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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
In Dreams provides a short look at one child's dreams one fateful night.

Submitted: January 21, 2008

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 21, 2008



In Dreams
Maybe small children ought not to watch violent movies…

“Goodnight, now,” came a distant yet warm and friendly voice from the door. Thoughts floated and half-dreams swirled around – then, after a stretch of time, there was nothing, not even white shadows….

But the dreams remained.

I woke up this morning with sweat just dripping, dripping off of my face. When you think about it, it’s a typical occurrence for someone in my situation: nightmares that cause sweat and pain, screams in the night, the whole nine yards. I am incapable of caring about it – at least, that’s what they tell me.


You know, they also told me I was, rather, am, insane. They told me that I would be better off if I was in this clinic. They told me as if they didn’t know what sort of things go on here. I believe they knew – they were just trying to get rid of me. But I guess it doesn’t matter now, now that everything has come to its sordid end.


I began to see things. I still do. I began to associate with the wrong people, and I began to shun my parents and true friends. Nor did it help that the one girl I loved turned me away after what seemed like two good years with her. My family tells me that I snapped, and that I did something horrible, too awful to even mention in polite company. If I had any notion of what it was that I did, I might do it again, just to show them.


If you were to take a glance around at my cell here at the clinic, you would first notice the rusty yet remarkably sturdy iron bars on my window. You would then notice that the door could be locked from the outside, not from within, as is normal in this fine country of Armenaia.


You’d see the old bed that has been slept in far too many times, and the dresser that pretends to do a good job of holding my four jumpsuits. And then you would see the cracked leather wallet that sits sadly, despondently on the dresser – devoid of money, as it were, but still a memento of the day I failed both my parents, the day I drowned – drowned?


1976, and the world is still fresh, but growing a little bit more tired every day.


The sun, well on its way to a crashing descent over the water, sat red and lazy in the sky, and I could feel a vague stirring of something on the soft breeze – something, quite possibly love, for a person yet unknown to me. I noted the waves lapping lazily and happily against the soft and welcoming beach now trampled smooth by many thousands of feet. And I felt fine. I felt good, like no bad thing would happen, could happen to me and my little family.


But then there were my parents. My mother was a bitter, if not slightly angry person bent on forcing her way which she attributed to God’s way on myself, my father, and my younger sister. Yet today she seemed placid, if not a little distant. I wondered what was wrong, what evil had been done to her to make her so quiet – the quiet before the storm, I gathered. My father, a quiet, if not ineffectual man in his early fifties, was constantly harangued by my mother to “lose some weight for once”. He was, if nothing else, run by both the women in my family: my mother and my grandmother. So my father sat quietly entertaining my sister on the deck of the nice house, away from both my mother and my grandmother.


Of course, my family could never afford a nice place like the one we were at that lovely Indian summer afternoon. My grandmother owned it, and even though she was then too sick to join us on her property, she gave her full consent to us coming over and spending the afternoon on her grounds. My grandmother was also more than delighted when we would bring friends along, and tolerably nice when my parents would invite someone out to “Annabel’s place”.


That’s why we had Randy along with us that day, because we were nice enough to include him in our outing, even though my father and I railed against it. How we hated him. My mother and my sister actually seemed to like him – which was bizarre, seeing as he always was a little too interested in my sister for his (or her, for that matter) own good.

I guess it doesn’t matter now. Randy won in the end.

I was standing on the beat up old wharf, the same wharf that my grandmother hadn’t bothered to fix after Camille - arguing with my mother about politics once again. She maintained that Jimmy Carter was not the man to lead the country, and that anyone who could possibly vote for him was either out of their minds or quite possibly a sinner in danger of eternal damnation. I insisted, as you might imagine, that Carter was the man for the job – my youthful idealism told me so, you see.


My mother gradually grew tired of the same old stale political argument and wandered away after quite a few heated words. It was to be our last conversation, and I am sad that it ended so badly.


I stood there on the deck watching the sun just touch the lapping waves, considering if I should try to re-catch my suspended happiness after the argument. I had just decided to be happy again when Randy, bearing a malicious smile, approached me cautiously.

“What do you want, Randy?”

