“Ah yes, I know EXACTLY what dream will keep you asleep…

Phanniemay 15
Theme 2: Dream

He wakes alone. Bitter, cold.

His mind is the sea, and waking is like the undertow before the tide rushes in. Reality gathers in small bits – the bed, the dream helmet, his plushie doll of Maddie – and swells, like the emotion in his chest, before the truth crashes down in a wave.

“Nocturne,” he growls, grinds the name between his teeth.

In the wake of his blissful dream, Vlad feels empty and cold. He huffs and throws off the blankets, lets the doll drop to the floor, and strides to the closet to dress as briskly as he can.

As he readjusts his tie in the mirror, he looks at the stranger staring back. This Version of Vlad – the real, non-dream Vlad – has bags under his eyes, sallow cheeks, frown lines at his mouth.

This version of Vlad is a mayor, not a retired quarterback, though the mansion is almost the same.

There is no wife sharing his bed, though. No daughter downstairs.

No son.

He wonders, irrationally, if there is a way to fix the helmet. To make him dream like that every night, or, better, to dream like that forever.

And he shivers. Dreams like that, they’re divine and deadly. Like cigarettes, he thinks. The stick meets your lips, sweet like a kiss, and poisons you ten times over. Vlad licks his own dry lips; can almost taste the phantom memory of Maddie’s lipstick lingering there.

Teeth clench, and he strides across the room, scoops up the helmet, pitches it out the window. Hears it shatter on the pavement below. Pigeons in the garden scatter, and he watches them fly off. Glares at the ground, at the shattered dreams below.

He resolves to go bother Daniel. Follow him, saunter about the Fenton’s house like he owns the place, jab at the boy until green glares from his eyes.

That’s the problem with dreams, he thinks, as he leaves his empty, hollow house. Even the impossible ones seem so real when you’re in the midst of them.

Even now, he can’t stop chasing his dreams.

He’ll never be ready to wake up.