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Dreams Are For Dying

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John



Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 521
Location: Massachusetts
Dreams Are For Dying  Reply with quote  

OK, so I got no takers for my sc fi story. That's alright. It is meant to be the back story for a video game that me and some other computer geeks hope to develop someday.

I'm going to try something a bit different. This is only the first part of a story that is still in the process of being written. It is quite dark and violent and is a work in progress. If you read this part and would like to read more let me know and I will post more.

C & C welcome

Thanks


Dreams Are For Dying

My head feels so heavy, so clouded. Slowly my mind starts to clear, things begin to focus, images form. I'm in a swamp, the Everglades maybe, up to my chest in water, trying to wade through it all, to get to some dry land that's nowhere in sight, just reeds and water, oh, and the girl.

The girl is pretty, blond, and has a small trickle of blood running from her nose. I don't know her name. All I know is that we're trying to escape, from what I don't know, it's a dream. Dreams arenít supposed to make sense, or maybe they are, I guess it depends on who you talk to. Regardless, the fight or flight response is in high gear and we have to get away. My adrenals start pumping and my heart starts racing. We just keep moving, in no particular direction, just as long as we keep moving. It's getting towards dusk, you know, the time when the sky turns its prettiest with deep purples and dark oranges all splayed out on top of the horizon, the reflection off of the water doubling everything, making things bigger as slivers of gold and platinum light dance upon the rippling water. The sun sinks behind thin cirrus clouds and suddenly they catch fire. They blaze away and I find that I canít take my eyes off of them. It's like they're the most real colors my eyes have ever beheld and they make every other color Iíve ever seen up til now look like varying shades of grey. I am awestruck. I feel a tear run down my cheek but I do not brush it away. She pulls at my sleeve and I ignore her.

I just realize that when people say we don't dream in color they've never been in my dreams. My dreams are all in magnificent Technicolor, from the greens and browns of the swamp plants; to the blues, oranges and purples of the sky and water; to the deep reds of the blood. Oh yeah, the blood. The blood brings me back to the dream, although I'm no longer sure that is the proper term.

It was the noise that broke the spell of the clouds and sky, that, and the terrified look on the girl's face. I realize now that I'm here to protect her, that I need to help her escape, that I'm to be her hero. The noise gets louder and we take cover behind some reeds. We duck down so that the water covers everything up to just below our noses, which is only a matter of crouching slightly as the water was creeping up past our chests anyway. The noise becomes a dull roar that sounds to me like an old WWII bomber. I look and see that I'm not that far off. A swamp boat races out from behind a distant stand of reeds. It's one of those flat-bottomed boats, the kind that uses an airplane propeller encased in a grate so that it looks like a giant living room fan is pushing it. I think I remember seeing the same kind on old Flipper episodes. I can just make out three figures in the boat, one sitting in the raised center seat driving and two others with what look like guns.

My hand starts to hurt. I realize that the girl is holding it and her fear is causing her to squeeze really hard. I squeeze back, aggravated, until she looks at me with hurt in her eyes. What does she expect? I'm out in the middle of some God forsaken place with armed men after me protecting some woman I don't even know. The least she can do is not fall to pieces. I squeeze even harder and watch as her tears form pale pink tracks down her mud stained cheeks. I want to hit her, to gouge her eyes out to get at the offending tear ducts, to squeeze the offending orbs in my hands and scream in her face, ďthere! Are you happy? Now you have something to cry about!Ē Instead I let up on her hand and I soften the expression of my eyes. She responds with a look of relief and her other hand encircles my waist, holding me in the murky water. She nuzzles her head and face against my neck. I know now that I would die for her.

A change in the pattern of the noise brings me back to reality. Reality, that's a laugh. The boat is a lot closer now, its engine almost at idle. The men in the boat look to be doing a methodical search through the surrounding stands of reeds. We're in trouble. They're heading right for us. I take a closer look at the men who are hounding us. The man driving looks Hispanic but I can't tell for sure. He's wearing camouflaged pants, military style black boots and a gray tank top. He leans forward in his seat and shouts something at one of the other men. The man picks up a long pole and starts probing into the stand of reeds adjacent to the boat. This man and the other one are back woods types, or I guess they would be back swamp types around here. Both have beards, are white, and are wearing matching coveralls with faded shirts underneath. The one with the pole puts one foot up on the edge of the boat so he can reach farther and still maintain his balance and I see that it is covered with an old worn in workboot. He says something to the others that I canít quite make out and I notice he is missing some teeth. They all have guns.

