Emily didn’t wake immediately but rather felt the dream fade from her as darkness tapers in the sunrise. She knew in a growing sense of awareness that what she had seen was not real. Julian was not there. The lights had been so vivid in her mind but were merely an imagination. Hot tears slid down Emily’s cheeks as she decided to open her eyes and face the day. Why couldn’t it be true? It has been so beautiful and perfect. Why couldn’t there be a few things like that in reality?
She sat up, wondering why happy endings seemed only to exist in the movies.
Leigh was making breakfast as usual when Emily stumbled into the kitchen, more disheveled than on an ordinary morning.
“What happened to you? I thought you went to bed early,” Leigh’s brow creased with concern.
“I had a dream about Julian,” Emily replied.
“Oh, you poor thing. I’m sorry. I wish you’d stop having nightmares, but I guess it’ll take more time.”
“It wasn’t a nightmare,” Emily said. “It was quite amazingly nice. But in the end, it wasn’t true.”
“I’m sorry. If you want to talk, I’m here.” Leigh sighed as she looked at her sister.
“There’s something you could help me with but I’d need you to keep it between us. It sounds crazy.”
Leigh nodded. “You can trust me with anything, Em.”
“There is a house outside of town in my dream but I feel like I’ve truly seen it. Could you bring your cameras and help me look for it? If it does exist, I’d like photographs. Something odd is going on and I can’t put my finger on it.”
“Sure, we can go after work. I doubt the library opening is going to cause us any late hours. What do you think we might find there?”
Emily shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know, but something strange is happening here. I just can’t put my finger on it.”
The day dragged on with nothing more exciting than Emily’s task of writing up the interview with the town council and head librarian, added to Leigh’s photographs for the next edition of the Observer.
When five o’clock came, they both said goodbye to Leroy and took off in the direction of the house.
“All the way out here?” Leigh inquired as she watched the desert speed by outside her window.
“Yes,” Emily said, growing much more sure of herself the closer they drew to their destination. The shrubs and sand dunes looked very familiar to what she’d seen in the dream. Nothing could prepare get for the sight of the house in broad daylight.
“This is it!” Emily stopped the car, smiling triumphantly.
“What are we waiting for?” Leigh asked. “Let’s go inside. You said it’s abandoned, right?”
“It’s supposed to be, but it doesn’t look it.” Emily pushed the door open and gasped in shock as everything inside was the same as in her dream. The only exception was that Julian was nowhere in sight.