I have always had trouble sleeping; either it’s getting to sleep in the first place or the unexplained dreams or nightmares that occur. The severity of the nightmare is usually affected by what I am watching before bed, or what I have witnessed during the day. However this particular dream, or rather nightmare, differed immensely from the rest.

“Thanks for a great night” Niamh shouted across my driveway, making her way towards her house, a few streets down. “Try not to wake the whole house up…”

“Try not to get run over” I quickly said, with a large grin on my face. I realised in that moment, how lucky I was to be at the age where my true friends were evident; having them simply celebrate with me was all I wanted.  After our farewells, I fumbled around looking for my keys in my unnecessarily large bag, and began contemplating how many drinks I had consumed that night.

“I shouldn’t have gone out” I said to myself under my breath, as I finally unlocked the door whilst staggering in to the hallway. Trying not to break my ankles, I then attempted to remove my high heels from my aching feet. Why was I out so late?

Instead of going straight to bed, I slouched on the settee, my feet dangling off the cosy leather, half watching a crime thriller and half dozing in and out of consciousness. After a while, contentment suddenly filled my body, but regardless of how comfy I was, I managed to fuel enough energy to propel myself up and carry my semi-conscious body to bed. Once I climbed the mountain of stairs and fell into my room, I wrapped myself in my sensually silky covers and sunk instantly into the mattress, and drifted off into a deep sleep.

Unusually I felt myself beginning to get restless; the air was clammy and suffocating which triggered me to aggressively throw the silk covers on the floor, whilst the abundance of heat occupied the space around me. I frantically tossed and turned until my body began to get exhausted from my sudden irritability; this persisted until I felt it. A presence. Right next to my bed. I twisted my head towards the movement and that’s when I saw her. A girl, in a crimson red dress, towering over me. Her features were blurred from my hazy and unfocused vision, yet I managed to make out her severely straight hair, which was pulled back using a sickly red bow that matched her dress. Behind her ghostly complexion, her skin was youthful; she could have only been a teenager. Her legs disappeared into a black haze below her knees, making me quickly realise that this wasn’t just one of my brothers’ pranks, it was more sinister. The genuineness and the reality of the situation stunned me into complete silence. I was a paralysed state.

Retrospectively, I waited for this disturbing and distressing image to fade into oblivion, but I was too weary to tell. I felt a cold sensation down my neck. My body shivered. The sensation felt like no other. A breath against my ear was followed by a sinister voice. Its terrifying sunken mouth murmured, “Stay away from me”. My heart felt like it was ripping out of my chest. All that my ears could sense was the beat of my pulse, getting louder and louder, until I was stuck. Unable to move. She vanished within seconds, but the fear of her lurking around terrified me further.

As I tried to make sense of what just happened, my heart was bursting through my ribcage, the pounding escalated as I tried to understand and recollect the brief yet terrifying moment. Amongst the confusion and the unnerving ambience, the room was still spinning from the aforementioned affects of alcohol. In that very moment, I typically decided, like every other young adult after a chaotic night out, that I would never drink again. However, instead of accepting that I was still intoxicated and out of control, I decided in my state of disorientation and uncertainty that I would try and search for this ghostly figure. My body felt heavy, as if I was carrying someone else’s weight. I dragged my feet across the rough carpet, the burning sensation felt as if it was perpetrating through my feet because of my carless way of walking. My eyes were mirroring my movements, heavy and tired.

Then I awoke. I wasn’t underneath my soft and comfortable sheets. I wasn’t even in my room. All I could see was the bottom of the stairs in my peripheral vision, with the echoing noise of footsteps hammering towards me.

“Joanne!” my mum screamed. Yet my brain was refusing to communicate to my mouth. “Get her in the car!” my Mum’s voice was panicked-stricken and I started to feel frustrated that I couldn’t speak; to let her know I was ok. I then heard even louder footsteps, as my dad clambered down the stairs in his hideously patterned pyjamas. He lifted me up quickly and held me tightly as my body felt limp in his arms.

“How much did she drink last night?” My dad said as he agitatedly waited for my mum to respond. “How much did she drink?” My dad’s voice started to tremble, as a result he squeezed my hand tighter, almost cutting off the circulation. The pieces of the night started to form in my mind like a kaleidoscope of memories. How much did I drink?


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