Easing the recliner upright, Claire felt stiffness in her limbs. She stretched, got a glass of water and went to bed, quickly slipping into a sound sleep. She soon sat up with a jolt, awakened by the nightmare. Something was different this time, but she couldn’t immediately recall what it was. She turned on the light and took the notepad from her bed table. Propping herself up on pillows and closing her eyes, she tried to remember the vision, searching for the one thing that was different.
She saw herself looking down into the well, the reflection of the blue sky and clouds, her own small shadow. She jumped as she envisioned herself falling and holding onto the rough, wet rope. The silhouette appeared of the woman peering into the well. Claire saw the outline of the woman’s hair flowing out around her face.
A shiver rolled down Claire's spine. Her eyes flew open--that was it. She could see the face! She closed her eyes and willed herself to return to that place in the nightmare, to see the face again. She sifted through the nightmare quickly, like someone skimming paragraphs to get to a particular line in a book.
There it was--the silhouette, the flowing hair--and the face. The hair now had color--chestnut brown--much like Claire’s. The eyes were dark and frightened and the woman’s mouth was contorted and saying something--then she was gone, as if having been jerked away. The rest of the nightmare had repeated the same as always.
Claire opened her eyes and, with a trembling hand, wrote what she had seen and experienced. She drew a rough sketch of the woman’s face and stared at it. She could be looking at a self-portrait.
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