Nightmares... Bittersweet as it whisks someone away from the tragedy of reality, and sends them into the depths of a world they find they can't always escape.
What is a nightmare? Blackness.. The thing under the bed.. A whisper in your ear you can't drown out, and forget. A memory. A shift in reality. Are you there when you're trapped in a nightmare? Or has your mind been ported into a different dimension? Your body left but an empty husk waiting for your conscience to return to your form.
The drowning sentience of your whole existence becomes an insect in a giant pool of fish, walking ever so cautiously along the surface as you watch the murky depths in hopes of spotting your predator before it can strike.
A single tremble.. A moment too late, and you're gone.
That's how it first happened. A whisper in the dark. A moment trapped in a terrifying memory. However those memories faded, replaced with things never done by your hand. Blood, and butchery. Faces carved away with nothing more than echoes of the screams of their pain, and fear.
A single slash.. A double.. That's how it started. Soon the removal of organs, and mutilation, displaying the remains of women in gruesome poses with internals left exposed.
Choked.. Restrained.. Tortured..
Those images didn't fade as she sat at her table in the tiny apartment in San Francisco. Her hands tremble with mismatched eyes staring distantly, haunted by the images of a terrible tragedy in the past.
It'll be okay. the message spoke, chimed in on her phone by a mere button press. We make a great team.
"You never came back." her voice broke the background hum of a microwave, and the beep of her phone, plucking up the cellular device with slight hesitation.
She had work, though the strain of the brutal nightmares had left her feeling as if she hadn't even slept.
Downstairs, base of the steps leading up to her apartment, she pulls a bicycle free and wipes down the seat before settling atop it. Everything seemed normal, and she was content to simply go about her day and forget about the atrocities she witnessed in her dreams.
But even at work, she was haunted. She stared at the computer screen for a good while before deciding to do some research. Opening a port in the firewall, she began her inquiry into the meaning of dreams. Then, she started looking at murders, suspecting something more malicious could be at work. Ghosts, aliens, or anything unnatural really. The idea amused her some, and lightened the weight of the nightmare -- until she found the detailed documents of the murders in 1888.
Each one as detailed as her dream. Recalling her time in school, she remembers doing an essay on these murders and coming to her own conclusion. But now with more available online, she wondered how wrong she might have been. Perhaps these dreams were her subconscious trying to visit the topic again. Call it morbid curiosity, but the minds of a serial killer had always intrigued her.
With work completed for the day, she put away her laptop and pocketed the printed documents on Jack the Ripper including the autopsy reports now widely publicly available.
One hundred years before Temperance was born, and speculations on the first Whitechapel murders had begun only roughly two weeks before her birthday. However the speculations and arguments between enthusiasts made it difficult to determine if the first killing on April 3, 1888, was really the first by Jack the Ripper - a name she later learned was dubbed by the media.
With her own birthday nearing in present day, April just around the corner, Temperance felt an uncomfortable inkling suspend her anxiety close to the surface. She locked her bike up, and went into the small apartment where she was greeted by Schrodinger, her feline friend, and a dead mouse hung from his bloodied teeth.
"Good boy." Tempy encourages as she pulled the deceased mouse by the tail to discard of it in the trash. The cat meowed loudly for its reward, and received it promptly by way of treats, cat nip and a special wet cat food.
It took little time for her to fall asleep that night, but in her dreams she consciously wondered if she were actually at home, resting in bed with Schrodinger purring comfortably at her side. Had she been spirited away? Or was she safe? If anywhere could be safe.
The phone began to ring sometime that next morning. The distant sound might have pulled her from her slumber, but as she stirred she found herself on cold, wet cobblestone with the thick stench of industrial buildings nearby. But not just that - the rancid permeation of human waste and garbage lining the edges of the streets.