Wonderland

Your fingers seem longer, thinner
alive in their own right, as they crawl among the pill bottles.
For a moment, you feel like Alice:
labels are meaningless, but you’ve tried them all.
The tall green one will cause strange words to tumble
over and under and from your lips,
while this orange one brings dreamless sleep.
And as you mix yourself
a cocktail that rattles in your palm
you wonder –
how did she climb back out
the rabbit hole?

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Dream: Part Sixteen

The water is mesmerizing.  She has never seen anything as beautiful as the crystalline flow spilling over and around her.  It surrounds her and becomes her.  She watches each drop shatter against her skin, breaking into a thousand pieces, each one reflecting the light in every direction.  Creating colors she didn’t know existed, greens and yellows, blues that rival the brilliant sheen of Dream.

Rushing past her ears, the water sings to her.  It is an indistinguishable melody, but one she knows she has heard before.  She begins to hum along as she rinses the blood from her hair. The red is beautiful too, as is slowly spirals away from her.  She is almost sad to see it go.

Her dress is heavy, too heavy for her to hold, once she soaks it in the warm water.  It sits around her feet.  It looks comfortable, inviting.  She lies down on top of it, letting the water rain down.  It feels as though Dean is holding her, arms wrapped gently around her, fingers trailing lightly over her skin.  She closes her eyes.

When she opens them again, she is freezing, her skin feels hard and her legs are stiff.  She turns off the water and struggles to stand.  It is nearly dark.

“Fuck.”

She wrings out her dress, slips it over her head.  It is cold and wet, but she doesn’t care.  She wants to go home.  Stepping gently around the edge of the bed, averting her eyes, she grabs several bags of Dream and stuffs them into her purse.  She hesitates.  Then takes another DayDream, rips it open and empties it onto her skin.  Rubbing it in hastily, she dials the front desk and asks for a cab.

 


 

 

Stumbling from the taxi, she lands on her knees in the gravel walkway leading to the front door.

“Shit, lady, you okay?”

She stands, brushing the rocks away.  She tries to ignore the damp spot she has left on the seat, water dripping from her dress.  Money exchanges hands.

“Fine. Thanks.”

The walk to the house seems to take hours, and she can’t remember her feet ever touching the ground.  Reese is there at the door, and everything is red.  Did she forget to wash the blood away?

But this is different.  The air itself is red, a crushing, angry red.  It vibrates through her, sets her teeth on edge.  It is coming from her husband.

“I know.”

Even through the haze, she doesn’t have to ask.  Somehow, he has found out about Dean.

She watches him speak, and realizes that though she has been afraid to hear this for so long, there is a raw beauty in the writhing and twisting of these words on his lips.  She is free.

He opens the door for her, and lets her walk past him into the house.  She does not stop until she reaches the bedroom and gently closes the door.

Pulling out the bags of Dream, she crawls into bed.  She slides under the covers, wrapping them tightly around her.  She opens one, then another, then another, letting the blue powder trickle over her tongue and settle on her gums and teeth.

Lana reaches over to the nightstand to set the empty plastic aside and glances at the picture of her and Reese, so long ago.  When they had first moved into this house and she had taken such care to decorate each room, nesting Reese had called it, she had hung this picture where she would see it every day.  It had been her favorite from their wedding.  She had loved him so dearly then.  She wished she could remember why.

She slips the band off to read the words inscribed inside.  Love. Always. Reese.

Her head spins.  She closes her hand tightly, holding on to the one piece of him she has not lost.  It is only with fleeting sadness that she shuts her eyes.

Dream: Part Fifteen

He rolls off the bed, grabs his pants and heads into the bathroom.  She lies still, staring up at the ceiling, listening to him rinse the slick scent of her off.  She is cold, but can’t bring herself to move.  She can’t remember how she got here, a place she promised herself she would never be again.  She only meant to come up to give him the money and tell him she was done.  With everything, for good.

“Get up, you’ve got to get out of here,” he tosses her dress onto the bed.

“I thought maybe I could stay for a bit.”  She wanted to  talk, to explain.

“We are not going through this again.  When it’s time to go, you go.  Jesus.”