Randy smiled at me through his stupid mustache, ran his fingers through his curly mop of hair, cleared his throat, and proceeded to tell me what he thought of my sister.

“I’m sure you won’t mind when I hit you in the gut, Randy.” I replied.
He just smiled at me. “I know where your father gets his money,” he said suddenly.

“Where?” I challenged him.


He told me. “I’ve even seen one or two of his works, and they’re not half bad,” he said, with a smirking smile.

“Damn you,” I said. “I’m gonna have to kill you now.”

“I’ve been waiting for a chance to get you out of the way, punk,” he replied. “I can finish what I started with your sister.” He laughed mercilessly.


I called him a name; he laughed and pushed me down. And I scrambled back up and attempted to hit him in the face, but he only dodged my wild blow and pinned me in some strange form of martial arts. Randy lunged me towards the edge of the dock, and it was at that moment that I knew that I had lost and was going to go into the water. But before I fell, Randy surprised me by whispering:

“They’ll just call it self-defense, Justin. You lose, I win – again. Have a pleasant stay in hell.”

Then I felt a sharp pain in the back of my neck, and I heard a scream (probably my own); the water rushed up to meet me, and I went down, down towards a welcoming blackness…


Darkness – not even white shadows are here. Yet the broken pieces of a dream lie on the floor, uncaring now that their time is spent. Funny how dreams can be sometimes glimpsed just after they are spent.


But there is something warm, maybe fuzzy nearby, and a comforting light, maybe green off in the distance. And then there is nothing, besides a welcoming blackness once again…


He strode up purposely to the door, pausing only briefly to look at the sky. Odd, how the sky always seemed overcast this decade – odd how the sun seemed to be hiding almost every day behind a curtain of light gray.


It seemed strange to him that the library was rather square shaped – and made of slate and wood, broken only by remarkably large square windows that seemed to have an ambition to touch the sky.


He was an old man, wearing an old pleated felt hat, with old thick-rimmed glasses perched atop an old worn face. It took him some time to climb to the top of the (never-ending?) staircase leading to the door; he noticed with some surprise that there were benches somehow built into the stairs – as if the builders knew that the staircase was long and tiresome, and built the benches rather than making the building less tall.


When he finally reached the door, it took the old man a considerable amount of strength to open the door. Having finally done so, he was met with a remarkably cold blast of air – too cold for even a library, too cold for even the wintertime.


The front desk sat unobtrusively near the front door, he noticed. Directly behind the desk, it seemed, sat a strikingly attractive young lady. Well, the old man thought, not strikingly attractive, but perhaps quietly attractive, as if she didn’t want anyone to know what she looked like until they got to know her. Appropriately, the name on her little name tag read Julia. Somehow that seemed good to the old man, for he was looking for a book with a Julia in it.


She smiled at him as he slowly approached the desk. It seemed horribly dark in the library, and he was having trouble seeing the librarian.

“I’m looking for a book,” he began to explain.
She smiled and pointed in a direction far away. “Right down the aisle there,”
“You don’t,” he began. “You don’t know what book I’m looking for, do you?”
“Why – yes I do,” she replied with a soft smile. “1984, by Orwell?”
He started violently. “Yes. How did you know that?”

“We know these things. Your book is waiting for you, just down the aisle there – we have several copies available for you to check out.”


So he began to walk, ever slowly, towards the aisle that Julia pointed to. It seemed to take an interminable time, and along the way he started to notice a few strange things.


At first, he thought his mind was playing tricks on him. But no! There it was again, and again. This library had many books on 1984 – in fact, it seemed the only book here was a copy of 1984. He knew they were all the same book, even though some of them were called Orwell or Big Brother or even Winston. The old man knew it, and it began to scare him.


He tried to increase his gait. The sooner he got his book and got out, the sooner things would be back to normal. But the old man was wrong. He looked back – the desk was now a tiny speck in the distance, and there was still quite a long ways to go towards his book. After all, his book was waiting for him. It didn’t seem logical to him to get one of the other books on the shelves.


But the old man couldn’t make it. He began to sweat, and then pant, from exhaustion. Finally there was nothing else for it but to lie down right where he stood, and so he did. It seemed the most natural thing in the world to him, to lie down and sleep until he could get his book. Just a few minutes here, he told himself. No one would ever find me here.


