Ellie sat up in bed, unable to catch her breath. Beads of sweat dripped down her forehead, despite the cold winter breeze that wafted in through her open bedroom window. Looking at her android that lay beside her, she pressed the side button and the screen lit up. It was 12 o’ clock midnight.
This wasn’t the first time she had awoken at this late hour from a terrible nightmare. Usually she dreamed that she was in the big city, being chased by a deformed figure, carrying a butcher knife. In her dreams, she always seemed to be running in slow motion, and although there were other people outside, they didn’t even seem to want to help her, they would just watch as the thing chased her, almost hoping it would hurt her. But tonight, she really didn’t know why she awoke like this; she remember having a nightmare or even a dream for that matter. Taking a deep breath, she recited the words given to her by her psychiatrist in her head: “You have been under a lot of stress lately and stress is the number one factor for nightmares. Next time another night terror occurs, just go out for a walk around your neighborhood, or maybe even go get a coffee.” He was right, she decided. She had been under a lot of stress lately, and this was her mind and body reacting in a strange way. Also, a nice walk did sound like a very pleasant idea to her.
The chilly December air whipped against her face as she walked down the dimly lit, desolate streets. Hugging her black jacket tighter around her, she admired the small little shops that had recently been built there. There was a donut shop, an arcade arena, a coffee shop, and a doll shop, which sold mostly handmade dolls. This was her favorite shop of all because the happy smiles painted on the dolls’ faces and their interesting fashion choices never failed to put a smile on her face, no matter how terrible her life seemed to be going. She could still remember the day she broke up with her boyfriend, and he had told her really hurtful things, the doll shop is where she automatically ran to. Not her stepsister. Not her stepmother. It was the doll shop. Maybe it was because she knew these little plastic things couldn’t judge her or say ” I told you so.”
She could even remember that it was lightning and raining that day, and she had wished that the rain would wash away her sorrowful mood, but then when she looked at the brightly painted dolls, she felt a sense of happiness, and soon her despair really was washed away. With a sigh, she couldn’t help but wish the store was open at this late hour, so she could hold one of the dolls in her hand like she did as a child, when her dad was still alive. Snapping out of her little nighttime-daydream, she couldn’t help but feel that she was being followed. It was a natural instinct, and with the eerie vibe that spread throughout her entire body, she knew it wasn’t her imagination. Spinning around, she peered down the dark stretch of road. That’s when she saw with her own two eyes that she wasn’t alone.
Not too far from where she stood was a tall, rather thin figure standing underneath the faint light that emanated from the old street lamp. He wore a long dark trench coat and a fedora and floating on his face was an orange light, which she recognized as a cigar. What the. . .she thought. He looks like he stepped right out of a 1950′s horror movie. Gulping back fear, she decided that maybe this man also couldn’t sleep and was just out for a late night walk like she was, when she noticed something that made her shiver even more against the cold night air. In his right hand, he held a large gleaming butcher knife. It glistened and sparkled in a threatening way. The man walked closer towards her, gripping the knife very tightly in his hand, like it was something very valuable to him. Horrified and not knowing what to do, she slowly backed away. Tears bit at her eyes as she desperately wished she would have just stayed in the safety of her cozy little bedroom. “What do you want from me!?” She screamed. “Please don’t hurt me.” The man stopped dead in his tracks. For a minute he was silent, then he responded with a comment that made her blood freeze to ice.
” I want to stab your heart out, Miss. Josephina. I want to watch you suffer and bleed. . .That’s all.” His voice was calm and collected and very distant, yet there was something awfully familiar about it.
Terrified, she turned and sprinted down the empty dark street. She could hear the man chasing after her; his heavy breathing filled the night around them. Not looking back, she ran and ran, until she came to another coffee shop that was quite a ways from where she had been. There was a light on inside and the neon-red open sign shone brightly on the large glass window. Reaching the door, she threw it open, and bolted inside. Observing the perimeter, she noticed that there were absolutely no customers, and that there didn’t even seem to be any employees.
“Hello! Is anyone here!? I need help, there is a man with a knife trying to kill me! Help me!” She sobbed uncontrollably. Suddenly, there was a shuffling noise from beneath the cash register. “Hello. . .?” She stammered. That’s when it peeked out, the disfigured thing from her nightmares.
“We have been waiting for you,” it uttered in a voice that was scratchy and sounded as if it had just awoken from a tomb.
Then, a voice behind her spoke out: ” Josephina, thank you for taking the ‘stress pills’ I gave you before sleeping every night. They were the reason for your nightmares and delusions. I love to trick already mental people like you.”
She turned to look right into the face of her psychiatrist. His mocking smile stared back at her, and with that he wrenched the knife into her heart multiple times.