Lucid Dreaming | Teen Ink

Lucid Dreaming

November 29, 2014
By vietblueart SILVER, Withheld, California
vietblueart SILVER, Withheld, California
5 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." -Jesus Christ

He died on the Fourth of July. Even miles away, I still felt his passing.

I never go out on the Fourth. Too much noise, too many lights, too many bodies loosened up by alcohol and the nationwide excitement. I always preferred to stay in my room, in the comfort of my bed, watching it all from my window alone as I slipped on my headphones. But at night, I never turn my iPod on; the music would pull my focus away and distract me. I just need the noises muted, all the delighted shrieks and shattering glass sounding outside my window, punctuated by the whistle and blast of fireworks. Distracting.

For this, I needed quiet.

Slowly, slowly, I managed to drift into sleep, and once I did, I opened my eyes and was met by a draft of frigid air. I exhaled in relief. I’d done it. He’d arrived.


The dream formed itself as a thick, near-silent forest. I sat on a stump in the middle of a clearing, golden sunlight pouring down around me. The cold air breathing on my face had turned to the crisp scent of autumn, full of warm reds and russets and golden-browns. Myriads of trees ringed around me where they whispered only amongst themselves, as always. They never spoke their secrets to me.


He wasn’t there. I sighed and got up. My feet, however, did not touch the carpet of leaves and dried grass but wet sand instead. And when I looked up, the trees had vanished away and a glorious sea stretched out in front of me, white waves tinted violet and red under an eternal sunset.


I walked along the shore for a while, letting the water lap at my bare toes, but I knew he wasn’t there either. That was fine. He didn’t always appear in the same places when I brought him in.


I kept walking, the dream changing around me as I did. A field of white flowers, butterflies the color of soot and ash flitting everywhere. A balcony party where nameless people chatted and I sipped at a long-stemmed glass; tonight my drink tasted like spiced mangoes. A labyrinth with overflowing bookshelves for walls, both a maze and a library. He wasn’t in any of them.


Then finally, I found him. It was in a meadow, ankle-high paper flowers blooming in warm colors -- juxtaposed by their cover of powdery snow and aurora borealis shimmering in an ice-dark sky above. The air fluctuated between biting cold and pleasant summer cool. And he laid among the frozen flowers, the northern lights bending and shifting his motionless shadow.


I smiled and went to wake him. Occasionally his breath and mine would become visible, clouds of white swirling around our heads. My footsteps crunched through the field, the snow was numbingly cold and spring-cool both at once. I stopped, squatting down beside him. His eyelids were closed and a faint purple, as if bruised. When I touched him, he trembled and moaned softly. Like a baby, he curled in on himself, looking forlorn and lost and restless. I laughed and pushed back his hair.


“Hi, Joseph.”


His eyes flew open at the sound of my voice, and he screamed. He scrambled backwards, away from me, shrieking in absolute horror. “No! No! Not you! Get away from me!” he yelled, the frigid sky swallowing his words. “Why won’t you just leave me alone? Leave me alone!”


I laughed again and caught his hands. “Calm down, calm down. It’s just me,” I said in a friendly tone. Joseph was sobbing now, yanking at my grip even though by now he knew how pointless it was. This was my dream he was trapped in. I was the one in control. He was completely helpless in this place and he knew it.


Besides, it wasn’t as if I was going to hurt him.


I turned his wrists to see them better and then sighed. “Again? I thought you weren’t going to do this anymore. I’ll admit it was smart of you, though, to choose tonight. You have, what, maybe an hour before anyone remembers to check on you. I guess I have till then to bring you back, huh?”


He shook his head rapidly, the panic in his eyes bordering on hysteria. “Please! Please, don’t!” he gasped. “J-Just let me go! I’m begging you, please just let me go!”


I couldn’t help smiling, puzzled at his desperation. It was saddening, really, how badly he wanted to die. “Why would I do that, Joseph?” I asked him. “I only want to help.”


The air had become colder. Joseph’s tears were turning to frost on his cheeks; I wiped them away before they froze completely. How much time had passed? I had to get him back before his family found him, before they discovered his body. I had to, or else all my efforts would be utterly wasted. All the other times I had helped him. All the other times he’d tried to die. All the other times I’d brought him into my dreams. All for naught.


I was never going to let that happen.


“Please…” I heard him say, grabbing my attention again. Joseph’s voice was small now, hardly more than a whimper. “You’re killing me…”


My breath wafted like heavy fog as I laughed, long and loud. Gently, I placed my hand around his throat, feeling his heartbeat tap against my fingers like the struggles of a frightened bird. I grinned at his terrified expression, at the absurdity of his statement.


“But Joseph, I’m saving you! And I’ll always be here to save you, Joseph.”


Fresh tears streamed down his face. The fear in his expression was something to be expected now, the fear of going back, of living again. That was fine. He choked on his sobs and started to say something, his mouth forming words. I never heard it, though: I woke up then, smiling as his cries continued to echo in my head. It didn’t matter. I got up. I was going to bring him back. No matter how many times it took, no matter how many times he killed himself, I would bring him back. Always.

The author's comments:

This short story was based on a prompt for my school's writing club, which was to write a piece about a villain. I wanted to do a roundabout way to it; I wanted to write from the point of view of the villain but in a way that made it seem like otherwise.

The villain's identity (even the gender) and motives are left vague on purpose. I think it's more frightening when someone does something to you and you don't know why.

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