The Girl and Her Father
She woke up in a sweat. Every night since that infamous day in July when she was eight, she would have these dreams. It was a recurring dream that kept happening without fail, like clockwork, never letting her escape.
She remembered the events like it was yesterday. Her father had yelled at her earlier in the day. Not in a malicious kind of way, in the parental way. She had painted a picture of a dog and a rainbow on the dinner plates, and he had scalded her as any parent would.
But he could never quite get a handle on the fact that he would sometimes make her upset when disciplining her. He was a single father and was brand new to all of it. Her mother didn’t want him in his daughter’s life, so he was never really around. Not for his lack of trying of course.
One morning he woke to a phone call, and rushed to a hospital after a car crash which killed her mother. Since then, his baby girl was the most important thing in his life and he refused to let anything harm her again.
So, on a whim, they had gone for a drive in the middle of the day to get her favourite ice-cream that was only sold at a little place about an hour from their home. They sang her favourite songs the whole way there, laughing the entire time. He loved seeing her happy.
They pulled up to the quaint little place that sat on its own, peacefully overlooking the river; the young girl skipping ahead, with her father jogging diligently behind. When they went in the store, she quickly ran to her favourite booth and took a seat – which was lucky because it was busy that day – while her dad went to the counter to order.
She was watching the swans and ducks outside, secretly naming them all, when there was a high pitched noise. The kind of sound that starts to hurt your head. She covered her ears, screamed and instinctively looked for her dad, but he was gone. She didn’t understand because there was only one entrance and he would have had to walk past her to leave. He just disappeared, and then she realised every single person in there had disappeared.
The sound became dense, and the glasses on the table and the windows began to shake and rattle. There was a strange orange light that seemed to cover everything. She looked outside to see if it was coming from out there, but she couldn’t tell because everything in her vision was an orange hue.
Then she saw them.
Hundreds of people suddenly appeared out of thin air. They were surrounding her favourite place, and she was so scared she closed her eyes and counted to three, just like her mother had taught her whenever she was scared. Her mother had always said that once she counted to three, and took some deep breaths in, she would open her eyes to find the monsters would be gone.
1…2…3…Her heart slowed, and she opened her eyes, but instantly a blood curdling scream left her body that she didn’t recognise as her own voice, because there was a faceless blurred head right in front of hers.
There were people everywhere, and by people what she actually saw were humanoid creatures that resembled people, and by everywhere, what is meant is they were standing through tables, standing through the booths, hell, they were standing through her. There was no empty space, they were all overlapping and they were all indistinguishable.
The sound stopped, and the colour of the world returned, and as soon as it did, all of the faceless ghosts disappeared.
She sat stunned for a few hours, but her father, the staff and the patrons never returned. She was practically hyperventilating again, so she ran as fast as she could, for as long as she could. She was running for so long before she bumped into a woman and her children.
The woman was lovely and called the police, and they took her back by the store, but still she couldn’t find anyone. They checked the security tapes which were all corrupt with white noise, and when she tried to explain her side of what happened they just kept saying her mind must have played tricks on her.
They didn’t investigate it any further than that, which she always thought was strange.
That was ten years ago, and when she woke up this morning she was reliving it over and over again. She got out of bed and had a shower, and she let the water wash all the fear and questions away.
She went out to grab a coffee at a local café, and as she was waiting she heard that familiar pitches of the coffee machine, with the smell of the coffee beans waking her up already.
Suddenly, everyone around her began buckling in pain. They were screaming while covering her ears, but she was completely fine. There was a flash of orange and then there was nothing.
By Naomi Eleanor