by Jasmine Dalrymple
It’s just a dream it’s just a dream I keep telling myself.My eyes jolt open and my heart begins to race, I’m in near sweat from that nightmare. The rhythm of my heart is racing as adrenaline pumps into it. It felt as I were about to have a heart attack. I sit up in my bed taking deep breaths trying to calm myself down. The warmth of my bed had a comforting effect on me and helped settle my nerves. That is the fourth nightmare I had this month—the same repetitive one to of an incident I experienced as a child. Now that childhood event is haunting my dreams. I have no reason to be frightened it was long ago, but what disturbs me the most is the fact that I keep dreaming about it.
I sit in my bed thinking about why all this was happening to me. I come to the conclusion that it’s because all the stress I’ve been going through these past few weeks. I’m a staff writer for a newspaper here in New York, and things have been pressing down hard on me. I’ve been assigned to write an interesting column that’s due by the end of the month on a horrifying event people have experienced. The reason my boss is making me write such a ridiculous column is that Halloween is right around the corner and he wants something to spook up the paper.
I don’t dare say that I haven’t even started, but it’s true. I haven’t been able to write a single sentence over the subject. Maybe it’s because I don’t know anything horrifying or perhaps it’s just the classic case of writer’s block. But sitting in bed wasn’t going to make that assignment disappear. I swing the covers off and slide into my house slippers. I walk over to the window and draw the curtains letting in that morning sunshine. It’s a beautiful area where I live. I purchased
this apartment after I graduated from NYU. The city noises can be a bother sometimes, but I’m up on the tenth floor so I can’t hear those obnoxious horns honking.
I walk into the kitchen and begin to fix myself a cup of coffee, I pour some french vanilla creamer in and stir it. I take my mug and walk over to my desk I have facing the window. I like to be able to look out the window when I’m writing.
I log onto my computer and begin checking my emails to see if I got any queries from my boss on my upcoming column. I like checking my emails in the morning, so I know what I have to do for the day.
I scroll through and see nothing unusual just typical Monday emails of advertisements and store discounts. I gaze down and see an email that was sent to me at midnight.
The sender’s name read Nance. Nance? I thought to myself I don’t know anybody named Nance at least not someone I can recall. I clicked on the email and saw it was addressed to me, Elyce Murray and Allie Smith.
My eyes widen when I see the names of my two friends who I haven’t seen in years. They were some of my closest friends growing up back in Illinois. I haven’t kept in touch with any of them except for Elyce who occasionally texts me to wish me a happy birthday or Merry Christmas. Allie is one I have not spoken to since High School. We had a couple of falling outs in our teenage years and never reconciled.
I scrolled down to read the email.
To: Christine Prescott, Elyce Murray, Allie Smith
Long time no see It’s me, Nancy Cypress! Sorry for such a late email, but you’re all hard to find. I’ve been up making funeral arrangements for my parents. Both of my parents passed away. I’m inviting you all to the funeral which will take place this weekend. We have lots of catching up to do. Please email me back to confirm.
Nancy Cypress. I can’t believe I have come back in contact with Nancy. I haven’t seen or spoken to her in years, much longer than Elyce or Allie. I can honestly say I forgot about Nancy. I’m not sure what Nancy is up to these days but I think she is still living in Cypress. Nancy’s family owned Cypress Woods and a house in the woods. The woods have been in her family for over a hundred years. Allie, Elyce and I use to go out to Cypress during the summer to stay with Nancy and her parents. I can’t believe her parents are dead. I remember them so vaguely, all I recall was them being really nice and great parents to Nancy.
I wonder what happened?
I began to contemplate the email on whether or not I should reply or keep my distance and not attend and focus on my work.
I decide to give Elyce a text and see if she knows about the email. I logged off of my computer and grab my cell phone and text Elyce asking:
Hey Elyce, I was wondering if you’d by any chance got an email from Nancy Cypress about a funeral for her parents?
I hit send and wait for her to reply, I wasn’t sure if she still had the same number. But I used the one she texted me on a few months ago to wish me a happy birthday.
I wander around my apartment anxiously waiting for her reply. I gaze at the clock and saw it was nearly twelve o’clock instead of pacing around waiting. I need to preoccupy my mind and decided to take a shower. I took my mug back to the kitchen and ran the faucet to rinse out the coffee left in the inside. I set the mug upside down on a clean hand rag and headed to the bathroom.
The shower was a refreshing start for me. I feel much better about myself and ready to get to work. I slip into some jeans and a flannel and towel dry my hair, it was a little damp but not completely wet. I’ve been avoiding using any hot tools on my hair for a while now. I’m trying to grow out my hair and I’ve been doing a great job so far.
I head back to my desk and take out my notebook and folders that held the story I was working on. I pick up the pencil and begin to write, then hear a ding. The ding came from my phone—a text had come through.
I grab my phone and see Elyce’s name appear on my phone. I unlock my cell phone and click on the text from my notifications.
Hey, Can I call you???
With those three question marks, I assume Elyce didn’t know. But of course, I wasn’t going to stop her. I replied with a, Yes.
I set my phone back down and walk back to my desk. I figure Elyce might take a while to call, so I head back to my desk. Before I could sit down the phone rang and buzzed on the table. That was quick I thought to myself, I scurry to the phone and see Elyce’s name. I answer it. “Hello,” I said.
“Chris?” I hear Elyce say slightly confused through the other end. She must’ve thought my voice sounded different. The name Chris sinks into my mind. I haven’t been called that in years.That name brought back memories. In fact, Nancy Cypress was the one who nicknamed me that years ago. Allie and Elyce eventually caught on to it and started calling me Chris too. I never liked Chris because every Chris I knew was a boy and far too masculine for me. I preferred my real name, Christine. After hearing Elyce say Chris after all these years makes me realize that it’s stuck with me.
“Elyce, hey it’s Chris,” I say trying to spit that name out of my mouth.
“Hey, Chris! Its been so long, how are you?” Elyce voice changed to excitement. “I’m doing fine just trying to figure things out.”
“Oh, believe me, I know what you mean. I can’t believe Nancy’s parents died. It’s unbelievable.”
“I know, it’s crazy to believe it. But death gets you unexpectedly.”
“Exactly, what I thought when I read the email. Are you going?”
“I’m not sure. That’s why I called you. I wanted to know what you were doing?”
“I’ll go if you go. It’ll be nice to see everyone again. Plus we haven’t been back there…” Elyce takes a long pause like she was contemplating on saying something. “…well you know since that thing happened to you.”
I felt my throat tightened up hearing those words. I can’t even remember what Elyce is talking about. But I know something did happen to me in Cypress woods, but I don’t remember. I paused for too long leaving Elyce’s voice echoing my name. “Chris! Chris. You still there?”
“Yeah, sorry. I got to get back to work. Talk later?” I said.
“Bye.” I hung up the phone before she could say goodbye. I was frazzled by what she said. I can’t seem to recall what she was referring. I’m not sure if my mind intentionally cut that out of my memory or if I can’t simply remember. Whatever it was will be coming back to me soon.
About the Author:
Jasmine is a junior at Texas Christian University currently pursuing a BA in English and a minor in Creative Writing.