My eyes popped open to the glare of broad daylight filling the room. I stared disoriented at the ceiling, for a moment convinced the ancient planetary mural really was moving, celestial bodies swirling and drifting above my head. I blinked a few times to set them back to their rightful places, and rolled to my side to check the clock. I groaned as I realized I’d slept all of half an hour. I flopped onto my back again, blankly looking up to the ceiling once more. I’d loved that ceiling from first sight—its cracked, fading paint washed out to soft pastels—but in that moment the two blue planets directly above my head looked far too much like a pair of staring eyes. I groaned again, rolling back to my side, this time sliding my feet from the covers to meet the floor.
I made my way to the shower, still wrestling off the stretchy bodysuit as I walked. I cursed the bizarre space-age material that clung to my limbs like it was refusing to let go—perhaps in retaliation for my insulting commentary. The feeling of entrapment reminded me of the nightmare still hanging in the back of my mind; and I took out my frustrations by hurling curse words at the suit as I twisted it off my leg, chucking the wadded ball of rubbery fabric to the corner. My exasperated snarl echoed off the stony bathroom walls.
“Great,” I grumbled to myself, turning on the hot water. “Sure hope this place has good sound insulation.” I kept up the grouchy muttering as I stepped under the cascading waterfall. “Best not to publicize the fact that I’m fighting with inanimate objects…and losing.”
I lathered quickly, the refreshing water beginning to snap me out of my delirious funk. By the time I was finished showering, I was surprisingly awake. Yet the dream that had haunted my sleep was all the more vivid in my mind. I toweled off and dressed hastily, eager to discuss it with Aeron.
The Prize is a $25 Giftcard