She tilted her head back and straightened her spine, noticing how her expensively shiny hair bounced against her back as she did so. The night was dark but she was strong, and besides at twenty two she ought to be able to walk into a bar without being frightened of the greasy muscle types lounging against the outer wall while taking long drags from their cigarettes. Walking proudly forward, patent leather stilettos clicking against the cement, she pushed past the rough men and the queasy feeling in her stomach and entered the dingy interior. The dive bar was similar to others she had spent time in in the past, although this held even less females than she expected. There was one lone, empty table in the corner of the room so after securing a passable gin and tonic she perched somewhat gracefully on the rickety stool and waited. Maybe this establishment had not been the best destination for a nightcap.
Around her the room was raucous, leaving her feeling especially isolated in her silence. The longer she waited for her friends the more anxious she became. Eyes began to have a habit of staying on her longer than socially acceptable, and the atmosphere began to feel hostile. Goosebumps, unbidden, rose up on her arms and suddenly she could wait no longer for the friends who were obviously not going to make it. She jumped down while securely fastening her purse on her arm and exited the sticky bar.
It was black outside, and she looked around wondering if the street lamp was out. Her pace quickened, and she plunged her hand into her oversized and overstuffed bag to dig frantically for her keys. It could have been her imagination, but the lounging men perked up as she passed. Where were those keys? Were those footsteps she heard behind her, falling heavily and slowly?
Her heart began to thrust itself forward in her thoracic cavity, pumping back and forth, back and forth. She had her keys in hand as the footsteps became definite. She picked up her pace. It was all she could do not to run, really she was being silly, but then she reached her car and the key would not go in the lock.
No, she wasn’t at her car, in the poor light she had gone to the wrong vehicle. She glanced quickly up and saw that her car was actually three slots over. She didn’t care about appearing silly. She ran. She could no longer hear anything except her beating heart. She reached her car. He reached her. A burly arm pinned her close and her heady went fuzzy. She was finding it hard to stand. The other hand, dirty and callused, covered her mouth and as she took in a huge breath to scream she suddenly couldn’t move. The air smelled sharp and sweet. She tried to shake her body, to fight back, but it would not respond. All that moved was her thumping heart.
Her mind jumped rapidly and it willed her voice to work, her arms to fight back, her body to squirm, her fingers to twitch. She strained every muscle in her body with her brain, none of them responded. She was lucid. Then, suddenly, all was black and she knew nothing.
And sometimes, very rarely, those dreams turn out to be nightmares. This is only the third nightmare I can remember ever having. I was awakened by the pounding of my heart at exactly the moment the character in my dream cuts out. Fear is a powerful thing.