I have to keep running. They're gaining on me.
My little brother is running alongside me, sobbing and crying. Isn't he too old for that? I could swear he's 20. Nope, he's 7. But damn, that little bastard is outrunning me. My legs are going numb on me. Shit, I have to keep going. I can hear them right behind me.
I feel myself falling. I kick desperately for the surface. Which way is up? I can hear something in the back of my head. It's a song. Actually, it sounds really cool. It's got a really awesome guitar solo and everything. It's a damn shame I'll probably never remember it.
*Plip plip plip*
They're falling into the water. They're still after me. I can feel the vibrations of their legs as they're swimming towards me. I didn't think they could swim. My mouth opens in a silent scream, and my lungs begin to fill with water. I scream harder.
Nothing but the sound of my labored breathing, and that eerie vibration. I thought that breathing in water would hurt more. My face breaks through the surface and I cough violently. My arms paddle uselessly against the current. Why the hell didn't my mom push me harder to learn how to swim? Oh, that's right. I can swim, I'm just not able to float. Why the hell didn't she teach me how to float?
I turn over to my back, and fight the current by treading water. I'm squeezing my eyes shut as I listen to the roar of impending doom. The edge of the waterfall is right there. I can feel my legs hanging over the edge. It's a miracle that I'm able to manage to scramble away.
I stand up, and begin to wonder why I'm standing in 4 inches of water. I cough again. I taste blood. It starts to drip from my nose. There's still that damn vibration at my feet. I look down and I scream. I begin to run again.
And they chase me.
I move swiftly. The fear keeps me moving. The sound is moving further and further away. I'm winning. I'm finally beating them. I turn and see my little brother again. He's moving much slower than I am. He's filthy, exhausted, and much older. Older than me, in fact. Is that possible?
"You never let me win!" He calls after me as I pass by him.
It occurs to me that I need to help him. I'm moving too fast, though. I throw myself back, and dig my heels into the ground. I twist, and my chest hits the ground. It's covered in twigs and branches, and I feel them jabbing into me.
"Kevin!" I call.
There is a noise far away. It's Kevin, but I can't make out what he's saying. I try to stand up, but I'm lost in a sea of sticks and leaves. My feet touch the ground underneath all of the branches.
"Kevin, go meet up with mom and dad!" I yell.
"Ok!" I hear him call back.
Good. He was able to get away from them. But they're still after me. I turn and crash through the branches and sticks. I can feel them on my feet. I kick wildly and it only makes things worse. They're upon me.
"NO!!" I cry.
The sticks imprison me. I can't move. I'm helpless as they crawl over me.
"GET AWAY!!" I scream.
Food for them. Fight back. They descend upon me, and I flail wildly as I'm eaten alive by millions of ticks.
I awake with a jolt, realizing that my wife's cellphone is vibrating on our wooden desk. 6:35 AM. My head is pounding, and my mouth is dry. There's blood on my pillow.
I really had too much to drink last night.
I realize I'm laying on my keys. I grab them and drop them onto the pile of clothes next to my bed. I'm half-awake, and I begin to replay the dream over again in my head. How did that song go again? My lips move. The words form, and then I fall back asleep.
"What the fuck was that?"