||This is very unfinished. Actually, the whole thing should probably be trashed and rewritten. Which I started to do at one point and never finished. It's kinda a trend for me. Anyway, the premise of this was the some people don't dream for a reason. Because if they did dream, there is a very good chance they would never want to return. And there's also a bit about multiple personalities and how they can creep up and take over and well, there's basically no plot. I think that's what I'm getting to. For a quick note- this story was inspired by two things, the first was a computer conversation I had with someone and they mentioned something about meeting in dreams. It was just a remark, not a whole conversation. The second thing was that someone said they dreamt that they were in a landscpe similar to the drawings I have in my dining room. So, boom, I have a half baked story idea.
And, yes, the song quote was very appropriate for this story.
Every time I dream its just a little bit stronger than real life.
-Meat Loaf Good Girls go to Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)"
Tonight he walked in a city. A city of buildings, not people. Buildings composed of perfect geometric shapes with edges that met at corners sharp enough to cut. The shapes seemed to defy gravity as they rose to a leaden sky above. Their sides were smooth and flawless and gleamed with an intense white luminescence that hurt the eyes. He looked to the sky above to find the source of the light following the line of the dark shadows cast by the buildings. The only thing in the heavens revealing themselves were a few black moons that appeared to be hewn from onyx. They floated effortlessly above the cityscape. He raised a hand towards the largest of the moons, unsure of his perception of distance. His fingertips told him the coolness of the stone was within quick reach instead of orbiting miles above. The coolness was the only change in the air he could detect. Even with the ambient light of a source that could only be a sun, the temperature remained steady. Not even a faint breeze stirred the still, heavy air.
Maybe the air was not heavy. Maybe something else weighed down upon him, an invisible force clutching his chest and shortening his breaths.
He walked slowly through the streets. Every footfall echoing off the buildings surrounding him. The sidewalk below his feet glowed in the same pristine white as the walls. The boundary between the sidewalk and the immaculately manacured grass was an unbreached line, perfectly straight like a taut wire. The landscape, as a whole, was a finely crafted work that could have only been created with the deftness and precision of the human hand.
He could have stood in awe of an enviroment so dedicated to form as to be too precise to be habitable but a presence seemed to lurk in those flawless shadows. He continued walking slowly through the streets being pulled and pushed by unknown forces, in an unknown direction, to an unforeseen destination. A feeling of being watched by unseen eyes gnawed at the back of his mind. It was no one, made no sound, nor motion but it caused him to constantly look behind him in expectation of finding another being. He almost wanted to run into one of the numerous doorways but beyond all of them was an unwelcoming darkness. He felt safer in the light. The empty sidewalks gave him no relief. They seemed to mock his paranoia. He walked on in the light, steering clear of the darkness.
Reason told him that his paranoia was produced by an overactive imagination egged on by the bleak landscape surrounding him. An inexplicable force, a dark longing hidden in the shadows, told him otherwise.
I think this might be the end of an edit. I double spaced here for some reason.
The paranoia eased into the background and another presence became clearer as he walked further into the city. It was the force that formed the straight lines of this city with a precise hand and chiseled these buildings into solid shapes. He felt a link to this force. It was something familiar. He followed it.
He finally came to a dark green wooden door. Unlike other entrances to buildings he had passed, this was not a doorway that lead into darkness. It did not fit in with the architecture but to him it seemed the only safe way to go. Anyway, that familiarity that he trailed led here. He hesitated as he reached for the doorknob. This door did not fit in with the stark structures that surrounded him. It was wooden, natural, even homely. The doorknob was weathered and the paint was beginning to chip. When he grabbed the doorknob he felt it. He had felt the buildings and the sidewalk, too, but they seemed to lack the solidity of this door. He was quite sure the doorway held something behind it, good or bad, he did not know. There was just something there calling him. He was not sure why but before entering he yielded to his instincts and looked back. The street was empty although there was something he could still feel in the shadows. He sighed and walked in, quickly closing the door behind him.
The room was dark except for a night light that glowed about ten feet ahead of him. His eyes slowly adjusted and he was able to make out the room he now stood in, a living room. There was no paranoia contained in this darkness but he could make out the shapes of two sofas, a chair, a couple of tables and, in the far corner, was a desk and a computer. He moved silent and careful like a prowler. He thought for some strange reason he might awaken the residents who slept behind other doors. He carefully moved towards the computer. He ran his fingers gently across the keyboard and, even though the machine was off, he could hear a gentle hum of the fan and buzz of the monitor. The monitor slowly began to glow and he jerked his hand back. Words formed on the screen, words he knew.
>Do you dream?
>Rarely. I hardly remember them if I do.
>Do you ever dream of me?
>Maybe I can change that one night.
