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Dreamy Bruises

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She dreams the same dream at least once a week since age 17. In her dream everything is black and red except for the white, white moon. The sky is black, the forest is black, the blood is dark red on her hands and dark red on red, red hair spread out on black leaves. There is no sound, just a dull thumping pressure in her ears, like being underwater. Like being underwater, she has no breath to scream. The dream has been with her constantly for seven years. So it isn't strange for Effy to see Katie. It's just strange to see her alive.

She's sitting in front of a cafe, looking at the menu and sipping tea. Nothing about Katie is red anymore. Her hair is brown, her eyes are brown, her top is pink, her trousers dark green. She's checking a gold phone and sighing impatiently, gold earrings dangling. She looks nothing like red-and-leopard-print Katie at seventeen, but she's so familiar that Effy can smell pine and wet earth. She looks up, and the dull pounding is in Effy's ears again. She steps back to retreat round the corner, but Katie doesn't see her. She sees Emily and Naomi coming to meet her, a slim crescent moon rising behind them. They hug her, sit and chat over their menus. Effy remembers the cigarette she's holding in time to knock off two centimetres of ash and get one more drag out of it before stubbing it out on the wall. She reanimates, continues her solitary walk back to her flat.

That night, she dreams. She meets Katie in a pub, a Tesco, a shop on Brick Lane. Effy greets her and Katie's lips are pink, her teeth flash white and sharp, and her hand in Effy's is warm and alive.