That night I finally made it. I had been staring at my (now beautifully soft) hands and counting my fingers for a week. I had looked at clocks twice every time I needed to know the time. I had stopped in the middle of any text I was reading, and asked myself quietly whether I was awake or dreaming.
The first few days, nothing special had happened. I had ordinary dreams, not even nightmares. I did, though, have the feeling I was being observed. Still, I explained to myself, that this might have been because I had read someone was observing my dreams, not a sign that someone actually was doing it. I suppose I needed to assure myself that I was still sane, and not quite believing what I had read.
And then it happened. I was fast asleep with Nugget lying by my side. I dreamt of the bookstore, and reached for a book. I saw my hand and suddenly I thought “Is this a dream or am I awake?” I counted my fingers and two of them were stumps! My mind popped right open and suddenly I was aware I was dreaming, watching the dream book I had just taken from the shelf.
I had taught myself to stay calm, so I concentrated on trying to read the name of the book. There was nothing on the spine. I opened the book; there was nothing on the pages.
“Dana!” someone said softly, “look at the fifth name on the list.”
I turned around and saw a woman – her wheat-colored hair was in a loose bundle on her neck, she had no makeup, and she wore a bright blue shirt.
She spoke one more time, keeping my eyes in her hypnotizing gaze, which had me mesmerized.
“He lives in…”
She said a name of a city.
“Go, you are expected,” the woman said.
And then I suddenly felt the enormity of what I was experiencing. I was actually awake in my dream! I had made it!
And this is when the dreamscape started melting away from around me. I tried to grab it with my mind, but it was too late. The bookstore faded away, though I felt desperate to get back there.
Instead I fell back into my dreaming state, and now I really felt I was being chased. Something was waiting for me there, and it wanted to catch me. I tried to run but my legs would not move. I turned around to see a shadow bounce at me like a big animal. Its hands shot through the air, trying to grab me. They were human-like hands. I saw its face, it was almost human, but had a muzzle…
I screamed. Immediately a flash of heat and electric blue color enveloped me. And then I woke up. Nugget was sitting right next to me, hissing softly. Oddly it was not an angry hiss, it was more like the cat was puzzled at something. It was staring at the wall behind me, but when I turned to look, there was nothing there. Only a faint bluish glow, which was probably my eyes playing tricks on me. It dissolved in a few seconds.
Had I screamed? I listened with my heart pounding. No one moved in the house and after a while Nugget also calmed down.
I did not want to read the book now, not when I was this scared. I had been given my clue, and when I returned, a shadow had been waiting for me, trying to get to me, to make me tell the secret, I was sure.
I lay down under my blanket and spent the rest of the night staring into the shadows of my room until I could not take it anymore, and put on all the lights.