She slides her feet to the floor, turning her back to him.  She does not want him to see her cry.  She slips into her dress, licking her fingers to rub at a stain near the hem.  She moves closer to the window, standing in front of the desk Dean has currently claimed as his base of operations.  It is littered with mail.  Some already open and empty, others waiting, full, for that quick slice of the knife to spill their illicit contents into his hands.

“Lana, you don’t need to be here,” his tone is brusque, hard.  It hurts her ears.

She runs her hands over the edge of the desk, buying herself time before she can safely look him in the eye.  She turns to face him.  The room is suffocating, there is no space between them.

“Why are you such a bastard?”

He looks at her coldly, “I will pretend that you did not say that. You will leave now.  And you will come back when I tell you to.”

“I MATTER, GOD DAMN IT!”

There is a single moment where they are both silent, eyes locked, letting the aftershock roll over them.  It is broken though, as Dean takes a halting step backwards.  He looks confused, and he clutches at his stomach.  His hands come away a startling red.  She takes a deep breath and moves to catch him.

He grunts, low and angry, as he slides down on the letter opener again.

“You can’t keep pretending that I’m not real once I walk out that door,” Lana whispers in his ear as she lowers him to the floor.

“You crazy bitch,” he spits, the words as hot as the blood she wipes off her face.

“No.  No, I was so good to you. You don’t get to treat me this way.”

She plunges the blade into him a third time, pushing her weight behind it, sinking it into his chest.  She struggles to pull it free.  She can see nothing but blood.  Hear nothing but his groans.  They sound so similar to the ones he makes when she is lying beneath him, willing and open for him.

“I am a good girl,” she cries as she hacks, indiscriminately now, at his face and hands as he tries feebly to protect himself.  “I was your good girl, you were supposed to give a fuck.”

Sobbing, Lana pushes herself up off the floor, away from his brokenness.  She crawls up onto the bed, the sheets sticking to her hands.  Collapsing against the headboard, she throws the blade away from her.  It clatters across the face of the desk, spilling the envelopes to the floor and exposing the DayDream to the sunlight filtering through the greasy window.

There is nothing but the sound of harried breathing, the stench of iron and the color blue.

She moves towards it slowly, peeling herself off the bed.  It is beautiful, the slight shimmer.  It will make everything better.  She tears open the closest bag, squeezing its contents onto her skin.

The DayDream is cool, refreshing, but she doesn’t like the dark purple hue it has cast on her hands and wrists.  She closes her eyes and massages the smooth slick of blood and drugs.  Fifteen minutes.  Fifteen minutes until it takes effect and she can wash herself of this.

Lana wanders into the bathroom, her hands still running one over the other.  Catching her reflection in the mirror, she stops.  There is blood on her face, streaked through her hair.  It is caked on her hands and arms.  Sprayed across her dress.  She is motionless, as though she is waiting for him to get up and leave the room so she can begin to cleanse herself of his shortcomings.

The dress comes off slowly, clinging to her in places.  She leaves it in a puddle on the tile floor.  Thinking Dean may have kept extra shirts, she turns to leave.  That is when she sees the marks he left on her back.  From earlier in the afternoon, long rakes down the soft skin as he dug into her.  She traces her fingers over them gently.  She loved him, once, she thought.

Dropping to her knees, she spews bile and acid across the floor.  It drips from her nose and lips as she chokes, trying to breath.  She retches again, trying to make it to the toilet, crawling through the brackish pool of expelled stomach contents.  Her throat and nasal cavity burn.  Five minutes, just five more minutes and everything will be better.

Dream: Part Fourteen

She is furious with him.  With herself.  With this fucking rain.

Lana tugs at the edge of her dress, wishing she could wear something more sensible.  Glancing around though, at least she doesn’t stand out.  She isn’t sure if that’s a good thing though.  She can feel her rage seething, and tries to at least relax her face into some semblance of approachability.

She tries to recall at what point in the conversation she agreed to this.  She tries to recall why she doesn’t just walk away.  Just go home.   Or go back to Dean and tell him to go fuck himself.  Or better yet, go to Reese at work, dump her purse full of Dream on his desk and tell him where to find the Sandman.  The more she thinks about it that would be the best way to get rid of him for good.  But she doesn’t trust Dean not to take her down with him, and she isn’t sure Reese would let her get away with it either; he lives for his job.

