If she looked between her sneakers, which were propped up on the windowsill, Nina Caraballocould see the ornate bell tower of Meggernie Hall from her bedroom window. It stood on UniversityHill, overlooking the campus and the park where last night she’d dreamed—Her
body felt all wrong. Disproportionate. Her
of view was far too low—like she waslying on the grass—except she knew she was sitting up. Her peripheral vision was so broad shecould almost see behind herself. Her nose kept twitching and she could smell everything out therein the night. Newly cut grass. The sweet pungency of the lilac bushes nearby.
fascinating odor that rose from a discarded candy wrapper.She started over to investigate it and fell all over herself in a tumble of limbs.
legs toolong and awkward, front legs too short.
sound came from her throat that sounded far too muchlike the squeal of a pig for her liking.
there, sprawled in the
she could have cried. Because she knew.
was another one of those horrible dreams.Clumsily, she righted herself and looked around. And found herself beginning to clean herself,licking at the soft fur of one shoulder with a pink tongue.She immediately stopped, disgusted at the action.
want to wake up!” she cried.The words came from her throat in another squeal.Followed
silence. But not a complete silence.
long ears perked up as she heard rustling footsteps in thegrass. She turned her head to see a massive shadowy shape approaching her cautiously from
the common.She froze, petrified with fear. It was a huge mastiff.
monster of a dog that she’d have avoided even if she were in her ownbody.The mastiff paused when it realized she had noticed it. Through some quirk of her borrowed body’s eyesight, when it stopped moving, it became almost invisible to her. She stared harder,trying to make it out, heart thumping double-time in her tiny chest. The sweep of the lawn and themastiff’s bulk all blurred into one indecipherable shadow.Until the dog charged her.
growl froze her for long heartbeats more, then she bolted.
tried to.Unaccustomed to the odd shape of her limbs and their correlation to each other, she went sprawling again. Before she could recover, the mastiff was
jaws closed onher, capturing her
body, grinding bones against each other as it bit down on her
flesh—“And then I woke up,” she said.“Oh, that’s gross,” Judy said. “Did you really feel yourself
I’ve heard that if you die in a dream,you die for real.”Nina shifted the phone receiver from one ear to the other. “But that’s not the worst of it,” she said.“This time I’ve got proof that it’s Ashley who’s hexing me.”Judy laughed nervously. “Come
You can’t really believe that.”“I saw her,” Nina said.
She woke in her own bed, drenched in sweat and tangled up in her bedclothes. Her relief wasimmediate. The
might keep coming—once a week or so—but they were still only dreams. Not real.She hadn’t almost died out there in the common while trapped in the shape of an animal. Not really.
so real.She shivered with a sudden chill and thought she could see her breath for a moment. It was socold you’d almost think it was still winter. She exhaled experimentally, but couldn’t really see her breath. The room seemed far warmer already, and she realized that her trembling chill was just aresidue of her dream.