Have you ever started something and not finished it? It can be a nightmare when you realize it.
There I was, sitting in my armchair after a day of substitute teaching, watching yet another episode of The Walking Dead on Netflix (season 6), when my eyes snapped closed and would not open.
When I finally managed to get them open, I was no longer in my armchair, but rather on the edge of a murky pool. This pool, as I glanced around my new surroundings, was situated in the midst of a deserted wasteland. There was nothing but the dark, eerie pool for as far as I could see in any direction.
I took a few quick steps back, tripping on my own feet and landing on my butt. There was no breeze. I hadn’t touched the water. No part of me desired to be anywhere close to the pool. But the water was rippling.
The ripples were originating only a few feet from the shore where I was sitting. I started to wonder just how deep this pool was. What kind of creatures could be lurking just beneath the surface? I didn’t have a chance to ponder that thought any longer.
A dark hand shot out of the water, angled toward me, reaching out with a sort of Adam-hand-sprawl, reminiscent of Michelangelo’s painting. It had a ring on its finger.
Just then, two chainmail clad arms reached out on either side of the ringed hand and forcefully pulled the lone hand back under the water.
I tried to crawl back to my feet, but as I scooted back, I felt the water. I turned my head and noticed that all around me was murky water, rippling like a child had shotgunned a handful of rocks into the water. I was on an island of white sand only four square feet in area. How in the worl—
My thoughts were cut short when something grabbed my arm.
Before I had a chance to look behind me at what had grabbed my arm, I noticed that all throughout the murky pool, arms, hands, faces were showing above the surface. Not only were they showing themselves, but they were fighting with each other.
I was mesmerized by the scene. Disgusted. Terrified. But mesmerized nonetheless.
A calm voice spoke into my ear. Chills shot down my back at the sound. “Don’t leave us here.” It was a woman’s voice.
I turned toward the sound, but only caught a glimpse of bright red hair before something else grabbed my leg, and my attention was forced there. The sight disgusted me. The age appeared to be that of a young girl, but the appearance was anything but pretty. Smoky grey eyes; cuts, scratches, and scars all over her face; skin that looked terribly dry despite being in the water; and when she opened her mouth, instead of speaking a snarl emanated from her lips. Her face approached my leg as if to devour it.
I jumped backward, falling into the water, next to the red-headed woman who had grabbed my arm. I couldn’t see anything, but I still felt her holding me. When my head cleared the surface, my island of sand was gone.
I kicked my legs back and forth, treading water and attempting to keep any of these other vicious creatures from touching me.
The redhead spoke again, “Don’t leave us here.”
Compared to the little girl who had tried to eat me, the redhead seemed very reasonable. I turned to observe her appearance. Freckles covered her face. She had alluring red lips that despite having been submerged in the water looked surprisingly like lipstick had just been applied to them.
Just then I felt arms wrap themselves around my neck. They felt cold, like metal dipped in freezing water had just embraced me. When I glanced in front of me, I recognized the chainmail arms I had seen earlier. Cold metal contacted my cheek. A gruff voice spoke into my ear, “Don’t leave us here.”
Something grabbed my foot and started pulling me under the surface. The chainmail arms released me; the redheaded woman let go of my arm.
I was being pulled deeper and deeper. The farther down I went, the more arms I felt grab me. It was too murky and choppy to see anything under the water. I kicked and thrashed, but that only made more vicious beings grab me and drag me even farther under the water.
I had given up hope of escaping their grasp. I had given up hope of surviving this ordeal. I had given up hope of ever finishing another novel.
All grips released me. I was free.
I kicked my legs as fast as I possibly could. I pulled water behind me as quickly as possible.
I feared I would drown before I reached the surface. Who are these vicious creatures? Why do they want to not be left here? That question was obvious. It was probably for the same reason that I did not want to be here either. It’s terrifying, gloomy, dark, and violent. How many of these other beings had the little girl devoured? One more kick-thrust and I’d be above the surface.
My face broke the surface.
And I took a deep breath, diving out of my armchair onto the floor of my bedroom. It took me several seconds to recognize that I was back in my house, with Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and the rest of the gang interacting on the screen in front of me.
What was that? I wondered as I felt a shudder reverberate through my body.
But in the deep recesses of my psyche, I knew exactly what it was. I turned off Netflix and sat down at my computer so that the characters in my novels would not be perpetually left in limbo.