A Ripple In Time

*Inspired by a poem by a friend of mine*

         The air around me feels faint.  The smell of freshly fallen rain on old cobblestone roads as the glistening walls of the nearby homes struggled to stay out of the shadows as the street lamps struggled to keep their flame.  It was a summer evening in London, only the air was thick and difficult to breathe in.  I looked around me as people passed by with their umbrellas.  Women, men, and yes, even the foolish blokes happened to be crossing the street.  This was just like home, only something about it was different and felt…wrong.  All of the people that passed me by were nothing but skin and bones and walked in silence, all except for one.  I was approached by a man who crossed the intersection.  He happened to look in my direction, tipped his hat, and say to me “G’ day, ma’am.”  After that brief cut through the air, the thickness returned, the sky growing darker, the clouds growing thicker, and my sight becoming bleaker through the oncoming fog.  The crowd moved away from me as the fog rolled in, the air growing ever fainter.  All of this seemed to be building up to the moment that shot me awake.  The sound of a scream of bloody murder that could have carried on for ages shot me awake as my alarm went off, signaling to me that it was time to get up and head to work.

This dream has happened more than once now.  It happened to me once before and when it did, I shot awake the same way I did now with sweat on my body and my heart racing a thousand miles a minute.  Everything in these dreams seemed to be haunting me, almost holding me prisoner within a house of horrors.  I decided to break the standing ache I was feeling in my body by trying to get up and get ready for work.  I walked over to the bathroom and brushed my teeth when I noticed something very strange about and on my face.  I looked up after spitting out the toothpaste and noticed that my eyes were completely bloodshot and that there was a speck of dried blood underneath my right eye.  It was something that made my hair stand on end when I noticed it, but nothing that would discourage me from continuing on with my day.  I shrugged it off and said aloud to myself “Probably just cut myself in my sleep,” and went along with the rest of my day.   I didn’t sleep well,\ so I probably just hurt myself while I was fumbling in my sleep.  It was a type of explanation I would default to in order to preserve my sanity, something that I would soon begin to question.  

I finished getting ready and made my way out to the bus so I could head off to work.  All of the morbid thoughts going through my head about the dream seemed to linger with me, like a bad fog over my whole day.  To make matters worse, I heard on the news I was listening to on the commute to work that someone was murdered about two blocks away from where I live.  Just two blocks down, in cold blood, a young woman had her body torn to shreds, her blood painting the walls of the alley she was murdered in.  I only caught a glimpse of the carnage as the bus went by, but the image stuck with me the entire day.  The bus had to detour away, so as to keep the public from fully seeing the mess that was left on the bricks and asphalt.  I noticed a speck of blood had remained on my wrist from this morning.  I rubbed it off of my skin and tried to pretend that it was nothing.  

I arrived at work and tried my best not to focus on that woman’s body that I saw on the way to work.  Part of her was covered by the investigation team, but I could still see a part of her leg sticking out beneath the sheet.   For some reason, a face came to my mind as I sat there at my office desk, trying to rationalize how I would know that woman’s face.  It was hard to focus on work, so I decided to look into the murder.  I found her name and her place of work.  What was odd was how the name of that woman seemed so familiar.  I did some digging in my free time at my desk and found that the name was identical to the name of a woman who was murdered during the infamous “Jack The Ripper” case.  Apparently the name was identical to the first woman who was murdered.  I started to get nervous as I noticed on the news that the woman who was murdered near where I live was also involved in sex work.  I didn’t exactly live in the most glamorous part of London, but still.  A murder right near where I live seemed too surreal to be able to shut out of my head, especially after it being so close and the names of the two women being so similar.  I dwelled on this for a bit before returning to my work and returned home to make dinner.  

On the way home, I noticed that the road near the alley was clear.  I looked back at that alley to see if anything had been left behind and saw the image of a woman in a pale white light at the edge of the alley, but when I blinked my eyes in disbelief, she was gone.  It’s times like this that make me happy that I don’t drive, less I’d be rubbernecking on the road and end up hitting someone.  I spend too much time in my own head, thinking about the things that could be and the things that couldn’t.  For some reason, I felt a string of guilt tugging at me on my way home after having seen that woman’s body.  I could speculate as to what it was that was tugging at me, but I’m almost certain now what it probably was.  

I went to sleep that night thinking about that woman and about what I needed to get done tomorrow at work.  I thought I would sleep lighter that night, but I didn’t.  The same dream happened again, only this time, the man who waved to me tried to walk past me without saying anything.  When I noticed him in the crowd, I started moving, walking and then running towards him to chase him down.  He began to hasten his pace, almost always seeming to be out of reach.  He turned an alley and right as I was about to chase him down the alley I woke up, dazed and with more blood on my body.  It happened again and there was no mistaking the pattern this time.

I cleaned up and made my way down to work, seeing a detour away from my regular road to another one, as we passed by another crime scene, about five blocks away from where I live.  These seemed too close for comfort.  That was two women gone.  I checked the name of the woman who was found murdered earlier and, sure enough, it was the same name as the second woman murdered in the “Jack The Ripper” case.  The pattern was forming in my head at this point, but I was too afraid to accept the implications.  I had to try and shut it out of my head until I could fall asleep and try to confront the man I kept seeing in my dreams.  If only I knew how to stop him sooner.

