Nicoletta - Dreaming and Sleepwalking

Oh, how beautiful the hills of Ireland were. They leapt towards the sky, masses of green, then gracefully slid back down, only to rise up triumphantly again. The amount of grassy mounds seemed never-ending, closer together than the blades of grass that formed them. This grass, so green and luscious you tended to wonder what goddess had blessed it, wasn’t short and trimmed, wasn’t well-kempt by a master gardener. No, instead it was let to grow wild and free, reaching up to grasp at the knees of those who allowed themselves to wander there.

Nicoletta Deirdre Winters was one to grant herself such pleasures. She did not like to deny anyone, herself included, the right to run as wild as the grass grew, the right to sink your bare feet into that grass, and the right to fully enjoy the beauty only nature could provide. Running and running, confident that her barefeet wouldn’t be scraped or harmed by the ground, was an overwhelming feeling. One that every person should experience once, at the very least. It made her feel truly alive, this ability to run and climb up grassy hill after grassy hill. She would never stop, never tire. Each step brought her the energy and fuel she needed.

“Colie!” called a familiar voice. Light-hearted and carefree, Jaime O’Riley stood on the peak of a hill not far off from the grassy mound on which she herself was climbing. Seeing her and hearing her old nickname was enough to jar her, but only slightly. She stopped striving for the top, blinked thrice, before the dream she did not know she was in could sew her back into its web.

“Coming, Meme!” she replied naturally, excited to see her friend waiting for her. Running up again, she didn’t notice that it was suddenly more difficult for her to lift her feet. She was pressing on, moving on the fact that her friend was counting on her. For what, she did not know. “I’m coming!” Nic shouted the statement more to assure herself than Jaime, for now she was growing unsure. Was it just her imagination, or was the grass pulling at her calves? Was the ground becoming muddy and murky, slowing her down? No, no, of course not! What a silly thing to thing, Nic, she told herself sternly, now marching up the hill rather than running. She was starting to feel tired.

A bright light ahead caught her eye, bringing her head up, though she had not realized she was watching where she was stepping. The sun seemed to be rising up over the hill on which Jaime was standing on. But why? Why was it rising? The entire sky was lit up as if by one hundred suns, why would the sun be rising now? Nicoletta continued to watch, confused and dazzled. The bright orb was bringing something even brighter along with it, something long and appearing to be framed by the sun itself. Whatever it was that seemed to rise with the sun was magnificent and striking. Nicoletta, who was already breathing heavy from her marching, was breathless as soon as she set eyes on it. When she came to the conclusion of what the “it” was, she nearly fell back and rolled down the hill.

How was it possible? A man was rising with the sun! His head down to his waist was revealed now, but he was still shining brighter than any star, so Nicoletta couldn’t make out what he looked like. She could only see the broad shoulders, the outline of his messy hair. He would be beautiful, she knew, and probably very painful to look at. Such beauty shouldn’t exist, couldn’t exist. What a shame it was that Nic couldn’t think such things, only feel the presence of something dark prodding the back of her mind. At the same time, she wanted nothing but to reach the man, be taken into his exceedingly-hot arms, and know all there was to know about him.

Not one to be forgotten so easily, Jaime rolled her eyes. Her brother’s appearance always had struck her best friend into stupidity. “Hurry up, Colie! We won’t wait forever!” Her tone, which was once merry and loving, was now snappish and irritated. Speechless due to the full-bodied ray of sunshine standing next to Jamie, Nicoletta barely graced her dear old friend with a glance before hurrying down the hill she was currently mastering. She need only climb up the hill before her and she’d be face to face with Jaime and the sun man. She wanted nothing more.

Climb and climb as she did, the hill kept growing. Grass started to pull at her legs, her now filthy white dress, and her arms as she attempted to pull herself higher faster. They were tugging and ripping, none too friendly anymore, and the ground truly was mud now. It sucked her down, covering her freckley skin up to her knees. Nicoletta wouldn’t be beaten, though, and she now forced herself up the hill not to reach the man that was slowly starting to show features, but to prove to herself and nature that she could. She could and would control herself and the situations she found herself in. She would not lose to anything: mother nature, a man who rose with the sun, nor her damn natural instincts.

Her instincts. What were her instincts? Why couldn’t she remember them? Shocked and frightened, Nicoletta scrambled to remember. Just the slightest of memories and she’d remember, she’d be able to gain control again, she’d be able to right the—

“Cayne.” The memory slapped her harder than a hand could’ve done. It hit her emotions, which hurt more than being struck physically. Looking up to the man who’d brought so much light with him, Nicoletta choked back a cry. It wasn’t a man, not yet anyway. It was the boy who she’d mooned over for years. Her best friend’s older brother. Her friend. Her biggest mistake.

The world around her was suddenly falling away, the light of the one hundred suns was fading. Jaime was gone, the hills had disappeared. All that remained as she fell was Cayne, slowly turning gray with the look of death. Two puncture wounds leaked drips of blood on his neck. Nicoletta reached out to him, scared more for his life than her own. She knew what she’d done, what was irreversible, yet she still wanted to save him.

“Cayne!” Nicoletta woke, lying on her back and drenched through her pajamas, her arms outstretched above her as if trying to grab something. Nearly hyperventalating, she tried to slow her breathing as she lowered her arms and wrapped them around herself. She sat up and drew her legs to her chest, breathed in and out as she counted to one hundred. One sun…two suns…three suns…stop it! Okay, so counting didn’t work out for very long. Instead, she just concentrated on making sure she kept breathing. As long as she kept breathing, maybe she’d slow down after some time.

Maybe if I got some water… she considered. When she went to swing her legs off the side of her bed, however, her feet met stone too quickly, too forcefully. Gasping, Nicoletta looked around for the first time. She wasn’t in her dorm, wasn’t in her bed. She wasn’t even on a bed, period! Scared into heavy breathing again, she finally made sense of the fact that she had no idea where she was. She was surrounded by stone: stone walls, stone floors, stone— Holy crap! Were those prison cells?! She must have been sleepwalking again, but where to? Where the hell was she? The only place she could think of was the dungeons, but she’d only been there once. Surely she wouldn’t walk there in her sleep? Surely her sleeping mind had more sense than that? Well, perhaps not, given the present situation.

Nicoletta - Dreaming and Sleepwalking

Kaiya Knox

New Orleans, United States

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    Notes
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Artist's Description

[sighs] I love this plot. I created Nic for an advanced roleplay site, but the site sort of…died. Making a story out of her would be fascinating, though. A work in progress?

Artwork Comments

  • Damian
  • Kaiya Knox
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