Daisy yawned, then took a sip of her coffee. She didn’t want to sleep, she couldn’t sleep. Sleep was bad. Bad bad bad. She took another drink. Her body felt heavy, her eyes kept closing of their own accord. She couldn’t- her head slumped forward, her breathing was slow and steady.
Daisy opened her eyes and saw the world around her was burning. She sighed, she had fallen asleep, it was going to happen sooner or later but it still felt like a betrayal of her body. The dreams no longer scared her, she knew the leaping flames couldn’t actually burn her and that the heat she was feeling was more pleasant that horrifying. This was better than the last dream though, where she started off drowning in a sea of blood. She closed her eyes and thought for a moment, the flames disappeared and were replaced with a tropical island, her safe space. Waves gently lapped at the shore and she enjoyed the feeling of sand between her toes.
Daisy groaned and sat up, her neck was killing her, she’d fallen asleep at the kitchen table, again, and she knew it would take a while for all the kinks to be worked out of her neck. The phone started ringing, sighing Daisy stood and shuffled over to it.
“You fell asleep again, didn’t you?”
“Well I hope you’re happy. Aunt Lucinda is in the hospital.”
“How do you know it’s my fault?”
“She was burned, over half her body, her dressing gown caught fire.”
“Oh? That’s all you have to say? Oh? After permanently maiming your aunt? Why? Why do you do this? You know what happens when you fall asleep.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose mom.”
“That’s what you always say, but yet you still do it.”
“Mom I need to sleep. I can’t help it, it just happens.”
“You say that every time and I just know it’s a lie. You may have to sleep, but they’re your dreams. You can control them.”
“No. I can’t mom. We’ve been over this.”
“I managed to when I was your age.”
“No, you couldn’t mom. I asked Grandma about it a few years ago. You couldn’t control it any better than I could.”
There was silence from her mother. Daisy waited for a few more seconds. “I’m going to have to go now mom.”
“You can control it. I know you can, you’re just not trying hard enough.”
Daisy hung up, feeling the return of her familiar guilt. She took a deep breath, she just had a slip up, that was all. She had lasted almost three days the last time. She could do that again surely. Besides, it had been a while since it was someone she knew, they were always the worst, mostly it was strangers, just random people.
The only people that knew about the dreams were her, her mother and her grandmother. The rest of the family had been kept in the dark, told it was just a mental disorder and that was the way it was going to stay. It had to be kept secret, that was what kept her safe. Daisy pushed the thoughts away. She didn’t want to think about that. The image of a man, looming over her popped into her mind, the knife glinted in the kitchen light. She pushed the thought away again, already knowing how it ended. After what happened to him, she had tried to do it herself, but that hadn’t worked either. The only way to get it to stop would be to have children and no matter how much she didn’t want to have children, she knew that wasn’t an option. Neither her mother, nor her grandmother, had been able to avoid that. Some kind of family curse, that was all her grandmother knew about it, anyone who could say otherwise was already dead. Daisy took a sip of her cold coffee, there was nothing she could do, but it didn’t mean she would stop fighting it.