Dream 3/9/2016

I’m about 18 and dating a guy who is throwing a party. I’m supposed to sleep over, and my things are in one of the many rooms in his parents’ house. There is something locked in a chamber under the hardwood floor in the dining room. Everyone who walks through there gets bumped from underneath, but they all keep drinking and pretending they don’t feel it. I am on the roof watching the wind blow naked tree branches and wondering if I’ll be kissed at all. My boyfriend doesn’t kiss, but I wish he did, even though he wears his collar popped. What year is it even? I don’t know. My hair is long though.

Around sunrise, I come off the roof. I’m tired and want my bed. Someone is helping my boyfriend put new hardwood down in the dining room. Whatever came up was reburied. He doesn’t kiss me. The guy helping him grabs my ass when I walk by. There are two guys passed out in my bed. They won’t wake up, so I can’t get them out. One is snuggling my nightshirt. All the beds are taken. There is nowhere to sleep.

I wander into the small laundry room and find a door that I think leads to the crawl space under the house. It leads to a large closet filled with canned goods – the homemade kind, in a mixture of Ball and Mason jars. There is a cot there, and it’s very dark, so I think I’ll be able to sleep. I need pitch darkness to sleep during the daytime. I think I’ll be safe, but I check to make sure the tiny door doesn’t lock. The light switch is on an exposed stud by the dryer. I don’t want to sleep in there when the light switch is outside the room, but I am so tired. So tired. Then, the kid under the dining room floor (now I know it’s some kind of really fucked up kid) is thumping again. I’m not going to sleep or be kissed.

Where the Wild Things Hunt

Shadow stood on the edge where the dormant grass met the rip-rap-covered bank.  In the bay, the water gently lapped against grayish rocks.  Rusty water, made less inviting by the bright sunlight.  Through oval glasses he didn’t need, he stared at the ferry as it approached the docks.  He’d been compelled to wear them, putting on the face of an intellectual.  People stereotyped glasses-wearers as geeks, nerds, and squares long before Velma began single-handedly solving mysteries for the gang.  He could play off that for the day.

Looking to his left, Shadow recognized the teenaged boy sitting on a tripod stool in front of an easel.  He knew that the boy painted ocean scenes in watercolor, all the same shade of blue but with different concentrations of the color.  Several empty tubes of acrylic lay scattered around the boy’s feet and on the easel two cups – one for water, one for paint.

The boy moved the brush over the paper with inhuman speed, starting in the upper left and working his way to the lower right.  He didn’t wait for it to dry.  As soon as one was finished, he flipped the paper over the top of the pad to reveal a fresh, white sheet.  Always intrigued, Shadow walked over to stand behind him and watch as the boy transferred the world onto paper.

“Sea, sea, sea, sea,” the boy murmured over and over as his arm jerked and hitched.

Shadow couldn’t understand how such uncontrolled movements made something so beautiful.  The result was a surprisingly realistic rendering with exquisite detail to the tiny crests of waves.  For only a moment, he took the pad from the boy and flipped through the paintings.  As he flipped, Shadow saw the nebulous blob that marked the position of the ferry make steady progress toward the dock.

“Sea, sea, SEA, SEA.”  The boy grew increasingly agitated.

“Yes, I know,” Shadow said to him and returned the pad.  “It’s the only thing you see clearly.”

“Sea,” the boy sighed and resumed painting.

Shadow took the ferry to the island.  It was a small boat, and the waves were rough, but since the trip was uneventful, he tuned out for a while.  He never noticed the young woman, no more than twenty, staring at him with large blue eyes rimmed with black liner.  She longed for a hat as she fought to keep her pageboy-cut hair out of her eyes.  Eventually, she settled for holding each side of her hair in her fists.

Beyond the draw of a handsome face, she marveled that Shadow’s hair hardly moved.  The wind picked up only a few strands and twice saw him scratch at the stubble on his face.  Other than that, he didn’t move, and she wondered how anyone could be so still for so long.  She thought that, if he embraced her, her ear would rest just over his heart.

