it, then took another sip.

'Think about Sonya, in the garden. Remember the meditation? Try one of those path-workings.' Finally some useful advice came from deep inside.

Spreading out on the mattress was easy enough. Most of her bedding was already on the floor and Constance could sleep on a rock if she had to.

Inner tickles kept her feet twitching uncontrollably, she moved them around looking for the perfect placement. What had Maris said about relaxing? Oh it didn't matter. Maris was a really good hands on healer but Sonya was the instructor. Just focus on relaxing.

Should her hands go by her sides or on her chest? Neither position seemed right, the only way she felt comfortable was either on her belly or on her side. The lack of symmetry was completely unsuitable.

“Just relax! Think about breathing and relaxing.” Two months of Yoga classes and she couldn't remember the best way to enter meditation. Her body flipped onto its front, then back again.

“I wonder how long I've been laying here?” The question meant nothing, she had no way to work out how fast or what direction time was traveling in.

Finally a perfect physical balance was reached. Then came the itching, it started with an eyebrow and moved quickly to under her rib cage. She swallowed over and again while trying to forget about the annoying tingles.

'Where should I put my tongue? She never told me where I should put my tongue.' It moved about scrubbing the inside of her teeth while a final resting place was organized.

'I'll just move it, backward. What, what if that's wrong? I can't remember...' Her thoughts slowed down as she drifted into a rumbling sleep.

Fortunately no one had ever witnessed her sleeping or they'd have laughed at the inconsistent snoring. There was no rhythm to it and just when it became intolerable, she stopped.

Constance curled up on the poorly fitted sheet, a lazy cold breeze began soaking into her bones. In fact, she was shivering. 'Must be morning.' Her first thought had nothing to do with past events.

Reaching about in absolute darkness she eventually found a blanket. They were all on the floor. She pulled on a corner and dragged it onto the bed, then rolled about until every part of her body was snugly secure.

She laid there waiting for the alarm. 'You fell asleep, what time is it?' Her inner companion whispered questions designed to stimulate consciousness.

“Oh, I...” She stopped herself and reached for the dream diary. This was a good one, her friend Maris would love it.

Lately they had all begun bringing their dream diaries to class. She wasn't willing to talk about the odd chunks of missing time yet but she was working up to it.

[ Dear Diary,

I can remember everything, it was so crazy.

Lol the girls are going to love this one. It started like they always do. The parking lot.

OMG I remember the parking lot, I found it outside in the woods.

Anyway, all the sudden I was in this room with a bunch of other people. It was like a classroom, probably like my Uni class. There was other people, lots of people. I think Jilli and Ren were in there with me but they were acting odd.

Everyone, even Ren, was acting like they were half asleep. Walking about with no emotions and their eyes half closed.

Well not everyone. Some people in white suits, they wore like a scientist or a doctors outfit. They walked about with clipboards looking at people and asking them questions. Was it a suit or were they just really white people? Whatever.

I was standing in front of one of them and they asked me questions. I remembered the questions for a minute but now I forget. They kept saying, “good good good” every time I answered.

Then he looked at me and said, “can you hear me? Can you see everyone?” He was asking me if I could see the people walking around. I said yes, of course I could.

Then, he took me through a door. On the other side was a group of people in suits, they were watching the room through a large glass window.

It was like one of those police windows because no one in the classroom knew it was there. Lined up along the glass was a row of old fashioned video cameras.

He told me it was important to watch what happened so they could remember and when he said 'they' it was like THEY like it had special meaning.

Then I had to go back in the classroom because someone special was coming and I wasn't supposed to be seeing the other side.

I think I ended up in the parking lot but it's slipping away now, I can't remember anything else.

That’s the end of my dream ]

“Yeah, I don't think that was a dream. Something is happening.” The book was tucked under her pillow and she rolled over to check the time.

“Two AM? Well I've got about two hrs of good TV. Hope I can sleep before Uni.”

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Leon Gower
Leon Gower

Born, February 1972 in Whyalla, Australia

His writing incorporates a life time of personal experience in dealing with a world of poorly explained phenomenon. Short artistic work or full length novels, Leon's well weaved stories are engaging.

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Universal Constance Ch 3
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