Every night in my dreams, she dies again. Sometimes I kill her. Sometimes I'm trying to save her, and I fail. I don't know why this keeps happening.
One night it's gruesome and I can only look down satisfied at my bloody hands and the work I've done; pieces of her all over the floor.
One night I'm filled with despair as I search through the hot smoky house, coughing, but by the time I reach her, she's already burning.
What's worse is that I can hear her flesh sizzling; because in the dream, somehow, that's louder than anything else, even her screaming.
There's always that one twisted aspect of the dream that ever so slightly reminds me it's just a dream, but doesn't detract from the palpable feeling I experience.
Like that one time she laughed while I slit her throat and long after her laugh echoed around the house, and it was like an anthem of triumph mocking me, but it just didn't make sense.
Or that time I'm hanging on to her at the edge of the cliff and just as she says, "Don't let g--" suddenly I'm holding a glove she wasn't wearing and I watch as she falls falls falls.
And that's the other thing that disturbs me: every night it's different.
In all these years, never once have I killed her the same way, and never once has a situation where I failed to save her repeated.
My subconscious seems to have an endless capacity to conjure these twisted circumstances. And every morning I wake up relieved it was just a dream.
But there's always those few seconds where the sadistic glee or the mournful misery linger before reality settles in,
and that moment is a moulting; I have to slough off the residual feelings like a second skin.
The hardest part is that she knows I dream about her.
Because every morning she's there next to me, seeing me ease back into conscious reality, telling me I said her name again, asking me, "What did you dream about this time?
" And I can never tell her.