2012-02-10: Anxiety Dream



Summary: Somnus frater mortis est. - Virgil, The Aeneid

Date: February 10, 2012

Log Title: Anxiety Dream

Rating: G

Darkness like fog rolled around the space, an oppressive presence. A cloying, physical thickness reduced the room to indistinct silhouettes, shapes and shadows in a tiny fractured place that could be, beyond the range of sight, as large as anything.

Her bare feet were on the floor and only a gentle stirring in the darkness told her she was not alone. She couldn't see anything to be absolutely certain, but it was something. She just knew it.

"God, what's wrong with her? What's she doing?" someone asked. Surprise and alarm were in the tone but still conveying disgust. Revulsion.

She knew that voice. A long time ago, Jill thought. Lindsey something? Lizzie?

"What's that blue stuff?"

A face to go with the memory, then a name. Linda Kwan. Same school uniform, pleated skirt in St. Isabel's colors with the school crest on the left breast of the shirt. Same stupid teased up hair that always made her look like a poodle with too small of a head. And a sneer like someone had waved something unpleasant right under her nose. Jill often wondered how people could tell the difference from her normal expression.

Looking down at herself out of curiosity, Jill saw nothing wrong. Her skin was the usual peachy-pink, fine blonde peach fuzz hairs and dotted with the occasional light brown freckle.

Then the blue stuff began to leak from underneath her fingernails, dribbling slowly down her forearms and taking her complexion with it. Her skin itched terribly, broken by open patches of the shiny blue slime seeping out. Terror. Panic.

And then no more. Just normal blue flesh, slightly transparent and glossy, like she'd grown used to.

"What a waste," she heard herself say. But she didn't remember saying it, or even wanting to. What was a waste?

Standing just a few feet away was Jill. Or… another Jill. She had the lazy slapdash look of not trying very hard. Her skin was runny, trickling downwards without ever running out like one of those recirculating fountains. Her eyes were pitch black and button-like, narrowed into slight almond shapes. No mouth. Hair dripping languidly until it melded with her own shoulders. Indistinct legs more like a loose, liquid skirt. It was how she'd looked right after the change, before she'd learned a bit of control.

"What do you mean?" Jill asked herself. She was sure she'd actually spoken the words this time.

"All the things you could do, and you just pretend you're still human," the liquid Jill went on, tone growing sharper and more accusatory. "Put on a face and play along." One of its hands reached out, fingers curved and suddenly wickedly sharp. Jagged, bonelike, curved, gloss and striated like knapped obsidian. "You could be so much more if you weren't so stupid."

It was circling around her, moving without effort or even any indication that she was moving at all. The claws were gone, but the other Jill slid easily up the wall (Had there been a wall there all along?), leaving a thick trail of blue slime behind, growing smaller like an eraser being worn down with use. It twisted and surged, moving in short bursts like something insectile. Alien. Across the ceiling, the other wall, back to the floor. Spiraling in and making the room smaller, but longer. A tunnel that lead nowhere.

Jill cried out just to break the moment, trying to make her legs work but they wouldn't listen. She couldn't move, couldn't get away!

Her eyes opened, struggled to focus on the white stucco ceiling of her dorm room. The room was still too dark to make out much of anything. There was at least light enough to see faintly by the gentle blue and green glows of LEDs from her charging laptop, charging cell phone, and charging image inducer.

She was in bed, the real bed with sheets and pillows and everything. She'd wanted to sleep in it last night, she recalled. Now it was six twenty-seven AM. Friday. The sun wasn't even up yet.

Jill tossed back the comforter and tried to sit up but couldn't. Her legs were unresponsive. A flit of panic. Was she still asleep? Was this still the dream?

The room flooded with a blinding yellow-white glare as she flicked on the bedside lamp. Eyes stung with the change in brightness but she soon found the answer to her problem. Empty pajama bottoms and underwear dangled halfway off the side of the bed, her t-shirt caved inward just under where her ribcage would begin. Blue slime everywhere, dripping off the edge of the mattress and collecting into puddles on the floor.

"Damn it."

She'd wet the bed again, so to speak.

She'd lost focus and cohesion sometime in the middle of the night and started to melt from the toes up. She touched her face and found it out of sorts as well, long sticky strands clinging to her fingers and stretching out like caramel candy bars do in the commercials when they break them in half.

With a short steadying breath, she tried to recall her wandering legs back to her but found she couldn't muster them to climb up the two foot drop from mattress to floor. A pervading sentiment of ‘oh screw it' left her to just melt the rest of the way out of her bedclothes and slide down to join them. Oozing locomotion carried her to and under the closet door more by sense memory than the strange fish-eye perspective that being a puddle entailed.

Anthropomorphic once more and with the closet light on, she regarded herself in the floor length mirror on the door with the overly critical eye people use when trying to find their own shortcomings through careful self-study.

Blue. That was pretty much certain.

Female. Technically less certain, but she'd give that one a pass for now.

Her face was as close to her old one as she was likely to get. It felt right, fit right in any case. It was comfortable. Familiar. The hair was pretty close too. And the rest of her?


Maybe she could do a better job. Not that strict anatomical correctness was something she strived for, or even wanted. It was actually a lot easier this way, less embarrassing if there was ever a wardrobe malfunction.

But still… maybe she could stand to be a bit improved. She tried on slight variations the way other girls tried on clothes. More faux-muscle tone here. Rounder there. Slimmer here. Bigger… there?

No. Definitely no. That was stupid. People would notice, and not in a good way. She wasn't some failing pop star who needed to boost her name recognition by getting on the cover of all the supermarket tabloids.

Jill spent more time in front of the mirror. Longer hair: pretty good. Shorter hair: not bad. No hair at all? Ugh, very much bad. Trying to copy Emma Frost's delicate, refined features? The headmistress probably wouldn't have been too flattered by the results.

She sighed. Closing her eyes, she simply willed herself to be comfortable, to slip into what felt natural and hold it there like tensed muscle. The tension was hard to maintain once. So very long ago, it felt now.

Jill opened her eyes.

There she was, like she was every day. For some reason it made her want to smile, so she did. Her reflection smiled back.

"I guess that'll do," she remarked to the mirror. It was already six forty-five and as good a time as any to get dressed. Maybe she would have breakfast today, just for the hell of it. When she pushed out into the hallway of the girls' dormitory, the sky was just beginning to shift from rosy dawn to a frosty winter's blue. The dream was already starting to lose its details, the sting growing duller, and in just a few hours would be all but forgotten.

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