Sleep Attacks—Elaine Bonow
I got out of the car. I screamed at him and started walking through fields of daffodils in full yellow bloom but mud stuck to my shoes and I fell to my knees. I pulled myself along the ground. I was anxious and in a hurry. I stood in front of the tent door. On the outside was a flashing neon sign “Psychic Fortune Teller.” I became more frightened as I entered the door. In front of me was a huge woman encircled in flowing robes. She looked me right in the eye, wind rushed past my head, my heart beat faster and faster pounding in my ears.
I can’t inhale. I can’t take a breath in or out. I grab my throat. I want to scream but my throat is closed. I can’t swallow. My mouth is an open gaping hole. I try to scream. I try to cough. I know I am going to die. I hold out my arms. “Help me. Help me. I’m dying. I’m dying.” I cry out.
I wake up gasping for air, the horrible feeling of this closeness to death, of this choking to death, penetrates my very being. My breath rapid my heart pounding I slowly realize that this is just the same reoccurring dream of death that I’d been having for a few months now.
I quietly cough little short coughs until I sit up and take a sip of lukewarm water from the glass next to the bed. It is 4:36 in the morning. I’m glad we have a king-sized bed. I didn’t wake Alvin up. He lay turned away from me in fetal position completely oblivious to the Hitchcocknian drama-taking place right next to him.
Damn, this dream is so real, so constant. The same terrifying dream every damn night. I wonder what the hell is wrong with me. I better go to the doctor and maybe even to a shrink.”
I lay back and close my eyes. My breathing was almost normal now. I had tried to talk to Alvin about this a couple of days ago.
“I had the dream again.”
“What dream are you talking about?”
“You know the one where I’m choking to death, where I’m dying.”
“Octavia, everyone dreams, and tons of people have nightmares. It’s just a bad dream.” He left the room and took a shower.
Laying here in the aftermath of the dream I look over at Alvin sleeping so soundly. I want to shake him awake and scream at him that I am truly disturbed by these bad dreams but lately he hasn’t seemed to be that interested in what I say or do.
I remember when we first met. He was so fine and he knew it. I fell for him the first time I saw him at the club. He looked like a more mature Johnny Gill with his smooth chocolately skin and good hair. All the girls had eyes for him. We knew he was headed for the big time and he picked me out from all the other girls hanging at the front of the stage.
I was escorted backstage by his manager and gladly went to his motel room even though he lived there as a week-to-week renter. With his good looks and sweet sexy voice I really thought he was going to be the next big thing
I was sprung. I couldn’t get enough of him. They didn’t call him Boom Boom for nothing. All the girls wanted him. Boom—as soon as they heard his voice and watched him move. Boom—down they went. We dated for a while until he went to LA chasing a record deal. He had a little success, cut a demo and had a few gigs until bad habits got the better of him.
He came back home because he realized that he could be a big fish in a small pond and if you knew Alvin you know he liked to live large. As far as all his friends were concerned he was “The” Boom Boom Harris. He acted the part so well his hometown fans didn’t mind keeping his faded image alive.
We hooked up again and he moved right in with me. I was so proud of having landed such a prized catch. I mean he was still a beautiful man, actually better looking as he aged, with hints of grey at the temples and those graduated aviator shades and that beautiful smile. He was well versed on how to use others to easily get what he needed and best of all; his fans loved the fact that they could hear him sing every week in the local church choir.
I had always been a loner and even with my exotic looks I’d never had a real boyfriend except for Alvin. It was like ordinary men were afraid of me. Mixed girls usually had a hard time dating in this town.
I became his devotee, his lover and his best friend. I kept the house just like he wanted. I cooked his favorite meals. We always had good booze and the best smoke. We had plenty of money because I worked at the city job where I had always worked while he stayed home during the day. He told me he was getting ready to make a big comeback and when he did we would live the good life. We planned on buying a condo in Hawaii and traveling the world. We dreamed of flashy jewelry, fast cars and the rich carefree life of Soul royalty.
He told me that he and his friends spent the day in the basement recording but recently I started seeing too many signs of other activity. I mean I realize that a man as fine as he was might have temptations but I think he had been discreet until she came along.
I tried to ask him about her but he just walked away from me and then turned and screamed, “Why the fuck are you bothering me with this shit. I told you that Cherise is just going to be my manager and we have business to do. Quit your bellyaching.” Then as sweet as he knew how, “Baby, you know you got me.” He reached under my skirt and slapped me on the behind, pulled me close and kissed me hard. I shut up then but by now I knew he was only mine because he needed me or I should say he needed my house, my food, my money. I soon fell asleep, my pillow redolent with the faint scent of another woman’s perfume.
I caught them. I hid in the bathroom until I heard them making love. I knew all of his moves. I could feel how she felt as he straddled her back pinning her arms down kissing the back of her neck. I waited quietly, getting turned on by their moans and the sounds of his flesh pounding against hers, listening for my cue. I waited until I heard her squeal. I crept out. I saw the curve of his beautiful back and his perfect ass, his face grimacing in the mirror behind the bed. Before he could see my reflection I jumped on the back of his legs and plunged the knife deep into that fine back. His eyes met mine. I screamed loud enough to wake him. He rolled across the bed and shook me awake.