My friend Billy likes to chat when we have sleepovers. He seems to think the point of them is to be up all night talking; I always want to remind him that it has the word “sleep” in it, but he wouldn’t listen anyway. One particular night, I was exhausted from listening to Billy ramble all night, so I came home to take a nap. My family was gone — at my brother’s school show, I figured.
I tried to stay awake long enough to watch some TV, but eventually zombie-walked to my room and collapsed into bed. I started dreaming.
In my dream, I walked into my bathroom and flicked on the lights. Blood stains spilled over the edges of the tub; inside, a little girl lay sprawled, covered from head to toe in the blood. Her eyes were filled with bloody tears, and she was crying out, over and over again: “Help me…help me…”
I jerked awake, the filaments of the dream still lingering at the edges of my brain. I realized my bladder was calling for relief. I didn’t want to use the bathroom, but I had to go. I stumbled into the bathroom and plopped onto the toilet, rubbing my tired eyes.
I lifted my head and frowned. My hands were like ice blocks. And I could feel something warm dripping down my fingers. Blood? I wanted to cry out, but maybe it was just sweat from my dream, so I stood up and looked in the mirror. My eyes were bloodshot, but there was no blood.
Then a horrible idea hit me.
I turned to the bathtub.
There was the girl, scrunched into a tight ball. Blood decorated her face like gruesome warpaint, and her mouth was moving — was she singing? I couldn’t tell.
My own lips moved silently, trying to form a scream. I heard the familiar sound of my father’s car pull up in the driveway, so the part of my brain that was still functioning normally presumed they were home. I continued to try to scream, but no one came.
I blacked out.
I found myself lying on the bathroom floor when I came to. Pressing a hand to my forehead, I ran to my parents’ bedroom and peered in. They were safely asleep.
I looked down at my hand. There was the faintest trace of blood between my fingers.
I am scared to this day to use the bathroom in my house.