In the middle of her meditation, she notices someone who doesn’t seem all that interested in the merchandise already on display.  Lana strides confidently to him.

“Can I help you, baby?”

“Only if you think you could help me sleep at night.”

“I got something that will keep the nightmares away.”

He comes in close.

“Who are you?”

“You can call me Oneiroi”

“What?”

“Nothing…I take it you aren’t new to this.”

He looks her up and down.  She can feel the overconfidence roll through her.  It sticks in her throat, burns her eyes.  It makes her gag.

“Hell no.  Let me see it.”

She reaches slowly into her purse.  For all his machismo, he seems skittish, as though one quick movement could send him running.  She hands it over.

“What is this shit?”

Lana looks at the bag and realizes she left the hotel with DayDream.  Fuck.

For a moment she panics, and she can sense that he is moments from turning and leaving.  Before pushing the thought violently out of her mind, she thinks about not disappointing Dean.

“Here, let me show you.” She reaches out and takes his hand, runs her fingers lightly over the knuckles before turning his wrist upwards.  He startles, beginning to pull his arm free, but the sensation of her touch causes him to hesitate.  She tears open the package and drips just the smallest hint of blue, no sense in wasting it.  She knows it won’t kick in in time to make the sale, but she’s confident he will buy.

Lana massages the DayDream into the soft, tender skin.

She leans close, her words a warm whisper in his ear, “It’s just like Dream, but you get to stay awake.  Everything feels more real, better.”  She brings her hand up to his face, runs her thumb over his lips, “Everything that touches you lingers, and everything that you touch…”

He looks up at her, and she realizes how young he is.  Sixteen, maybe seventeen.  A child.  She almost feels sorry for him.  His cheeks are red, and his breath is racing.  He takes the bag from her hand and slips her the money.

“Of course, if you don’t like it, you can always go back to Dreaming.”

He looks down as he stuffs the DayDream into his pocket, jumping slightly as a car horn blares down the street.

“How do I find you again?”

She laughs and turns away.

“Same way as last time.  Ask the Sandman for sweet Dreams.”

Across the street in an unmarked car, Reese watches his wife saunter away from the kid, leaving them both wondering, what the hell just happened.  It is some time before he finally pulls away from the curb and turns towards the empty house waiting for him.

Dream: Part Nine

Gripping the edge of the sink, she imagines the look in his eyes as he told her to go, that he doesn’t have time for this right now.  How he turned away before she even finished telling him that she wasn’t sure she could do this.  There was no discussion, they both knew she would do whatever he asked her to.

            “I hate you.”

            She takes a deep breath.

            “I seriously, fucking, hate you.”

            Lana looks back to her reflection in the mirror, the tired eyes and worried lips, unsure for a moment if this is directed at Dean or herself.  She decides it doesn’t matter.

            “You treat me like absolute shit.  Do you give a thought to me once I walk out the door?”

            Her grip on the counter has tightened, knuckles turning white as her voice rises.

            “There is never any time to talk, never any room for just the smallest hint of intimacy.  But you expect me to come crawling to you every time you want to touch me, every time you need something from me.”

            She angrily brushes a tear away with the palm of her hand.

            “Once you’re done with me, you can put me away, take a break, I’m not wanted anymore until you feel like using me again.  Do you have any idea how it makes me feel to come when you call, let you do whatever you want, and then to have to listen to you say that you don’t want to see me again for awhile.  I mean nothing to you.”

            Her breath is ragged, the words hurt her chest as they force their way from her lips. She is almost screaming.   

            “I will not exist for you.  I have had enough.  I can’t do this anymore.”

            She slides to the floor.  Her hands are shaking.  Lana lashes out, screaming, kicking the tub and slamming her hand against the wall.  

            She hears her cell ringing from the bedroom, most likely Reese calling to say he’s staying late at the station.  He is always late.  She is always alone.  This house is always dark and empty.

            She closes her eyes and listens to the shrill cry of the phone, lying in her purse surrounded by the bags of Dream Dean made her take.  

            “I hate you.”

