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Nightmare Diaries: Left Unsaid

I wake with a start, shivering and covered in a cold sweat. I can feel a scream starting, and I clamp my jaws shut hard before it can escape. I can’t remember the dream, but my heart is racing, and it still feels as though the fear and panic will strangle me.

Rolling onto my side, I curl up in a little ball and try just to breathe, but choked sobs come instead. I turn my face into the pillow to muffle my crying as much as possible. Then I feel movement at my back, and I freeze. Arms wrap around me, pulling me back, and my muscles tense to struggle and fight.

And then I hear the familiar voice murmuring to me. At first, I’m too keyed up to make out words, but the recognition is enough to calm me and stop my struggles. Finally, my head clears enough to understand what he’s saying.

“Ssh, ssh, it’s okay. It was a dream. You’re safe,” repeated again and again in a low voice, barely above a whisper.

I gradually relax back against him as the shivering slows and my breathing returns to normal. When I’ve calmed enough, he rolls me over to face him. I lay my head on his chest and wrap my arms around his waist while he strokes my hair, comforting me as though I was a child. We don’t say anything, and I just lie there feeling the gentle rise and fall of his chest as he slips back into sleep.

I guess I must have fallen asleep as well because soon I was hearing familiar voices speak to me. None that was welcome like his had been, though – no, it was just the gremlins who run loose like hellions in my head as I dream. False friendly voices of creatures that were sometimes my only company telling me everything they think I should know in conspiratorial whispers.

- What are you doing here?

I’m ignoring you.

- You know this isn’t going anywhere.

I’m not listening to you.

- You know you’re not good enough for him.

Stop it!

- You’re broken, defective. You must know it won’t be long before he gets sick of trying to fix you and finds someone whole.

NO! STOP IT!

- If you were smarter or prettier, he might be able to ignore all the flaws. But face it, you’re not enough.

I’m NOT too broken. I’ve never hidden anything. He understands and he cares about me anyway!

- You’re lying to yourself. We’re disappointed in you. But go ahead, believe your lies. We’ll be here when you’re ripped to shreds again. Because we’re all you’ve really got.

At that I bolt away from my gremlins, fighting and clawing my way up to consciousness again. I wake to find that my eyes are squeezed shut against tears, breathing ragged. I can still feel his chest beneath my cheek, rising and falling slowly with his breath, his arms still loosely wrapped around my shoulders and waist. I shift a little, and his arms tighten around me, hugging me closer.

Suddenly I have an intense desire to wake him and spill everything the gremlins had said, everything I was afraid of. I need to tell him that I’ve never doubted him; it was always me. My doubts, my fears, my cracks and bruises and scars that make me feel like I can’t ever be enough for him or anyone else. I want to ask him why he’s here with me, how he can possibly care about someone as obviously messed up as I am.

In the end, I say nothing at all and let the moment pass me by. I’m not sure it matters that much anyway. Instead, I lie awake, snuggled against his chest, listening to his soft breath, and ignoring the crushing weight of all the things I’ve left unsaid.

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Copyright © Copyright 2020 tooshy678. Use of this material or any portion thereof without the express written consent of the author is strictly prohibited.

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