To The Other

I don’t remember why, but I snapped his neck as if it was a pencil. There was a bit of resistance, but nothing that could hold against me. I let go of his body and watched him slump to the floor. I turned away from the corpse and started walking. A man walked past me and towards the body. I reached a suitable distance, turned and watched him. He scooped down and picked up one of the corpse’s arms. In a matter of seconds he had successfully ripped the body to shreds and had thrown most of it over the edge of the cliff.

“Why did you do that?” I asked.

“Got to let my anger out,” he answered as he walked passed me again.

A second later I was sitting up in bed, with sweat dripping all over me. My eyes adjusted to the darkness, and I could see that I was back in my bedroom.

It was like I had the same dream each night, but it continued each time. Inside my dreams I was another woman. Every night I delved further into a world of the unknown, and every day I spent countless hours thinking and studying the fragmented shards of the remaining images from the dreams. All I could work out from them is that I lived in some kind of castle on the coast. I didn’t remember where, and I didn’t recognise it. Most nights I stood on the same spot on a wall of the castle, on top of a cliff-top overlooking a small, yet growing town. I watched over the development as if I had been watching from the beginning, like a guardian angel. I could feel strong emotions of pride and happiness every time I peered over the town. I always turned back and walked towards a castle tower, the keep. The wall which I stood on was parallel to the sea. The keep was a few minutes’ walk from where I began, and my dream self always jumped from the high wall onto the grass, which I danced through. The grass was surprisingly neat. I was always greeted by well dressed men, who accompanied me into one of the higher rooms of the keep, where I dined with other characters of my imagination. That is all my mind would permit me to remember.

The morning sun reflected off every surface in the room. It blinded my eyes and forced me to escape from the dreams. I rolled over to avoid the light, only to meet a cold plate, which had once held a midnight snack. I yelped and sat up quickly to investigate the object. After finding the plate, I decided it’s time get dressed and find some food.

Our kitchen was a large rectangular room, with one door. A table, pushed back against the far wall, ran the length of the room. To the far right was the sink and to the far left was the fridge.

The kitchen was empty not even Karen had woken. Karen was always awake before anyone else, wanting to get everything done as quickly as possible. I poured myself a bowl of Healthy Bite cereal, and began to pour milk, when Jimmy, Sarah’s boyfriend, entered the room. As usual his hair was a mess, and the only greeting was a polite nod as he dragged himself over to the fridge. I don’t know how Sarah and Jimmy got together. They were like polar opposites. He was a messy typical teenager, while she had her entire life set out in front of her. They did make a good couple though.

Me, Jimmy, Karen, and Sarah. We all went to the University of Northamptonshire and shared a house close by. Jimmy, Karen and I had known each other since nursery, and had stuck together. Sarah came later, and fitted right in. We all chose history at A level, but only Karen went on to further her historic knowledge.

I aspired to be a reporter, while Sarah’s dreams were in fashion. Jimmy on the other hand still lived in the fantasy of his band making it. We all had part time jobs. I worked at the local newspaper with an exaggerated job title, general assistant to Judy, one of the reporters, which meant little more than coffee girl. Karen worked behind the counter at the local museum, while Sarah worked in the local high street clothes store. Jimmy helped out in a comic shop across town.

Jimmy sat down next to me eating badly buttered toast, spitting half chewed chunks in every direction. Luckily I had just about finished, so I slid my bowl to the side of the table and began to leave the room. I shuddered as the word “Seeya” travelled swiftly from Jimmy’s full mouth. I didn’t really dislike him. I was best friends with him, until we met Sarah. She replaced him in a way. This all ended when him and Sarah began dating during sixth form. We still spent all of our free time together, as the four of us, but it was different. They seemed happy, and they rarely ever rowed. As I was walking out of the room I passed Karen, she was rushing as she had gotten up a couple of minutes later than normal. Even though she started her lectures at ten, she still got up at seven and was ready to leave by eight. It was Friday, so my lectures started at nine, and I would be going to work at twelve. Since it was Friday we would spend the evening watching a film. Only Jimmy liked going out, but he couldn’t be away from Sarah for a whole evening. It had become our ritual that we watched a film every Friday evening, and it wasn’t going to change that day. I smiled at Karen, and walked to the bathroom.

The remainder of the day went past as usual. Two hours of journalism, followed by a few hours working. When I got home, as usual Sarah and Jimmy were lying on the settee watching TV. They both looked at me, and gave me a polite nod.