Dream: Part Six

Reese reclines back in his chair, staring at the pictures he has posted up on the back wall of the briefing room.  He sits still, tilting his head from time to time, thinking. 

            “Hey, got a minute?”

            He spins the chair around.  He hadn’t realized how long he has been here.

            “Yeah, what’s up?”

            Reese’s partner steps into the room.  Mila is young, and relatively new to Narcotics.  She has a case file in her hand and looks ready to launch into a prepared speech when she catches sight of the collage he has set up.  There are pictures of drop sites, mug shots of known dealers and runners, car tags, and a bright blue powder. 

            “Is this Dream?”

            He turns back to face the wall, running his hands through his hair.  Scanning the pictures again, he takes a deep breath.

            “Yeah, this is what we’ve got so far.  The stuff has been on the streets for months, but we’ve really seen a major increase in the last few weeks.”

            “I thought we had turned this over to the DEA?”

            Reese looks up at her. 

            “I just feel like we are missing something critical here.  And, in case you were wondering, I am here on my own time.  I had to take Lana downtown anyways.”

            There is a pause, a palpable weighing of alliances, he can taste it in the air between them.  She slides into the seat next to him, setting the case file on the table behind her and looking intently at the photos taped to the wall.

            “Okay.  So tell me what you’re thinking.”

            He grins. “Alright, so we know that Dream is flowing into the city in massive quantities.  We just don’t know how.  There have been arrests made, sure.  But those were all small time runners, delivering the goods to junkies.  All they had on them was whatever they needed for the drop.  This brings us back to: where is it coming from?”

            Mila looks over the mug shots from the runners brought in.

            “Is there some connection between them?  Gang related?  Same neighborhood?  Same school growing up?”

            “No.  Nothing anyone has come across yet.  It’s like someone is picking up known runners from all over the city and creating some sort of larger, integrated system.  And whoever this asshole is, they are paying well.”

            “What makes you say that?”

            “Because not one of these guys will talk.”

            “Nothing?”

            He stands up and points to the picture in the very center of the wall.  It is a page torn from a comic. 

            “One word.  We got one word from one of them.”

            He taps the picture, “Sandman.”

Dream: Part Five

             “Let me show you something,” he calls to her when he hears the door open. 

She rounds the corner to the bed, practiced smile on her lips, expecting to see him lying naked and ready for her.  Instead she finds him at the desk against the window.  There is a duffle bag open, exposing the stacks of bills inside.  And Dream.  There are bags of it spilling over the edge and across the face of the desk.  That blue, it seems to almost glow.

She stops, standing still in the entryway to the hotel room. 

“Dean, what is this?”

            “Call me Sandman,” he laughs, pulling her into his lap.  He dangles a bag in front of her, running it over her lips, teasing her.  “I’m dealing in dreams now.”

            “You are such a cliché,” she whispers before curling into him, tucking her head beneath his chin.  She traces slow patterns on his arms, moving up towards his chest.  She breathes him in.  It is comforting, she would recognize it anywhere, but it is not warm. 

            “What did you want to show me?”

            He pushes her off of him and moves around the desk, grabbing bags and taking them to the bed.  She notices that while all of them are the brilliant blue, only a few of the bags actually contain Dream.  The rest seem to be a different consistency, thicker.  He hands her one.  It is slightly grainy, course.  She had expected it to be smooth, more like lotion. 

            “DayDream.  It’s new.   A compound of Dream and Dimethyl sulfoxide.  It penetrates the skin, and, since it doesn’t all hit the bloodstream at once, it’s got a different effect than just straight Dream.  Wanna try it out?”

            She is quiet, pushing the cool blue back and forth inside the bag.  She wonders idly why she came.  He laughs and runs his fingers through her hair, tilting her head back and kissing her softly.

            “I should have used smaller words.”

            He tears open a bag and empties half of it onto her wrist.  The rest slides over his own skin.  His hands move methodically over the DayDream, massaging it into her.  It gives off just the slightest shine.  

            “Fifteen minutes before it takes effect.  Think you can keep me occupied till then?” he tries to pull her to him, but she is focused on the slick streak across her arm. 

            “What does it do?  I mean, how is it different than Dream?”

            He gets off the bed.

