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May 20, 2024

Good Morning? 23

By Lydia Manx

I kept going back to that worldview changer of a night I'd had years ago. I still hadn't puzzled a way out of my current dilemma so it wasn't like I had much to do until I either jumped into the unknown -- and possibly died -- or Uncle Harry had me rescued by Riley, his pet werewolf. Not that I'd ever say that to his face -- he was so touchy, furred or not. My parents had just been buried and I was ensconced in my room hiding from camera crews and prying eyes of the reporters. My teenage dreams had launched me onto an unknown beach by the Pacific Ocean, and a pushy glamour boy was greeting me with a smart-assed attitude and an air of superiority that really bugged me. He was demanding I acknowledge that I wasn't sleeping. The sand beneath my feet certainly gave me pause as did seeing that I was wearing my blue sweats and the dark green tank top that I'd worn to bed. He was laughing at me and I was starting to get pissed off that I couldn't escape the dream that was quickly turning into a nasty nightmare.

"Esmeralda, give me a break, that will not work. You aren't asleep anymore. Can't you tell?" He seemed to find it funny and smirked a crooked grin at me, apparently thinking that it would make his words believable.

It didn't. Nope, all he did was piss me off some more. This dream was taking on too many nightmare qualities for my comfort.

"Bullshit. I don't have a fucking clue where I am and I know perfectly well that I am asleep in my bed. This dream is creepy and so are you. I mean like if I was awake you couldn't magically appear in front of me, now could you?" I didn't bother to be polite or nice since after all it was again my dream. Rarely did I swear aloud but since I was still wickedly dreaming I didn't think it mattered. Besides it wasn't like my mom was around to shush me anymore.

He laughed loudly and moved faster than my eyes could follow and was then a mere inch or two from my face instead of the two or so feet away that he'd been seconds before I spoke.

"Oh, my dear child, you are so utterly and absolutely wrong. Magic exists and you are awake. Here let me show you."

His hand lashed out towards my face and he yanked a fistful of my hair near the left side of my face. My head tilted and I felt searing pain on my scalp at the grab. I screamed at the assault and automatically socked him square in the face with a properly clenched fist. I wasn't a wuss, and I had some basic self-defense moves that I'd learned in middle school, along with some other moves in high school that probably would have been more exotic, but punching really hard usually worked best -- it seemed that was true even in my dreams.

It was his turn to be startled and he screamed as ruby red blood spurted from his now flawed features and he yelled at me -- actually spitting in my face with his words, "Why the hell did you hit me?"

Stepping back out of his reach, I rubbed the side of my head, where he'd yanked hard on my hair, with the flat part of my left palm. My right hand was still a bit sore from hitting him. I saw a few strands of what looked like my hair artfully laced in his long fingers but mostly all I could concentrate on was that my scalp was aching. I pulled my hand down and to my shock I saw that I was bleeding lightly. The bright red blood on my left palm made me feel queasy and more than a little worried. The pain radiated through me and I was freaked out. I never had a dream that felt so real. My head hurt, as did my hand, I quickly decided that I must have rolled on my right side in my dreams and snagged my own hair in my restless sleep.

"Why the hell did you pull out some of my hair?" I snarled back trying to pretend I wasn't wigging out of my ever-loving mind. It was doubtful I was successful, since even I could hear the quiver in my voice. I wasn't having much success telling myself my own little story but I kept pushing.

"That was to show you that you are alive and actually wide awake." He pulled out a handkerchief like a seventy-year-old man from his pocket and dabbed at the blood on his face.

"Okay, then, I punched you to show you that this is a dream and I don't hit like a girl." I smiled while still disturbed by the pain in my skull and the blood I saw on my palm. My hand still smarted too.

He laughed at my words and said, "No, you don't hit like a girl. But fucking hell why did you hit me? I mean really?"

He seemed really fixated on that bit. My weird dream had layers I didn't have a clue how to explain to my own dream self. Then I remembered that I really hadn't eaten much food until right before bed. I must have eaten something edgy after the wake was my immediate rationalization. It sounded like a pretty good explanation to me.

"It's my party I can do what I want to," I sang out while making sure I was out of his range. I noticed he didn't quickly pop up next to me so even in the dream I must have landed a good shot to his face. It was weird but his nose was still bleeding and he was really glaring at me with more than a little irritation.

"Whatever." His tone was nearly whiny and his voice was a bit thicker sounding. To my dismay he coughed and spit a hunk of crap from his mouth into the sand. It looked like it was phlegm mixed with blood. It was the most intense dream images I could ever recall. Not that dreams stayed with me much but this was starting to feel like the longest dream ever.

