“I know you,
I walked with you once upon a dream
I know you,
That look in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
And I know its true
That visions are seldom all they seem”
- Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty
He lay with his back against the couch, all feeling lost at the sight of the Valkyrie before him. Angela, the woman of his rich desire and greatest inspiration, knelt beside him at the couch allowing him to gaze into her profoundly green eyes. As all other feeling seemed to ebb away, Jake felt deep love and incredible happiness as she brushed his hair back and planted a gentle kiss on his lips; a kiss that would last forever….
ONE DAY EARLIER
Sleep claimed Jake swiftly after he got home and in that sleep he found peace. Stan was gone and he knew it. It was a comfort that wrapped him like a warm blanket.
The dream started as it always had, with Angela snuggled up close to him on the couch. Jake could tell that their relationship had changed. She seemed more flirtatious; more comfortable. She playfully rose from the couch and grabbed his hand, beckoning him to follow her. She led him to a door which swung open to reveal a beautiful spring morning. Gone was the icy, snow covered landscape replaced with lush green grass and budding trees.
She led him through blossoming woodland. As they walked, flowers bloomed on the trees and from the ground. Pink and pale purple met with green leaves and blue sky. Jake watched as the flowers exploded with vibrant life with every step they took. The sun broke free from a patch of clouds and poured through the leaves, bathing them in light.
“God,” Jake began, “look at that sun. It’s so bright and…warm. New.”
Angela followed his gaze and met the abnormally yellow sun.
“It’s different,” Angela said.
Jake glanced at her. Her face reflected the brightness of the sun. Catching his glance, she crossed in front of him and smiled that angelic smile. She grabbed his hands firmly and pulled him tight to her.
“It’s a good different,” she said soothingly.
Jake looked at her with love in his eyes, but just past her he noticed something on the ground that forced him to peel his eyes from Angela. In the path ahead lay a blood splattered Bill Clinton mask. It rested amidst dead leaves, and dry grass. Jake looked at with startled expression, but shook the vision and refocused on the beauty before him. But, she wasn’t looking at his face, she was looking at his hands which she still held tightly.
“Your hands,” Angela said with a tone of disgust.
Jake looked at his hands, which were filthy with blood and grim.
“It won’t come off,” he explained.
“Does it ever?” she asked.
Jake pulled his hands from her grip and tried to wipe them on his shirt. When he looked up again he saw that Stan was in the path a short distance beyond Angela. Stan sported gaping open wounds on his chest and the blood flowed free from them spilling to the path as he walked towards them.
Fear swelled in Jake’s gut. He’d truly thought that he’d never see Stan again, but even in his dreams he couldn’t rid him from his life.
“I gotta go,” Jake said. Jake turned to walk away but Angela stayed his hand.
“Jake, wait,” she said. “It’s ok. We all know.”
“Angela,” he said, “I had to.”
“I’m not sure he agrees,” she said.
Stan rapidly approached. Jake rushed Angela and squeezed her in a firm embrace. She pulled back after a minute and gave him a slight smile.
“You better go,” she said. “You don’t have much time.”
Jake nodded and ran down the path. As he fervently past between the trees, the leaves began to wilt and die. What once was lush green, turned a brilliant red before decaying to brown and falling to the ground.
Behind Jake, the bloody visage of Stan hunted him. As Jake would weave between dying trees, so would Stan. Jake emerged from the dead woods to find himself in front of a house on Rose Lane. The address read 350. Jake sprinted for it. With his fingers on the door knob, he thrust the door wide.
* * *
Jake was in a black room. The only source of light came from the blood splattered Bill Clinton mask which was illuminated from within like a macabre jack-o-lantern. Stan emerged from the darkness. His clothes were clean, and he had no visible wounds.
“You can’t pretend you didn’t deserve it!” Jake yelled.
Stan was quick to move, and grabbed Jake by his shoulders.
“Does anyone deserve this?” Stan asked.
Immediately, Stan’s wounds opened and blood oozed from them. Stan grew pale as the blood exited him.
“I think we need a change of scenery,” Stan said.
* * *
They stood on the street where Stan died. The sun shone high in the sky, which made the reflective snow hard to look at. All that was left from the night’s massacre was massive amounts of pooled blood which lay frozen to the street.
“This is where it happened,” Stan said.
“Stop!” Jake yelled.
“You ended my life here,” Stan continued.
“Stan! I mean it!”
Jake dug into his pocket and found the knife. Jake pulled it out with a over large smile. Stan looked at the blade passively. Jake lunged forward and plunged it into Stan’s side as he had before. Jake was suddenly overcome with pain. The knife, though it went into Stan, cut deep into Jake’s side.
Jake howled in agony and pulled back from Stan. Stan gave a short laugh. Rage erupted from within Jake and he sprinted at Stan, driving the blade deep into Stan’s chest. Blood spilled once more from Jake, even though the blade was driven into Stan.
“You can’t just stab your problems away—” Stan started to say, but was interrupted by Jake’s repeated attempts to cut Stan down. After the short outburst, Jake became woozy with blood loss.
“—sometimes you create new ones.”
Jake fell backwards into the street, falling in exactly the same position Stan rested when his heart stopped beating.
“Oh, don’t worry,” Stan said. “You deserved this.”
Jake felt the agony that he put Stan through, and it was killing him.