His eyes wandered over all of the copies of 1984; one copy fell down and landed just in front of his eyes. Odd, then, that the book would fall open to the first page. The old man decided to read to himself, at least until he fell asleep. But he couldn’t do it. He was just too tired…


Cold, and bright. Those were the first two words that came to Winston, as he made his way home once again from his dreary job. Of course, he was only on his lunch break – he couldn’t stay and enjoy the cold and bright day. Even so, the sun was still behind the clouds, which was a little strange. The brightness seemed not to come from the sun, but from another source. Chalk it up to Big Brother, Winston thought grimly.


Winston entered Victory Mansions once again, stopping once again to smell the stench of boiled cabbage and sweat that seemed to permeate the entire building. He noticed with some shock that the large poster was gone, and in its place a picture of – yes, a picture of him. Winston, that is. It flapped eerily in the still air.


He walked slowly up the stairs, stopping often to rest and examine his leg, which seemed to be bleeding profusely. It occurred to him that bleeding that much might be a crime, in which case they would gleefully take him away – take him away to the Ministry of Love.


Something seemed wrong almost as soon as Winston reached his apartment. His neighbor, a large man whose name was Parsons lied uncaring on the floor, eyes staring at the ceiling, blood slowly trickling from his mouth. Parsons was a man with total dedication to the Party, a man who could always be counted on to give the worst and at the same time the most heart-felt renditions of the Party songs. It seemed fit to Winston, then, that the national anthem would be playing cheerily over Parsons’ lifeless body.


Parsons’ son stood over him with a horrid smile, shouting “traitor, traitor!” as soon as he glimpsed Winston.


Winston shuddered, and quickly went inside. The first thing he saw was the coral paperweight sitting innocently in front of the telescreen. His diary meanly lay open beside it, with words as big as the sea denouncing Oceania, the Party, and Big Brother. Winston wondered what O’Brian would think of him now.


There was nothing for it. Without warning Winston ran to the paperweight and flung it at the telescreen. It was an act of defiance, against the Party, against Oceania, and in some strange way himself. The paperweight flew through the air and shattered sharply against the telescreen – covering the floor with fragments, fragments from the coral and from the screen. Mockingly, the telescreen continued to shrill at Winston.


Winston felt he must drink some gin or he would die from shock. They would assuredly be here in a few moments – it seemed a startlingly good idea to drink some gin, he thought. Winston never got to drink it, however; the police were at the door in a trifle.


He thought the banging would never cease. Although Winston knew who it was, it seemed only logical to open the door to them anyway. When he finally got open to open the door the Thought Police entered the room and stood there for a moment surveying all of the mess. Without warning they turned to Winston and raised their weapons.


In the split second before their truncheons stabbed Winston, he smiled calmly, and spoke: “But at least I never met with Julia, did I?”


As he fell, he marveled at how much the floor looked like white shadows…


White shadows now – and the moon has cast its soft, almost loving light upon a sheet. Perhaps it’s even a bedspread. The light cheerfully told him that it was a quarter to four, and the soft fuzzy thing seemed to be moving about.


But the white shadows whisked away when he looked at them, and the welcome darkness returned….


I took her to the pond, and I thought it was the most magical thing that ever happened to me. Her parents brought her over for dinner, dropping her off with nary a question. It was like a dream come true – a dream that would soon be shattered.


We ate dinner, and then she and I walked out towards the pond just across the street. It was a short walk, but when I looked back the house seemed infinitely small.


After quite a long while, we reached the pond. I will never know if it was because we were walking toward it or if it was moving toward us. Not caring, I took my love by the hand and walked out to the end of the pier, where we lounged against the wet railing and smiled at each other.


There seemed to be a lot of people nearby the pond, dressed oddly in robes and colorful hats, but after a while I noticed that they went away, off on their own business. They smiled and frowned at me alternately, so I smiled and frowned at them right back. My girl looked at me with those coral blue eyes and asked me softly what was the matter.


“Oh, you know, those people.” I wondered if it was really right for me to call her ‘My Girl’.


