An interesting fact about this book is that most of the dream sequences are based on either my own dreams or the dreams friends have related to me. A question I sometimes get is, “are your dreams really that vivid.” They often are.
The place where my dreaming experience and Rems differ is that he has a much easier time lucid dreaming. I have achieved lucid dreams a number of times, but generally when I realize I’m dreaming I wake up. Still, my memory of my dreams is quite good.
* * *
“So, Mr. Reeves, what seems to be the problem here?”
“I’m having trouble sleeping,” I tell the Doctor.
“I stay up for days at a time,” I’m lying through my teeth, “the pills over the counter don’t have an affect on me, I need something stronger.”
“I’m sorry Mr. Reeves, but right now you are displaying clear signs of drug seeking behavior…blah blah blah…”
* * *
“Hello Mr. Reeves. How are you feeling today?”
“Not good Doc,” I’m seeking a second, third, and now fourth opinion. “I’m having a real hard time falling asleep. It’s been like this for the past few months, and I’ve finally broke down and decided I need to get checked out.”
* * *
After three days of searching, I’ve finally achieved my goal. I have no job, no responsibilities, all day and all night, and a big bottle of Flurazepam. Perhaps I may dream an endless dream. Perhaps I may sleep eternally and dance within a universe which I command, which I control, with stars and nebula and planets, entire worlds and existences which bow to me. Dimensions? I have many which flow within and without each the other. Power? At a whim anything or everything which is in my mind can simply be. A cosmic sand box. My new, eternal playground.
* * *
Where am I? I am standing in my kitchen, how long I’ve been here I have absolutely no reckoning, could be days. I am standing still before my fridge, not a thought in my head, and I think I’ve forgotten what I am doing. What am I doing? Why are the lights not on? Do I usually walk around in the darkness like this, or is this a recent development?
I look at the fridge and it seems to be taunting me with it’s empty cavity. And then the immense pain in my stomach registers, I double over pressing my hands into my guts hard against the pain which feels comforting and yet worse at the same time. How long has it been since I’ve eaten? Did I eat this morning? Last night?
Could this all just be a bad dream? Maybe what I perceive as the waking world is just some sort of nightmare. Sometime soon I will open my eyes and I will be flying through space deep within reality. But for now I cannot focus on such things, I simply must deal with the pain at hand while it haunts me. Waking life, sleeping dreams, waking dreams, sleeping life.
I open up a pack of Top Ramon and throw it in a pot of water and wait for the water to boil. I drink a Bob Marley tea and take a Flurazepam. On an empty stomach, the pill make me feel nauseous. I don’t know how long I stand here with my stomach gurgling deep bellows of pain before I realize that I never turned on the burner on the stove, so I click it on and once again I am waiting for my salvation.
After I have guzzled the Top Ramon as quick as I can, I walk towards my bedroom in a stupor, my head feels light, and I’m not sure if the sounds are coming from outside or within the walls. I collapse in the hallway, the wall eases my fall and I sink into a deep, deep sleep.
* * *
Where am I? In my apartment, but it’s so dark. I have this uneasy feeling that something isn’t right here.
I recognize that sweet voice, and somewhere in my soul a feeling of joy enters. I turn to face the front door, and there she is, Abbey. “Hi,” I say.
“I missed you Rem,” she said. Her eye’s flirt with me.
“Yeah,” I reply. “I’ve missed you too. I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever.”
Lost in time, lost in space, all there is is her, and my surroundings fade to black. Let this moment hang here forever. We don’t talk, we are just awash in each others presence. We don’t need words, we have an understanding, and in this moment, all of her presence, her smile, her white teeth behind parted lips, her summer dress flowing in a dreamy breeze, it all consumes my everything.
In the distance I hear the sound of children and it pulls me out of the perfection that is this moment. Abbey is still there before me, still smiling, her almond eyes are still flirting. Around my feet run two children, and I don’t question how they are in my apartment. They ignore me, and I am content to ignore them and focus on my love, but from the corner of my perception I recognize something odd. One child is running with a box of bullets in his hand, the other is running with a lit firecracker which sputters and sparkles but never ignites. Round and round they run, the fuze on the tiny explosive forever lit.