We're not in a good position. I estimate another five minutes before they make their way down to where we are holding each other in the slimy water. I look behind us and see a fairly open expanse of swamp for seventy meters or so and then a dense thicket of reeds. The light is steadily leaving the sky and there is probably only another twenty minutes of it left. Not soon enough. We have to get to that thicket. I begin to move in that direction, pulling the woman with me. She appears to be much calmer now and with a blink of her eyes she acknowledges my decision to move. We move excruciatingly slowly, trying to stay as low in the water as we can, not daring to look back. As we go I silently pray for the sun to go all the way down. Even now, itís low enough so that the shadow from the reeds behind us falls past our heads. To my dismay I notice that the last twenty-five meters to the thicket is not in shadow at all and is, instead, bathed in an eerie orange glow. The small ripples in the water throwing up sparks of light like a swarm of fireflies resting on the liquid surface. We can still hear the sound of the swamp boat behind us but with my ears going in and out of the water I can't tell if it's getting any closer. I hold my breath as we cross the rippling terminator between shadow and light. My heart is trip hammering away in my chest, only twenty meters to go. My foot encounters something large under the water, probably an old sunken log. I go to step and as I put my weight on it the log suddenly moves, jetting away from under my legs. It surfaces with a splash three meters to my right. The log turns out to be a meter and a half long alligator that I had just disturbed from its resting spot. It swims quickly away and I say a quiet prayer thankful that it wasn't any bigger, otherwise it may have decided to have me for dinner. I stay perfectly still, watching the gator's tail propel it away from us hoping against hope that the movement of it will draw the eyes of our pursuers. I can't even look at the woman. When I froze I was facing away from her and I don't dare move.

The shout sends me into a panic. I whirl around in the water and see one of the men pointing directly at us. Their boat is less than fifty meters away. I look and see the woman staring in horror at it, her face glowing in the fading sunlight. I scream at her to swim while at the same time grabbing her arm and turning her to the direction of the reeds and safety. A fountain of water shoots up two meters to my right and I hear the crack of the gun an instant later. I duck under the water at the same time dragging her under with me. I half swim, half drag myself along the bottom, grabbing at anything and pulling myself along. My eyes are wide open in the pitch-blackness of the murky water, desperately trying to see a means of escape. My lungs start burning and I know I have to come up for air. Black spots are forming in front of my eyes. I didn't think there could be anything darker than were I was, but I see them anyway. I give one last push off of the bottom and surface, drawing in a great breath. The sound of the boat reenters my ears to replace the pounding of my heart. With sudden horror I realize that I let go of the woman while we were under water. I turn my head, searching for her and see her only a couple meters away, still swimming with all her might. I reach her and put my hand on her, pushing her towards the reeds as I turn back towards our pursuers.

I look back in time to see the flash of a muzzle and then I am slammed back into the water. My ears are ringing so hard I can't hear anything else. I right myself and look over at the woman. Her hands come to her mouth as she sees me, her eyes so wide that her crystal blue irises are afloat in a sea of white. I try to reach her but find I am having difficulty moving, also, there is something getting in my eyes. I reach up to wipe it away and my hand comes away red. I can feel my eyes widen in an unconscious imitation of the woman. I look to her and see her say something that I can't hear. The ringing has stopped but I still can't hear it. I think she says, "I'm sorry."

I lean back in the water, not because I'm tired but because I'm having a hard time controlling my muscles. I can't hear anything at all, but I suddenly feel arms supporting me. Her face looms into my vision, looking down at me with tears streaming down her face. I try to tell her to not be afraid, that I will protect her, but nothing comes out.

Concentrating as hard as I can, I try to move. I start with my right arm, forcing it to obey the commands my torn and tattered brain are sending it. I manage to brush away a tear on the woman's face but she just closes her eyes and more tears stream out from between the cracks of her lids.

