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Fugue Refugee: Voices


                She knew it was impossible to get away, but it didn’t stop her from trying.

            Still, even when she was running her fastest, she felt as if her legs were carrying her nowhere. The dark nothingness followed her no matter how far she thought she had gone.

And the voices only drew in closer.

           She kept running, ignoring the surreal ache of her muscles and the growing weight of each breath she took. She was too stubborn and too afraid to stop, but she knew it wouldn’t be long before her legs gave way and  her body would be too weak to continue.  

           But if the exhaustion wouldn’t end her, the fear would. Physical pain, she could ignore, but fear itself diminished the very courage needed to fight it away. It was like hands were slowly closing around her heart, tightening with each whisper the voices uttered.

           They were getting louder. 

           She willed herself to go faster, to go farther. It didn’t help; with each useless step, the world only felt smaller around her. A sudden tightness in her chest made her feel like her lungs were being pressed flat. She took deeper breaths, but there was no air to breathe. 

She was suffocating.


          Gasping for breath, she finally fell to her knees. With gleeful malice, the voices swooped down on her, surrounding her like any animal would their prey. She couldn’t move, bound by cords and ropes that weren’t there. She struggled, but even then she knew there was no way to escape an evil she couldn’t see.

         They were screaming now. The chaotic din of their words pierced her ears, filling all of her with their wretched presence. Unable to shut them out or wish them away, she lay defenseless on the ground hoping they would get tired and decide to leave. She hoped even if she knew they never would.

She would be alone with them forever.


Suddenly, unseen hands grasped both her shoulders and shook her vigorously. The indecipherable whispers in her ears became one voice, saying only one word.




The voices stopped speaking all together. In the blissful silence, she felt her fear turn to relief. She inhaled the sweet air that was suddenly there.

The hands shook her shoulders again. Hannah! the one voice repeated.


Instead of fear, the word brought her relief. It was her name.


 She opened her eyes. 




    She woke up, sweating and gasping for air. Her heart was still racing but a warm hand on her shoulder told her she was safe.

 “It’s all right, Hannah.” His voice chased away the phantom ringing in her ears. “It’s all right. You were just having a bad dream.”


She turned towards his voice and buried her face in his chest. His arms wrapped around her body, and a soothing hand ran through her hair.


  “Want to talk about it?”  


                Hannah shook her head, unwilling to relive it all.


                A few more minutes of comforting words and gestures were all it took for her to fall asleep once more. Safe in his arms, she spent the rest of the night in a peaceful, dreamless slumber. 


The next morning, the nightmare was only a forgotten memory.



Oww... Creepy and dark. Just how I like my nightmare stories. Lovely!
Thank you! I wasn't sure if I went too far or not far enough with that part. I'm glad it was just creepy enough. :D
I don't see why you're complaining about this one~ IT'S GREAT LIKE WOAH. I'm amazed, dear; truly, truly amazed at this.
You convey a great deal of emotions in this, and I could feel myself in the character's position--with that fear and suffocation and all.
Don't lose hope in your skill and ability, because you are so amazing at it. At the same time, I know you'll work hard to further improve what you have ;) Great job, dear, keep it up! :D
Thank you! *GREAT BIG HUG ATTACK* You have no idea how happy this comment made me. (I mean, maybe you did since we were talking at the time but yeah).

You know exactly what I need to hear and how to encourage me and it just makes me feel so much better. Expect an awesome present on June 12, even if I can't think of one right now and I'll be horribly procrastinating for the next 6 days.
I have to say that dreams are incredibly annoying and misleading, and that I (and most other readers, including people in the publishing business) always feel cheated when I find out it's not real. Where are the stakes? Why does anyone care about her dream? She's just going to wake up from it and everything will be fine. What was the point of it all? How does it satisfy the reader? I think those are all questions you'd need to consider about this story and any other story you write like this.

My and the industry's hatred for dream sequences aside, you did a very good job with building the tension -- she's running and running and the voices get louder -- it's classically good technique to build up the reader's emotion, so nice work there!

Thank you for the tip. It's nice to know what professionals would think of a dream scene. I can understand what you mean about reader satisfaction,and I'll keep it in mind.

I'm glad the scene brought up enough emotion though. I was mostly experimenting with this for the tension build up and I glad it worked out. :D
I like the dream take on this prompt. I don't really know the professional side of things, so I'll take belluminabyssus's word for it, but on first read I wasn't bothered by the lack of stakes once it was revealed to be a dream. It was only when I went back and thought about it a little bit that I realized how the ending was somewhat anticlimactic because of it.

I enjoyed. I think you did a good job of keeping it a surprise that the whole thing was a dream- I could have pictured the whole dream sequence to have been some sort of fantasy world (and most certainly real to the character!).
Thanks :) Hm, I guess you're right about the ending. Building up that tension and just taking away all the stakes probably wasn't the best way to end it. I'll keep that in mind.

But I'm glad I managed to make the dream seem completely separate from reality. I was experimenting with that idea and I'm glad I got it right.
Hey! :)
I understand what you mean, like how I should add my own certain take on it instead of being too generic. I'll also try establishing the 'dream-ness' of it from the beginning. Maybe it'll help with the anti-climactic feeling the reader gets from finding out it's a dream at the end of it.

Thanks for your edits and comments. I'll use them to improve this piece when I get the time :D
I read Neil Gaiman years ago, but I guess a rereading of Coraline is in order. If I remember right, there are a LOT of dream scenes in there...
These books are going on my to-read list...I had no idea how much I've been missing.

Also, icon love <3
YAAAAAAAY!!!! I really just adore yor writing style and very nice style with the having-a-dream-and-wakes-up-thingy. Reading your stories makes my already abnormaly high happiness go even higher!!!!!!!
*goes and runs 5 miles to burn off happiness*
Thanks :D I'm glad it made you happy! I shall run along with you, since this comment made me happy-drunk as well :))
You've built the suspense well and then bam it was a dream from a traumatizing event in the past.

Thanks dearie :D