I can't remember the last time I had a nightmare, let alone one that had me jolting awake with sweat pouring down my back.
I smacked him in the chest. "Look at me!" I demanded, voice pleading laced with anger.
Vin turned his angry, empty gaze at me and I almost regretted my demands.
"You have to let me in. You're traveling down a path that no one can follow." I yelled, voice cracking with emotions I hid from him. "I know he was your brother, but there are still people here, alive, that love you. Don't do this."
He stared at me, his mouth turned into his now typical frown. For just a second I thought I glimpsed a sparkle of the old Vin, the mischievous man I loved. He placed his palm on my cheek.
"I have to do this. I can't explain it. I'll be home later." He leaned down, kissing my forehead.
I grabbed his tight, white tee. "No you don't. You don't have anything to prove to anyone. We all miss him; if you do this, you'll just join him in death. Please!" I couldn't stop them. Twin tears slipped down my cheeks as he got into the car. "Vincent, no!"
My screams fell on deaf ears as he revved the engine, intent on completing this race. I knew it wouldn't end well, I'd had a bad feeling all day about it. I couldn't watch. Turning, I bolted out of there, running as fast as I could away from what I knew was going to happen. I could feel his eyes on me as I left. I always watched his races. Maybe this would change his mind, but I doubted it.
I'm not certain how it happened, but I ended up in my old stomping grounds. Most of the houses here were deserted, including my childhood home. I walked in, following my old path to my bedroom and out the window to the small grove of trees I knew were still there, without seeing or thinking of anything. A noise stopped my movements in the window.
A small girl was laying, curled up on a tattered old bed. I walked over to her. She had long, stringy hair, with straight bangs. Beneath the bangs was a thick strand of what looked like dried blood, but it was such a bright red I couldn't believe it was actually blood.
"What happened to you?" I asked gently.
"I spilled paint," she replied softly, her voice cracking. "Do you have anything to eat? I'm so hungry."
"No, I don't, but let's see if there's anything left in the cupboards, okay?"
I took her hand and led her into the kitchen. As we entered the tiny space, I registered the sight of a man and woman. My gaze went to the man first, as it always does. He was large, stomach overfilled, his white shirt straining to contain him. I saw the face and screamed the most blood curdling, horror-filled scream I'd ever uttered or heard before bolting, shoving the little girl out of my way.
I jolted awake, my heart pounding, sweat pouring in rivers down my back. I could barely catch my breath I was so afraid. Why, I couldn't say. There was something about that man that had me absolutely beyond terrified.