Damn, that was a long nap. It’s dark out. We only planned for a quick 30-minute power nap before heading out again.
Minky is up playing with herself. Maybe she woke me up? I told my girlfriend I didn’t want a cat or any pet. She insisted: it’s her place, her responsibility, her rules. I couldn’t really argue with that.
I turn on the desktop across the bedroom. Minky is flipping her shit right by my chair—her favorite spot happens to be just by wherever I want to be. I pull the chair ever so slightly and slip in. Still, she’s cute. Reminds me of my previous roommate’s cat, but much quieter. I turn around and drop my hand towards her so she can lick or bite it—she’s still in that phase.
She’s a black-and-white cat. I wanted to name her moo-moo, because she had cow-like patterns. My girlfriend absolutely refused, though she later admits that it’s kind of cute.
This thing by my chair, however, doesn’t look like a cow or a cat. It’s a blurry, black-and-white mess. It’s in constant flux yet in slow motion, as if a photo taken at night with the shutter speed too low. You can’t make out what it is just by looking at it unless you know what it is.
Wait a minute.
Sooyeun doesn’t have a cat. She also doesn’t use a desktop. Why did I say it was my chair?
Oh shit. I’m in a dream.
I… I don’t know why, but I feel like I need to wake up.
This isn’t her place. I feel locked up or someone is trying to get me. Someone is looking at me.
I need to get out.
I quickly get up and look across the bedroom. Oh good. No cat, no desktop. Sooyeun is still sleeping. Well, I’m wide awake now, might as well get dressed.
Her bedroom isn’t really a separate room. There’s a glass partition that sections off her bed and the living room/kitchen area. Most Korean apartments are designed this way to save building material and create an open and spacious sense. But really, it’s just a way to deny the reality that it’s a small space.
But right across her “bedroom” is a concrete wall with speckled design. I never noticed it before, but at night it looks like a star-filled night. Even half-asleep, my space-obsession shows. This one looks like one of the recent photos from James Webb Space Telescope.
In fact, this wall looks too much like the photo. It’s still dark out, hence dark inside the apartment, so why is the wall shining?
Fuck. I’m still dreaming. Shit! I need to wak—
I don’t get up this time. I just turn my head. No shining walls. Sooyeon is still asleep. I look up and stare at the ceiling. Surely third time’s a charm? I close my eyes; I’m exhausted. Since she’s still sleeping, might as well sleep some more and figure out din…
My eyes shot open. Chills.
“You need to get up.”
Icy, airy. A voice from outside pierced the window and into my heart. Since it skipped my ears, it sounded muffled, but I knew the words clearly.
“You need to get up now.”
I KNOW. I WANT TO WAKE UP.
What the? I feel like I’m melting—no, more like dissolving. I lift my sloshing arms, head, and torso. Everything feels like it’s being pulled down but without my bone integrity. My arms stretch down; my bones are elastic, my skin slips down.
It’s not painful; I feel no pain. But I’m horrified. Frightened. I can’t wake up. I scream Sooyeon’s name, but nothing comes out. I only hear my shrill voice in my head
HELP. HELP. SOOYEON. SOOYEON. I WANT TO WAKE UP. I DON’T LIKE THIS. SOMEBODY.
Why is this happening? Who are you? Why are you doing this to me? What do you want from me?
“You need to wake up.”
I jump up. I slap around my arms and body—bones and ribs all there. I quickly survey the area: no cat, no desktop, no shining walls. No freaky voices, either. I grab my phone—something that wasn’t in my dreams. 9:13 pm. I slept barely over an hour. I turn and see Sooyeon. Still sound asleep. It’s incredible how peaceful she looks despite my nightmares.
Even though I didn’t really scream, my throat feels dry. I get out of bed and drink some water. Nothing like cold water to splash some reality on you. The coolness slips down my throat and reactivates my spine. I’m really awake.
I click open maps and start searching places to eat. It’s late, but it’s also Seoul—things never close. Maybe some meat and soju? I should wake her up and ask what she wants or doesn’t want.
I turn toward the bed.
I… kicked something?
I haven’t turned on the lights, but I stare down in horror.
A toy mouse.
This is based on a recent dream/nightmare. Name changed.