April 30th, 2004
Last night I had the strangest dream. I was standing by the old creek with my friend Jenny. We were walking along logs and skipping stones, just like we were that hot summer day years ago… I was there in my 6 year old body, and she hadn’t aged a bit either. Then I was in my body now, and there she was looking older too but that would be impossible. Because Jenny drowned in the creek that day.
Still, in my dream, there she was all of 19 years old, giggling and splashing in the water at the bank. Then she climbed on a slippery log and beckoned me to follow. I begged her not to go but she wouldn’t listen. She just danced playfully atop the log, calling, “Liiizzzzyyy…” to me in a teasing voice. She started to slip and I grasped for her but the farther I reached, the farther away she became until she slipped beneath the water’s surface. I sobbed violently, knowing that it had happened again as impossible as that should be. Then slowly she floated back to the surface, her hair soaking wet but floating around her, bits of algae caught in it. She stood up in the water, now only waist high on her older body, and laughed.
“Come on, Lizzy,” she said. “What are you waiting for?”
Hesitantly I followed her across the creek to a hidden cave. I’d seen it before as a kid, but never ventured inside–today, I followed her all the way in. A small fire cast the only light against the cold walls of the cave. A brief moment of panic washed over me as I thought we must have missed her that day, she never died, she just wasn’t found and somehow she’s been in this cave the whole time! But, then I realized I was dreaming.
They say that if you know you’re dreaming you can control your dream, but I guess that’s not the case with me because what happened next is the weirdest bit of all. Right before my eyes, this new 19 year old Jenny changed back into a 6 year old child, her bright yellow dress a stark contrast to her blue and bloated skin. Her smile grew thin and wicked like a twisted vine.
In a singsong voice she taunted me, “Liiiiizzzyyyy… Why didn’t you save me Lizzy?”
I couldn’t respond. I just stood there, frozen on the spot.
“She took me, Lizzy. Why did you let her take me? Why didn’t you save me?”
I shook my head. This wasn’t right. Sure I felt guilty but there was nothing I could do.
“We can’t be friends anymore, Lizzy,” she said. She raised her hands to her neck and carefully pulled her necklace over her head. She dangled it in front of me, like a piece of particularly disgusting trash. The little gold heart with a red gem centered in the middle flashed cheerfully at me in stark contrast to the overall mood. She walked slowly over to me and I found myself sticking out a hand. Jenny laid the necklace in my palm.
“Leave now,” she said with disgust plain in her voice. “But come back tomorrow, then you can see her. You can see what she did to me.”
She cracked a forced smile again and giggled in the most unsettling way. I closed my eyes and shuddered with cold and fright. When I opened my eyes, Jenny was gone, the fire burned down to mere embers.
When I woke up, I fished around in my jewelry box until I found the little necklace with it’s tiny red heart. On the back was scrawled “BFF”. I gave it to her at her 6th birthday party, a testament to our undying friendship. When they finally fished her body from the creek, she was still wearing it. Her mother asked me if I wanted to keep the necklace, and I had agreed. It’s the only thing I have left of her.
I don’t know why I dreamt of that last night. It was July when the creek took her, not April. And in truth, I haven’t thought about her much these last few years. Maybe that’s why I felt so guilty. I’ve been through all the therapy and I know it wasn’t my fault. But part of me wishes I’d been just a little more responsible, or stronger, or faster. Maybe then she would have lived.
Lizzy shuffled into her clothes and got ready to face the day. First up were core classes, then on to her shift at the campus radio station. Soon the vividness of the nightmare faded and she had moved on with life as usual. At the station, she was something more than herself. Her radio name was “Dizzy Lizzy” and she had adoring fans. Well, maybe she would have if it weren’t just college radio. Sure, plenty of up-and-coming bands got their start on the campus radio scene, but Bonneville U just wasn’t the kind of hip required for that. Besides, Lizzy’s show was more about the classics. All the cool, new indie stuff went to Ginger, their resident indie fanatic and a senior.
Lizzy let out a quick sigh, donned her headset, then dutifully pushed the button on her intro music.
“Hello, hello! It’s Dizzy Lizzy here, spinning your favorite tunes from the 60s and 70s. Hope you’re having a GROOVY afternoon, and as always, don’t forget to call into 2-GROOVY with your requests. That’s 247-6689.”
Lizzy hit play on the queue, bombarding the campus ears with Elvis, The Beatles, Dylan, and Herman’s Hermits. The day went on much the same until late in her shift, during the last round of calls.
“Liiizzzyy…” came the voice on the other end. Lizzy shivered, suddenly remembering last night’s dream.
“It’s me, Jenny,” said the voice, “Don’t you remember me?”
Finally, Lizzy found her nerve and replied, “Wow, caller, you had me for a second. Who is this? You should come in for Mike’s pranks segment one morning.”
“NO!!!” shouted the voice on the other end, becoming more insistent. “SHE HURT ME LIZZY. NOW SHE NEEDS MORE,” Jenny continued. “Will you let her hurt the other girls too?”
Before she could respond, the call ended abruptly. Ginger had just arrived for her shift but caught the tail end of the call. She jumped in with a laugh, saying prank calls were the worst before helping Lizzy with her outro. Lizzy appreciated the effort but was still pretty shaken by the whole thing. She waited for Ginger to finish her intro, then told her about the dream. Ginger insisted that it was just a sick joke and smiled at her. For a moment, Lizzy was lost in her warmth. When she realized she’d been staring she blushed and quickly looked away, just missing Ginger’s knowing smile in return.
“Go home, get some rest,” Ginger said. Lizzy nodded, grabbed her bag and headed out the door.