“What movie did you see?” Mom asked. “Alexa, stop music.”
I watched her back as she scrambled eggs, more like beat them into submission, and poured them into the frying pan.
“Into the Spider-Verse.”
Her spatula scraped the eggs from the bottom of the pan. “Did Spider Verse kill a lot of people.”
“No, Mom.” Her cluelessness was cute. “Spiderman is the hero.”
I looked at my glass of orange juice and picked it up. Mom grabbed my arm and I looked up and saw her zombified face as she bit into my arm.
I jerked awake and fell out of bed. I was slimed with sweat. Swell. “Mom?” I said peeking my head out my bedroom door.
“Yeah,” she called from the kitchen.
“Are you a…” Don’t ask it. That’s just dumb. I jumped in the shower and hot water and soap suds did not wash away Mom’s incisors slicing into my arm. I shivered. That had been too real.
When I walked into the kitchen, I looked at Mom face to face and smiled. I wrapped my arms around her and squeezed.
“Good morning to you too, Daria,” Mom said. “What’s eating you?”
“A dream,” I said and smiled. “Nasty one.”
Mom lifted an eyebrow and said, “You’re laughing at something I said. Hmm, what’s eating you?”
I laughed out loud. “You were. You turned into a zombie.”
“I prefer brains,” she said as she put a box of Captain Crunch in front of me along with a carton of milk. Hah! I should have known it was a dream when she was cooking eggs. She never cooked in the morning.
I munched down my Captain Crunch, speed brushed my teeth, and walked out the front door to go to school.
Across the street, someone else was coming out of their house. She looked a lot like me. Aw, hell, it was me. I had wide eyes and my mouth hung open. I closed my mouth. I ran my hand through my hair. I was standing on my porch and I could see Mom through the door cleaning up the kitchen.
“The hell,” both of me said.
It’s a dream. Damn, this was one of those dreams within a dream thing. I’d woken up from one and still needed to wake up from this one. Right? I could feel my heart beating and my chest heaved with rapid breaths. I wasn’t hyperventilating. Yet.
All that feeling was real. I couldn’t feel that in dreams, right? I looked across the street. I was pale and shaky and licked my lips. I looked to the left and saw my house, but from this angle couldn’t see my porch.
I looked down. Yesterday’s newspaper was still on the porch. I snatched it and shook it open. You can’t read in dreams. The headline read, “Fermi Lab Explosion Annilihates Entire Block”. Umm. Read more.
“The Fermi Experimental and Applied Physics Laboratory on Baltimore Street experienced an explosion at 3am. Buildings on the block were completely destroyed. Residents are reporting odd…”
I looked away and closed my eyes. It would be gone when I looked again. “The Fermi Experimental and Applied Physics Laboratory…”
I looked across the street at me. The paper drooped in my hands and my hair hung in my face. All the houses I could see were my house, with me on the porch. “Well,” all of me said in unison. “I guess there’s no school today.”