Creature of Unknown Origin


2. Daring Dreams

Drowning. I was drowning in sobs, choked by my own inability to breathe. My eyes burst

open, blind. Each gasping breath thundered like a silent scream in the darkened room. The blankets

shifted with my movements as I bolted upright in bed. My own fingers clawed at my skin and the

pajamas plastered to my body by the clammy sweat drenched my skin. Panting heavily, my hands

found their way to my flushed face. The calloused skin of my palms scrubbed my cheeks, brushing

sweat-damp hair away from my face. An earthquake plagued my fatigued body, and there was

nothing I could do to stop it. Not with the sobs that threatened to spill over or the gasping breaths

that just weren’t enough. My lungs craved air I couldn’t give them, just as I craved a peace I would

never obtain.

“Ava?” S pencer jerked awake. He sprang up beside me and reached out to hold me. Against

my own volition, I recoiled away from his soft touch. “You’re okay, sweetheart.”

I shuddered, not at his words or the comfort he tried to give me, but at the image of hell’s

lustful eyes, the last remnants of the same old nightmare that cursed me nearly night after night.

Those eyes always remained at the forefront of my tortured mind, yet another thing I couldn’t stop.

“I need air,” I said hoarsely. I swallowed hard and slippe d out of bed, almost vaulting

myself through the ceiling in my haste.

Spencer didn’t say anything. He only watched me leave, as he always did. His gaze on my

retreating back was a weight I couldn’t bear, and in part, it was the excuse I told myself to expl ain

why I didn’t slow to slip on a pair of shoes or even a sweater as I all but sprinted through the

hallway and out the sliding back door of the creaky cabin.

Bitter air kissed my skin. My toes curled against the weathered boards of the wrap-around

porch. The subtle nip of the dirt and spicy scent of the woods beyond tickled my nose.


The aroma was the perfect embodiment of serenity, of peace, and the way it coupled with

the bands of silver moonlight that crowned me from above could almost banish the lingering

nightmare from my shaken conscious, but they failed.

They always failed.

I clenched my jaw against the will of my chattering teeth and wrapped my arms around

myself in a tight embrace. It was the only touch I could seem to stand at the moment, and only

then it was to keep the goosebumps at bay more so than the fact that I actually wanted it. At least

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