{Something I wrote for a story of mine a few weeks ago. Mind the language, unfortunately I based it on my own tired swearing habit...*blush* Thanks for viewing, comments welcome as always.}

I awoke, trembling, breathing hard. A bead of sweat trickled down my back, and the hairs on my neck stood up. I could still feel the fingers gouging into my face, a hand over my mouth, and the echo of my screaming still lingered in my ears and mind. Burning all over. My body broken, my soul on fire - or was it just the heat of the bedroom this time? No. The air was on.
Another nightmare. How I hated those nightmares.
I propped myself up on my elbow and looked around the room. It was still dark. "Sh*t..." My lower lip trembled, and I tried to fight my instincts. But sometimes the tears just can't be stopped. You don't even realize they're there until one travels down your cheek, and lands dirty and damaged on the floor. Fear. Pain. Shame. At that moment they all seemed synonymous.
My tongue traced a line over my lips. Chapped as usual, after a dream like that one. I tasted blood. Had I bitten my cheek? F*ck.
Sitting up a bit more, I realized that the ache in my bones was a phantom pain, coming back from the past. Haunting me. It was only a dream, I reminded myself. Chill the hell out, woman. I pulled my legs tight against me and rocked, slowly, back and forth on the bed. How many perfectly good hours of sleep had been wasted by those g*ddamn dreams? The tears hadn't stopped yet. That took a good while, most of the time.
The sound of leaves rustling outside made me jump, and a panicked knot formed in my stomach. In my fatigue I wondered if they were coming back to get me again. A glance out my bedroom window.
An armadillo, looking for bugs in the leaves. A stupid armadillo.
I muttered a few decent curses under my breath, and a couple indecent ones as well, and pulled the covers back. The carpet felt soft and cold under my toes. My bladder complained. "Yes, I know, you have to pee," I mumbled as I made my way to the door.

The bathroom smelled like incense. Mom must have been in there smoking a couple hours before. A smile perked the corner of my mouth as my fingers traced the wall for the light switch. It came on with blinding force, and my pupils contracted. "G*ddamn stupid f*cking light..." My eyes started to adjust, and they focused more and more clearly on the girl looking back at me from within the mirror. How shattered she looked. It took a minute to register that it was me.
"What happened to you?" I asked myself quietly. "You used to be so..." For some reason it was hard for me to finish. A sigh escaped, and that was where the one-sided conversation ended.
I peed. Flushed. Washed my hands. Dried them. Went out into the kitchen to refill. The water felt cold and soothing on my dry tongue and throat. The Advil I took plunged with little effort into my stomach.
The dining room table lay open and waiting, and I sat in the chair at the far end. The crickets were chirping merrily outside, and looking out the window I noticed that the sky was turning a lighter shade of blue. "It's that early?" A glance to my watch told me that yes, indeed, it was. My brow cocked in surprise. "Well, sh*t."
The sound of my mother's footsteps stumbling through the house startled me a moment, but then I saw her frame in the doorway and knew I was still safe. I took in her blonde cotton candy hair and fair skin, and her squinty hazel eyes. Funny lady. "Hey, ma."
"What are you doing up?" she asked, her voice muffled by sleep.
I shook my head, remembering the terror of only a few moments before. "Had a bad dream." If only my misery could be expressed in those words alone.
"Mmh." In a seemingly drunken display, she staggered to the front door. Going outside to smoke, I assumed. Her and those g*ddamn cigarettes.

A few minutes later, after saying goodnight to mom, I was back in my bed. Nestled in the corner, all three pillows behind my head, the body pillow stretching around to be clutched in my arms. The tears had started again. I was scared to go back to sleep, maybe because I wasn't prepared for what waited for me there. My body was fighting with my mind, even though the both of them were exhausted. My body wanted sleep, but my mind was awake, if only out of paranoia.
No, you know what, screw this, I thought. My eyes squeezed shut. If it wasn't going to come to me easily, fine. Then we'd just have to do things the hard way.
My resolve ended up dissolving, and like so many nights before, I lay and cried myself back to sleep.