A Modern Nebuchadnezzar
Monday August 20, 2012
“Blue Moon / You saw me standing alone / without a dream in my heart/ without a love of my own.”
- Blue Moon, as covered by Frank Sinatra
“I have dreamed a dream and now that dream is gone from me”
- Book of Daniel, Chapter 2, Verse 3
It always started the same way. John Moltisanti knew he was in another world when he found himself walking down this familiar lonesome road. As he walked he remembered the old and cliche quote, "we're not in Kansas anymore". It might be cliched, but it was certainly applicable. Granted, he'd never been to Kansas, so in theory this road could be there, but he doubted it. He felt certain that it wasn't anywhere in Kentucky; Long Island; or Arkham, Massachusetts for that matter. And he had lived in those places. In fact, he had only lived in those places, and this road certainly didn't exist in any of them.
The road served as the first mental trigger. A trigger that had existed in his mind since he was a child no older than five. Whenever he found himself walking this star and nebula road he knew that he was dreaming. Now, this wasn't a normal kind of dream, but a deeper kind, a kind that anyone can and should be able to access, but sadly only a rare few can achieve. In fact John felt that he had passed into a world that could only be reached through the deepest slumber.
He looked around to the familiar sights of this land of dream. To his right a barren desert stretched impossibly onward toward eternity, and to his left was an infinite plain of swaying wheat or tall grass. Behind him, no more than fifty meters back was a long stairway that stretched into the heavens. About two miles ahead was a pier, and further out across a vast sea and just upon the horizon was the light of two monolithic cities larger than any ever seen in the waking world.
John felt as if he had been walking for an eternity. He continued down the road, but no matter how many rows of wheat he passed, the pier and city in the distance never came closer, and the stairs behind him never grew more distant.
Feelings of despair welled up inside of him, they started as a churning in his gut. Then they hit his heart, and it shook as if he had been hit in the chest with a baseball bat. Followed by the pricklings of utmost isolation that only crazed mountain men crave, that Antarctic researchers fear, and that destroys the minds of people in solitary confinement. He wanted someone beside him on this journey. Someone he could confide in, who he could hold close and trust to have his back. He didn't care if they were a friend or a lover, or even an adult who was more of an adult than he was. John was alone, and terrified, and he needed someone. He knew on a rational level that they couldn't save him from these feelings. That he would have to do some part of it himself. But human kind is a social animal, and having people -even if it is just one person- can help lift even the heaviest of burdens.
These feelings were also a trigger. This had happened countless times before in this dream. As a child, he couldn't understand why he would feel or want such things, but whenever he questioned it a voice in his head would remind him that he had an ancient soul, and that soul was longing for it's partner. That only confused him. He had no idea what an ancient soul was, he'd heard his grandparents talk of old souls, but didn't know what they were either. Hell, even now he didn't really understand what it meant. However, he never questioned the voice’s logic.
Now that same voice spoke up, “Are we back at this again, John? I thought by now you’d know what to do at this point.”
John had grown to hate this voice. It was one thing when it would occasionally whisper to him in his dreams. Once it started talking to him full time upon graduating High School, it became a problem. Just thinking about it caused John to hear the roar of flames, the booming of shotguns, and the screams of people he knew -the screams of friends and teachers.
Orange light emanated from the desert to his left, but John did not look. He couldn't look. The pain was still to real. It was raw. He felt the fire, and his right hand burned and bled from the rend of grazing buckshot. Yet still he refused to look. Instead, as if on cue he cast his gaze into the night sky and called out to the heavens above for help, and like magic the heat, pain, and the sounds of burning slaughter ceased.
The stars and nebulae were innumerable and whenever he would turn his head, some would flicker out into the black while others would twinkle on and shine like diamonds. The effect reminded him of looking at frost on a car in the winter. He could stare at that night sky forever, but eventually his gaze transfixed itself on the moon. It was bigger and fuller than he had ever seen it in his entire life, and it glowed with a pale blue light.
