(Warning: disturbing content.)
I am sitting alone in a booth, at a restaurant. I'm pretty sure it's an IHOP. It's dark; the parking lot is crowded with cars and for the most part, the restaurant, too, is crowded - though no one is sitting in either of the booths immediately surrounding my booth. My booth is against a wall a windowed wall, looking out into the dimly-lit parking lot.
I am on the phone with my friend Caryn, trying to decide where we'll meet up later. Should I go all the way to her place? Should we meet somewhere in between? We're laughing, figuring out what will make the most sense. I tell her I won't eat too much here, so if she wants to grab dinner, we could do that -
Suddenly, there is an icy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I look to the right, out the window, into the parking lot, and see a tall man staring back at me. I cannot make out the details of his face, but he has long, wild black hair and angry, burning eyes, and he is wearing a leather motorcycle jacket. As if in slow motion, he raises a gun, and, screaming in pure rage, he pulls the trigger.
The bullet shatters the window and lodges in my forehead. The impact knocks me out of the booth, onto the restaurant floor.
No one reacts.
I touch my forehead, feeling the hole and a surprisingly small amount of blood, but I know I am badly wounded. I do not feel the pain of the bullet, only the spreading fear and a single thought: no one will help me.
I crawl, hands and knees, to the nearest booth filled with people. "Please, help me. I've been shot. He's still here. He's coming. He's going to hurt me more."
The people at the booth ignore me. Worse, they move away, hunching down over their plates, eating and willing me to disappear.
I move to another booth, crying, begging for help. They, too, avert their eyes, slide as far away from me as possible.
A waitress walks by, carrying a tray of food. I reach for her, touch her leg, pleading - and she shakes me off, kicks at me, cursing under her breath because I almost made her drop the tray of food.
I start crawling to the hostess stand, and as I am dragging myself near the younger woman at the front of the restaurant, she notice mes, rolls her eyes, and turns her back. Then I see a man enter the restaurant. The man who shot me. From my prone position on the floor, I cannot see his face. Only his boots. His black pants. The motorcycle jacket.
In an instant, he is beside me, grabbing me and turning me so that I am facing away from him. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the glinting edge of a long, sharp knife.
He plunges the knife between my shoulder blades. Then into my back, piercing my heart. Then my side, puncturing my spleen. Then my neck. I realize that each of these individual cuts is fatal. Every single one of them, a death sentence. And he keeps stabbing me. And the patrons of the restaurant keep eating, and the waitresses step around me.
And I stop asking for help.
(And then I wake up in a cold sweat.)