Snippet Saturday #17 Reverie (Part 12)

My throat is dry. My voice barely comes out. The Nightwalkers keep coming toward me, as if I’m not saying anything at all. I shoot them with the gun but all it does is create a little steam. I turn the gun and spray it into my mouth. It soothes my swollen and parched throat.

“You are a nightmare!” I yell. “So are you!”

A birdsong trill outside the window. It must be Dovie! I keep yelling, my voice strained as I hoist Jude up by the armpits and drag him to the window, leaping outside with my arms tight around his chest. His limp legs kick at a Nightwalker trying to clamor inside.

We land on Dovie’s back. This time I’m behind him, securing him against Dovie’s feathers. The Nightwalkers above try to grab at us, but the dove flies out of their reach.I know I’ll have to come back and deal with them all, but the first step is to get rid of these pills.

Dovie takes us down the cliff that leads to the house I shared with Graham. Jude wakes with a groan, and I help him off the dove’s back.

I take the bottle of pills out of my pocket and shake it. This is different than my own pill bottle earlier tonight with only one pill in there. This one is filled to the brim.

Jude must sense my reluctance because he says, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

Once again, I stand on my tiptoes and kiss him, but more forcefully this time. My arms encircle his neck to draw in his real–not dream–warmth. His arms are around my waist. He bends forward slightly so I no longer have to reach up to meet his lips.

We break away, and I hold his gaze, taking a deep breath before nodding. “I’m sure.”

I take my lonely pill out of my pocket and lay it on my left palm. Jude undoes the lid of the pill bottle and holds onto it. I empty the pills into my hand, feeling their comforting weight. For years now, I’ve relied on these pills and their promise to protect me. I’m afraid to let them go. But then I look at Jude, who smiles reassuringly.

After shuffling them around a bit, I hold my hand over the water and top my palm to the side, watching them trickle in like white rain and be swallowed up.

“Can I ask why you decided to believe me?” Jude tugs at his sleeve, suddenly shy.

“He said I can have Graham back,” I say, looking up at the singing stars. I realize I’m not sure if stars are supposed to sing or if that’s just part of the dream. “A real person can’t come back after death.”

Jude puts his arm around my waist and pulls me so I’m pressed against his side. He kisses the top of my head. He doesn’t say anything, but he doesn’t have to.

I don’t know how I ever thought Graham could be real. Our relationship was too flawless to be real. But I think about what Jude said about it being okay to hold onto my memories of Graham, real or not. I decide to do just that. No matter what it turns out to be, those memories are precious to me.

I lean toward Jude and rest my head against his chest. We keep watching the frothy waves where we last saw the pills, even as the jellyfish moon swims away and the sun begins to rise.

The ocean never sleeps, but if it could, what would it dream?

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12

Snippet Saturday is my chance to share bits and pieces of my writing.


Snippet Saturday #16 Reverie (Part 11)

He plucks them out of the air with one hand.

“No! Piper!” Jude’s violet eyes are darkened by betrayal.

“You made the right choice,” the Somnologist says gravely, pulling the trigger with the gun still aimed at Jude’s back.

I keep my eyes open but force myself to dream as the Somnologist pulls the trigger. I feel like I can’t keep my heart in my chest–but a stream of water harmlessly hits Jude’s back. At the same time as the Somnologist looks at his gun in shock, Jude spins around and disarms him, wrenching the gun from his grip so forcefully that the gun hits him in the forehead.

The Nightwalkers are in the doorway. I swallow and try to stay strong. I made a split-second decision, and I’m regretting it. I shouldn’t have thrown him those pills.

“Piper,” Jude says, a thread of blood coming out of his hairline. I swear he’s said my name more tonight than any one person has said it in my entire life. “Piper, we have to get out of here.”

“I know,” I say, bending to wrestle the pills out of the Somnologist’s grip. The Somnologist lets them go without much of a fight. His attention is fixated on the Nightwalkers.

“No, please,” he moans.

“Come this way, doctor.” I wave at the Somnologist to join Jude and me by the window.

“Are you crazy?” he says, glancing over at us.

The glance costs him dearly–it gives the Nightwalkers a second to snap his head to the side. His body crumples to the ground, his head at an unnatural angle. A Nightwalker leaps onto the desk, surprisingly nimble.

“You aren’t real,” I tell it, my voice tiny. “You. Are. A. Figment. Of. My. Nightmares.

It extends its hand toward me but stops as the bones shrink and shrivel, disintegrating right in front of us.

“That was incredible!” Jude says. “I could kiss you!”

I hope he will, but we aren’t out of danger yet. More Nightwalkers are coming in, filling the room. Some are climbing up the outside of the window behind us.

“Am I supposed to say that to every single one?” I start to ask, but I see the answer even before I finish asking the question. There’s a fake plant in the office. I hope a fake leaf works as well as a real one. “I need to call Dovie.”

“I’ll try to hold them off,” he says, holding up the gun.

I reach for a leaf, and Jude sprays a Nightwalker that comes toward me. The bones hisses but it manages to wrap its hand around my wrist. I pluck the leaf, trying to ignore the smell of my flesh burning.Pain shoots up my arm as I bring the leaf to my mouth and bend it, blowing with all my might. A shrill whistle fills the air. The leaf falls from my fingers, and I try to tug out of the Nightwalker’s grasp. My vision is starting to darken with the explosive pain. Sparks dance in the air before me.

“You…aren’t…real,” I gasp. “You came from my nightmares.”

I close my eyes and feel the grip on my skin turn to dust. I push myself back against the wall, breathing heavily. The heat of the Nightwalker’s grip remains, seeping into my veins like poison. I wonder if I’m dying. If I die, will I be able to see Graham again or does he not exist after death? Will I exist after death?

Jude steps in front of me, holding the gun out and spraying at any Nightwalkers who try to get close. I wonder if he realizes the futility of his actions. It doesn’t seem like Dovie heard my call. And it seems like I’m dying.

“The Nightwalkers aren’t real,” Jude says.

“I know that now,” I try to tell him indignantly. I’m the one who’s been getting rid of them, aren’t I?

“Then why do you have a burn on your arm?” he asks, brushing away the blood on his head.

I look down at the burn. The Nightwalkers aren’t real. Something that doesn’t exist can’t burn me. That means this burn can’t be real either. As I think that, the bracelet-like burn fades away, and my mind clears.

Rising to my feet, I face the Nightwalkers and yell at them that they’re just nightmares until my voice is hoarse. One at a time, they vanish like something in a magician’s act.

Jude collapses beside me. I turn so fast I nearly lose my balance. Nightwalkers are climbing in through the window. One of them must have gotten him over the head. I shove him up against the wall while still yelling at the Nightwalkers. Staying crouched beside him, I take the gun from his limp grip and spray the Nightwalkers as I yell at them. I already lost Graham tonight. I’m not about to lose Jude too.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12

Snippet Saturday is my chance to share bits and pieces of my writing.