That’s odd. Abbey is still smiling, ignoring the children and the danger they are in, which feels unnerving. It’s time to do a check, and I walk to a light switch and flip the light on and off but nothing happens.
“This is only a dream,” I say to Abbey.
Her eyes are flirting with me.
“This is only a dream.” I smile but it doesn’t feel genuine. A tear runs down my face. “Why are you here?” I ask her, and her eyes remain locked with mine, her faint smile as she rocks her body from side to side as if she is waiting for a welcome home kiss. “Can I ask you something?”
“Of course,” she replies.
“And you won’t lie to me?” I ask.
“I’ll try not to.”
“Why did you leave me the way you did. Just packed up and left, and then I woke up and you were gone. I thought it was a bad dream. I thought it was a dream within a dream, that I would wake once again and there you would be having never left. But days passed and you never came home. Your pretty, white wedding dress hung in the closet having never been worn, and into its silken sheet I must have cried for days, all the while waiting for you to place your gentle hand on my shoulder, to hold me and never let me go.”
“Do you remember why I said I fell in love with you Rem?”
“You said I was a dreamer, and you liked that about me. You said you never knew anybody who dreamed the way I did. You like that I wasn’t cynical yet, that no matter what happened at least I could still dream. I dreamed of the future and I told you about that dream, and you loved me. And I dreamed about us, and I told you about that dream, and you loved me. I dreamed my dream for the world, and I shared that dream with you, and though you thought I was silly, you loved me all the more. Well I still dream, I haven’t changed, what changed in you?”
Her posture was that of a young girl talking to a preschool teacher crush, smiling too eagerly whilst the object of her desire paid her only a little attention for only a short amount of time. She smiled. “No,” she said. “You are different. You stopped dreaming, Rem, at least in the way that you used to. You closed yourself up, shut yourself in, and then I was all alone even when I was with you. I learned that you didn’t love me, you loved to dream.”
As I grow frustrated, the little boy with the box of bullets places them at Abbey’s feet, and the little girl sets the firecracker atop it. My eyes grow wide. “No!” I shouted, and I spin around stick my fingers in my mouth and whistle. “Kilgor Trout!” I bellow. From down the hall the oversize yellow Labrador Retriever floats in a giant toothpaste cap suspended from a great red balloon.
“I found you Rem!” he calls and reaches down to me. I leap towards him and grab his paw as he pulls me up and thrusts a goldfish bowl upon my head. “I need you Rem child master and protector of the universe, I’ve been lost without you. The universe is in peril, there is real trouble brewing, I can smell it.”
As we float up through the roof and towards the cosmos, I peer down over the edge of the toothpaste cap and watch as Abbey shrinks in the distance, and then with a pop the firecracker bursts triggering the bullets and in a powder puff of red, she vanishes into oblivion.
It’s not long before we are floating through the thick murky depths of space, but my energy has waned so I slump down and wrap my small child like arms around my knees. “I’ve had a hard time without you Kilgor Trout,” I say in just over a whisper. “A real hard time. I’ve missed you, you know.”
Kilgor smiles at me. “I’ve missed you too Rem. Here, I have something for you. Maybe it will cheer you up.” Tied to his back is a blue cape, and he motions for me to take it from him. Although it is faded and drab, I recognize it from my childhood. It is my old blanket I used to carry around with me at all times so I wouldn’t get scarred, that most magical of objects that some how always frightened the demons away. I tie it around my neck and then stand up proud. My heavy heart is cast aside, and with the power of this all mighty object I feel rejuvenated, whole again.
“How do I look Mr. Trout?” I ask in my most booming voice.
“Dashing sir,” Kilgor salutes me and stands at attention. “Dashing.”
* * *
Thanks for reading. Part 7 will be available next week.