"Okay, you can go now." I said while waving him off with my sore right hand. My head still hurt where he'd yanked on my hair coupled with the slight ache throbbing around my right fist I wasn't a happy sleeper. I wondered if I was resting on some object that had been in my bed like a book or something sharp and that was pushing its way into my mind and dreams.

"No, I have much to tell you. Besides you can't just dismiss me. It wasn't easy tracking you down you know." He finished blotting at his face and his bloody nose wasn't leaking any more. He tucked the soiled handkerchief back into his pocket. Eww, was all I could think. I mean why keep it? There was a reason Kleenex was more popular than linen handkerchiefs, ya know.

"Tracking me down? Hello, it's my dream." I smugly replied. Why the hell I wanted someone stalking me even while I slept was bizarre even for me. I wondered if one of the folks that came back to the house for the wake had accidently popped one of their many pills by mistake into an appetizer tray that I'd nibbled from earlier.

"Yes, tracking you down. Are you stupid or something?" He was back to the whiny voice with a bit of an attitude I thought.

I stepped into his personal space and threatened to bash him again automatically. After all it was my dream, right? I didn't like his tone or his highhanded attitude the one where he seemed to feel that he was entitled to lord over me. He darted back out of my reach with lightning quick speed saying, "No fucking way are you hitting me ever again. I don't care what anyone says."

"Anyone? Hello, look around, asshole, it's just you and me here. And to answer your question I am not stupid." I spun on my heel and began to walk away from him towards the hard packed sand on the edge of the ocean.

To my relief I finally saw some movement in the icy cold water. I had yet to dip my toes in the surf but I instinctively knew it was very cold. I focused and saw a small fish moving with beneath the waves and it was close to the shore. The fish amused me but then something shifted. I watched carefully as the dusty brown coloration of the sand nearly masked the lightly colored fish from my view -- the fish was well camouflaged I thought as I watched it rise up and snacked on some unseen plankton or small morsel near the top of the waves gently crashing on the shore. Then the sand directly beneath the fish shifted quickly and moved. A sand shark darted up and gobbled the little fish without much effort. It settled back to the bottom and blended right into the seabed with ease. I must really haven eaten something spoiled.

"And damned if this dream isn't totally weird. Just go away, Mister Indigestion." I decided that was a better name for him then Mister Tummy Troubles. But both had their merits in my dream opinion.

"Me? Indigestion? Are you fucking nuts? This is real and not a result of tainted old lady food. You have to listen." He trotted on the sand to catch up with me as I watched the ocean tumble with little regard for us. The ocean was immense and very cold. I was nearly positive that my dream was taking place on my idea of the Pacific Ocean, not the Atlantic where I'd been, when I watched with my mouth slightly agape a black and white dolphin spiral and flip out of a distant wave. The sky had begun to lighten just a bit and I figured my mind was trying to wake me up.

"To quote you, 'whatever'!" I said with my snotty Valley Girl voice. I could hear him wince. I giggled. Valley Girl speak got them every time and now I knew that even with my dream men.

Even while I was still dreaming, I immediately questioned my very thoughts when I found myself on an icy cold beach in the dark. Standing before me was some weird semi-attractive man right next to me on the gritty sand and yet for some reason I sorta wanted to clock him again -- once or twice at least. I didn't usually have such intense, long-lasting dreams but I decided finally that I'd been poisoned or been given some major drug in a snack one of my dead parents buddies had brought to their wake. I think it was good news because now there was more ambient light than when I'd first found myself in the dream slash nightmare scenario. The ocean was turbulent and I'd just watched a sand shark snack on a small fish that had been milling around sucking down plankton or something unseen. The threads of blood from the shark's bite still wove beneath the surface of the sea along with some tattered bits of fish parts so I didn't feel like precisely investigating any closer. The black and white spinner dolphin that I'd just seen had disappeared into the ocean's depths.

The shadow came back to watch Esmeralda, even after pushing at her before she'd fallen asleep, the teenager had stayed firm in her own mind. Her self-preservation was good and hopefully she'd be able to survive her meeting with her new world. Now there was a small flux of energy that came off of her from her meeting on the beach. That was the beacon that had guided the creature testing her. The shadow was still happy to see that the child had innately figured out how to use some of her power without any lessons -- she'd need them. Sitting back watching was hard; it took too much willpower to not jump in and guide Esmeralda. She was a treasure and didn't need to be broken. Sighing ... there was nothing to be done -- yet.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2013-02-25
Image(s) © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
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