New 25-VIII

How I Hesitated.

Once again, I ran through flames.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew it was a dream, but that part of me was sectioned off, disconnected from the me that ran screaming through corridors filled with fire. Or, they were made of fire. It was a dream, they’re not exactly consistent in their imagery.

Limbs of flame grabbed at me as I ran, burning through my clothes. Screams deafened me, a mix of familiar voices and those of strangers. In every door I passed, I could see my dad standing there, fire spreading behind him, but each one was slightly different; different clothes, different parts of him burnt.

You know, the standard stuff.

The dream changed, and I was standing back in the parking garage, watching an array of Talies get impaled through the chest. All of them but one disappeared, and the arm inside her exploded outwards. Her head landed in front of me, but instead of her face, it was mine.

And suddenly I was falling, plummeting rapidly towards the ruins of our old base, which quickly collapsed inwards on themselves and formed a deep pit, piled high with bodies. My stomach clenched as I grew close, and I knew I’d wake up just before I hit-

But I didn’t.

Instead, I stopped, floating, frozen, just above the top of the pile. Wait, that small part of me that was properly conscious thought, that’s not right.

I was back in the corridor again, still running, but now all the doors were empty. I reached a dead end, and turned around, but the corridor behind me had disappeared and I stood in a small room made of flame. One by one, corpses fell out the walls, blackened and burnt, bearing the faces of my family and friends as they collapsed to the floor.

“It's not a dream.”

The words cut right through me. Like they'd broken the barrier between the different parts of my brain, conscious control came flooding back, and suddenly I was lucid.

I spun around, to find a man standing there. He was about my height, but the light and shadow obscured his features.

“Oh, okay,” I said to no-one in particular. “My nightmares are getting meta now. Wonderful.”

“It’s not a dream,” he repeated. Was his voice familiar?

“Yeah, yeah.” I waved a hand absently. “Whatever. Can I wake up now?”

The man chuckled. “Ah, I’ve missed that.”

I frowned. Something was off. “Okay, jokes aside, subconscious, I’d like to wake up now.”

“Flint,” the man said, “it’s not a dream. I’m really here.” He stepped forward and-

“W-what?” I stammered, falling backwards onto my ass.

“Hey, Flint,” my dad said with a rueful smile. “Missed you.”

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