Dream: Part Seventeen

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 haphazardly slings the dish rag around.  She smiles, tilting her head towards him, beckoning for another touch of his lips on her skin.

“How was work?” she asks, putting down the plate and turning to face him.  Looping his arms around her waist, he pulls her to him.

“Boring.  I kept thinking, if only my lovely wife would stop by.  I have my own office you know…with a door and everything.”

She laughs, “You are ridiculous.”

“Fine.  If you won’t come to work to satisfy me, I will just have to start coming home earlier.”  He sweeps her over his shoulder, carries her screaming into the bedroom.

He tosses her on the bed.  He unbuttons his shirt, slips his jeans down, as she starts to pull her dress over her head.   Arms raised, eyes covered, he stops her.  Grabbing hold of the fabric, he leans her back, exposing her throat to him.  He kisses her softly, moving out along her collarbone, back in along the line of her bra.

“Reese, please.”

He silences her, kissing her more intently now.  His tongue finds hers, and the taste of him is exquisite.  He lets her go.  And then they are wrapped tightly in one another.  It has always been this way.  She can remember nothing but the feeling of his skin on hers.


His voice sounds strained, harsh.  She looks up at him.  Red.  Everything is red.

“Why, Lana?”

He pulls away from her and she can see the gaping wound.  There is blood, pouring from him, running down her arms, settling in the creases of the sheets beneath them.  She can feel the cool of the metal in her hand.

“No.  No.  No.  Reese?”

She rolls out from under him, feels the slick wet of blood, so horribly familiar now, as he lies back on the bed.  There is a ragged gash of torn skin and raw flesh crossing his chest.  She watches, frozen, as Reese raises his head to see, fingers fluttering vainly over the laceration as if willing it to heal.  It must have shocked him, the extent of the damage, because she can see his muscles tense and the skin parts even further.

He looks back up at her then.  There is nothing but pain and confusion on his face.  He opens his mouth to speak, but he chokes.  She wipes away blood from his lips.

The room fills with an indistinct haze.  Lana reaches for Reese’s hand, but she cannot find it.  She is overcome with a sense of panic.  The feeling that she must run, and she must run now.  She takes off, slamming into the doorway as she sprints through the house.

She runs, until her lungs burn and her vision is blurry.  She doesn’t know where she is any longer.  It is dark.  Trees lash out and she can feel the blood coursing down her face.  She loses her footing, and suddenly she is falling.  Her arms spin out, grasping for anything to grab hold of, but there is nothing.  She is rolling, smashing head and side and back into ground.  It does not stop.  She is dizzy and cannot breath.  Everything is black.

When she can see again, she is immediately struck by a devastating pain.  It pulsates through her, piercing every piece of her.  She tries to lift her head, but can’t.  A sharp, blinding burn radiates from her throat.  Shaking, she reaches up, and screams.

Her fingers run over the course grain of the wood, the sharp green of pine needles, follow it until they meet the soft flesh of her neck, wet and slick.  Her breath becomes shallow, frenzied.  She gently pulls at the branch, trying to free it from her skin.  The pain is unbearable.  She cries out, screaming for Reese, Dean.

But no one comes for her.


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.


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 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, 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. 

Prologue: An Awakening

She awoke in the same terrifying darkness.  The emptiness that was now so familiar, but never less oppressive.  She had been wandering in the crushing blackness for as long as she could remember; it was all she remembered, like recollection and time had been stripped from her awareness. She could touch it, smell it, even taste the dark.  It was her entire existence or all of existence.  If it could be called that.  If it could be called anything at all.  She longed to perceive anything except the nothingness as it swallowed her.  If she could think of something, imagine anything beyond the empty suffocating dark, perhaps she could find what was missing, what was lost, remember what she was.

Words were beginning to fold together and lose both shape and intention.  She could feel them twisting and writhing around her in the abyss.  It was as though they were an extension of her body – searching as desperately as she to find a way out, to define obscurity.  But instead they crowded upon her, causing the darkness to press in further.  If she could quiet the black, stifle the movement of her thoughts, it might be peace.  In the midst of the terrible chasm of nothing, she craved silence, begged for the words to release her.

The dark pressed harder as she strained to resist, demanded to know what she was, who she was.  She refused to accept this reality.  It was there.  Just out of reach of her comprehension she could almost sense the hole like a bottle or glass drained and then obliterated. The nothingness smothered her, enveloped her.  With the last of her conscious she defied and felt it beading on her like droplets.  Wet.  She felt the wetness, the first recognition of anything and with hope-filled panic she grasped for it and demanded it.  Quickly it spread and continued to devour her but now she could feel; she could feel it soak her.

Liquid rolled over fingers and found slick sensation on what must be her arms and down her back between legs thrashing against the tension of the pressure.  Wetness touched and made real the parts of her naked body as it squirmed in the dark made corporal.  It now stung open eyes and filled burning nostrils, pain greeted her as water poured down her throat and constricted her lungs.  She cried out as she found reality.  Dark black flowed around her and pushed her body as limbs flailed and she choked and began to drown as she took her first breath of existence.

She fought against the current and kicked as she clung to life.  Her chest and mind blurred and burned, deprived of air and reason.  She could almost see her own form struggling through the thinning dark of the water.  The distance called to her, pushing her forward.  Then her fingers found light.

Her head erupted from the water.  Cold and sound and air all hit her.  She gasped and coughed as she slipped in and out of the sea.  Bobbing weakly, her limp body vomited water and clung frantically to the bits of air she could.  She was out of the nothing, out of the darkness, she would cry if she wasn’t dying.  For countless waves, she faded in and out of consciousness, until finally she moaned and felt coarse sand on her back.

