Summary: She wondered who he was; why he frequented her dreams. a Pre-XF story.
The Man of her Dreams by Shelba — Kits1013@aol.com
Category: Vignette, PreXF
Archive: Yes. As you wish. Please keep my name and this header with it.
Disclaimer : XF still belongs to CC, 1013 and an assortment of lawyers and accountants.
Spoilers: general, for the entire series.
San Francisco, CA
She wondered who he was; why he frequented her dreams. He was tall, his dark hair shot through with gray at the temples. Fine lines curved around his mouth and eyes but his body was long and ightly muscled and he moved with the smooth, graceful strength of a younger man.
The first time she dreamed of him, he stood staring up at the windows of an apartment house. She had the impression that he was in England, though she wasn’t sure why she would dream of someone there.
Her dream-self followed him as he made his weary way up a flight of stairs to an apartment and let himself in with a key. Once inside he scooped up a blonde-haired boy who hugged his neck and chattered and pointed across the room. Still carrying the child, the man made his way across a threadbare rug peopled with plastic soldiers, past a fort built of blocks, and over pudgy cars and stuffed animals.
Father and son made shushing motions at one another, then together, they peeked into a bassinet where a red-headed baby slept. The father smoothed the pink blanket around the sleeping child, then looked up and smiled at someone beyond the edge of her dream.
The dream man had a long, somewhat-horsy face; not an unattractive face, but not an overly handsome one either. When he smiled, however, the man’s uneven features were transformed and he became beautiful. She wanted to see who had elicited the smile, but the dream swirled her away.
Months passed; she forgot about the dream. Then one night in late summer, she gasped awake, shaken to the core. The man from her dream had returned in a nightmare. His long body was fastened to a chair, if a chair had been made by Dante. He was naked; his perspiration-soaked skin gleamed under phosphorescent lights. Scars marred his face and rivulets of red and black trickled from his wrists and ankles. An older man gazed down at him, a mixture of satisfaction and hunger blended on his granite features. She watched, confused. What kind of person would stand and witness the suffering of another so casually? Another man arrived, a man with the same face as the first, then another. Still another joined them, until the dream man was surrounded by identical, granite-faced men.
Surely this dream represented something, though searches through her texts on dreams yielded no clues and the dreams continued unabated.
One night the man wore a crown, his arms outstretched, his eyes closed. Blood ran down his pale face in thick rivulets and swirled into a black chasm that yawned at his feet. Muscles rippled as he
strove to pull away from the crumbling edge. Behind him a dark woman simply watched, neither pushing him nor aiding him in his attempts to move away from the abyss. Suddenly when it seemed he would finally plunge into the depths, someone grasped his hand and hauled him from the rocky edge, and the shadowy woman fell away.
She awoke with a start and wrote the details in her dream journal, wondering yet again, who this dark-eyed stranger could be. Why did he continue to inhabit her dreams? She was never a participant in the dreams. Surely if there was a message for her, it would be more apparent. While she never saw a companion, she had a strong feeling that someone who was veiled from her sight was with him, supporting him, caring for him.
Time passed; in dreams she ran with him through dark streets, strove for the light when he searched through shadows, flinched as his gun spat fire; shed tears as he was hit with loss after loss.
She meditated for hours, sought counsel with others, revisited the religious texts of her youth and even sought aid from the local priest. Her medium friends offered explanations, but they never
satisfied her. Despite all her efforts to understand, she had no idea why the dreams came to her. There had to be a reason he invaded her sleep; why the dreams had the force of Vision.
From time to time, she caught only glimpses of him in dreams. He lay on an ice field; she saw him grow old, then inexplicably, young again. He knelt in front of a small girl with his heart in his eyes. He lurched up a mountain peak and screamed at the sky, though he shed no tears to ease his anguish. She awoke, trembling with fear, though it was mild compared to some of the dreams that she remembered.
She dutifully kept notes in her dream journal. Eventually the dreams slowed, then stopped coming and she thought perhaps she had been released from his dream journey. Gradually, life with all its concerns, pushed them from her mind.
She didn’t think of the dream man again for a very long time. Then one night in early fall, she found her dream-self alone near a warehouse at the edge of the city. Rats scampered past in the
gutter, a cold wind blew off the river. She trembled with cold and the sense of an ancient evil lurking nearby. Above her, blocking the starlight, crouched a shadow with a ghoul’s smile. Obsidian wings spread over frightened young men, talons reached for warm flesh.
Tears of sympathy coursed down her cheeks as the man knelt over a broken body and raised his face to the heavens. For the first time, she saw the face of the Companion who had been hidden. Red hair was dulled to copper by the shadows, but strength and intelligence gleamed in blue eyes. His Companion was tiny but her fierce aura held the shadows at bay as she guarded him with her own weapon from earthly threats.
She sat bolt upright, her mind reeling. She climbed out of bed, and sank into the chair at her desk. She fumbled for the lamp switch and began to write, her usually elegant script shaky.
I have to talk to you. I know you don’t believe in visions.
I don’t understand what they mean, but I have to tell you
about my dreams. Call me. Please, call me.
Sometimes an idea just pops in and won’t leave you alone until you put it on paper. Screen. Whatever. 🙂 Thanks to Carol, sweet Sallie and Robin for looking this over and helping me to not look
like an idiot. I hope. Any errors are mine. Thanks to Circe who has given my fic a lovely home.
Thanks for reading!