A relationship formed over a telephone line with the help of a computer that was impersonal in many ways but truthful in many more. In the realm of cyberspace, one has no face, no voice, only words. There is a liberation from the physical plane and an entrance into a place where the only thing defining you is your words. In this place, he connected with a stranger finding a bond that existed beyond time and, now it seems, space. He had reached out for many nights trying to find her, unsuccessfully. Now he was confronted with this.
He moved back from the computer gaping at what he saw. Across the screen scrolled a conversation he had many weeks ago with a stranger who soon became a friend of sorts. He was kidding, at the time, about the dreams. But he was standing here, wasn't he? He slouched down in the chair knowing he should not be there, in that house, in that room, in front of that computer. Something or some feeling had lead him here and he was determined to find what the origin of it was.
The door slammed shut. He jumped out of the chair causing it to fall to the floor. He winced as it thudded softly on the carpet. He kept wincing as the room lit up, waiting to be discovered like a thief caught in the act. He wasn't sure how he was going to explain his presence but as his eyes slowly adjusted to the light the room surrounding him began to look more like a movie set than someone's home. The computer next to him was nothing more than a plastic shell. The furniture became less specific, patterns faded to solids, wood lost its grain. Objects were no longer functional. They were set decorations. He was wondering at this change without taking notice of what had come into the door. "You should take a look at the dining room," chimed a voice from the other side of the room.
He jumped at the sound of the emotionless voice of a female. A voice that commanded despite its lack of emphasis or volume. He gawked at the woman, first, in shock then in amazement. Her face was quite like he had pictured Katherine's. Kat? Why did he think of her as Katherine? Katherine Collins was her assumed name. What is her real name? He had been searching for her and could not remember at this moment what her real name was. He knew, for some unknown reason, that this was Katherine not... what is her name? He realized he was standing there with his mouth open wanting to ask something pertinent but could not put the thoughts together. She pointed towards an adjoining room and he followed without question.
The lights were also on here. He ignored the table and chairs, being that they were mere scenery. His attention quickly became focused on the wall where two pictures hung side by side. He could feel the sharp edges of the buildings and the grip of the shadows. He slowly crept closer to the pictures fearful of sucked back into the bleak cityscape. They were exactly as they had been outside, except these buildings were built of pencil and paper not of stone. There was a signature in the corner of both drawings, Michelle Harris. His eyes opened wide in wonderment. The name he was trying to remember. These drawings, that city, was hers. The force he felt pulling him here, the force of the creator of the city was her. Who was the woman in the other room then, if it is not her?
"She is amazingly talented, isn't she?"
Lost in his thoughts, he had forgotten about the woman. He turned to the woman, who stood across the table from him, and nodded absently. This was not the girl he had met one afternoon at work. This woman stood slightly taller, slightly grander, and much darker in spirit. He really never believed that this was possible, finding someone here, but now... he was not exactly sure of what he had found, but it was certainly not what he had anticipated finding.
"You came here searching for her. You have been searching for a while." She had moved next to him without taking a step. She was just there. She peered into the drawings, closely examining them.
He felt slightly uncomfortable by her presense. He did not understand the source of his discomfort. He had never been nervous around Michelle but then he was not quite sure this was her standing beside him. She had spoken of Michelle as though she were someone else. "But aren't you her?" he questioned pointing towards the sketches.
She smiled and the air grew chilly. "No, I am Katherine Collins."
He laughed, "How's that possible? You're just a name."
Katherine sailed gracefully to a stool and sat down. She looked upon him as if he was a small child. He quit laughing. "I am not real." She waved her arms dramatically around her, "None of this is real. I just happen to have become an extension of Michelle's subconscious." He looked at her ignorantly and she took the look for what is was and continued to explain patiently, "This is what you desired, is it not, to be part of her dreams? Well, let's just say I serve as a guide, a go-between, sort of. I am here to help you." The last phrase sounded as though it was hissed seductively and he swore for a second he saw a forked tongue between those lips.
Subconscious? Help me? He began to consider his situation a bit more seriously because this was just a little too strange. "Where are you suppose to guide me to?"
"I thought you wanted to become a part of her dreams."
Damn it. The computer. The conversation. "I didn't really think..."
"Are you backing out?"
"You can show me to her?" He was a bit embarrassed by the sudden question because he had no intentions of asking so abruptly but he was here and she had offered.
"Second door on your left."
He started down the hall when she spoke, "You will be bound by your dreams. You will both feel and act upon the same dream." She said this matter-of-fact, as if it was no consequence to either of them.
He stopped at the door and quietly asked, "What do you mean?"