“Where’s Karen?” I asked as I walked into the kitchen.

“Shopping,” Jimmy shouted.

“I thought we were doing that tomorrow?”

“I don’t know. She should be back soon.”

I took my bag off and placed it on the side. The front door swung open. Karen rushed into the kitchen, with a “Hello” to announce herself. She dropped the three bags she was holding.

“Any more in the car?” I asked, while I grabbed at items in the bags.

“No, that’s it. You okay Suzie?” She said.

“I’m fine. Yourself?”

“Yeah, just a little tired.” She scratched the back of her neck while speaking. “I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a while.”

She was having trouble sleeping too. I thought about my dreams for a second, then carried on putting items in the cupboards.

After we were finished we retreated into the living room, and all four of us sat around the TV for a couple of minutes while we discussed what film to watch. We agreed on watching a shortish comedy film as we could then go to sleep, all of us hadn’t been sleeping well. The film was a good way to shut down, and by the end of it I had to drag myself into my bedroom. I spread myself out on my bed, and waited for the dreams to take hold.

I was standing at the cliff tops watching the the town below. Candle flickers were the only movements. The tides were very still, and there was a crimson stain which loomed in the sky, over the horizon. A state of stillness and tranquillity had been thrown over the entire picture. I looked down at my hands which were holding a shabby old book, I couldn’t make out the title. I felt a slight breeze which pushed at me. My eyes moved over the view, absorbing all of its gloriousness. My eyes rested on the horizon, as the final rays of the sun reflected off the tide. I stood in a trance for minute after minute, until a warm, yet cautious hand touched my shoulder. I turned and was met by a smile coming from one of the people who had dined with me only a few nights ago. He was dressed in very unusual clothing. An expensive looking suit which was made up of dark colours, mostly red and black. I looked down at my own dress, which was similarly coloured. Old fashioned and yet appealing.

“You are needed in the dining hall,” he said.

He turned around. He walked faster than possible towards the keep. I looked closer at the castle walls. The broken walls were only a shattered memory of its former glory.

I walked through the grass, and headed towards the ruins of the keep. I found myself heading towards a set of stairs. I entered a small room, which was only furbished by a bland table in comparison to the castle, as well as a couple of chairs that had been roughly thrown around the table. I walked over to the other side of the room and sat down in one of the chairs. I had no control over her actions at all. The most defining aspect of the room was something that my dream consciousness barely noticed, and that was the gaping hole in the front side of the keep. Nearly the whole wall and roof was missing. I relaxed in the chair, while waiting for my companions. I blinked and they were taking their seats at the table. Two men, the one that summoned me there, and another who I also remembered from a previous dream. Three candles blazed from the centre of the table, and three fine goblets sat in front of our seats. Red liquid was shining from within. The two men looked at me.

“Tonight is an important night,” the one who summoned me said. “We are close to the final stage of the plan. Tomorrow we will enter the town for the last time. We shall be moving to London before the week is out.”

We all raised our goblets and drank the red liquid. It was warm, and stuck to the inside of my mouth.

Darkness devoured the entire room, as the slight breeze attacked the candles. I could still see, but I was too focused on what I could hear. One of the candles was still lit. The man who hadn’t spoken grabbed it and approached the hole in the wall. We could all hear the sounds of someone approaching the castle. The man with the candle jumped down to the grass below to investigate. I didn’t follow, neither did the other man. Minutes passed before the man jumped up through the hole, and headed towards the table. In his arms was another person, a woman not much older than sixteen. She was dressed in a similar dress to mine, except it was originally white. Blood has stained her. It looked as if she had been stabbed. There was pale blood running down from a piercing on the left side of her stomach. I moved back, and saw that the table had been cleared. The girl was placed on the table, and the second man was relighting the candles. Her face was almost lifeless. It was pale, as if she hadn’t been in the sunlight all of her life. The first man leant down towards her and began to wipe away the blood on her face with his hand. Even though I couldn’t control my character, I could still feel the fear which was pulsating throughout her body. After he had finished he examined the wound more closely. The other man leant in closer with the candle, and I could see that the piercing ran the length of her stomach. She was dead, there was not a doubt in my mind, but still uncontrollably I was walking over to the corpse. I leant forward using one hand to pull my hair to one side of my neck.

“I don’t like doing this,” the man holding the candle said.

“We don’t have time. It has to be done. Do it.” My character answered.

