Josie awoke, roused by the voice of her older sister Fiona who was taking care of her. Sweat clung to her everywhere.
“Josie,” her sister said, “you were having a bad dream.”
“I can’t see,” said Josie, “get me my glasses.” Fiona took her sister’s glasses and put them on tenderly, careful not to poke her.
“What time is it?”
“3am. What were you dreaming about? You kept opening and closing your mouth as though you couldn’t breath, it made me afraid.”
“I don’t remember,” Josie said, her eyes heavy with tiredness and sickness. Her sister dried the sweat from her neck and forehead with a cloth, then felt her forehead with the back of her hand. She brought the mason jar of water, herbs and honey to her. Josie reached, took a few small sips then relaxed again. “Open the window,” she said. “Please, just a little bit. She won’t mind.”
Fiona thought about it for a moment before obligingly standing to her feet, going to the window and undoing the hasp. Cool air poured in and brought the curtains to life—blue, glowing blue from the moon. She lingered, letting its freshness change her, letting it enter in through her dress. She looked at herself in the standing mirror, enjoying the look of her hair moving gently, her nightgown agitating silently around her ankles.
“That was it,” said Josie.
“What?” said Fiona, hurrying back to sit on the bed beside her sister.
“A great release. It wasn’t a bad dream, it was a wonderful dream. There was a great release of something, I can’t describe it. Something had been building forever, and was appearing in the clouds, through the clouds, and everyone could feel it, everywhere. It was like electricity. And there was so much uncertainty.”
“What? What was in the clouds? What was appearing?”
“A great rock,” said Josie, her eyes relaxing into the distance as though it were there before her, in the sky. “You couldn’t see it unless…”
“It wasn’t a real thing. I wasn’t there.”
“No, Josie, it was a dream, you’re here, with me.”
“What time is it?”
“It’s early, early in the morning.”
“No, when are we? When are we…”
“I don’t know what you mean…Josie, please relax, it’ll be over before you know it.”
Fiona once again felt her sister’s forehead, petting her. Tears were forming in Josie’s eyes.
“It was all spiritual,” said Josie quietly, croakingly. “It was all spiritual, it wasn’t real. He told me…”
“The man that showed me the rock in the sky, Demo…Demo…”
“Yes, said it would be alright.”
The mirror across from them moved, angled very suddenly upward to face the ceiling. Fiona rushed up and went to the window just as a breeze picked up and shut it closed. Josie’s eyes rolled from the window to the ceiling, fluttered briefly as she withheld sleep, then closed.