I was suddenly overcome with the smell of fresh soil. That enriched dirt scent one would find in a freshly potted flower. But this wasn’t the place to be smelling such a smell.
Ah, I must be dreaming the thought was comforting, even rational. Searching my memory, the last thing I recall is laying down in my bed. It was a little after 10, my parents had already retired to their rooms, and I, exhausted from the week read only a quarter the amount I usually do before the ever-annoying sting bit at my eyes.
“Brother!” Megan suddenly called, her voice hollow, distant, confirming the fact I’m dreaming.
Megan, my dear sister was two years younger than I, her 16th birthday passing in March of this year. What we could never know at the time, however, is it would be her last anniversary of life, the coming May bringing despair to us we never would want to put on anyone.
“Come on! Open your eyes already!” she calls, putting this uneasy feeling in the pit of my gut. I’m not sure why or where it came from, but as her words ring closer and closer, the feeling got worse and worse.
As did the smell of soil.
Stronger and stronger I flex my nostrils only to recoil as another scent joins the palate, blood.
“What’s wrong?” her voice no more than a whisper, her words on my ear, I open my mouth but nothing comes out, I open my eyes to see nothing but black. What is happening? Where am I? All these questions fly through my head like a bullet train all to be immediately derailed as the brush of an icy hand grips my left hand. I scream or attempt to, not even being able to make a merciful whimper.
This is wrong, all of this.
“What is with that face?” she coos, the darkness in front of me shifting from nothing to a silhouette outline, eventually coming full circle to her.
She bears no scars of the accident that took her life, no indication of her car careening on I65 South towards Nashville. No indication of how it flipped, sliding one hundred yards upside down before coming to a stop.
The funeral was a closed casket because of that, and we learned little of how it happened. Though it mattered not what the police told us, the outcome would not have changed.
But despite all of that, here she was. Her pale face is adorned by a faint line of freckles that bridge her nose. Her dark chestnut hair laying slightly beyond her shoulders while her deep green eyes lock with mine. I feel the chill of her hand move up towards my cheek, her right following her left as she caresses my face.
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost” she whispers in amusement, a slight grin pulling at her lips.
Hadn’t I? I wonder my mind scrambling as the world beyond her remained black, the smell of soil as potent as ever. “You’re” I croak in a voice that does not sound like my own, “dead” I finish, the word sounding even more foreign than the latter.
Megan’s expression changed a little, the grin was gone, replaced by a sympathetic frown. Slowly she leaned forward, touching her forehead to mine, her arms falling to my shoulder in an awkward type of hug.
Her head was just as cold as her hands and she was not breathing, though why would she be, she was dead after all. There was no doubt in my mind however that smell of the soil was coming from her, that fact was only amplified when she smiled faintly, nudging her nose against mine.
My stomach curls at the gesture but she doesn’t move back, her eyes drilling holes in mine as my head becomes even more clouded. We were never that close, really, so why was this moment so intimate, why was my brain creating such a situation in this dream world.
“Why are you so confident this is a dream?” she says inches from my face but I feel no breath. “The thing you need to realize my dear brother, is you’re dead too.”