He kept me in place with one of his hands, and with a small knife in the other he slit the side of my neck, I felt a slight tickle as he did, but was so mesmerised by the falling blood that I didn’t care. The blood was dark red, and flowed freely for little more than a second. The blood gracefully fell onto the girl’s stomach at the centre of the wound. The man’s grip on me loosened and I returned to my standing position. The piercing grew smaller until it vanished. Slowly she began to open her eyes. Life shot through her body, but she did not take advantage. She just lay there. Still. Silent. Unmoving. My dream went black.

I was standing, once more, on the castle walls, looking down upon the town. The sun was rising, and a bright reflection jumped from the sea. I didn’t notice the man step next to me.

“Thank you for doing that. I know you don’t like her,” he said.

“Don’t thank me. I saved her because I could. Because if I didn’t then I would be the villain. Besides we need as many people as possible. We are so close now. Generations of waiting and preparing are about to pay off. We might need her in the end.”

“Do you believe the power is true?” He paused. “That this will all be worth it?”

“I can only believe what I am told and I don’t think the King would lie to us about it. Why would he? I wouldn’t question him anyway. You know what he’s capable of. I will always side with him.”

“Coward.”

I turned towards him and grabbed him by the neck. I tried to squeeze tightly, but I was failing. He laughed and then kneed me in the stomach. Blood fell from my mouth.

I woke from the dream gasping for breath. My lungs weren’t working properly. I flopped around on the bed, only just managing to draw in a weakened breath. Pain was stabbing at me from the inside of my body. I was trying to pull the skin from my throat but wasn’t achieving. Seconds passed, and suddenly the pressure evaporated. I was free again. The door swung open, and Jimmy followed by Sarah ran towards me. Panic was frozen over their faces. I was too shocked to move. I lay on the bed with the couple leaning over me

“Are you okay? We heard weird noises. Suzie?” Sarah asked.

I nodded. “What happened?” Jimmy’s voice echoed through my ears.

“Just a weird and too real dream,” I smiled. “Go back to bed. There is no need to…”

I stopped as I had noticed a tall dark figure standing in the doorway. The couple noticed that my line of vision had moved, and followed it. The light from the hallway was blocked by an incoming figure. A moment passed, and Karen finished dragging herself to my bedside.

“What’s going on?” Her eyes were only slightly open. “It was just a bad dream.” I was fully awake. “Thanks for checking though.”

I sat up as Karen sat at the end of the bed. Jimmy turned to my alarm clock, and picked it up. The time read 5:47. He placed it back down.

“Well I guess I ain’t sleeping any more, so what was this dream?”

“I don’t really want to talk about. We can still get a little sleep.” All three of them stared at me. None of them were going to go away. “It was really weird.” I said and then began to retell the dream.

They all listened, and began to grow more awake as my tale progressed.

As my tale drew to a close, there was a state of confusion in the room. All three of my friends, stared at me with disbelief. Jimmy was the first to speak.
“That is weird, I mean, I just woke from a similar dream. It was as if I was that man, the one that hit you. I remember doing it.”

I was concerned about what Jimmy had said. It took a minute for what he had just said to make sense.

“What?” Said Sarah. She punched his arm.
“It was a dream, I had no control.” Jimmy said

“I think I dreamt I was that other man last night.” Karen said.

Everyone turned to Sarah, waiting for her to speak.

“I don’t remember dreaming. The other one was dead?”

No one answered her. We sat there, frozen in that moment of time. Destiny and fate had never been something I believed in, but something clicked at the back of my head. I suddenly knew that something had linked us all together. I looked at each of my friends, and knew that we were all connected, and had been for a very long time.

11 Responses to To The Other

  1. Pingback: Chapter One | Ashley Manning

  2. Kerry says:

    Can’t wait for the rest and to get to know the characters better.

  3. visualhost says:

    Great story. Very well written and the characters were really interesting. Glad I stumbled upon this story. I have a page with a story I just posted, maybe you can tell me what you think of it. Check it out of you want:

    http://rtfasm.com/?page_id=115

  4. Pingback: 6 Days | Ashley Manning

  5. Emma says:

    Well i`m hooked now, I really need to get this book and find out what happens, good luck to you hope its a good seller 🙂

  6. Pingback: Four Days til To The Other | Ashley Manning

  7. Pingback: Book Giveaway is now Live! | Ashley Manning

  8. Pingback: Free Kindle Book | Ashley Manning

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