            “Slows things down, sometimes you hallucinate.  But you’re still here, you know?  Dream takes you somewhere else, DayDream just makes this place better.”

            He crosses to the duffle bag and runs his hands over the bags of Dream, the stacks of money. 

            “This is going to be big, Lana.”

            She moves in close beside him.

            “Dean, where did you get all of this?  Where is it coming from?”

            He looks at her briefly, scratches absently at his ear before speaking. 

            “I’ve been building a network.  It comes into the city, to me, through the mail.  I hand it off to my runners who make the pass to those with the demand.  They return the money and get a cut,” he looks at her closely, watching her reaction. 

            She notices the stacks of letters littering the floor for the first time.  The empty envelopes stacked in the trashcan.  The silver letter opener on the edge of the desk. 

            “So, the U.S. Postal Service is delivering drugs for you?”

            “It’s perfect.  Have the government do the dirty work for us.  Don’t use anything bulky.  Make it look like a birthday card, or a letter from a girlfriend.  Something normal, daily.  They do the leg work, all I have to do is pick it up at the curb.”

            “But where is it coming from?”

            “Enough with the questions, are you a cop now too?”

            There is an uncomfortable silence as she backs slowly away from him.  Lana turns to leave, but the room turns with her.  She knows that she is moving, but it feels as though she is standing completely still.  The sound of her breath in her ears is a low thunder.  Slowly, the room seems to take on the same beautiful glow she has so often observed in the Dream.

            “Dean?” Her voice is soft, far away.

            His arms wrap around her, seeming to cover her entirely.  His scent is everywhere. 

            “This is just a DayDream.”

Dream: Part Four

“Lana?  Honey, you’re going to be late.”

            She closes her eyes vainly to reality, to the sound of her husband’s voice.  She rolls onto her stomach, pressing her face into the cool of the pillow. 

            “Lana, can you hear me?”

            “Yes.  Reese.  I can hear you.  I am getting up.”

            “Do you want me to drive you?  I’m going back to the department anyways.  That’s the one good thing about this shit, lots of overtime.”

            She can hear him leaning against the door.  She will have to scrub it clean tomorrow, the stain she knows that disgusting hair gel will leave on her white door. 

            “How will I get back?”

            “I’m sure you can catch a cab from the city.  Or you can come by and ride with me if you don’t mind waiting around for a little while.”

            She reaches out to check her phone.  There is a message from Dean.

            “Give me five minutes.”

———

            “I know that he doesn’t love me.  I know it.  But it doesn’t stop me from hoping for his messages to meet him, and in the back of my mind I am always waiting for them to say something else.  Maybe he misses me.  Or he was thinking of me today.  Did I tell you he missed my birthday?  He told me he was going out of town and not to expect to hear from him until he got back.  The week after my birthday.  But that didn’t stop me from checking.  I thought, surely, he would remember, I kept hoping.  Even for a few days after.  But he never said anything.  Like I’m not a person who continues to exist and go on after I leave him…”

            Lana lays back on the couch.

            “I know, in my head, that he doesn’t love me.  That the only thing he is looking for is physical.  I get that, rationally.  But.  There’s this piece of me, that part that goes back every time to meet him, that thinks this time, if I am good enough – if the sex is good enough – he won’t want me to leave.”

            “Why do you think you feel this way?”

            “I don’t know.  There is something – magnetic – about the way he needs my body.  And I keep thinking, it’s just a matter of time before he needs the rest of me that way.”

            “Do you really believe that?”

            “No.  Yes.  Sometimes.  The way he talks sometimes, like he really cares.  No.”

            “What about your husband?”

            She is quiet.  The clock ticks slowly until she finally speaks again.

            “I don’t want to talk about him.”

            “I think we should.”

            “No.”

            She can hear the subtle shifting of paper and pen.  The realigning of thoughts.

            “Alright.  What would you like to talk about?”

            “Dream…” her voice is soft, her mind somewhere else.

            “Have you been dreaming of something in particular lately?”

            “What?”  The light is too bright suddenly.

            “I asked if you have been dreaming of anything specific, anything you’d like to discuss.”

            “My mother.”

            She hadn’t thought of her mother in years.  As soon as she said the words though, it seemed true.  Like she had been missing her every day and just not realized it. 