I know that I have a bullet in my brain. Actually, since I don't remember seeing anything smaller than a rifle on that boat the bullet probably isn't in my brain. It probably exited the back of my skull followed immediately by a significant portion of my gray matter. The fact that I am still alive is a miracle. The fact that I am still capable of even semi-coherent thought is an even bigger one. I begin to thank God for that until I realize that nothing has changed. So I decide to curse Him instead. I'm still in a swamp being held by a woman I don't know, about to be confronted by redneck killers who look like they have escaped from the back lot of "Deliverance." The only thing different is that a large part of what makes me me is now chum, spreading out to attract and be fed on by the local denizens, some miracle.

I think that this makes me smile. I can't quite tell. But the look on the woman is one of confusion. I try to concentrate on that smile when a shadow passes in front of her face. She looks up in horror and at the same time lets me go. I'm buoyant enough so that just the backs of my heels are resting on the bottom and my face is still above water. It puts me into the position to see the woman being pulled into the boat by her hair. I see for the first time that she is wearing a thin cotton white dress. As they pull her on board the sun blazes behind her and I see her naked figure silhouetted by a radiant orange glow. The wet fabric clinging to her breasts, her long legs outlined through the fabric of her dress by the waning rays of the setting sun. The image is brief and, absurdly in my present situation, arousing.

The image vanishes when camouflage man cracks the bridge of her nose with the butt of his rifle. Blood spurts from her suddenly misshapen face and she goes down, only to be picked up by one of the goons in overalls, a wicked smile painted on his face, his tobacco stained teeth staring down at me. He holds her up as camouflage man hits her again, this time in the stomach. Her eyes bug out as her breath suddenly leaves her body, doubling her over as far as the man holding her will let her go. All the while the other redneck laughs.

I'm suddenly seeing red, and itís more than just my blood flowing into my eyes. I have to stop this. I will my muscles to move, to propel me to the side of the boat. I reach it and put first one then the other hand on the side and begin to haul myself up. That's when the laughing redneck spots me. I smile at his shocked expression. My smile is brief. I can't seem to make myself go any faster. My body just doesnít want to cooperate. I glance at the woman. She's crumpled in a heap at the bottom of the boat, desperately trying to get air into her lungs. I hear one of the men shouting and suddenly I'm staring into the barrel of a shotgun. A shotgun with a laughing redneck at the other end of it. I try to reach for it as he pulls the trigger.

I feel my face vanish, then nothing. That nothing stretches on and on until I finally accept that I am dead.


Last edited by John on Fri May 28, 2004 7:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Thu May 27, 2004 10:51 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
kjs237



Joined: 22 May 2004
Posts: 76
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Please Continue  Reply with quote  

I would really like to read more of this!

Post Fri May 28, 2004 8:20 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger
John



Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 521
Location: Massachusetts
 Reply with quote  

Dreams Are For Dying

Part 2


The pounding in my head serves to tell me that Iím awake and I push the covers away and sit up with the memory of my death still fresh in my mind. Oh well, so much for not being able to die in your dreams. I stagger out of bed and into the bathroom. The face looking back at me from the mirror looks like shit and I fumble for the switch in the hopes that more light might improve it. The lights come on sending searing lightning bolts through my head and only serve to make the face in the mirror look that much worse. In the medicine chest I grab three aspirin and swallow them dry. Realizing seconds later what a stupid thing to do that is I guzzle water right from the faucet until the lump in my throat goes away. I wander back into the bedroom and glance at the clock. Jesus. I don't have to be to work for another three hours. There's no chance of going back to sleep so I just sit on the edge of my bed and wait.

The waiting is too much for me and I make my way to the kitchen, with its empty food containers all over the place. Grabbing a semi-clean glass I open up a cabinet, reach in and pull out an almost full bottle of Jack Daniels. Pouring myself a generous amount I shove some papers off of a chair and take a seat at the table. I put the glass to my lips and take a sip. It goes down the wrong way and I end up coughing and sputtering, spilling some of the foul liquid onto the table. Disgusted, I push the glass away from me.