She let out an exasperated sigh and started to recite as though reading from a manual, "You will have an intimate knowledge of her unconscious thoughts and she will of have an intimate knowledge of your unconscious thoughts." Her tone made this information seem impertinent, a mere formality. Although to him, this was important. He was in someone's mind now as they were in his. He was not sure whether or not this was a wise idea after all. There are just some things that one does not want to share. What have I gotten myself into?
She seemed to be satisfied at his disheartened appearance. "There are no boundaries," she said with a slight grin curling up the corners of her mouth.
He grabbed the doorknob tightly but he continued to stare at Katherine. The door was his escape from her. He did not know what type of trap she could be leading him into, for he felt this was surely a trap. But this was as surely an entrance as it was an exit. Someone else was behind this door, someone less dangerous than the being he was now in the company of. But they, Katherine and Michelle, are one in the same, aren't they?
"Before you go..." She slithered next to him and took his empty hand. Her grasp was cold and he wanted to flinch away but she held his hand tightly. "These will strengthen the bond." She dropped two small objects onto his open palm forcing his fingers closed around them.
"Strengthen?" He did not want to be bound this manifestation of Katherine Collins. Bonds? What can bond me here? Isn't this a dream? That last thought made him start. You fool! None of this is real, it's just your imagination. What are you afraid of? He was flushed with embarrassment at his cowardness. Her hands still held his hand tightly closed. He jerked his hand from her grip. He met her gaze head on and kept repeating to himself that he had nothing to fear. But that did nothing to overcome her icy glare and cool smile. As unreal as she may have been, he still felt small near her. He dropped his gaze to the rings in his hand where two plain silver bands lay upon his palm.
"With those you will be able to return here every night."
He had not looked up from the rings. Here? Why would I want to return here? He looked back to the doorknob and his hand upon it. He had been grasping it tightly the whole time, ready to leave. So why would I want to return? Maybe Katherine could answer that.
He looked up. She was gone.
He felt a bit relieved to find her gone but that left him alone with another door to walk through. He absently stuffed the rings into his pocket and opened the door.
The light peel of laughter went unnoticed as he closed the door behind him.
The lecture room was small, approximately ten seats to each of the five rows that were built on steps. The chairs were soft and comfortable just as she had always remembered them and they has little swing up desktops between each of them. Her elbow was propped up on the desktop was folded down in front of her. With her chin in resting in her hand, she watched the lecture. Her eyes glared at the professor who was speaking about the large image of a drawing that was projected upon the wall behind him. She was ignoring the lecture, she had heard it all before. She had lived it all before. She looked down to scan the people who sat in front of her as if she could drill holes through the back of their skulls with just that glance. They have no idea what it's like. Let them try it for a day and find out how much of their sanity remains intact.
The others in the room nodded in agreement to the lecturer's remarks. Yes, she was talented. Yes, she had an eye for composition and line. And, yes, she had heard this all before many times. People would ask her why she quit drawing because they just could not fathom why someone as talented would waste those talents on something like typesetting. She considered her work now just as impressive as anything one could find on a gallery wall. It was not her choice in life to be talented, it just had always been that way. Now she had to suffer through this lecture. Most people would love to have their work commented on but it was more than that. The compliments were there but the tone beneath made her feel as if she were being scoulded for a crime worse than murder. And, to make it even more stinging, they did not even have the respect to acknowledge she was sitting there. The lecturer spoke of her in the past tense. This angered her the most. She had to sit quietly and observe while other people talked about her as if she were dead. But as far as your work goes, you are dead, aren't you?
It was not her choice to be here, for her there were no choices in these matters. So she sat and watched.
The door creaked open and a man entered the room, closing the door behind him as if to shut out some monster stalking him. She saw him come in and muttered, "Oh, joy." It was bad enough listening to the lecture in a room full of strangers but a familiar face has shown up. She was expecting him to take a seat on one of the bottom rows but he did not. He, instead, gawked at the professor for a moment and then looked around the room to finally meet her stare. He seemed happy to see her, even relieved. No one else, including the lecturer noticed him as he strolled up the steps to where she was sitting. She looked up at him slightly shocked. Why is he acknowledgeing my presence when the others have never taken notice of me?
He listened to the professor for a moment before he sat down beside her and asked, "What's going on here?"
She groaned and slouched further down into her chair. She was slightly perturbed that he would come in and ask such a question. She figured he was here in the same capacity as the others, to make her feel guilty for vowing to never again pick up a pencil for the sake of art. He gave her a puzzled frown and then returned to listening to the lecture.
She stared at him just daring him to make a comment about the slides or the lecture. He did not seem to pay attention to her stare and when he did turn to speak to speak to her, she sat up. "What?" she spat out.
He appeared to be hurt and gave a quick uneasy glance towards the lecturer then whispered, "Uh... do you want to go someplace else to talk?"