It was light when she woke.  The move to stand was slow, instinctual.  Feeling every bone, every muscle stretch and extend to unfurl her to her full height.  Arms reached out above her head, fingers searching the air for the electricity she sensed coursing somewhere nearby, the coming storm.  It suddenly seemed important to delight in the ability to command her body, to live.  Though she could not have said why. 

In fact, she could not have said much of anything at all.  She opened her mouth wide, running tongue over teeth, experimenting with lips.  Satisfied that things were as it seemed they should be, she set about choosing a word to release.  She could feel it bubbling up in her throat, like the last bit of ocean salt being expelled from her lungs.

Her mind was full of twisted hallways, packed with gilded cages, each containing a single word.  It was silent here, while they remained entrapped.  She considered allowing it to remain, for she felt that she had desired this stillness but could no longer recall the reason.  The crowded hush seemed wrong, out of place here where the waves roared softly in and the sand cut gently at her feet.  This is a place that called for sound.

She chose a word roiling and undulating, barely contained within its bars.  It burned her as it rushed past, filling her ears with a sorrowful ecstasy.  It consumed her before she set it free.

“A—.  Alive.”

She laughed joyously, effervescently at the texture of letters on her tongue and quickly sought another to fill the void.

“Delicious. Crystalline. Sonorous.”

She pulled them out and tried them on, reveling in their weight, consistency.  It was addicting.  Each one tasted unique in her mouth; from the velvet sensuality of “susurration” to the bitter tang of “cacophony”.  She felt ravenous.

“Amorphous. Dulcet. Felicity. Resplendent. Somnolent.”

Their golden cages crushed beneath the force of her voice; she ripped them apart, one by one, tearing down bars and twisting open the doors.  She flung the words from her as rapidly as possible; relishing the righteous noise they made as their consonants crashed together and fell around her.  She could almost feel the sharp sting on her skin as they made contact.  She paused before a single cage, smaller than the others and shrouded in shadow, almost as though it was trying to hide.


This word.  There was a hush, momentarily, as this word settled down around her, enveloped her completely, became her.


It slipped over her shoulders and hung comfortably around her neck as though it belonged there.  A name, her name, a definition of self.  It grounded her, sunk her toes further into the cold sand.  She rolled it over her teeth and back around between her ears.  She pulled it tight and let it warm her.  How could she have forgotten?

Writer’s Block

            It was a sharp, unfamiliar pain.  Not unbearable, but enough to make her twist in her seat.  It felt a little like being stabbed in her left kidney.  Not that she had personally experienced that particular sensation before now, but she imagined this was fairly on point.  As it were.

            She eased her foot off the break and prepared to turn.  Blinker.  Look.  Routine.  The gnawing pain in her back returned and she closed her eyes to it. 


            A horn blared as a Honda swerved to avoid her.  She jerked her jeep into the center lane.  Her hands gripped the wheel tight at ten and two.  Her back spasmed.



            She was exhausted.  It took all her energy to let the dog out before collapsing on the couch.  That was where he found her, staring nearly comatose at reruns of a 90s sitcom.  She hated sitcoms. 

            “How was your day?”  He tried to reach out but her leg was withdrawn before he made contact.

            “Okay.  I’m tired.  My head still hurts.”

            He looked at her, almost sadly, for a moment.

            “Did you take the medicine I picked up for you?”

            “Yes. No. Well, yes, once, but it didn’t help so no, not anymore.  I’m so tired.”

            She laid back down, curling even closer in on herself.  When he looked at her, he had trouble finding the woman he loved.  He wasn’t sure if she had ever even been there.  So he just sighed and tried again.

            “So go to sleep.”

            “I can’t.  My head hurts.  I could sleep if my head didn’t hurt so much.  And my back.  Now my back hurts.”

            He ran his fingers through his hair.  It was starting to fall out he noticed.  Was it stress, or was he just that old now?

            “Why don’t you do something to take your mind off of it? We could go for a walk, see a movie…”

            He drifted off when he took in her withering look.

“What about writing? You used to love to write.  You wrote all the time.  And you wouldn’t even have to leave the couch.”

“I can’t.”


“The words are stuck.”


She lined the asparagus neatly along the edge of her plate.  She ran the rice around in extensive mosaics.  She ate nothing.

“Don’t you like it?”

“Not hungry.”

“Are you okay?”

She slowly set her fork down on the table and let her eyes rise to meet his.  Then she screamed.

“MY HEAD HURTS. My head always hurts.  So no.  I am not fucking okay.  I can’t sleep.  I almost ran someone off the road today.  Now my back is killing me.  And my head.  Still.  Hurts.”

She punctuated her speech by flinging her plate across the room.  The asparagus she had so neatly lined up now clung to the wall. 

She left the kitchen without looking at him again and went to bed.  She was asleep in a dark room when he finally came upstairs.  He did not speak.  He did not reach out.  He closed his eyes to her.


In the morning, he awoke wet and sticky.  His arms and chest were covered in a slick, glistening black liquid.  Confused, he threw the sheets back. 


It ran out of her in rivers.  From her eyes, ears, nose and mouth.  Perhaps from other places too.  It pooled beneath her, dark and reproachful.


She made no reply.

When he looked closer, he realized that there were words, sentences flowing from her.  Things he had never read before.  Things she had talked of writing but never gotten around to.  Words that had been kept caged too long and had now burst unbidden from her.

He wiped susurration from her neck, musing at its black mark on his hand.  Then he got up, gently, to get a pen and some paper.