Celeste awoke abruptly. There was a searing pain in her right shoulder. It had happened again. She jumped up from her bed and raced to the bathroom mirror. There they were, embedded in her neck and shoulder. New markings had been carved into her skin. The wounds were fresh and stinging. Her reflection in the mirror was daunting. Pentagrams and numbers covered her upper torso. A solitary tear slid down here cheek. “Why me?” she whispered. Where did these markings come from? Each time the sand man came to claim her she awoke with a new carving. Distraught and bloodied she cleaned her wounds. “Celeste” a male voice boomed as he banged on the door. “One Minute Dad” she replied with a jump. She couldn’t let him see her this way. Hurriedly, she put on a fresh shirt and tossed the other in the hamper. She runs to the door and throws it open, feigning a smile.
Her dad’s cliché tan and brown uniform indicated that he had just gotten back from the police station. “Why did it take you so long to open the door?” he asked, emotionless. “Oh, Daddy I just woke up, sorry I’m so slow.” He came in looking around suspiciously. His look was sharp yet robotic. His eyes distant yet probing. He turned on his heel and walked toward the door. Before crossing the threshold he ordered “Be down in five minutes for breakfast.” Before she had a chance to respond he was out the door.
Celeste brushed her teeth and made her way to the kitchen. The air was stale and full of loathing. This wasn’t a home. It hadn’t been for a while. When she arrived her father was sitting at the table reading the paper. She sat across from him and reached for a piece of toast. As she ate she became aware of a moisture developing on her back. Her wounds had started to bleed. Fear crept up her spine. Before she could react her father got up and walked behind her towards the sink. Her heart leapt in her chest. Perspiration formed on her forehead. Her breath became shallow.
“I see you got it Celeste.” said Dad. “Got what?” replied Celeste without turning around. “The message of course, the one he carved into your flesh as you slept” he answered with a smile. Time stopped as she slowly turned to face him. How could he know about these markings? “No” Celeste whispered. “No” she said again more clearly. Her vision was blurred, his face monstrous. She attempted to stand but her legs were devoid of strength. She remembered the bitter after taste of her orange juice. She had been drugged.
His demeanor was threatening as he approached her. “Where are you going Celeste?” dad said with a broad, evil smile. With all the strength she could muster she dashed toward the back door. He pursued her. Each step was a struggle in itself. She made it through the door than shut it behind her. She ran through the garage and out into the yard. The sun was high and glaring. She was almost across the back yard when she turned around and saw him. He was now joined by three other men in police uniforms, men she had known all her life. With mechanical movements they approached. They had come to collect that which belonged to their master…
*This is a dream I had last night…freaky huh?*
Dedicated to the brilliant Octavia Butler!