Rain drops fell on Deena’s forehead. She reached up to pull her hood over her head and realized her blond hair was sopping wet. Her eyes flew open. Another damn stupid dream about water! The clock read just after one am.Rolling over, she pulled her pillow over her head and willed herself back to sleep.
Like that’s going to work. Turning flat on her back, she tried the relaxation technique the school counselor had taught her, tightening her feet and letting them relax, moving to her ankles, her shins, her knees. A drop of water fell on her forehead. She reached up to brush it off, felt nothing. No relaxation technique was going to work if she imagined water when awake.
Deena pushed herself up in bed and decided to go for a walk. Mom will be pissed if she finds out. Tiptoeing across the bedroom to the closet, avoiding the creaky boards in her floor, Deena grabbed jeans and a warm sweater. Dena headed for the back door as it was farther from her mom’s room, less likely to tip her off. Using her cell phone as a flashlight, she made her way around the dark house to the well-lit sidewalk.
Every few steps she felt like she stepped in a puddle though it had not rained in three days. Am I hallucinating? She paused, wondered if she should go back and wake her mom, tell her to take her to emerg. The sense of water under her feet got stronger. Maybe a jog would clear her head.
Two blocks, and she turned into the elementary school playground. She heard a splash. Still could not see any water. I’m definitely going crazy.
“I did not expect to meet anyone here.”
Deena shone her phone toward the voice, ready to run to safety. A small bent woman with kinky hair leaned on a cane. “Neither did I.”
“Shouldn’t a nice young girl like you be in bed.”
“I couldn’t sleep,” she explained. “Kept dreaming.”
Deena bit her lip. No need to tell the woman she was still imagining water. “Water. But I better go home.”
A wide grin came to the woman’s face. “Not until I show you something. Come with me.”
When the woman turned away, Deena hesitated.
“My name is Sophia,” said the woman.
Somebody called Sophia who was leaning on a cane couldn’t be dangerous. Deena followed. Each step felt wetter than the last.
“Shine that phone of yours here.”
Deena stepped up beside the woman, felt like she was knee deep in a stream. The light from her phone showed water bubbling from the ground. “What is this?”
“Given that the water mains follow the road, I suspect an underground stream has shifted its path. That’s why we couldn’t sleep.”
“You couldn’t sleep?”
“I’m an old woman. I don’t usually wander the streets after midnight. I dreamed of water and knew something was up. Wait just a moment while I make a phone call. I have a contact in Metro’s water management department.”
Deena bent down to touch the bubbling water. It was ice cold. She listened as Sophia explained to whoever picked up the call that there was a problem building in a school yard, gave the location and ended the call.
“They’ll be out to investigate. Our job is done.” Sophia took Deena’s arm. “Come with me. There is an all-night cafe just a few blocks from here. I need to explain that we are water dousers.”
The woman’s touch on her arm felt warm, but Deena could not figure out what her words meant. “You dreamed of water too?”
“Indeed. You and I are Gifted with a connection to water.”
“Being wakened by nightmares about drowning is hardly a gift.”
“Tell me about it. But it is our connection, our Gift. In past ages, we would have been the ones who found water, who told people where to dig or drill a well. These days, the Gift doesn’t get us an easy job, but it is what it is.”
“What is it?”
“My friends and I call it a Gift. Some people are connected to plants. Others sense particular emotions in other people. You will always sense water flow.”
“So, every time I dream about water it is because something is leaking?”
“You catch on quickly. Normal flows your senses get used to. But if something shifts, you will know it.”
“While I was walking, I felt like I was stepping in puddles.”
“Because you were getting close. I can teach you what I have learned over the last sixty years since the Gift emerged when I was about your age. How to get back to sleep when you need to. And I’ll introduce you to other Gifted people. “
Deena shook her head. She still wasn’t sure that both she and Sophia weren’t crazy. Then, she pictured the bubbling water, remembered the icy coldness. That water was real, and her senses, what Sophia called her gift, had led her to the spot. Deena decided to go with the old woman. If Sophia could help her control the dreams, handle the times when her sense of water overwhelmed her, she might get back to feeling normal.