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It Came to Me in a Dream
Chapter information
Chronicle

Ghosts of the Past

Chapter

7

Written by

Katherine Rebekah

Chronology
Last chapter

Love Those Who Hate You

Next chapter

The One You Love is Sick

Katara was very small, and she thought nothing of it. She was small but safe, tucked warmly in her bed by her mom. She lay in the dark, not fearing it, not fearing it at all, but embracing it, and looking out her window where the waxing moon hovered, an orb of light in the endless black sky.

She felt, somehow, that she should be upset about something, but it was a faint feeling, one that lay just beyond the reach of the back of her mind, like the feeling of knowing you're forgetting something before you walk out the door, or the feeling of seeing someone you know but not realizing it until they are long gone. It hovered just out of reach, much like the silver moon, and as her eyelids drifted shut, Katara's young mind didn't lock onto that feeling of sheer terror, until there was really something to be terrified about.

Waking up to the sound of the house's alarm system going haywire was not unusual. It was sensitive and could be tripped by the smallest thing, but lying alone while the alarms sharp blare cut through the night, and not having her friend, the moon, visible through the window any longer, Katara's tiny heart started to pound with a ferocity that she had never known.

Still, she stayed put. That's what they had always told her to do if the alarm went off, that's what she had always done before, but this time was different. This time the alarm didn't stop like it always had before, and the fear that had been so illusive to the little girl only hours ago now made itself huge and terrifying. Katara couldn't contain it any longer. She ran.

She ran as fast as her little legs could carry her. Down the hall, into her parents room. Gone. One door down, to Sokka's room. Gone. Down the stairs was a completely different story. Katara's heart filled with panic at the sight of her Dad standing at the door, shot gun in hand, her brother clutching his pant leg. But mom. Where was mom?

She continued her sprint, franticly running through the house, screaming Kya's name over and over and over with no answer. Kya was nowhere to be found.

Just then a sharp noise rang out over the alarm. With nowhere else to look Katara instinctively ran after it, out into the alley where the noise had come from. She went out the back door and as soon as she stepped out she saw her.

Kya was leaned up against the alley wall. Katara ran to her, her rapid firing brain still not entirely grasping the situation.

"Mom!" The word escaped her lips in a burst of joyous relief and she rapped her arms around her neck. She felt something wet. Then there was that feeling again. The feeling of dread in the back of her mind. Something was not right. Katara pulled back with a gasp, tears already swelling in her eyes at the slick, dark liquid on her hands.

"Katara," Kya somehow managed to choke out the words. "Go inside. Please."

"No Mommy! No!" Katara pressed her hands to the wound in Kya's side to try and stop the bleeding. "You're going to be okay. I promise." Her hands became covered with blood and it seemed to her that the whole world would soon be drenched in that same color of crimson. But she was sensible enough to know she should call for help.

"Da-" She was stopped short of her cry by a hand on her mouth.

"Shh," someone whispered in her ear, sending cold chills down her entire body. "We're not going to be screaming like that. Got it?" Katara choked down a sob and managed to shake her head yes. "Good," he hissed and released his grip.

Katara couldn't move. She was frozen there in a state of shock. The man came into her line of vision. He was holding a gun in one hand and had a symbol tattooed on his forearm. Trailing behind him was a little boy with half his face covered. She could feel herself shaking violently.

The man shoved the gun into the boys hand and then vanished down the alley with a disgusting grin.

Katara may have been young, but she was not dumb. She knew that the boy had been left there to finish it off. If she could have moved she would have run, screamed, attacked, done anything. But as it was she could only tremble and keep her hand firm against Kya's wound and grimace while the boy pressed the barrel to her head. She could feel him shacking too as he held it to her head for what seemed a small eternity. At one point she just wished he would do it. Then there was a crack of gun fire, Katara let out a scream but didn't move from the spot. She waited, waited for the blood to start flowing and the pain to surge through her skull, but it didn't. When she turned around the boy was gone.

Katara gave her attention back to Kya who had now gone slack and lifeless. She let out a cry for help and kept her hand pressed to the wound. There was no way she would take it off.

"Mom. Mommy, please," Katara pleaded with the corpse. But there was no use. Kya was gone.

She began to sob, and lean over Kya, but still didn't remove her hand. She pressed it down with all the force she could muster until the paramedics came and dragged her kicking and screaming away from the lifeless husk that used to be her mother.

Katara bolted upright in bed. It had all been a dream. No, not a dream, a memory, a horrible memory.

