by Wren Lee
“Dread is a dark, shapeless thing,” she says, seagulls flying overhead and waves crashing at the sandy shore. She was familiar but you couldn’t really recall why. Years ago, you would have known her name.
She was wearing a green bikini and her hair was drifting into the breeze like smoke. “Fear is but a temporary drug meant to limit and stall you. They have no real or lasting meaning in your life. They lack relevance.”
“I know you, don’t I?”
“Hm,” she remarked, her back still to you.
“Yeah, we went to highschool together, didn’t we?”
“Such an inconsequential time, then.”
You can’t recognize her voice. Her deep, anonymous voice. You knew her. From way back when. But not her name, not her voice, not her face.
“I can’t remember,” you admit.
“I know. There goes the course of a life; You live, you fear, you forget, you’re forgotten.”
She stands there, silently. The sun hangs above, but the sky and ocean beyond remain shaded and hidden, obscured by something unknown.
It hits you, like a ton of bricks. You wonder why you hadn’t noticed before. It was her. You still couldn’t remember her name or her voice or her face but you remember what made her important.
“You’re-- that girl, they--”
She laughed. A small, short, amused laugh.
“That’s me.” She glanced over her shoulder, a bloody forehead and missing eye peering back at you.
The Monday before Spring Break, she had disappeared. But you all knew. The sun had hung low that day, a bloody red sunrise.
“You’d better wake up soon. Or else you might not remember how to.” She smiled politely and turned away, looking to the far off horizon.
They had found her body too many years later, washed up on the beach. A skeleton in green tatters.
And then you wake up. The sky outside your window is a dark inky black. Your heart races, sweat drips off your skin. Your black attire hangs from your closet door.
A funeral is today, you remember.