Estimated reading time — 3 minutes
I am walking in a thick, swirling, yellow haze. Struck with an overwhelming nausea, I sink to the ground and vomit viscous bile. I’m surrounded by figures that are tall and distorted, almost like shadows on a wall. They have elongated faces and their wide open mouths scream that cry out all at once. It is a primal sound of pure fear and unimaginable agony. Their distorted faces stare down at me. They surround me. I try to escape but they come closer.
I awake in a cold sweat. My husband is snoring peacefully beside me. The clock reads 3:09 am. I am home. I am safe. So why do I feel so uneasy? I convince myself it’s just the after affect of a vivid nightmare and go back to sleep.
The next day is normal. I kiss my husband goodbye. I go to work. The uneasy feeling never leaves me. After work I tell my therapist about the nightmares. “You’re just stressed, ” he says. “The nightmare is nothing to worry about.” I don’t share his certainty.
Despite my fears I manage to fall asleep at night. The figures wait for me. Their anguish is deafening. “Stop it! Stop!” I beg. In a voice that sounds like my own they scream, “Wake up!” My skin and eyes become the yellow haze that surrounds me. I become their jaundiced pain. My hands and arms are yellow as my bile. The shadowy figure reaches out to me again. “Hurry!”
I awake with a shriek waking my husband. “Another nightmare?” Freed from my dream I cling to my husband. “See your therapist. Tomorrow.” I suddenly feel sick but make it to the toilet. I can’t stop shaking. My husband gives me a glass of water.
“He’s no help. Says it’s just stress. But something is wrong with me. Physically.” He doesn’t answer. It’s clear he doesn’t believe me.
I make an appointment with our family physician. The doctors run blood tests and say I will get the results tomorrow. They seem unconcerned. I tell them I dream about feeling sick, vomiting. I feel wrong. I’m worried. I’m scared. They prescribe a higher dose of Lexapro. They send me away.
But I dream again tonight. I touch the back of my head and I have no hair. My cheeks are sunken in and my ribcage protrudes. My abdomen is swells under my ribcage. I am in so much pain I can’t stand. The hazy yellow figures continue to wail and scream. “What do you want? Leave me alone!” I scream and put my hands over my ears. Nothing drowns out their cries. Almost as if the sounds are coming from inside my own body.
Suddenly the figures move aside in fear as a shadowy, black creature enters the circle crawling on all fours. I stare into its sunken, black eyes and I see pure malice. It approaches me extending its gnarled, black fingers. I watch in slow motion, in too much pain to resist. It reaches down and touches my swollen abdomen. The place it touches turns black. The creature crawls inside my abdomen and the blackness spreads throughout my body until I was swallowed whole. I feel an emptiness and the world around me fades into nothingness. The cries fade. I awake.
Immediately after getting up in the morning I make another doctor’s appointment. I schedule an MRI of my abdominal cavity. The doctors warn over and over that this is an unnecessary procedure and the insurance won’t cover it. I give them my credit card. They do the scan.
The doctor returns with the results, “You have a malignant tumor in your liver. You’re so lucky. Usually by the time we detect liver cancer it’s too late.”
Credit To – Sarah L. Schaefer