            “Your mother died when you were very young, isn’t that right?”

            She suddenly remembers the smell of her.  It is warm, enveloping.  It is the smell of a gentle hand on her forehead when she was sick.  Of crawling into bed with her at night so neither one of them would have to be alone.  She had forgotten what mother smells like. 

            “Yes, I was six.”

            “What happened then?”

            “I went into the system.”

            She remembers the woman who came and took her from her home.  It was the smell of a car that had carried too many children away from too many homes.  Of a single suitcase and one lone pillowcase stuffed with belongings to remember a different life by.  She does not remember anyone ever smelling warm again. 

            “I don’t want to talk about this.  I don’t want to talk anymore.”

            “Lana, eventually we are going to have to deal with some of these issues.  And I think we should start with Dean.  He seems to be the only thing you are willing to talk about.”

            Silence invades the room, seeping slowly over her, pushing away the warmth she had so recently found.  When it is apparent that she will not speak, the pen and paper move again. 

“Our time is almost up for today as it is.  I’ll see you in two weeks.”

            She leaves the office feeling cold, an unusual stench filling her nose.  It feels oddly familiar, but she cannot place it.  She checks her watch, thirty minutes before she meets Dean.  She briefly considers arriving early, but the thought of his rage at her disobedience is enough to keep her wandering through the streets. 

            It begins raining lightly.  Not enough to force her inside, but enough to send the chill further to her core.  She shivers and wonders what, exactly, she is doing.  She is disgusted by this pathetic display.  Standing on a curb in the rain, like a common whore, just because he said he wanted her.  It makes her sick, the power he holds.

            What had her therapist said?  Dean is an issue.   

            She doesn’t want to be treated this way.  She wants to go home.  When she wipes away the wetness from her face, she can’t be sure what is weather and what is despair.  Why, Lana?

She hates herself for being so weak.  She knows she should go home.

            Stepping out of the rain, she takes a breath.  Then, checking her hair in a mirror, she strides across the hotel lobby. 

Dream: Part Three

            When she opens her eyes she is on a stage, the curtain drawn shut, but she can hear the noise on the other side.  Screaming, cheering, and above everything her name.  She can hear her name over and over again.  They are frantic, wild, they need her.

            She is wearing black suede boots that follow the curve of her leg to her knee, adding an extra four inches to her height.  She runs her hands over the matching red lace shorts and bra that complete the outfit.  She feels stunning, daring, desired. 

            The music comes on, a frenetic dance beat that causes the screaming to escalate.  And the curtain parts.

            She stands still for a moment, center stage.  Then she raises her arms slowly above her head, running her hands through her long, unruly hair, swaying her hips in an erotic suggestion.  She lets her hands make their way back down her body, finding their way over her neck, her breasts, sides, thighs, allowing the audience to live vicariously through her fingers.  She moves towards them, each step an invitation to see her more closely, to want her more fervently. 

            He is there when she gets to the edge of the stage.  He is always there, watching her.  Watching others watch her.  But she belongs to him, she always has. 

            He offers her his hand, helps her out of the spotlight.  They exit the crowd together, and she knows that he is the only reason she would leave this fevered adoration.  He has something more powerful to give her. 

            Suddenly they are alone in a room and he is pulling her into a tight embrace, using her hair to tilt her head back to meet his lips.  He owns her completely. 

            He slips the straps over her shoulders, using them to pull her arms back, thrust her breasts forward into him, securing her this way.  He runs his lips, tongue over her neck, tasting her.  She moans softly into his chest. 

            “Can you reach everything comfortably, Lana?” he asks, turning her slowly so her back now pressed against him.

            She flexes her hands, brushing over his stiffened length through his jeans.

            “Yes.”

            “Yes, what?”

            “Yes, sir.”

            She carefully unbuttons and unzips his pants, freeing him.  She leans back into him, using her shoulders to leverage her restricted hands over him, stroking, caressing.  He moves into her rhythm.  His breathing becomes shallow, quicker.  It is warm and heavy on her ear.  She lets go.       Her lips on his skin are light.  They move fast, never lingering long in one place before moving on to savor another.  She slides from ear, neck, chest to the line along his hip, his thigh, before finding him, ready and eager for her mouth. 

