DREAMWEAVER, YA Fantasy
Nyxon waited on the side of the highway just before the girl's road. To pass the time, he read a few comics he had stashed under his seat. At around 1:30 in the morning, he cautiously started walking down her gravel road, then cut through the forest to reach her house.
He kept to the edge of the forest and circled around to the side of the home, the fallen pine straw crunching under his footsteps. He was drawn to the one window streaming out light. It was open, the thin curtains dancing outside in the wind. He crept closer, staying low.
He peered into the girl's room. She was passed out on her desk, a pen still slightly clutched in her hand like she'd been writing in the open book she was now using as a pillow. The TV on the dresser babbled and the computer screen on the desk in front of her was repeating something. He expected to see her walls covered with silly magazine pictures of famous actors or pictures of her with friends, but they were incredibly bare. There were no gymnastic or softball trophies, no stashes of makeup or hair products, nothing that hinted to her personality at all.
Probably because she doesn't have one, he thought. How could she be one us? And why is she so important to Icelos?
He climbed through the window and tiptoed over to her. Now he could really see what was on the computer. The familiar animated introduction of youarelucid.com played. The screen started out completely black before the words typed themselves out:
Lucid Dream: a dream wherein the dreamer realizes they are
dreaming and can then control all aspects of the dream.
Then, the words morphed into unreadable text, the letters changing to spell out impossible words. Nyxon knew this dreaming sign well. He'd used it when he was much younger and still learning to recognize he was dreaming. The words on the screen morphed again into the phrase “Are you dreaming right now?”.
Nope, he thought, but I'm about to be.
Looking down, he saw her eyes darting back and forth beneath their lids, a clear sign she was dreaming. He covered her limp hand with his own and closed his eyes, preparing himself for the jump.
Then he disappeared.
The bodies floating in the water looked serene as she peered down at them, but Penny knew they were dead. There were all types of people down there: young, old, men, women, all nationalities. Their arms and legs stretched out, their hair and clothes suspended and flowing around them eerily. In the slight moonlight, their faces looked so pale. They frightened her.
The body below her was a very old man. His wrinkles were deep and his thin hair floated around his head creating a moving halo.
She looked up and saw just what she expected to see: the Shore. It was bordered by wild woods. Types of trees she didn't recognize stood guard in a long line. Beyond the forest, far off in the distance, she could see the outline of buildings. Or at least she thought they were buildings. They rose into the sky and were covered with twinkling lights that resembled windows. But they were strange shapes, like every road side attraction in the United States had decided to set up camp here.
The shore beckoned and a strong desire to be there encircled her heart. Her feet barely touched the ocean as she willed herself forward, her toes leaving trails on the surface of the water. There was no breeze, which Penny thought strange. No wind on the sea? She felt almost trapped in this wide open space.
Nearing the shore now, she could see someone there. He turned toward her, his white face glowing in the moonlight. His hair was a shiny onyx and slicked back, accentuating a severe widow's peak. He wore a tuxedo. The water lapped at his bare feet, soaking the cuffs of his pants.
His eyes locked on hers for an instant, but she snapped her lids shut, hoping to avoid what she knew was coming. It was pointless, though. Almost immediately, images of his face flashed in her mind, bringing with them a sharp pain. It was like there was a brick wall in front of her brain and he was trying to break it down with a sledge hammer.
Her hands flew to her temples. She wavered but continued to hover above the ocean. Again and again, his visage forced itself into her mind. His face was cruel, the skin unblemished and smooth as a marble statue. With every assault, his black eyes became more fierce, his thin lips forming a disgusted snarl. Suddenly, his barrage ended.
Penny watched as he sprinted toward a boat beached on the sand, its one stark white sail jutting up toward the starless sky. Her breath hitched as fear dug its claws into her. Not again, she thought, I hate this, I hate this! She wanted to scream but the sound lodged in her throat.
How to escape him? She longed for the shore. For some reason, it felt like home, but she couldn't go there because of him. She refused to join the bodies below her. They meant death.
The boat approached swiftly now. The frightening man stood at the bow bent forward, all his focus on her. His fingers grasped the wooden frame so tightly, she swore she heard crunching.
She was trapped by indecision. Tears burned the back of her eyes. Everything began to blur and fade.
A warm hand softly took hers and she welcomed the feeling.
“Look at me, focus on me.” The voice was confident but gentle.
Her gaze traveled up to his face. It's him, was all she could think. His square jaw set in concentration. He stood a few inches taller than her and his dark eyes held her own.
“Look at me, stay calm, it's just you and me.” He took her other hand.
It was easy for Penny after that, to forget the bodies below them, the boat that must be coming closer. She stared into his eyes. “Just you and me,” she whispered.
“That's right,” he nodded, “Sink with me.” He tugged slightly and the water touched her toes, but she could only think of him.
Things began to appear behind him: pine trees, foliage, and a pine straw covered ground. It was night wherever they were.
“Are you okay? You can blink now.” He smiled and his face transformed. Two perfect dimples made their appearance and his eyes sparkled.
Penny was momentarily speechless. Catching herself slack-jawed, she closed her eyes and shook her head. Her senses were coming back. Without the Shore calling her, she felt like herself again.
“You... What are you doing here? How? HOW did you do that?”
“One question at a time. First, I'm here to talk to you. Second, well, that's part of what we'll be talking about.” He looked at their hands, he was still holding hers. He let go and took a step back, his face becoming serious again.
Penny was sad when his smile disappeared, “Where are we?”
“Technically, we're in the Ocean of Dreamers,” he said.
“What? Ocean? You mean, we're with the bodies? No, no, I don't want to be with them!” She spun, expecting to see people surrounding her.