Authors note: Music to read by “There’s no place like home” Michael Giacchino
Wicked dreams invaded her sleep. The nightmares had been going on for some time, and there was nothing she could do to stop them. Every night, when the moon would creep over the horizon and extinguish the comfort of the sun, great waves of fear would wash over her soul. Sweat would soak the nape of her beautiful neck as she ascended the staircase one step at a time. Shadows would play tricks on her mind, causing her to see things that weren’t there, hear things that could never exist. Her house was very quiet after dusk and making noise would only summon ghosts, she tread lightly in pink, cotton slippers.
Rose of Sharon was an exceptionally gorgeous young woman filled with brains, courage and up until recently, a sound mind. When the clocks in her home struck the coming of bedtime, she prayed silently for one night’s sleep without waking up screaming. The vodka had helped but was wreaking havoc on her body, the hypnotist was a waste of money and the dream catchers she had purchased from the Indian reservation were malfunctioning.
Her mother had loved John Steinbeck’s novel Grapes of Wrath, so she named her daughter Rosasharn and spelled it exactly the way he had. She figured a child with three first names was more likely to be bullied than anything else.
The troubled girl put a kettle of hot water on the stove and waited for it to boil. She was drinking herbal teas to help relax her body before attempting to fall sleep. She took a seat at the kitchen table and looked at the black and white photo of her mother sitting on the counter. She loved her mom desperately, and could almost hear her whispering quietly in her ear like she had when she was a child. “Rosasharn, my sweet Rosasharn, sleep well precious one…you are special don’t ever forget that.”
She slipped her cheek into her hand and tried not to cry as memories of her mother flooded her vision. Her dark hair was hanging loosely so she took a strand and twirled it in her fingers. When steam erupted from the teapot, she poured herself a cup and dipped and dangled the small teabag until brown liquid floated around in delicate circles. The hour was approaching and a tiny knot began to form in her rock solid stomach. If her mother had been alive, she would have asked her to sleep beside her to stay away the demons. She wasn’t embarrassed by this terrible fear of hers. She had confided in her boyfriend once, but he had laughed and told her to take some sleeping pills. She never broached the subject again. She was alone in this battle for sanity and dread overtook Rose of Sharon’s heart.
After finishing her tea and making it safely to her bedroom, she flipped off the light and climbed underneath the Egyptian cotton sheets. Once her eyes adjusted to the hellish darkness, she gazed around to make sure the boogeyman was not lurking in a corner, or worse, underneath her bed. She checked her cell phone to see if he had wished her goodnight. He had not.
Pulling the blankets up to her chin for warmth, she looked out into the night’s sky and noticed the full moon staring down at her, burning into her retinas. Her mother used to tell her that the moon was Gods bellybutton. She giggled at the stupid, but sweet memory. She felt good tonight and maybe sleep would come without any repercussions. The tea was working its’ magic and numbness spread up her toes and towards her neckline. It was only an hour before she began to dream.
Lightning bolted across the clear desert sky and was not followed by thunder. There were no clouds, no rain, all was still. Streams of electricity dominated the atmosphere, not even a god could survive the onslaught of sheer power. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was being played on a piano somewhere and the music reverberated into the thunder-less world.
Rose of Sharon walked down the valley of death in a white dress and matching white sneakers, oblivious to the raging war above her head, she hummed along to the depressing music. The trail she followed was endless in length, but she marched on in order to find the pianist and demand to know the reason for playing such a sad song, a terribly haunting song. One she had heard in all of her dreams.
Rattle snakes watched her carefully from coiled positions along the side of the path. Their tongues never left their deceitful little mouths, and their eyes were fiery red with hatred. Hundreds of them sat frozen as the woman in white trudged onward. Their eyes never left her. She was terrified of snakes and took note on how they remained human like.
As she progressed up the dusty trail, she encountered a house that reminded her of her own home back on planet earth. There was a small lawn, white picket fence, and the ominous piano sat on the front yard. Only it was not her home, it was his home. He was sitting with his back towards her playing the song over and over again on his Baby Grand. She had walked hundreds of miles in mere seconds and hadn’t seen any buildings or people. But now she had found him.
As she drew closer to the compound, the man stopped for a moment and straightened his back. This caused her to halt for a moment.
“So young lady, you’ve managed to find me. You have been searching for a long time, haven’t you Rosasharn?” He said in a very deep voice.
“How do you know my name?” She said while walking slowly towards him.
“Oh, you’ll find that I know a lot of things. I know where you were born, where you went to school, how your mother died. Little things like that. But don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone her dirty little secret.” The mysterious being told her. He had yet to face her.
“She had no secrets, she was a saint. What are you talking about? Is that why I have so many nightmares?”
The creature said nothing but went back to his melody. She began cautiously towards the large instrument.
“Go no further. I have been sick and I don’t want to infect you.”
Noiseless lightning flashed and flickered. The snakes had begun to slither closer.
“I want you to tell me why I have these dreams, what does this have to do with my mother? And why do you keep playing that song?” She said and was immediately overtaken with unquenchable fear.
“…Many people think this song was written because he was extremely sad. I think Beethoven experienced some sort of inexplicable joy and this was the masterpiece that was created in his heart. As to your other questions, your mother is the one haunting you. She knows you have a special gift and is trying to deter you from utilizing it.” He said matter-of-factly.
The young woman stood dumbfounded and quite alone. Things began to move and come alive in the distance. She wanted to wake up but could not find the strength.
“Why are you fearful child?”
“Why won’t you face me?” She said to the back of his head. Her voice began to quiver and her right arm began to feel tight as if some unseen force was squeezing it.
“I’m very sick, dying actually. Won’t you come in for some tea?”
She looked up at the house and began to back away. Something was not right, her chest heaved and her knees shook. Rattling grew louder and things began to move in the windowsills.
“No, I want to go home.” She cried. Her arm began to hurt more and more.
The creature turned around and she screamed.
“But darling… you are home.”
He let himself into her house, she had given him a key for their anniversary. When he opened the door to her bedroom, she was kicking underneath the covers and moaning softly. He tiptoed into the room and sat on the bed and gently touched her arm in order to wake her up. He knew she was having another nightmare. The doctor told him to do it in a non-aggressive way so she wouldn’t react badly. When she told him about the dreams it broke his heart. All he could do was sit and wait for her to awake from it. He touched her forehead with a cold rag and rubbed her shivering body. He wished he could take them away so she would be at peace.
“Rosasharn, it’s me love. Wake up baby.” The man bowed his head and prayed for her.