Finally I decide I need to get out of bed. Its 4:30 in the evening on Thursday. My third shift starts at ten in the evening. My head aches, which is unusual, as I do not often get headaches. One of the pillows are on the floor. The notebooks I had on the side of the bed, the loose papers that had been wedged in them, all are strewn all across the floor. Evidently, it was a restless sleep. I smoke my cigarette and write down a bit of the dream before making a pot of coffee and then flesh it out with more details I can remember, hoping the aching in my head diminishes.
In the dream, I was living in the apartment I moved out of around August, the one I shared with Nick, who I haven’t heard much at all from since he moved out and have heard nothing from since I left. In the very least, it seemed modeled after that apartment. In any case, I was in my room when I thought I heard someone at the apartment door. I open my bedroom door quietly to find a robot, maybe at a height up to my knees, wheeling itself up and down the hall, and I thought I heard it say in its robotic voice, “Someone is at the door.”
I remain in my bedroom door frame, hoping whoever it is realizes that the noises coming from inside the apartment are that of a robot and not a living occupant and that they will leave. I simply do not want to answer that fucking door. Looking down the hallway and through the front room, the back and fourth path of the robot, I can see the slender area between the base of the door and the carpet. Two shadows break the light, which leads me to believe that whoever was at the door has, in fact, remained.
Though I go back in my room, trying to maintain my stealth mode, hoping that if I ignore the person and keep quiet they will go away, I keep peeking my head out for confirmation. Upon glancing out my bedroom door for perhaps the third time, I see him. He’s a black-clad gunman. He’s kneeling down on one leg, holding a gun with both hands and aiming it at the door. This guy does not seem to be Nick, not at all, yet his presence does not disturb me any more than the robot had. Though I never saw the guy’s face, he seems similar in all the important respects to myself, though dressed entirely in black.
Freeing one hand, he quickly unlocks the door and opens it, quickly returning to his former, aggressive stance, prepared to fire at a moment’s notice. As the door swings open, I see a familiar face standing a pace or two back from the door frame, in the hallway to our apartment complex. Short, face in the shape of a strawberry and typically approximating the color, with puffy white hair atop her head: it is one of my English teachers from high school, Mrs. D. I had her for Publications, the class that made the school newspaper, where I wrote articles. It was her that got me to write for that student section in an actual newspaper — I recall how excited she was that I got quite a few of them published, even got paid for it, as no student in her class had ever accomplished that before.
Upon recognizing her, as confused as I was at her presence, I run from my room and try to stop the gunman from taking his shot. She backs up and him and I follow her into the hallway, where I hold up my hands, look at her quizzically and say her name. She responds, either not surprised that I know who she was or too saturated with fear to give a flying fuck. I tell her my name, tell her I was one of her students back in the 90s, but she hardly seems to hear me at all. Skittish and defensive, she clearly wants to deliver what she came to deliver and get the hell out of there.
And that she does, though I awoke before I realized what it was that she had given me.