The nightmare came like it always did, clawing its way from the darkest recesses of her soul, maneuvering into the light, reminding her why she was alone, always around the holidays. Always torturing her psyche and robbing her from having a wonderful life, robbing her of the happiness she knew she deserved.
She’d done her best to stay awake, certain the first holiday carol she heard on the radio that day would trigger the terrors she relived in her sleep. But the darkness beckoned her, pulling her under like a seaweed wrapping around her ankles in the middle of a lake. Deeper and deeper she fell, into the farthest, darkest space in her mind… and there he stood.
Unbelievably handsome. Dark hair, mischievous green eyes, muscular body with chiseled arms and a corded stomach that gave new meaning to washboard. Instinctively, she knew he was hers, and she was his. She flung herself into his arms, fearful of the moments that would follow, but unable to deny herself the feeling of comfort that filled her, the belief that flooded her body that she was home. For this moment, she was safe in his arms, and nothing could take that from them. But a moment was all she got.
Jenna opened her eyes, sleep teasing her and attempting to pull her back into the peaceful moments before her personal hell took over. She’d come to terms that the night terrors were never going away. They came back every holiday season and remained until late January, terrorizing her and destroying any chance she had of a happy life. Nothing she did made things better. The visions at night stole her life bit by agonizing bit until she was nothing more than a helpless shell without a soul.
She couldn’t continue feeling the terrible loss… losing him night after night as he tried to save her and then, the pain of the knife sinking into her body, over and over again, burning her insides, ripping her to shreds as the evil cackle continued in the background. Her death every night was painful and inescapable. She was tired, tired of facing that horrifying reality any more. It was the reason she took the pills. She had hoped the drugs would numb her mind enough to kill off the dreams, but nothing helped. Nothing kept the evil at bay.
“Miss. Davis?” A soft feminine voice forced her eyes open. She thought she’d been alone, she was always alone. She’d tried to live a normal life, but the dreams seeped into her waking hours, and sabotaged the idea of normalcy. The men in her life ran because they couldn’t help her. They gave up on her. Who could blame them? She’d given up on herself.
“Miss. Davis, do you know where you are?” The voice was still soothing, but took on a sterner tone, jarring Jenna from her depressing thoughts.
Jenna looked around, and finally noticed the woman who was speaking. She wore a pair of black slacks and purple blouse under a doctor’s coat. Her golden brown hair was up in a French twist, and her fingers were wrapped around a clipboard that she held close to her chest. The woman seemed warm and gentle, but the glasses she wore had fallen down the bridge of her nose and gave the impression that her blue eyes were looking down on her. Typical. No one understood her issue. This doctor was obviously of the same mindset.
“Miss. Davis, do you know where you are?” Their eyes locked.
Jenna squinted her eyes against the pain that was stabbing her mind, the fuzziness of sleep had worn off. She tried to reach her hand to her head only to find it was restrained. “What the hell?”
“I’m sorry. Restraints are necessary under suicide watch.” Her voice was soft, understanding and did nothing to make her feel better about being tied down.
“No! You can’t keep me here! I did nothing wrong.”
The doctor looked at her charts. “According to this you took a whole bottle of sleeping pills - which can be construed as wrong.” She closed the file and sat down in the chair beside the bed. “Can you tell me what you were thinking when you took those pills?”
Jenna felt tears sting the back of her eyes. “I just wanted the nightmares to stop.”
“Why did you take more than the prescribed dosage?”
Jenna’s eyes snapped fire, “because the prescribed dosage did nothing but make the nightmares come easier.”
“Can you tell me about these nightmares?”
“Why? It’s not like you can help me. You’ll just give me more pills which don’t work. Obviously. No one can take the terrors away.” Acidic tears fell from her eyes creating rivulets in her already destroyed make up.
The fact that she had makeup on made Clara believe the overdose of pills was an accident unless, of course, she was someone who enjoyed the attention, which she also doubted since the woman hadn’t had one single visitor since she was admitted to the hospital. It seemed more likely that Jenna took the extra pills believing they would help her find a more peaceful sleep-people make bad choices when they’re sleep deprived. It was the wrong prescription. She didn’t need pills. She needed help identifying what was really impacting her subconscious.
“I think I can help you, without the use of medication.”
“How?” Hope shone in Jenna’s eyes.
Jenna couldn’t help the laugh that erupted from her diaphragm. “I’m not interested in being brainwashed.”
“Hypnosis is not a form of brainwashing. It’s simply a therapeutic tool that helps to open the subconscious mind to find out what is causing the night terrors.”
“I’m not up to any mind tricks, doctor.”
“I’m afraid there’s been a mistake. I’m not a doctor. I’m a hypnotherapist who works here in the hospital. My name is Clara Jameson”
“And you think hypnosis can help me?”
Clara shrugged, “you’ve tried everything else, right?”
“Aside from becoming a candidate for a sleep study, yes.”
Clara placed the files down on the bedside table. “Your subconscious mind communicates through pictures. Dreams are one of those avenues it uses to make a connection with your consciousness, your waking mind. There is usually an important message your subconscious wants you to get with reoccurring dreams. Maybe there are some messages in the nightmares you’re having that I can help you decipher through hypnosis.”
“And you really think this will help?” Jenna gave her a doubtful glance.
Clara’s smile eased onto her face, brightening her demeanor. “I think it’s worth a shot. What have you got to lose?”
Clara jangled her wrist restraints, “will it get me out of these?”
“You’re under a seventy-two hour suicide watch. I can set up a meeting with the psychiatrist who can determine if the seventy-two hours is excessive or not.”
“I’d like that.” Jenna offered a weak smile. She was fairly certain the hypnotherapist was wasting her time but she’d try it. “So when do we start?”
“Right now if you’d like?”
Even though she’d made up her mind to try it, she was still hesitant. “What if the nightmare returns?”
“When and if it returns let me know, and I’ll instruct you to remove yourself from the moment, and move to where you’re watching it as a television show; one where you have control. You’ll be able to stop, fast forward, rewind, and pause the show with a remote I’ll provide you in your mind.”
Jenna eyes brows scrunched up together. The nonsense Clara was speaking sounded like hocus pocus, not therapy. “If it was that easy, I’d be able to do it myself.”
“I can teach you self-hypnosis, but overcoming the fear of the moment to rationally remove yourself from it is very difficult, and sometimes having a guide like myself can help you manage better.”
That made more sense. “Alright. Let’s try it, I mean, like you said, what have I got to lose?” She’d already been pushed to the brink and lost her sanity. This wasn’t going to take that away from her.
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