For Trifecta Writing Challenge, Week 46. The word prompt this week is Death, capitalized, often represented as a skeleton with a scythe. Yikes!
“Honey, wake up. You’re dreaming.” Ellen nudged her husband, Zach, but he continued to shout unintelligible fragments of sound. “C’mon honey, it’s ok, it’s only a dream.”
“Ellen, wake up.” Hands gripped her shoulders. “Ellen, wake up.”
She opened her eyes. Zach stood over her fully dressed, ready for work. It had seemed so real. She had been trying to wake him at the same time he’d been trying to wake her. It was her dream, not his. The fear came at her like a wave she couldn’t outrun.
“Zach, was I talking in my sleep?”
“You sure were, sweetie. You repeated everything I said. Honey, wake up, you’re dreaming. Listen, I’ve got to go. I’ll see you tonight.” He leaned down, his kiss lingered.
These frequent dreams left her spent. Something was wrong. Yesterday she woke up to find herself pushing a grocery cart around mountains of produce with no memory of having driven there. The week before she woke up in a restaurant with a salad in front of her, her fork poised in mid-air. She functioned in a dream state. She hasn’t told Zach. She thinks it’s a phase, hormones or stress that will pass.
That night in bed she spoons Zach, buries her face in his neck. She knows he loves the pressure of her breasts against his back. She wants to stay awake. She doesn’t want to dream.
“Zach, wake up. Honey?” She hears a gurgling, as if he’s trying to speak with a mouthful of liquid. “Zach?”
And then she’s awake. She’s naked at the side of the bed. She’s holding something: a scythe. The blade is stained a dark red. She flings it across the room. She looks at Zach. Blood bubbled and frothed from a wound at his throat. His eyes are open, but he doesn’t see her.
She is Death.
Ellen throws her head back. Her scream is ear bending, plaintive, suffused with a pain that will never be quelled.