            He can feel the desire in her every motion: lips closing tight and then releasing, tongue sliding up and down, teeth barely making momentary contact.  He hears the sigh that makes its way from her.  

            Then he is laying her down on the bed.  He pays careful attention to her, finding places that cause her back to arch and muscles to clench.  His fingers blaze trails that his tongue soon follows.  He attends to her voraciously, in a way that makes her clutch desperately at the sheets, and stifle screams. 

            He moans as he slides into her for the first time.  He can feel her ripple and tighten over him, as her hands rake across his back, pulling him closer in to her. 

            “Oh, god, Dean.  Please don’t stop,” she whispers in his ear, her voice soft but full of need.    

            It seems like forever that they enjoy each other like this.  The pleasure is overwhelming, it consumes everything.  She cannot discern where his body stops and hers begins.  Soon she can taste his sweat with her every breath, hears nothing but his labored breathing, feels nothing but where they touch.  She screams out when he finally finishes, arching her hips up to follow him over the edge. 

Satisfied, she stretches against him and lazily trails her fingernails from the hollow of his back to his shoulders. She can already feel the heat dissipating from the room. She closes her eyes and listens to the sound of his heart, gently slowing its pace. 

            When she opens them, she is lying in her bedroom alone, Reese knocking softly at the door. 

Dream: Part Two

She is standing at the sink when he comes in.  Her back is to him, she is humming faintly.  He pauses in the doorway briefly and watches her.  She is lovely in her rhythmic motion, hands circling plates as she cleans away the residue of last night’s dinner.  He watches for just a moment more before he moves towards her, grabbing a towel so he can help. 

            “Hey there,” he leans in to kiss the back of her neck playfully.

            “Reese, stop that, I’m all wet.”

            “Just the way I like it,” he gives her a lascivious grin and picks up a bowl. 

            She glances at him out of the corner of her eye, watching as he  slings the dish rag around.  She rolls her shoulders, easing her neck from side to side, fighting the temptation to sigh.  She counts to ten before turning to smile at him. 

“How was work?” she asks, though her attention is elsewhere before he even begins to answer.

            “Hell.  We can’t seem to catch a break on this new shit coming in.  I can’t figure out how it’s getting into the city, much less who is selling it.  You wouldn’t believe who we’ve caught with this shit.  Your average, run of the mill, gutter trash, yeah, but housewives, school teachers.  It’s out of control.”  He stops suddenly.  “Lana?”

            She has frozen, her hand halfway to the cabinet. 

            “Yes.  Headache, I’ll be right back.”

            She places the glass back on the counter, clinking against the Formica as her hand shakes.

            “Sit down, I’ll get you some aspirin.”

            “No!” She grabs his arm. “No, please.  I actually think I’d feel better if I lay down for a bit.  Alone.”  

            She forces herself to walk, not run, down the hallway to their bedroom where she carefully closes and locks the door.  Lana crosses the room and sinks down in front of her nightstand.  She kneels for just a moment, head on the cool faux-wood grain top and wonders why she is so surprised to find herself here.  Then she reaches beneath the table and peels free the small plastic bag of Dream.

            She traces the creases in the bag, from where it had once been folded into quarters, and considers dumping the rest of the beautiful blue contents into the sink.  It would turn dark, once it hit the water, losing the shine that she loves.  It would spiral away into the drain, freeing her from suspicion, trapping her here in this dull, flat reality that had no real life, no excitement.

            Lana wet the tip of her finger with her tongue, pries open the corner of the bag.  She slides inside, feels the soft grain of the Dream, the smooth edges of the plastic.  When she pulls out, the end of her finger is coated in pale blue, just enough to take the edge off. 

            Carefully, she reseals the bag and tapes it back under the nightstand.  She will decide what to do with it later.  Then she crawls into bed and slowly rubs her cotton candied finger along her upper gum.  She licks herself clean and even chews her nail off just for good measure. 

            Then Lana settles back into her pillow and closes her eyes.  Her toes and fingers melt into the comforter, pulling her legs and arms slowly down with them.  Inch by inch she disappears further into the bed, becoming so heavy she ceases to exist