On the island, Shadow stared into the forest while the others set up camp.  The young woman spoke to him, and he greeted her, letting his eyes pass over her face to record it for future reference.  Her eyes, hope and good will seemed to arrow out of them, and he wondered if other things – hate, fear, lust – would also come through them, not only transparently but forcefully so.  He gave her a half-smile and a half-laugh, which she returned with a wide, guileless grin.  Clingy, he thought and walked away from her to the main tent.

Fourteen feet-by-fourteen feet, the tent stood in a patch of evergreen needles just large enough to contain it.  Two adjacent sides had both the flaps and screens unzipped and tied open to allow easy access.  A long table and several camp chairs were already set up, along with two laptops, a scanner, and a printer.  Shadow gave the equipment the same treatment he’d given the young woman.

“You can try,” he said quietly and left to set up his own tent.

He was up, sitting in a chair in the main tent and listening to the night.  A man’s scream cut off abruptly.  Snapping, snapping, rending, gurgling growls of satiation.  More screaming.  His lantern was on, and soon, the surviving five people clustered in the center of the tent, looking to him to know what to do.

“Did you see it?” one horrified man asked of Shadow.  “It was eight feet tall!”

“Furry, too?” Shadow asked, his smile haunting his face again.  He stood and turned up the lantern.  “With lower tusks, large black eyes, and a nose that’s almost comically human.”

The man poked his head out of the flap of the tent and never had the chance to scream before the snarling thing outside batted his head off his shoulders.  His body dropped to the ground, and the young woman, beyond terror, darted to Shadow’s side.  She tucked her head under his arm and dug her fingers into his shirt.

“What are they?”  Her skin was cold, and she quivered with the rush of adrenaline.

“Wild,” Shadow answered.  When the beast poked its head into the tent, the young woman looked up at him, searching for an answer, for deliverance.  Shadow passed a hand over her short, soft hair and removed his glasses.  “Hungry,” he added.  As he breathed warm air onto the lenses, the beast leapt.


In a time and place where men inherited rather than purchased land, the fiefdom was plagued with territorial disputes. Generations of civil war meant that young men were scarce. Thus, although I was a young woman, I served on my father’s guard.

My duty was manning the closest watchtower to the keep. Hair cropped severely short — shorter than some of the men — and leather armor helped me blend. I was trained in all manner of martial weapons, but my talent was archery. I sat atop this tower, crossbow pointed at the tree line, watching, watching, waiting, day or night depending on my shift.

I was off duty when the Vikings came. My ancient father held my arm as I led him through the market. Screams, the smell of burning wood and burning flesh, I put a hand over my father’s. “Hurry back. Bolt the doors.” I shoved him in the direction of the royal house and drew my dagger.

When I turned to head down the path to the watchtower, a fist connected with my face. I staggered back, yelling for my father to run, run. “Save yourself, my lord!” Another blow to the face, a hard kick to the hip sent me to my knees. I heard the blade as it left its sheath.

“No!” my father shouted. I looked up to see him running my way, hands up, long white beard flapping. “Do not kill my daughter!”

“Care not for me.” I coughed and spit blood. “Run, Father.”

My assailant murmured something. I awaited death but instead, received a hard lash across the back. The Viking hit me over and over with the sword sheath. Crack, crack, crack. I fell onto my face and still he struck me. He beat the armor off me, and when my skin was exposed, he kept going.

My father fell to his knees and wept. “I surrender it all. Just don’t kill her.”

The man stopped, pulled me up by my scruff of hair, and looked into my eyes. He laughed and laughed. Then, he shoved my face into the dirt and went after my father.


Zombie apocalypse. I wander around my parents’ neighborhood – down in the part of the loop where their house is – carrying a bloodstained baseball bat. I am a survivor. 

Fluffy is with me, as are a few other men. We cleared the area of zombies, but they are so widespread, so pervasive, we are never safe anywhere for long. We know of a checkpoint nearby, and all but one of the men decide to drive one of the trucks that way in hopes of finding out what is happening.