God, I'm pathetic. I can't even become a good alcoholic. I don't even have the benefit of escaping into a good drunk to get away from my rotten brain. It must be rotten, there's no other explanation. It feels heavy in my skull, swollen. My thoughts are going in slow motion. My brain refuses to work the way it once did, things don't come clear, problems don't get solved as effortlessly as they used to, every thought is labored and slow. Yes, definitely rotten. I sometimes can't even remember things that I have done; there are lapses in my memory, as if my life were just some hallucination that you can only remember little snatches of, just bits and pieces. That's my life, bits, and pieces, half dead, senses dulled to everything except the knowledge that I'm miserable. The dream I had was more real to me than this existence. Even now I can remember all of it. It didn't fade like most dreams; it imprinted itself on my mind. I can even remember the smells, the pain. God, I'm more alive asleep than I am when I'm awake. A miserable little chuckle escapes from my throat.

I want to go to sleep. I want to be alive again. Yeah, sleep and live, thatís the idea. That will help me. God knows nothing else does. To feel everything so clearly and in focus the second before I died, even the nothingness of my death is preferable to this. I need to sleep. Screw work. Screw life. I don't have the strength to put on my mask today, not today. I can't pretend that everything is ok. I can't make polite conversation today, or laugh at peopleís stupid jokes, or pretend that I give a flying fuck about anything or anyone. Not today. Maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow I can pretend again but right now I want to be asleep. This existence has nothing to offer me right now so sleep is what I need.

Fourteen hours later and I'm still in bed. No closer to going back to sleep, but still in bed. Eighteen hours of staring at the ceiling with nothing to disturb me except the occasional conversation between my recorded voice and my curious boss on my answering machine. First calling to ask where I was. Then, later, wondering if I'm all right. Am I all right? That's a laugh. I'm not all right. I'm bored out of my skull, and I'm miserable, and my mind is making sure I don't miss a single cursed instant of it. God I want to go away. I want to be anywhere but inside my own head.

For a brief second suicide enters my thoughts and just as quickly it leaves. I laugh at myself. I may be miserable, but it's my misery. What's the point of dying when there is so much torment I can put myself through? Besides, I was dead last night and what good did it do me?

Last night. The more I think about it the more I realize how really strange it was. It was unlike any experience I'd ever had, awake or asleep. It was real, or as real as it needed to be. My body responded as if it was real. When I woke up, the headache, the disorientation was like I was coming down off of an adrenaline high. I can't even begin to understand how I could stay asleep with that much stimulant coursing through my veins. Unless my brain actually thought I was really doing those things. It's as if my subconscious completely fooled the rest of my brain. I didn't wake up because my brain didn't know that was an option. I really believed those events were happening to me.

The more I think about it, the more I like it. I think I might even know what brought it on, my depression. A depression the likes of which I have never seen, a depression that has come equipped with the whole kit and caboodle; insomnia, loss of appetite, lethargy. I've had fits of depression before, it runs in my family, usually afflicting the male members but occasionally surfacing in a female, like my great aunt Cindy. Cindy, who at the age of 47 put on her sexiest negligee and quietly slit her wrists in an old cast iron bathtub. She died without even bothering to leave a note. The males of my family usually handled the depression in a different way, with a bottle. They liked committing suicide in slow-motion, accumulating years of toxic damage as they bathed their livers in alcohol until finally either the offended organ ceases to function or their beleaguered hearts seize from trying to force blood through arteries hardened by years of jack and cokes.

This depressive episode is going on three weeks now. It started the same as last time, but where last time I just hit rock bottom. This time I dug up the rock, tied a rope around it, wrapped the other end of the rope around my ankle and threw it where even the magnificent Nautilus and her intrepid Captain Nemo couldn't find it. The worst part is that there's no end in sight, no light at the end of the tunnel, no last minute rescue by the charging cavalry as they crest the rise, waving their battle flags in the fires of the setting sun. The misery just goes on and on and on.

But what about the dream? Even though it was painful and violent and I died, it made me feel alive. Maybe when I finally managed to get into REM sleep my mind tried to kick-start my malfunctioning brain, to break it out of its self-destructing cycle. Somehow, I almost believe it was more than just a dream, that somehow it was real.

