I keep having the same nightmare the past few nights.
It’s like I’m dropped into the middle of it. I suddenly find myself in a meadow, unsure of how I came to be there. The sky above is a carousel of baby blues & pinks & peaches, the pallette of early fall morning in the country. I look around…wild apple trees dotting the treeline…their thorny hostile branches heavy laden with fruit. In this field, goldenrod & Indian paintbrush & timothy are still standing tall, most of the other flowers having given up at the end of summer…a pre-emptive strike before the cold comes. Frost is coming soon, I can feel the chill of it deep in my bones, but nearby, a spiderweb is adorned with diamonds of dew. There are no houses in sight, just rolling hills & a few fence posts hinting at the past purpose of the field. At the sight of the landscape, I feel some blip of recognition deep within…but can’t put my finger on it. I am sitting on this old, scratchy wool blanket my dad used to cover the seat of his 1943 Ford truck, when he drove us around the farm and out in the fields. I realize someone is next to me. MC. He is holding my hand and I smile when I see his handsome face.
“How’d we get here?”
“You’re asking me?! You drove us here,” he says laughing.
“I’m sorry…I…don’t remember.”
He nods, “I know. It’s ok, kitten. That brain of yours is a million places at once—this place just ain’t one of them today.”
He holds my head on his chest. We just sit there, holding onto each other. Usually, this quiets me…but something feels off. I know where we are, but I don’t. It’s beautiful, but there’s an unnatural pall of quiet over the meadow.
“Where are the birds?”
“The birds. The deer. You know, wildlife. Nothing is…in motion here.”
MC shrugs, “I don’t know. You’re so tense, little one. Let me take your mind off of it all.” He begins to kiss me and gently pushes me down on the blanket. As we kiss, I begin to relax a little bit in his hold….enjoying the feeling of being a love letter in the envelope of his strong arms. I am so immersed in kissing him, in the safety of his arms, that I don’t hear the approach.
Hands on my ankles. Brutal tug. Clasp broken.
I feel my hands clutch at the blanket but I’m already off of it. I didn’t even have time to make a noise. I manage to roll over and I see my uncle. He’s grinning, pleased with himself that he’s surprised me. I’m paralyzed. I can’t even feel my limbs to make them move. He bends down & whispers, “Spent a long time waiting to get my hands on you. Guess I’ll just have to make up for lost time.” Then he starts to pull me along the ground. My finger rake the soil that I now recognize as his…his land…his pasture. I claw at the ground trying to find something to hold onto, as he is dragging me away, presumably to his trailer, but I can’t grip anything. My fingers just hoe the land. Finally, I let go & hold my hand out to MC and start screaming for him. He is trying to get to me, but every time he nearly touches my hand, I get pulled away. I am sobbing, “please, please, MC, you can’t let him take me away again. You don’t know what he’ll do to me.”
MC is yelling for me to hold on, that he’s trying to get to me. My uncle turns around and says, “if you come any closer, I’ll blow both your fucking heads off. I’m sure she’s told you I have a gun.” MC freezes, slumps, and then stands down. His hands raise up in the air apologetically.
I know my uncle is going to kill me anyway. He meant to do it years ago.
We finally get to his trailer and he smiles, “You remember this place, don’t you? Just like old times.” He makes me stand up and walk inside the trailer. Just like when I was 5. He shuts the door behind us. I start screaming.
My dog woke me up this morning…jumping on me, somehow managing to find my ear and biting it to wake me, in the midst of my terrified flailing, arms like windmills. As I’m petting her head, trying to reassure both of us I’m ok, I catch sight of my nails.
Mud is caked under my nails.
Then I look over and see the door is unlocked.
I don’t know where I was or what I did in the midst of my night terror—but it feels like I was digging my own grave. Which means that all that’s left to do is climb in down in it.