It Wasn’t A Dream

Karen sat down on the foot of the bed. She hated being there. In a locked room. Nothing but a white hospital style bed. She’d been trapped in that room for several weeks. Every since she’d been hurt. She’d tried to explain to them what had happened. She patiently wrote it all down on paper. She drew pictures using stick figures. She became frustrated, and screamed at them. Told them how stupid they were. They weren’t listening to her.

They always brought her back to the room. Strapped her to the bed. Gave her a shot of something that put her to sleep.

If she behaved like they wanted her to, they’d let her out now and then. With someone always there with her. To bring her back to the room if she didn’t behave just right.

No one understood. If she slept, that’s when it all happened. That’s when she moved to the other world. The so-called doctors explained it was some kind of a sleep disorder. Where she dreamed in her sleep, and acted out the dreams in real life. That she’d had a bad dream. In the dream, she’d been injured by a knife. Stabbed in her left side. They said she’d done it herself. They said it explained how her husband found her on the floor of the kitchen, blood everywhere, when he got home from work one night.

As she sat on the foot of her bed, leaned back. Then fell asleep, her feet still resting on the floor. Her arms spread, her hands hanging off the edges of the bed. That’s when she realized she was in a swamp. Trees everywhere. The ground was boggy, with lots of water standing on it. Here toes were in the muddy water. So were the two feet of the bed.

That’s when she sat up. That’s when she smiled. That’s when she laughed. Her bed! It was with her! Now, everyone would see. Now everyone would know. She leaned back on the bed. Closed her eyes. Everyone would finally see, she wasn’t lying. She wasn’t crazy. She wasn’t dreaming. She was moving into an adjacent reality. A dangerous reality that was anything but a dream.

She kept her eyes closed. And listened. Until she fell asleep.

She woke with two big orderlies shaking her. Two of the doctors were at the foot of the bed. Everyone in the room looked confused. They wanted to know how she’d hidden the bed. How she’d hidden herself. She’d been missing for hours. And suddenly, she’d just magically reappeared in her room. Asleep on her bed. With her feet soaked. Mud caked on the bed’s legs.

She told them.

They strapped her to the bed. “Don’t lie to us. Tell us the truth.”

She cried herself to sleep that night. Praying for he nightmare to finally end.


This was written in response to the prompts for the 30th SatSunTails flash fiction challenge, hosted by Rebecca Clare Smith. The challenge limits the story to 150 words. I found I couldn’t strip this one down that way. Too much would be left out. But, if you would, please visit the SatSunTails page, and read the stories for the challenge this week. they are all very well crafted.


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