She did not quite understand what he had said and then it dawned on her why he was whispering. "They can't hear you. Hell, they aren't even acknowledging that I'm still alive. Watch this." Why didn't I think of this before? She walked down the row of seats and started to make shadow puppets in front of the slide projector. The lecturer didn't miss a beat and no one turned to look at her as she started adding sound effects to the show. No one except him.
She became aware of him snickering and abruptly stopped the finger puppet show. "What are you doing here?"
"I was looking for you," he said in that annoyingly charming way he had. "What are you doing here?"
She started laughing, "I'm getting an art lesson."
"Are you learning anything interesting?"
She grinned broadly and shook her head, "Nope." Nope, I've heard this all before and from numerous sources.
"Great. Wanna leave?"
"And go where?"
"Wherever," he shrugged.
"I don't know." She had not thought about leaving before he arrived. She was just sitting there stewing in guilt and anger for no apparent reason. She looked back down at the other seats of the lecture room and they were empty. No one stood behind the podium and only a blank white square was being projected on the wall. She sighed and looked back at him. He had stood up and was smiling at her inquistively. She rolled her eyes at him, "Alright. Seems there's not much here to see anyways."
He opened the door opposite to the one they had entered with a bit of hesitation. She did not know why he was hesitant nor why he seemed surprised at the hallway they had entered. "Where are we?" he inquired as she walked past him and into a gallery.
"This is were I attended college." She stopped suddenly and turned, "Why are you really here?" as if, for the first time, she had realized that he did not belong. He was not part of her college life. She met him two years after she had graduated. Just started chatting one night over the computer with him and one thing led to another and they became friends. Why is he here then?
He stood gazing off into the distance lost in his thoughts. He did not appear to be paying attention to her question. She prodded him again, "Hey, Keith," she waved a hand in front of his face, "hey, I asked you a question. Are you just going to sit there?"
The sudden realization that he was an intruder hit him. He wanted to aplogize and leave but he could have sworn she was happy to have seen him. But this is her dream, not mine. I never even asked her permission to come here. I shouldn't have interferred. But I did. He wanted to creep back into a corner. He was not sure how to explain what brought him here. He did not know how long he had been standing there before he replied, "I was trying to find you and," he strugged, "I don't know. I just found you." He did not think it would be ideal for him to add in the part about walking around in a drawing of hers, sitting in front of her computer and then taking directions from someone that looked just like her but was not her. Even that was a little too much for him to believe.
She spread her arms out dramtically, "So you found me. Now what?"
He had invaded someone's dream... or nightmare. He thought about what he had heard in that room and what he had seen. The man in the front of the class was talking about her as if she weren't there and she was listening the whole time. She was just sitting there listening to it like she did not have a choice in the matter. He stuck his hands in his pockets and looked down at the marble tiled floor. He fumbled with the rings. Katherine said they would strengthen the bond but that decision was not his alone. He had to ask her permission. He could not return here without it. Otherwise, he would continue to feel like an intruder. "Now what?" was right. He thought about the picture he had seen hanging on a wall. "I know this city you might like to see."
"City? What city?"
She eyed him skeptically. "Mine? I have a city?"
He grinned foolishly, "Sure you do. Come on." This time he took her hand. He had never held it before and he wanted to make sure this was really Michelle, not just another double. Her hand was warm to the touch. Not Katherine. He pulled her towards the nearest door he saw.
She halted and pulled him to stop. "That's a storage closet." Pointing towards the front entrance to the gallery, she tried to pull him in the other direction. "This is the way out."
"It's this way." He said tugging her back.
Her brows lowered and her mouth twisted and she quipped, "You just want to get me in a dark closet."
You know, since you mention it... He had said a lot of stuff to her on-line and some of it was true but mostly it was said in jest to find out what her reaction would be. He looked at her knowing that, even here, his bark would always be worse than his bite. He knelt down on one knee and gently kissed the back of her hand, something he could not bring himself to do in real life but seemed quite befitting at this moment. He looked up at her with all the charm he could muster, "You and only you."
She shook her head and retrieved her hand from his grasp but she was smiling as she did. "Yeah, until the sorority girls show up."
He got up off his knee and walked over to the door, "Your city awaits."
"Do I gotta wear a stupid crown?"
"Only if you desire."
"No, I think it would be a little too gaudy for a visit to the storage closet."
He opened the door. Their relationship was not that much different here. He did not know if he was disappointed at this or not. He had wanted it to be more than friends but then friends are hard to come by anywhere and he had another matter to worry about. He was still here as an uninvited guest, whether she realized it or not. He did not know how much time he had to spend here but, if he was to return he wanted to know it was with her blessing.
Yeah, there's not enough paranoia in this last part. I need to rectify that in the rewrite.