I spent most of the day researching how to lucid dream and went to work trying to induce more lucid dreaming that night and found myself able to move much faster and could speak in my dream.  I always felt trapped in that dream, but now I was able to move.  I had practiced mentally for this moment, and here he was, just a little bit away from me.  This time my intentions were clear, I wanted to catch this man and stop him before something worse happened.  I didn’t know yet why I needed to, but I knew that he was somehow connected to the murders.  He moved faster this time, almost inhumanely.  He knew I wanted to stop him, but right as I turned a corner to follow him down the alleyway, all but a card remained on the ground.  I picked it up and all that it said was “Nice try, Sweetie.  Perhaps another time we shall meet.”  I had missed him another time, a fatal mistake I couldn’t continue to repeat.

I woke up the next morning covered in more blood, parts of my bed covers having been turned a shade of reddish-brown from the dried blood.  I went to my laundry supplies and pulled out the bleach and quickly tried to wipe away as much as I could before I went to get showered up and dressed.  I was in such a frenzy trying to get ready for work that I almost ran into the police who came to knock on my door.  They stopped me to ask me a few questions.  I didn’t have any answers for them that they were looking for and I didn’t have time to stay and talk to them for long, so I did my best to cut it short and ran to catch the bus.  This time an entire section of the road leading to work was cut off, so the bus had to take a detour around back so I could reach a stop near work.  I wasn’t sure if I saw it, but I’m almost certain that I saw the phantom of a woman standing by my building.  I blinked in disbelief and she vanished.  Too much of this felt surreal to me.  I had to get to the bottom of this and try to stop this being in my dreams so the killings could stop too.

I checked one last time to make sure that the name of this new murder victim shared the same name as the name of the same victim from the “Jack The Ripper” case, and, sure enough, it was.  This was the fourth death, and her blood must have been what was coating my hands and face.  To think that I slept in a bed full of the blood of a young woman, trying to chase down a phantom in my dreams.  I was sent home early due to concerns from the police about the killer being in my building.  If only they had known who to be looking for, I would probably be in handcuffs right about now.  Oh well, it gave me the necessary time to focus on my plan for lucid dreaming that night and gave me the motivation I needed to get to sleep as early as possible so I would have as much time as possible to chase this man down and stop him...to stop the killing.

I got home and worked on meditating to the point I would fall asleep and, after what felt like hours of sitting there, I finally did.  I ended up in the same dream, at the same street intersection, with the light rain coming down, only now, the man didn’t cross the road.  Instead, he turned around and began running the opposite direction away from where he had always been heading.  I hastened my pace and began to exaggerate myself within the dream, to the point where my legs felt longer and my pace moved faster.  I had him on the run, but this time, he wasn’t going to escape.  I was warping my dream, my reality to my will in order to chase him down and, this time, I managed to finally catch him and pin him to a wall right as he tried to head down an alleyway.  He immediately pulled a large knife out of his coat pocket and tried to slash at me, but I wasn’t about to lose to him this time.  He started to taunt me.  “Care for a game of cat and mouse, my dear?” I was tired of his running, his fighting, his killing.  I needed to end this.  I imagined a blade in my hand and swung at him, watching as the cloth of his sleeve was sliced open with the blade in his attempt to dodge a slash at his center.  He chuckled and started to wildly flail his blade at me, aiming to spear me with the point of his blade.  I moved with superhuman speed to avoid the steel.  His chuckles turned to sinister laughter.  “You are still weak, my dear.  I thought you would be stronger.”  I knew I had to end this, but there was only one way I could think of ending it.  I took a gamble and bone-rushed him, aiming for his heart.  Our blades sliced through air thicker than flesh, both of our blades making contact.  His blade sliced my left arm open, while mine ended up being pinned in his chest, his body crumpled beneath the force of my thrust and pinned to a wall.  I let go and watched him collapse onto the ground, chuckling. 

I demanded an answer.  “Why are you doing this?  Why do I keep waking up to corpses and blood in my bed?”

He chuckled as blood began to gargle in his mouth.  All he told me as he looked up at me, his face fully visible now was this, “Blood runs thicker than water, my dear.  Blood runs thicker than water.”  And with the light fading from his eyes, the clouds in the dream cleared, the rain stopped, and I woke up one last time.  I checked myself for blood but saw none this time.  I was so relieved to see that the blood was not there for once.  Something seemed strange about my room though, and I decided to check my old family photos, as the box was out of my closet and was sitting next to my bed.  I looked through them at my old family tree and turned pale as I saw what appeared to be a portrait of the same man from my dream.  It was then I saw the same blade the man used on my nightstand, stained with blood and a note next to it.  The note read clearly on it the same words the man spoke to me;

“Blood runs thicker than water, my dear.  Blood runs thicker than water.”

I finally realized what all of this meant and what that man meant by blood runs thicker than water.  The man in my dream I kept seeing in my dreams was no ordinary man, and I’m no ordinary woman.  I suppose the saying is true.  There ain’t no rest for the wicked.  


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