With fumbling fingers she undid the necklace. She clutched it to her chest and let herself relive all the pain from that night. It felt so close, as if Katara had only just lived it.

Typically, Katara would cry after that dream, but not this night. This night she felt an all consuming anger as she thought about the tattooed man, the boy, the paramedics, her mother, herself. And the brunt of it focused on her own actions. Her freeze up, her inability to stop the blood flow, but more importantly all of her actions leading up to that night, the actions that had brought the wolf to their door.

She had only been a little girl, she knew that. She knew that an eight-year-old girl couldn't be expected to understand the intricacies of gang violence, of Ozai's crushing grasp on the whole island. She didn't understand that the whispers of opposition that had been uttered in the sanctity of her own home were not to be repeated on the school playground.

Still, Katara couldn't help but wonder what it would have been if she hadn't revealed her parents, if she had kept her mouth shut, and if Kya had lived. Perhaps Ozai would have been convicted sooner, perhaps countless lives would have been saved, perhaps Kya would still be with her. And so Katara, bemoaning what might have been, heaved the full weight of the thing on her own shoulders.

"Katara. Katara!" She suddenly snapped to her senses as she realized Aang had her shoulders clasped between his hands, his face inches from her in the darkness. "Katara what is the matter."

At first she had no idea what he was talking about, she had been so consumed in her own thoughts, but then she vaguely remembered letting out frustrated moans.

"I'm fine." She brushed his hands off her shoulders.

"But you were-"

"I said I'm fine!" She didn't hold back any of the volume that was so ready to burst from her mouth. "Did you not hear me? I'm fine!"

She flung the covers off in a violent display of emotion and stormed out the bedroom door, only to be met by Sokka, Suki, and Toph standing in the living room with blank stairs on their faces. Katara ignored them. She also ignored Aang emerging from the bed room, calling her name. She snatched the keys from the ring by the door but before she could escape Aang blocked her way.

"Where are you going?" He asked, a panicked look in his stormy grey eyes.

"A place," she muttered, in a none to friendly tone.

"Why?"

"Because I feel like it."

"Please tell me what's wrong."

"I already told you I'm fine. Now let me go."

"No way."

"Aang." It was Toph's voice now. "Let her go."

"Are you crazy?"

"She's not a dog you need to stop from getting out. She's your wife. She's a person. Let her go." Aang didn't seem to be willing to move from the spot, but finally he bugged and Katara was out the door before he could change his mind.

She got in the car and drove as fast as the tiny thing would go. Where she was going she didn't know. It didn't matter. She could never get away from the one person she so desperately wanted to escape from, and she would never again the person she so desperately wanted to see.

Call it what you want, destiny, luck, chance, or the subconscious mind, but somehow Katara ended up at the house. Her old house, the one that Kya had died at.

When Gran Gran had moved out, because of the worsening conditions of the neighborhood, it got taken up by a land lord who rented it out to various miscreants of society. Drugs, prostitution, violence, death, you name it, that house had seen it. All that was left of it now was a boarded up shell of its former self. The words condemned were painted in red on the door, all the windows were broken, and beer bottles and cigarette butts were strewn across the lawn.

There was, however, one place that remained intact, the alley. As Katara sat running out the gas in the smart car, she tried to tap into every shred of good sense that was left in her at at that moment of feverish rage, and all the good sense told her to back out of the drive way and go home, which is precisely why she got out of the car.

Katara was bear foot and there was broken glass all over the yard, but she payed no mind to it, instead picking up a beer bottle in each hand and chucking them at the already broken windows with frustrated grunts and screams.

She gave herself permission to be absolutely crazy, stomping across the lawn, kicking and throwing anything she could get her hands on, in a fit of blind rage.

She eventually made her way to the alley, where there were needles strewn across the gravel along with the beer bottles, and dark smudges all over that Katara didn't even want to make guesses about. She supposed that countless crimes had been committed there, but there was only one that she cared about.

Katara kneeled in the spot were her mother had died and pounded the ground in spastic bursts of frustration.

Why? Why? Why?

She kept saying the words in her head but her lips remained motionless.

Eventually, her hands became numb from the incessant pounding, and by the time Katara had taken all she could handle of the place her insides had become just as numb.

As she drove away Katara sensed that the anger she had felt had gradually simmered down as her temper tantrum had progressed, and now that the molten hatred in her heart had cooled, it was icy and numb as stone.

Notes

Finally a full length chapter out with a song (Elastic Heart By Sia). Hopefully this marks the end of my laziness.

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