She seemed to understand. In this world, everyone could talk less and everyone could understand more. Even that made sense somehow. Everything made sense after all, now that everything was well and good and she was here with me.


We seemed to talk for some time before I told her I had an announcement to make.


She replied that she did too. Being a gentleman, I insisted that she go first.


“I don’t love you,” she stated. It seemed the most natural thing in the world for her to say.

I smiled and nodded. “Of course you don’t,” I agreed. “How could you ever?”

She laughed. It was unbelievably funny. I grinned, or maybe leered at her. Sitting down on a stool that I hadn’t noticed before, I began to inspect a jogger who was running towards the pier from an infinitely long distance.


“So who is it?” I said, watching the jogger slowly yet speedily grow closer. “Who do you love instead of me? I’ll tell you if you’ll tell me.”


My love was delighted with the prospect. The jogger smiled and waved at us as he approached the pier. I threw up my arm in salute to him.


“Oh, I don’t know if I should tell you just yet – wait a few more seconds, Charles.”


It seemed reasonable enough. Sweetly, she sat down next to me and took my hand in hers. And music was playing in the background, coming from the blue, blue skies. At no point did I consider this to be absolutely absurd.


The jogger came up – it was Randy, of course, and sat down huffing and puffing. He seemed unusually happy to see me. Underneath his kind exterior, I thought, was an evil and debased man.

“That’s who I love!” my girl said triumphantly.
“Randy?” I screamed. “No, please no! Anyone but Randy!” But my love only nodded and smiled at Randy.

I looked her in the eyes again, her coral blue eyes. Where had I seen coral before? When had I seen it before? Randy was mumbling something about me and the water, and before I knew it he had grabbed me in a bear hug and we were toppling and falling into the water, falling for an eternity….


Somewhere out there, a very tired man pulls up a microphone towards him and begins to relay the shocking information given to him by the station manager to the world at large.


“This is 1450 WKXW, Atlantic City. It’s now four-o-clock, Tuesday morning.” he began, almost failing to hold back a sigh. More bad news to share, and nobody to share it with. No normal human being is up at four in the morning, he reasoned. As if anyone cared, he read the news in his low, tired, announcer style radio voice, mumbling the most important words.


“A volunteer firefighter has been arrested this morning on charges related to possession of lewd and lascivious images of what are believed to be mumbles. Randy Mumble, 34, of Trenton, was arrested early this morning at his sister’s house in Atlantic City. Mumble had been living with his sister’s family, and storing images on her computer. No charges have been filed with his sister. The authorities do not believe she was involved in any way in the criminal activity.


‘It’s just amazing that there weren’t more victims in this horrible crime. There is apparently a small child living with Mumble’s sister – this could have been much worse.’


That was an agent working on the task force that brought Mumble down. Due to the sensitive nature of the case, we cannot release his name.


A representative from the local church Mumble’s sister’s family attends spoke out this morning:


‘We can only try to forgive Mr. Mumble for what he has done to his family. There can be absolution for all, if the proper steps are taken.’


In other news, the 76ers continue their losing streak, falling 104-88 to the…”


They came for me today. I could have predicted it. Everyone is killed in this place, this horrible clinic which is a breeding ground for the undead. That’s right, the undead. I discovered that the other day after I stabbed my nurse with a shard of glass I found – she didn’t go, instead stabbing me with more of her awful medicine. But I escaped soon after they tried to send me to the doctor. I bit the nurse.


I am tied up now in a wheelchair. I can just control my movement, and I am going forward down an infinitely long hall. The undead nurses are chasing me, I know, but this hallway goes downhill, and I am pulling away from them. I have only to hit the window and I will go right through and be free from this life forever. Wild sounds and screams emerge from every corner of this accursed place.


Now there is a guard in front of me, and a doctor chasing me, but I duck through my wheelchair and the guard shoots the doctor with his shotgun. Blood spatters all over the doctor’s mop of hair as he tumbles and bounces against the floor, the wall, but I only laugh. A nurse screams at me, yet I cannot care.


And now I am at the window, I am through the window, and I notice the late Armenaian moons glowing dully at me as I fall – fall toward a blackness that is no longer welcoming… I do not want it now. Take it away.


