Little One: Chapter 17

Chapter 17: Don’t Wake Him Up

If you are one of my followers and stumble across these chapters, feel free to skip right past them or unfollow me if they fill your feed. These are not intended for public consumption, I just like to use this platform to write and edit my diaries:) My life is not that interesting, I promise. And the writing is terrible lol, please disregard these.

I awoke with a gasp.

Consciousness hit me like a battering ram.

I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe.

All I could do was gag, because every time I tried to inhale my lungs were forcing me to exhale.

They were inside me all over again and I couldn’t get them out.

My chest was on fire. It felt as if I was being doused with accelerant then set ablaze over and over again, a conflagration onto a seemingly endless, continually replenishing supply of flesh to be scorched and re-scorched.

I waited for relief.

For a big splash of cold water.

But it never came.

My chest was burning, burning. . .

Then, as the seconds passed, new sensations began to take hold. I began to notice the softness of the pillow behind my head, the coolness of the sheets around my body, the cotton of the sweatshirt over my torso. . .

Sentience began to eclipse

I wasn’t on fire.

I wasn’t burning.

It was my heart — it was coursing with adrenaline.

And I wasn’t gagging dirt.

I was gagging air.

I was awake.

Fuck, I realized.

Jesse.

Don’t wake him up.

Instinctively, I rolled over onto my pillow face down, as I had done a hundred times before when I was sleeping next to a guy and smothered myself with it, pulling the sides up and around my head so that no noise could possibly come out.

I pressed my face as hard as I could into the pillow, until I was sure I could not make a sound, until it hurt, until the blood rose to my head from lack of oxygen.

The memories were raw in my head. Flush with sound and alight with color. I hated them.

I wanted to take a bucket of bleach and fry my brain to incinerate them.

I’d even take the brain damage that went along with it.

I waited for the adrenaline to run its course.

I endured the fire as I did so many nights before, so much so that I had lost count. The tally had to be in the thousands now.

Thirty seconds passed.

You’re okay. You’re okay.

My breathing normalized. I took one big deep breath after another.

You’re okay.

Do you have yourself under control?

I think so.

Are you sure?

Yes.

ARE YOU FUCKING SURE?

Yes.

I slowly released my ironclad grasp on the pillow. Then I rolled back over and looked at Jesse.

He was perfectly asleep. Deep, heavy breaths in and out.

I sighed a breath of relief. Thank God.

For all the times this happened to me — rousing from a nightmare in an audible panic — I was always amazed at the amount of disturbance men could sleep through. I woke up gagging most nights but through all the years I had been sleeping over at guys’ houses I only ever woke up two. The rest were completely oblivious. Wouldn’t so much as toss or turn. I was pleased to see Jesse fall into the latter category.

I still worried though, every time it happened, that the dude I was sleeping with would be that one outlier and wake up horrified. I mean, how could he not? If a girl he was sleeping with wakes up choking and crying next to him.

I shuddered.

Some things you just can’t blame on a bad dream.

I grabbed my phone and checked the time.

4:30 a.m.

Two and a half hours in. As always.

I rubbed my eyes. I was so tired. But the hard part was over. Usually the nightmares only struck on the first sleep attempt.

The next one should be peaceful.

I closed my eyes and fell back onto the pillow.

Everything went black.

And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.