Two strangers meet in the dream worlds and begin to look for the same things; follow the same dream and dreamers. Are they really strangers? Are they in the same place in the dream worlds for a reason? And, if they chose to begin a quest, can they both return safely from it?
Joe and Laura are dreamers. They meet in the dream worlds and Joe begins to fall in love with the beautiful Laura, but the dream worlds are treacherous: Nothing can be trusted, and nothing remains the same for long. As they learn the truth of dreaming they learn that nothing comes without a price, the price of this gift is coming due, and could very well mean death…
“I had looked in that jerky way dreams have of showing you something. Pieces missing, frames skipped in the film, scenes out of order: Bits of information that seemed to mean nothing at the time. Things you only know and never see. Even explaining it doesn’t do it justice, but if you’ve ever dreamed you know what I mean.”
“I will say this about buildings, walls, houses, cars, trees… They harbor evil. They can hate. Maybe not in the world most of us live in, but in the world I spend most of my time in the rules are different. They can hate you. They can love you. They can kill you. You should know that if you ever dream.”
The man’s smell was everywhere. The man who came to him in that other place. The place he slipped away to whenever he closed his eyes for too long. The place he wanted to go to but could not make himself go to. He had to wait. He had to wait until it happened on its own. He couldn’t make it happen. Couldn’t? Not exactly true. He could. Shouldn’t was truer.
Bear (The wolf spirit)
(Dreamers was the working title for City of the Dead)
Dreamers is Copyright © 2016 by Dell Sweet. All rights reserved foreign and domestic.
Cover Art © Copyright 2016 Wendell Sweet
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This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
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The dream came nearly instantly. But it was so UN-dreamlike that I didn’t realize it was occurring as it began to unfold.
I drowsed at the fire, my head nodding, snapping up at the sounds that came from the forest and then succumbing once more to its great weight. I drowsed again and my head snapped up again at some sound closer to me and I found her before the fire: Sitting across from me.
“You can change it all, you know.” Her eyes. Her hair, nothing had changed, and my heart cried out to the feelings she provoked inside of me. Conflicted with what I knew I was beginning to feel for Laura. No, felt. Not beginning to feel, I corrected myself. But that only made the guilt set in deeper.
She waited, but I could not find my voice.
“I know. She was here. I was not.” She leaned close to me and I could smell her clean scent. “I don’t blame you for being confused. But, Baby, it’s only the confusion. It’s only confusion. I’m the one you love… You know that.” She leaned back. The fire turning to orange-red chips in her black eyes.
Tears rolled freely down her cheeks and my own began to spill to.
“You’re dead,” I managed.
“So is she,” she said softly, reasonably.
My mouth opened at that but I had no words. I had never thought of it that way.
“Look… I know you slept with her… You were lonely… You didn’t realize you could fix this… You had no reason to know. But now you do know. I came to you so you would know… I wanted you to know. You have no idea how lonely death is… How… Alone you are in death.”
She swiped at her eyes… “Maybe it’s different if you were supposed to go. Maybe… But when you weren’t. When you had everything to live for… A man you loved… We we’re going to have a baby… It wasn’t fair… And it wasn’t my time.”
She swiped at her eyes once more. I took a few deep breaths and tried to suppress a sob…
“I told myself I wouldn’t cry… Wouldn’t beg you… I told myself.”
My own chest heaved. I caught my breath. “You… You’re not real… What… What is this…” And that is when I began to realize that I was in a dream. It had that quality to it. But it had such a real quality to it at the same time.
‘I’m as real as she is,” she whispered. “Now. I don’t have a body… True… But you can fix that… You could undo what she did… You could.” She looked at me. Held my eyes.
“Tell me… Just tell me you don’t love me… Tell me… Make me believe it, because, believe me, I don’t… I see someone who filled a space.” She swiped at the tears that rolled down her cheeks once more, licked her lips and then continued. “Come on… Think about it…” She lifted strands of her hair in one hand. “The same hair. We’re built the same… You can’t see it? Baby, she’s a substitute… A substitute… She’s there because you want me. Because you still love me… It’s true… You know it’s true.” She leaned forward once more. Her hands came up, settled on either side of my face. The fire between us for a while. She let me go, leaned back and held my eyes across the fire as I tried to wake myself up.
The dream, if it was a dream, was too real. Too painful. I could not wake myself from it. I could not and really didn’t want to. I wanted answers to the questions she had helped to voice within me.
“What do you mean I can change it,” I asked her at last, once I was sure I had my voice and most of the emotion in me under control.
“You’re alive. You can dream. You can go back and change it,” she said.
The guilt hit me harder. I had thought of it. I had thought about that exactly. I could. I could, but it would be against the purpose of her life. She would only die some other way. At least that was how Benjamin had explained it to me when I worked up the courage to ask him about it.
“You could lose your gift. The creator doesn’t give the gifts he’s given to you lightly. To be misused,” he said.
And I had seen it then. But now, with what really seemed to be Jana before me, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see the reason. My logic seemed faulty, or Benjamin’s logic seemed faulty. Anything but truthful. Anything but the way it should be.
“Even if I did you would die some other way. Your purpose was to die.” I said the words but they were hollow.
“And who told you that,” she asked?”
I shook my head. “I dream. I know.”
“They lied. Yes, if I was purposed to die, yes. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t purposed to die. I was purposed to be your wife I was purposed to have your children. I was purposed to live that way. I know I was purposed for it… I wasn’t supposed to die…”
Her eyes held mine. “Would you let me show you? Would you? If I don’t show you, you will never believe me. I can take you there so you can see how it happened.” Her voice was not much more than a whisper.
I shook my head. My own tears flowing… “This can not be real… This cannot be real…”
“But it is… Let me show you… In a few moments all of this can be gone… You wake up in bed with me… Five years ago… It really can be that way. That easy. You can fix it, and… You can fix it… Please, please let me show you!” She leaned forward once more, her arms outstretched, hands cupping the sides of my face. I closed my eyes to the touch, but it was all wrong as much as it felt so right.
I blinked, opened my eyes and she was gone. My breath caught in my throat. I could feel the tears, drying on my cheeks, leaving me cold despite the fire in front of me.