The man and I stand by my parents’ mailbox. The sky is gray, darkening as night approaches. A car comes up the drive from the neighbor’s house, and a woman and a 6 year old child get out of it. She waves an automatic rifle and a radio.

“It doesn’t look good,” she says. “I hope they reach the outpost soon. From what I’ve heard, this area is so overpopulated. They think the only way to neutralize the situation is to nuke it. I just hope they come get us, or at least give us a chance to clear the radius.”

It’s dusk now, and the man built a fire down by the hardwoods that begin the woods along the edge of my parents’ yard. I stand at the top of the yard, scanning the road, scanning how the patchy grass and moss slope at first sharply and then gently down, down to the campsite.

The child is playing, running. His mother isn’t paying attention, and he picks up the rifle. The man tells him not to touch it, and the child drops it. The safety isn’t on.

Bullets, rapid, everywhere. She’s running to the child. They are screaming, screaming as their bodies are mutilated. I throw up my arm, as if that can protect me. Dirt, twigs, bits of moss pepper my legs, and when the pop-pop-pop stops, they are dead. Dead. Shredded, empty flesh bags face down in the leaves near the fire.

The man steps out from behind an oak he used as a shield. He looks at me. “My God.” In the firelight, I see his Adam’s apple bob. Then, I hear the moaning.

“I don’t want to die,” I say. “I don’t want to be undead.”

Then, I awoke.

The Bride

Picture her, a mixture of Vivian Leigh and Lynda Carter, with skin like cream, large, thickly lashed eyes, and full lips.  Sculpted into a spiraling and curling work of art, her hair rivals the most intricate of powdered wigs, but it is dark, the color of richly brewed coffee.  In the dream, I am living inside her skin.

Her gown is white, tier upon tier of antique lace, which rises high, encircling her delicate throat.  At the center, she has pinned a cameo featuring the three muses.  The sleeves, bodice, and skirt overlay are a pale blue silk with a faint sheen, and it all drapes over a hoop skirt and tulle petticoats.  Under all the fabric, her body is bare.  She wears three-inch, black button-closed boots.

She sweats in the Caribbean summer heat, irritated that her fiancé wanted to have a Victorian themed wedding in a tropical setting.  The ceremony and reception are over, and she waits in the shade of a building awning, waving a lace fan at her painted face, and praying her new husband hurries so they can adjourn to the honeymoon suite.  She glances down at her ring, a fat hunk of emerald that matches her eyes.  She likes the ring, diamonds being overrated and over-priced.  The groom arrives, but she pays him little mind other than to take his offered arm.

She looks out across the lagoon.  There stands the collection of bamboo and grass huts that make up the honeymoon suite.  To get to it from the shore, she must cross a plank and rope bridge.  Her feet hurt.  Tired and hot, all she can think is to get in the shade and cool of the hut and get out of the dress.

When her husband turns back to speak with straggling well-wishers, she releases him and starts across the bridge.  She makes it halfway.  A strong wind sweeps across the lagoon, and she stumbles.  Her ankle twists, and she falls against the rope railing.  In a comical way, she flips feet-over-head over the railing and takes a nosedive into the lagoon.

Here, the lagoon is already twenty or so feet deep.  She stares up at the surface of the water as she sinks.  She tugs at the dress, tries to wrench off the boots, but still sinks until she finally touches the bottom.  The bottom is smooth, almost like a concrete swimming pool but made of sugar-white sand.  She tries to push off the bottom and digs her fingers into the water as if it could be used as a rope to pull herself to the surface, to blessed air.

When her lungs fail and her blinding vision of the surface above goes dim, I pop out of her body and shoot into the sky.  My spirit spreads until I am the sky.  I am the clouds, the birds, the very sun.  I watch as the people scream, and the young husband, realizing what has happened, dives into the water.  I smile down at them, happy to be free of the dress.