The dreams came and went, and sometimes they showed the truth, and sometimes they didn't. Maggie never got used to them. She dreamed of meeting her husband, which was true, but she also dreamed that he was a vampire, which of course he wasn't. Most of the time, she decided to ignore them and only make a mental note if something happened of which she had dreamed before.
It was a rather ordinary life. And when Stella was born, Maggie watched her anxiously, until she decided - relieved - that her daughter had none of this spooky business going on in her head. Stella was a delightful child, hardly ever cried and grew up to be cute in a very feminine way. At the age of twelve, she stopped playing soccer with the boys and started asking questions about makeup, growing up and all that "strange stuff" that adults seemed to be doing most of the time and which children were not supposed to know about. Maggie often had a hard time explaining everything, but she did her best, and either she did a better job than she actually thought, of Stella was so bright that she filled in all the gaps by herself.
Then the dreams started coming more often. Maggie dreamed of plates breaking after dinner, of their cat dying (which it did, unceremoniously, on Stella's fourteenth birthday, right in front of the family and the cake) and of her husband having an affair. Everything turned out smoothly, but now whenever she dreamed of something, she wrote it down in a notebook lying next to her bed and would spend a few days waiting for disaster to happen. There were also nice things happening of which she had dreamed before, but those mostly went unnoticed.
One evening, Maggie came down with the flu. She hadn't known before, so she had Stella go to the supermarket and get some lemons and canned chicken soup and went to bed early. But that night, there was little rest for her. She had horrible dreams, turned and twisted in their big marriage bed and woke her husband more than once. He tried to calm her down, brought her a glass of water and spoke to her with a soft, soothing voice until she drifted back to sleep - where another nightmare was waiting.
She woke exhausted, later than usual. The house was quiet. "Honey, where are you?"
Her husband appeared on the doorstep. "Right here, darling. Feeling better?"
"Don't know, maybe a little." Fragments of last night's dreams started appearing through the cracks in her consciousness. "Where is Stella?" she asked, startled.
"Don't worry, she's alright. She had to leave earlier today, the bus drivers are on strike. You remember?"
"Did she go by bike?"
Her husband shook his head. "No, she said she's walk and maybe hitch a ride from one of her friends on the way. She left maybe two minutes ago."
Maggie jumped out of bed, snatched her morning gown and was out the door. The front yard was empty, and early mist was covering the meadows and fields surrounding their small, wooden house. Down the road, she saw a fragile shape getting in a car she didn't recognize.
Maggie stood still. Seconds ticked by, as the car took up speed and disappeared. She didn't know where their car keys were, and either way she would be too late.