It didn't work of course. I'm just as miserable now as I was yesterday. Only now, maybe, I can see a way out of all this, a way to get back to the person that I was before my brain started to decay in my head. Maybe if I can recapture that dream again, get my juices flowing I'll snap out of it. The only problem is that my body doesn't want to cooperate. I'm wide-awake with nowhere to go and nothing to do. These silly thoughts the only things keeping me company.

It's not fair. My life is good, not great, but it's ok. I've got a good job that pays the bills and leaves me a little extra every once in a while. I've got a couple good friends that I managed to hang onto over the years. My family is normal, in so far as that term can be applied to families. I'm not hard up for female companionship. I can get a date if I want to, nothing fancy, but I know a few nice women that I like to keep in touch with. Everything in my life is fine and I really don't have anything to complain about. Except that every once in a while my own brain decides that it's bored with all this calm, stable crap and tries to kick the shit out of me. And this time it looks like itís out for blood. It's not fair.

Get up. There's no use lying in bed. Youíre not going to sleep anytime soon.

----

I can't believe how much crap they put on TV. Iíve been watching for eight straight hours without finding one intelligent thing on. Bugs Bunny has been the closest thing I could find to being mentally stimulating. At least I managed to find something that could keep me amused. It's some old movie with Mel Torme and Mamie VanDoren, about some reform school for girls or something, run by nuns. Doesn't that bring back some memories? The movie itself is a piece of garbage, with everybody using so much ridiculous slang that it couldn't possibly be the way the juvenile delinquents talked back then. If I hear one more "Daddy O" or "dig that crazy chick" I think I'm going to puke. But the women, I don't think they make women like that anymore. Mamie VanDoren is the most feminine female I think I've ever seen. She's wearing some sort of overall skirt that comes up to just below her breasts; with a white sweater over them pulled so tight you would think the material would give from the strain. The straps to the overalls curving around her chest further frame her breasts. It's as if they were being served on a platter. If her skirt were any tighter it would have to be surgically attached to her skin. My God, she may as well be naked, although I would probably explode if she were. Just watching her in that outfit I can feel the beginnings of an erection. I encourage it, thinking that maybe I can get a little pleasure into my brain even knowing full well how short-lived that pleasure will be.

I suddenly realize how stupid I must look. A thirty year old man sitting on a sofa with his grandmother's purple afghan wrapped around him and his hands down his dirty sweatpants playing with himself. What the hell was I doing? I get up and throw the remote at the TV, hitting the 32-inch screen dead center, the batteries from the remote ricochet across the room as the smashed clicker falls in a heap.

I'm going nuts. I need to sleep.

That's it! I've had enough! I go into the kitchen and pick up the bottle of Jack Daniels that I had left on the counter from my aborted attempt at drinking the day before. I suddenly realize I can't even remember were this bottle came from. I don't remember buying it. I think a friend must have brought it over some night when I was entertaining. It doesnít matter. Maybe the male members of my family had it right. I'm going to drink enough of this stuff so that I'll pass out drunk. I'll cheat my way into going to sleep. So resigned, I upend the open bottle over my mouth and take two huge gulps, and spend the next minute trying to keep from puking it right back up. I manage to keep the fluid in my stomach. Encouraged, I do it again, this time managing a little better. I repeat this process until I feel the alcohol begin to kick in. I suddenly realize that I have finished almost half a liter of JD in something under fifteen minutes. Stupid, that's a good way to end up in the hospital. Say, maybe I am suicidal and I just don't know it yet. For some reason this cracks me up and I spend the next couple of minutes laughing hysterically on the floor.

The floor, how did I get on the floor? I manage to stand up and then my hand comes up too late to save myself from crashing into the refrigerator. Bills and mail come falling around my head from a basket that I keep on top. Man, I'm drunk. I can't even walk. How long was I on the floor for? I can't get my eyes to focus on the clock on the far wall. I stumble over to it, hitting the kitchen table in the process. Forty five minutes, boy that stuff works fast. I think I'm going to be sick. I need to lie down. Somehow I make it to the bed but now everything is spinning. God, my stomach is heaving. I roll over onto it and that seems to quiet it a little bit and the spinning isn't quite so bad. Maybe I should just go to the bathroom and get it over with. But that's too much trouble and it's too far away. I'm just going to lie here for another minute and then I'll get up.

Post Fri May 28, 2004 2:30 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
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