REM by Perla Limon

I can barely breathe, my lungs heave from the strain of running. My
legs burn, begging for a brief reprieve. I pump my arms harder as I
wheeze for air, vision going blurry for just a moment. The hulking
figure, dressed in a cloak of shadows, pauses as I stumble over the
flat ground, a satisfied grin barely visible in his deep-set face. I
struggle to catch myself and am rewarded with the feeling of the
concrete pavement peeling my skin back with cold fingers, leaving
trails of ichor. The darkened pavement hungrily swallows it up.

Before I can scramble to my feet, the concrete groans with need. It
grasps me tightly and pulls me under as I screech and flail in its
steel grip. I can feel the heat in my toes and the sharp pain of fear
piercing through me. My nails claw at the edge of the abyss, anything
to stall the beast that consumes me from below. But I sink into the
darkness anyway, unable to so much as cry out.

I awaken to the sound of heavy footsteps down the hall, the clacking
of glass against the metal railing along the stairs. My sheets are
cold and sticky with sweat, my pillow smells of tears. I can hear
slurred murmurs of anger, then the crack of glass against the hardwood
floor. My lungs heave in panic and I cover my face in the moist
cover—It’s just a dream—the footsteps get closer—Please wake up—My
doorknob turns.

It’s just a dream