That moon mesmerized John. So much so that he almost missed the wisp of white light that flew around it in quick, darting circles just as it always had whenever he dreamed this dream. It looked like a comet, but John knew that wasn't what she was. She was the final trigger. The one he always looked forward to.
It was a young woman. It was always the same young woman, though she wasn't always one. In the past she was a teenager when he was one, and in John's earliest memories of this dream from when he was just a wee lad she too was a little girl. It was almost as if she aged with him.
She flew around the moon, wild and free.
John waited on baited breath for it to happen, for her to stop and see
him watching her fly. For a moment fearing, like always, that she wouldn't this time, that she'd forgotten him. Then she stopped, and hovered in the sky looking no different than a ghostly whisp in the distance. She had seen him, he could feel
her gaze even though they were separated by hundreds of thousands of miles.
She was surrounded by a brilliant blue light. Then like a rocket she darted toward him, leaving a trail of azure mist in her wake. It took her only an instant to reach him, and she stopped only inches above the ground. It was jarring how quickly she stopped, hovering above the ground with her flowing coal black hair and pure white dress billowing behind her on a breeze that wasn't there. She was surrounded in an aura of blue energy, and with a flick of her wrist the light faded and she ‘stepped’ down.
She smiled at him; it was a smile that not only encompassed her mouth but her eyes and face as well. Her cheeks had deep dimples from the sheer size of her grin. Her eyes glittered with the joy and delight that comes only upon seeing an old friend for the first time in far too long. There was something very familiar about her face. John had seen her before in the waking world. He knew her. He was sure of it. He even thought for a moment that they were close in the there, but the haze of this dreamland kept him from recalling the name attached to her face.
She ran up to him and nearly tackled him to the ground with a big hug. Luckily, John had a strong center of gravity even in his dreams. She kissed him once on each cheek and said with blushed cheeks, “I thought I’d never see you here again.” There was something familiar about her voice, but John couldn't place it. It was a bossy sort of voice, but one that also contained enough compassion to fuel all of humankind into a better age, “It’s been ages since you've been here.”
She was right about that. John couldn't remember the last time he had this dream. It felt like it had been years. Things had been hard since high school. Life had been hard, and it was getting harder. And he felt that the struggles and alienations of the waking world must be what kept so many people from this dreamworld. It is hard to dream when you are struggling to survive. It is hard to sleep deep and easy when you have to work to the bone and still not have enough for more than instant ramen or the luxury of a PB&J.
Still, he’d dreamed of this world before. Between high school and tonight. Again he was sure of that, but only when he was under the influence of a rare and powerful drug that he acquired from a friend of a friend. The drug was called onieronaut, and it promised the deepest most restful sleep this side of a casket, and when he took it John was brought to this world, but he never wound up in this corner of it where he knew he could find her.
She looked deeply into his eyes, and he looked back into hers. They were a brilliant light brown that would swirl and shift to bright blue almost at random. She leaned over and whispered into his ear, “I missed you John.”
John returned her affection finally, and hugged and kissed her back, “I missed you too” but before he could say her name he felt as if his feet were falling out from under him and he was being pulled away in body, mind, and spirit. John’s body shook and there was a bright light.
He heard a voice screech of a cockney accent, “Wakey, wakey old son!”
John opened his eyes and saw his roommate, Gavin, standing on the side of the bed. He was fully dressed and had a backpack slung over one shoulder, “Come on and get dressed boy, we’re running late for class.”
John looked at the time; it was nine fifteen in the morning. He rolled over in bed and groaned, “We ain’t running late yet Gavin. Now get the fuck outta my room!”Gavin lightly kicked the edge of John’s bed, which only led to John throwing a pillow at him. He eventually gave up and left. John rolled onto his back and sighed. He opened his eyes and stared up at the ceiling, “I missed you too,” he looked on his nightstand at his framed photograph of him and the girl from his dream. She was in the center of the photo next to him, and on either side they were flanked by their other friends, including Gavin, much to John's chagrin at that moment. He focused on her face for a moment, the dream already beginning to fade like all dreams do, and whispered “I missed you too, Keiko.”
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Josh MoberlyWrite a Review