Sweet Dreams (Response to 1)

As promised, here’s a snippet of what I did with the previous prompt! New prompt should be up later today.

Enjoy!


“Good luck,” a voice whispered from the darkness.

Ana’s eyes flew open and her head whipped around, but the room was empty. The voice had been so close against her ear she’d felt his breath. She tried to calm her nerves, breathing deeply in and out, in and out, measured and controlled until her heart rate slowed to almost normal.

There’s no one here, she directed at herself. You were dozing off. It was just a dream. Nightmare, more like, but she refused to admit that even to her subconscious. Everything was quiet. Everything was fine.

She laid back on the pillow again, positioning her body comfortably and urging her overworked mind to sleep. It claimed her almost instantly and when the first dreams came, she knew somewhere in her mind that they were not real. Yet each time a dream ended, the next seemed more realistic, more tangible than the last. In this dream, she wandered her favorite library, watching with glee as her favorite books danced before her. She was somewhat aware that dreams did not permit the dreamer to read, but as she moved deeper into the room, the covers appeared with more clarity until she could read each one as it soared by.

She felt a twinge of unease at the realization and with a single turn of her head, the library gave way to a graveyard. Her mind whirled, confused at the sudden change, but accepted the illusion quickly. Dried leaves crunched too loudly beneath her feet and the wind that rustled her hair made her body tense. She could feel this too much. This dream was too real.

Ana tried to reconcile her own mind that she was just dreaming, she was safe in her bed, none of this was real, but her efforts were in vain. Scared as she was becoming, she couldn’t wake herself from this place. As she walked, her fingers traced the tops of the headstones and she could feel the chill of each one. Something wasn’t right.

Walking further into the graveyard, she saw a shadow move behind one of the larger mausoleums and without hesitation, she went toward it, stopping short when she came face to face with a young man. As far as she could tell, he didn’t resemble anyone she’d met before. And he was smiling.

“Cliche, I know,” he said casually. The grin the attractive man wore would normally have set her at ease if she’d met him in the waking world, but this was not the waking world and his voice was all too familiar.

“You,” she nearly choked. “You’re the one who whispered in my ear.” His grin widened and he nodded.

“I tried to warn you.” He shrugged and leaned against the stone building. “You should have listened.”

“Warn me? Warn me about what?” Ana could barely breathe. Something dangerous flickered in his eyes.

“Me.”

“And where was the body found?” Detective Wilde asked the victim’s neighbor, Sonya. Sonya’s eyes darted between him, the other cops, and the open doorway. A flurry of crime scene workers entered and left the apartment, carrying their equipment and the belongings of the deceased.

“In her bed,” Sonya replied. “She was just lying there in bed. I went in to check on her when she didn’t answer the door.” Sonya clenched her jaw as a stretcher was ushered down the hallway toward the room.

“Go on, please,” Wilde asked and she nodded, clearly trying to prevent the tears in her eyes from falling.

“She didn’t answer the door when I came to wake her. We work together and carpool every day in my car, so I knew she had to be here,” Sonya said. “So, I took her spare key and went in to make sure she was ok.” Wilde took the notes he needed and thanked her, asking her to contact a friend or family member to keep her company until everything settled down, then went into the victim’s apartment.

Most of the detail work had already been done, samples taken and sent off to the labs, and photographs of the crime scene were wrapping up. The stretcher sat on the side of the room with the paramedics, waiting for Jack to finish his investigation before carting the body off to the morgue.

Truth be told, though, there wasn’t much for him to investigate. The girl’s body was right where Sonya had said: laying on the bed. He’d even go so far as to say she looked as though she was just sleeping peacefully.

“There you are, Jackie,” chirped Detective Wilde’s least favorite medical examiner, Glenda.

“Always a pleasure, Glen,” he sneered. Seemingly unaware of the animosity, she laughed lightheartedly.

“Oh, Jackie, how many times do I have to ask you to not call me that,” she giggled. He gave a tight smile.

“Perhaps I will just as soon as you quit calling me ‘Jackie’,” he said tersely. Glenda rolled her eyes and smiled like it was nothing. “What do we have?”

“Nothing spectacular, far as I can tell,” she told him. “Girl died in her sleep. No bodily wounds, but won’t know about any drugs until I can run my tests.” She turned the girl’s head this way and that, then checked her shoulders, fingers, and thighs, likely looking for puncture marks. Glenda’s face fell when she couldn’t find any. “Just so sad,” she mumbled. Jack had to agree with her there. The girl looked perfectly healthy and if the neighbor was any indication, there wasn’t any reason she should have suffered anything fatal while safe in her bed. Something didn’t add up.

“I’m betting drugs,” a cop said from over Jack’s shoulder. “She looks like the type to overdose.” He’d seen this cop several times before, but the man was so unremarkable that Jack could never remember his name. He gave a polite smile and turned back to the body, trying to see what he was missing. Drugs were a possibility, sure, but this girl didn’t look like the typical junkie to him. Still, anything was possible, he’d just have to wait for Glenda’s test results to come back.

Jack gave the OK for the body to be transported before he headed to the station to start his research on the late Anastasia Karta.

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