The Dream She Hates the Most



Scene Title The Dream She Hates the Most
Synopsis Eileen's body comes with a heavy price.
Date March 8, 2019

Eileen Ruskin has given up trying to separate her memories from the ones hardwired into the body she sees every morning when she looks into the mirror, even though the only other presence she feels when she’s alone is quiet and sluggish, all thick whispers and half-murmured promises spoken in voices she’s come to recognize as belonging to the Black Conduit. Eileen Gray is dead, and yet her past thoughts and impressions persist. On good days, they’re a far-off echo she can ignore. On bad ones, they’re so loud, so vibrant, so colourful that she sometimes mistakes them for her own.

Then there are the dreams.

Sometimes they’re full of warmth and dappled light: long afternoons spent tangled in Gabriel’s arms beneath rain-streaked windows, or the sound of Odette’s laughter like a shrill, sparkling bird. Once she shared a saddle with Iago Ramirez. Finn Shepherd taught her the joy of a different kind of flight.

More often, Eileen’s dreams make her feel the way the conduit does: frightened and alone. These are the ones that recur, albeit with subtle variations. Last night, Avi Epstein commanded her to be still, and his hand covered her face so she couldn’t breathe. Tonight is much the same, but this time she’s acutely aware of their disparate sizes — how much heavier his body is when it’s on top of her. She’s neither in Argentina nor Madagascar; there are no jungle birds or wet, tropical heat, only the warmth of his breath and what feels like rainwater clinging to her hair and clothes.

She’s in an apartment she’s never been to before. He seems younger than she remembers, somehow, and with two hungry eyes instead of one.

This is the dream Eileen hates the most, even more than the dream of Gabriel crumbling into dust in her hands.

She wakes with a guttural sound that’s more animal than it is human. As always, it takes her heart several minutes to slow down, and for her brain to catch up with the rest of her body. Her eyes pick out the familiar surroundings of her room: the trunk at the foot of her bed where she stores all her clothes, the full length mirror propped up against the brick wall that she uses to dress every morning, and the giant glass window looking out over the Oswego River.

It’s still night. She can tell because the water glitters black.

Eileen’s face crumples. She covers it with her hand as Avi had, but to stifle the thin, keening sobs that worm their way out of her throat through her nostrils in spite of her best efforts.

If the conduit is there, listening, it offers her no reassurances.

She levers herself upright, bare feet finding the cement floor. A stagger carries her across the length of the room to table and basin by the mirror as her hands seek out the cold water inside to splash it over her face.

“Fuck,” she says. “Fuck.

She snaps open a towel, but rather than use it to dry off, she bends at the middle and screams so thoroughly into the fabric that it empties her lungs of air.

The scream becomes a whimper, and the whimper becomes silence.

Eventually, she decides that there’s either no point in standing, or that standing takes too much energy. So gravity welcomes more than her feet to floor; Eileen slumps with her back against the wall, sinking all the way down until her knees are drawn into her chest. Both hand and towel fall loose against the inside of her thigh.

Pretending to be someone else is exhausting enough.

Sleeping in their bed is somehow worse.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License