"Look at my face, f*ck-face. That’s what you said, f*ck-face, without even looking at my face."

"You ignored me once, pretty smart, wasn’t it?"

"I won’t let you do that again, not to me, not to anyone, f*ck-face."

_____________________________________

She woke up, with streaks of sweat on her face, from pitch blackness to her overly-illuminated room. Sleeping with all the lights turned on -- was it fear or a habit, or was it fear turned into a habit, both losing their identity in the transformation. Her breathing was still heavy. Water. Yes, she needed water, and air, and calmness, and peace, and a way, anyway, to get rid of this recurring dream.

It was the same dream again. The whispery voice of a well-known stranger cursing all the time. Her eyes shut tight because looking at the face was something she could not bear. No hands touched her. Not a drop of spit fell on her. She didn’t even smell any stench around her. There was blackness and then this voice, punctuating every sentence with a "f*ck-face."

_____________________________________

"F*ck-face! Open your eyes. You must."

"You remember how you kept those shut the last time we met? It wasn’t a good idea."

"Wait. You doubt our meeting now?"

"You do remember me, if not the entire meeting, don’t you? When you wanted to scream but chose not to. How your vision was blurred, your mouth dry as if it’d never tasted water, but your ears... you could hear my screams all along, f*ck-face. My screams turning into whispers and fading away as a distant babbling of some unwanted drunkard on a Friday night, but I was right there, f*ck-face."

_____________________________________

Her eyes shot open, again, her jolting hand hitting the side table. She had carried the dryness in her mouth all the way from the dream. She used one of her hands to wipe the fresh sweat off of her face and the other to pick the penknife up from the floor, setting it on the table. She looked up at the ceiling, exhausted, both from the dreams and the reality, still trying to discern which was which.

She definitely needed water, a lot of it. When she’d finally made her mind to get up, she found herself drifting back to sleep.

_____________________________________

"Hush now, f*ck-face. Give me your hand, and I’ll make you feel what I feel."

"Come, let us be friends, f*ck-face."

"You see, this is what I feel. Open your eyes now. It isn’t fun if you don’t see it. It’s only when you see it that you can find out what it truly is. Anyone can touch blood and mistake it for water. Open your eyes, f*ck-face."

_____________________________________

Her body was shaking this time. Her hands were lifted in midair. The tips of her fingers held enough moisture to quench her thirst. She stared at her hands for long enough to make sure she wasn’t mistaking blood for sweat. No. No. It was only a dream.

The only sounds she could hear included the whispers from her dream and the loud snoring of the baby girl lying next to her. She turned to her side and planted a gentle kiss on the baby’s forehead, making sure her sleep was not disturbed.

She decided not to sleep now. She’d get up, walk a bit, drink some water, wash her face, and beat the h*ll out of sleep. She’d spend the entire night sitting on that chair right next to her bed. Or she could read, for reading is always interesting. She must leave the bed. She needed water. She could not bear the dream, not anymore.

_____________________________________

"Let’s make it easy, f*ck-face."

And then something touched her face... maybe in the dream.

Slowly and gently.

There were fingers on her palm... or was it metal?

"We’ll make it all quiet, f*ck-face."

A cut, deep enough to draw some liquid out, and it was not sweat, not this time.

"The screams are only in your head."

Her eyes were still shut tight.

"Open your eyes, f*ck-face."

There was some stench this time.

"It is only half the fun."

The liquid... the blood... it all felt real.

Now is the time.

And something forced her eyes to open. The dream was over. The whispers were gone. In her hand was the penknife from the side table. On the sheets was fresh crimson liquid. She no longer needed water. The room was quiet. She could now sleep, in peace.

As her eyes closed, she heard a whisper "f*ck-face," only this time the voice was that of a baby girl.