White shadows have grown lengthy and old – and now the sun tries to fight back the forces of evil and the night. It is just sixteen minutes to seven, the clock radio reports. There’s time yet for one more dream, one more travel through the most bizarre places in the world….


“I arrest you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”


Hearing this, the criminal broke. Weeping he was taken to the purification center; weeping he was taken out. When he sat down in front of the priest and the policeman, he was a broken, contrite, humbled man. But his hands still shook, and he could not grasp the warm solution that was put in front of him to drink.


“Your sins have been forgiven by the blood of the Lamb who was slain for you. Go in peace, my brother.”


The criminal smiled, now free from his guilt. He began to get up, to stumble away, to go back to his home and the images that pleased him so very much.

The priest held up his thin and pale hand.

“Brother, before you go, you must be absolved by our Lord and Savior. To do that, you must have punishment as determined by your friend and my friend, the Corporal.”


Creeping back into the criminal’s eyes was the fear which everyone so enjoyed seeing.


The Corporal spoke for the first time. When he spoke, it was as if two knives were being rubbed together; it was a harsh grating sound. The criminal cowered in fear.


“Scum of the earth!” he began. He pointed at a small child watching from the other room. Just then the criminal noticed that the walls were painted a horrible shade of gray. It was almost difficult to breathe in here, the criminal thought. Did the walls have eyes?

“What did you do to that small child?”
“Nothing!” the criminal screamed.

“Our Lord knows differently. Our Lord can never lie, blessed be his name. You are under oath and in danger of damnation. What did you do to that child?”

The piteous criminal could not answer.
The Corporal stood up, towering over the criminal.

“You must be punished. You must pay for your sins – even the blood of our Lamb” (here he crossed himself and bowed to the priest) “cannot save you now. There is no place for you in eternity – not one slot. You are doomed to extinction.”


This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The criminal slumped on the floor, sobbing and begging for forgiveness. There was none. The priest and the policeman stepped out softly, leaving the door open only for the young boy bearing vengeance.


Softly the door closed; softly someone stepped through the room and moved the chair. The criminal stood up. This was unreal. It was just a little kid, nothing special. He would soon be through with him and back to his home, to the images that pleased him the most and best of all. Foolish policeman, foolish priest. What he neglected to notice was the chainsaw which the child held.

When the criminal saw it he screamed.
“No! Please no! Why do you do this to me?”

“For all the things you have done to the ones like me,” the pale, almost dead little boy answered softly. “Tell me just one thing before I chop you up.”


“Anything. Spare me just one moment more on this sweet, sweet earth.”

“Are you Randy?” the child asked sweetly.
“Will I be spared if I am?”
The child started the chainsaw.

“I am! I am!” he pleaded piteously. “I am! Please, if you love your fellow man, if you love others, if you love God, do not kill me! Spare me just once more.”


Randy’s voice trailed off as he looked at the small, pale child holding a chainsaw.

After eons, the small child spoke. “Because you are Randy, you must be no more.”
And he lifted the chainsaw high.

Now the sun is higher in the sky, and the warm voice that was saying goodnight just a few hours ago is welcoming him back to earth.

“Good morning!”
“Is today really the day?”
“Yes, honey, today is really the day. You’re really eight years old today. Today is your birthday party!”

“Can we watch all the movies we watched last night with Uncle Randy?”


Mother frowned. “No, I don’t think so. I need to tell you something, Marcus. Uncle Randy was wrong for showing you those movies – sometimes there are things that are too violent for children your age. Maybe one day when you’re older you can see that, but for now we’re not going to be watching things like that. I’m sorry if you had nightmares last night.”


That was OK. In fact, Uncle Randy was acting “wacko” last night, the little boy said. He was doing some “weird stuff”. But where was he now?


“About that,” mother replied. “Uncle Randy won’t be coming to your birthday party this afternoon.”

“Why not?”

Apparently Uncle Randy had to go away to a place for people who make mistakes.


“He put you in a lot of danger – it might be a long time before you see him again,” mother said gently.


That was OK. In fact, life would probably be better without Uncle Randy.


© Copyright 2020 CruelIrony. All rights reserved.

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