Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Dream World

What I Dreamt Last Night is a novel that I wrote a few years ago. It's about the dream world of a woman whose boyfriend is too good to be true.

It's available as an ebook through and Smashwords, and on Smashwords it's free (for a short time). Yes, zero dollars! Even if you don't want one, please download it. It will bring me great joy to think that it is being read!

Here's the prologue:

Chelsea dreamt that she was on a swing in her childhood backyard. It was a glorious sun-dappled spring day, crocuses peeking out of the grass. She pumped the swing, long blonde hair flitting in the breeze. Higher and higher she swung, until she launched into outer space. She looped around the sun, sun dress fluttering, hair trailing behind her. One lap, two laps, then dove into the sun’s pure white light.

A figure appeared. A fragile old lady: white hair, skinny legs jutting out of her beige nylon nightie.

The old lady said, "Excuse me, do you have a moment?" and Chelsea dragged her toe through stardust to slow down.

"What are you doing in my dream?"

The old lady flew beside her, arms outstretched, nightie flapping around her calves. "Your dreams are not just for you, Chelsea. They’re for the whole world. There are two ways you can go from here. I know you’ll choose the right path."

"I’m really not interested in your opinion," said Chelsea.

"Don't sass me, young lady. We need to talk. Tomorrow. I’ll be at The Little Cub, waiting for you." The old lady banked a turn and flashed away into the stars.

Chelsea woke to the sound of a snowplow on Hiwan Drive, flipped off the covers, swung her legs over the side of the bed and turned off her alarm before it could start. The deejay would just be bitching about the weather, as though it were unexpected to have snow in March in Colorado. Even in the old days, they had snow in March. She turned on the lamp, tilted up her alarm clock and slid out a scrap of paper, fumbled a pen from her bedside table and scanned the list, grimacing. What had she dreamt last night? All Chelsea could remember was her last dream--the one with the little old lady.

Mildred McNulty entered other dreams that night. She flitted, invisible, through a world of nightmares to throw a life ring to the drowning, a torch to the lost, to soothe the lonely with a touch, to whisper, "fly, fly" in the falling man’s ear.

Laughter echoed in her head. A voice said, "Give it up."

She paused.

Through a haze of smoke, a man in a suit and tie beckoned her with a languid wave. Ah, him. Mildred should have known. Suddenly, her nightie felt inappropriate.

"If you weren’t so pathetic," he said, "you’d be dangerous. What good will it do anyone to think they can fly?"

"And fear is so much more useful?"

"There are rules. People can’t just do anything they please."

"Why not, Thomas? Yes, I know your name."

He smirked.

Mildred McNulty said, "You think the rules will protect us from pain, but nothing can do that." She twisted awkwardly to look up into his eye. "You’re just afraid. You’re afraid to live, young man."

"Leave Chelsea alone or you’ll regret it," he said.

"Typical Mare talk," she said.

"I mean it."

Mildred McNulty jerked awake, then fell back against her pillows. Exhausted. How could she resist the nightmares, the darkness closing in? How could she save them, bogged down by fear? How could she throw off their chains, teach them to love, to hope, to fly? And how could she do it in the time she had left?

She was fading. Everything about her was less than it used to be: she was bent, shrunken, weak as a baby bird. Even her voice quavered. One day, she would cease to be. But until then, she would fight them, fight for what might be, even if she was the last one who believed it was possible.

All of the rest of them dreamt, too:

Jennie Randolph dreamt of Aaron Pederson. She dreamt he asked her to the prom, which was just stupid, because Jennie wasn’t the prom type, and neither was Aaron Pederson. That was what she liked about him. Anyway, in the dream, it was nice. She also dreamt about her half-brother Lawrence Stewart, who was a Little Shit. But that wasn’t a happy dream. That was more like reality. She opened her eyes and saw that another day had begun, mumbled "fuck me", and heaved herself out of bed.

Greg Lindstrom dreamt of his wife. Dreamt over and over of the night she’d gotten dream sickness. Dreamt of all the horrors that trapped her in the dream world, unable to wake. He couldn't save her. He was always too slow, too late, too dumb. He tripped, the car wouldn’t start, he couldn’t get the words out.


When Greg opened his eyes, Jamie’s face was an inch from his. His breath smelled of milk.

"Are we gonna see Mom today?"

Greg’s throat closed up. He lifted his arms from the blanket and wrapped the little boy in a hug.

Ted dreamt of Chelsea.