For Christine, dreams have never been more than a pleasant dalliance in her subconscious or the occasional nightmare. Once she meets Gabriel, her dreams become vivid and shocking.
She spends time with Gabriel and learns there is far more to dreams than she ever imagined. As she becomes entangled in the truth, and her feelings for Gabriel, she finds herself on the path to making the biggest, and strangest, decision of her life.
I should have tossed out a welcoming smile and a “Nice to meet you. Gotta run,” but the strong outline of his back did nothing to prepare me for the siren song of his front. Melancholy practically poured off him, nearly visible, yet transient as smoke. His tousled brown hair, square-ish face, Johnny Depp lips and intense brown eyes nearly knocked me backwards. In that brief instant of eye contact, I felt the disorienting fuzziness that comes between sleep and wakefulness. Tiny flecks of autumn amber sparkled in his eyes, beckoning me deeper. My lips parted, as if not under my control, and prepared to utter some sort of greeting but stopped. I noticed the slightest twinge in my brain.
Strange but not unpleasant, it felt like a warm breeze had just blown away a cobweb from my mind. Jarred by all these things happening in an instant, I turned away. Even so, I could feel his eyes on me as I fled. It made the entire length of my spine tingle.
It was quickly getting too dark to see, but I knew the park well. We were heading toward the trail into the forest. I leaned closer to Gabriel so that our shoulders bumped into each other every few steps. Gently, he pressed his palm against my back. “Careful,” he whispered. “The path is uneven here.”
It didn’t take long to fall into a comfortable rhythm with Gabriel’s footsteps. The trees were like deep black sentinels standing against a star-speckled sky. I paid attention to the trail beneath my feet. Each step had to be carefully planted so as to not be caught off guard by the terrain of wood chips and tree roots. Except for the twinkling stars above the branches, the darkness had become so complete that it was easy to imagine our bodies didn’t exist. That only our spirits were floating among and within everything.
Gabriel tenderly took my hand, and the faint silhouette of our joined hands mingled with the dark of the trees, with the sky overhead, the earth below. The ancient pulse of the universe hummed around and through us.
It wasn’t until he pulled me back that I realized we’d come to the edge of the river. A river I’d walked beside countless times before, but never like this.
S.J. Lomas is a cheerful Michigan native who writes strange and somewhat dark stories. She is a wife, mother, librarian, and definitely a dreamer.
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