The kitchen is a wreck. Cutting boards, knives, bowls, measuring cups, vegetable trimmings, all scattered about with reckless abandon.
She leans forward, elbows on the floured counter, hands cradling her face as the tears roll down without pause. The cat weaves his way between her feet, back and forth, rubbing and purring but offering scant comfort.
A key rattles in the doorknob; it turns, and the front door admits her husband. He drops his keys in the dish on the table by the door and heads straight for the bathroom.
She straightens up, wiping her eyes and nose with the back of her hand.
He calls from the bathroom, “Dinner ready yet?”
“Not yet,” she answers.
I woke sweating, choking back a scream. It was that damned dream again, about the storm. It was never the same storm, could be summer, winter, spring, but I was always trapped, and I always woke in terror.
My first big move was halfway across the country, to the Midwest, where I found a great apartment in the middle of the city. Not the tallest building, but not nearly the shortest, either, and I was somewhat less than halfway up. But the windows and the view made up for a lot. I could stand on the windowsill and still not touch the ceiling.
I used to spend hours just standing there, gazing out of my windows onto the glory of the city. But a few weeks in, something changed. I’d seen one too many storms building in the distance, and I’d heard one too many anecdotes telling me to head for the hills if i should see colors in the clouds. I started having nightmares.
I had them off and on for years until the day reality smashed me right in the subconscious.
I was headed home, but when I looked off into the distant sky, I saw the telltale signs of bad weather. The clouds were low and dark, and streaked with an ugly shade of doom.
But they weren’t just any clouds; these were the exact clouds of my dreams. I’d seen them dozens of times, in every season. I knew them, knew their movements, knew what was to come.
I broke out in a cold sweat as I began to tremble, nearly losing the shopping bags that I gripped in either hand. I headed straight home. When my feet stopped in the old familiar spot in front of my living room windows, I froze. Yes. This was definitely my dream come to life.
I watched the scene unroll before me, the scene I had witnessed so many times in my sleep. First one landmark, then another obscured by the coming darkness. The panic began to claw at the inside of my chest like a small animal, trapped in a cage, taunted by unruly children.
It broke before me, hammering the windowpane with raindrops and hailstones. I could only stand there, unblinking, waiting for my end to reach me.
But soon enough, it was over, and I swayed where I stood with the emotions coursing through my body. It was over, and I had survived.
I later learned that everyone had survived, that there were no casualties at all from the freak storm.
What else did I have to be thankful for? The reality of the storm had reset my dream machine, and I moved on to other terrors in my sleep, never to witness the storm again.
At the end of another long day, and too many more ahead to even think about about, Sam took a moment to gather his thoughts. The salted fields that lay before him would have caused despair in a lesser man, but Sam took the disaster in stride. This war had been waging long before his birth, and it would continue long after his death, and Sam recognized this.
It’s time, he thought to himself. With that, he turned and walked down the hill to his home, the only home he had ever known. It took courage to leave for the unknown, but Sam didn’t mind. He did what he had to do. A man’s gotta do, as his grandfather had told him.
Back at the house, the two things Sam picked up to bring with him were his canteen, freshly filled with potable water, and his grandfather’s Medal of Valor.
He needed the daily reminder of how the most honorable man he’d ever met had lived his life. The going was only gonna get tougher.
Sam got going.
But he swore one thing to himself as he surveyed the ruined land one last time: he’d never farm for the enemy again.
Dreaming of lucidity
Lost in a strange landscape
Where is the way home?
When I look around nothing is familiar
Or is it?
I see a fountain in the distance
The fountain is in my front yard
I am home again
I know where I am
It wasn’t real; or was it?
I know how to think
I know how to feel
I know where I am
5449 Hudson Street
Wheeling, WV 26003
Linlane Post-Secondary of Telecommunications
Awarded Honors Certificate of Completion 2003
Perfect Attendance Trophy 2002 and 2003
Stupid Crab Telecommunications 2003-2006
My role required the ability to handle multiple administrative tasks simultaneously.
The Rainy Knife Coffee Company 2006-2007
I was the entirety of the accounting department for the company.
The Peaceful Zebra Entertainment Company 2007
I felt experience in the adult entertainment industry would help my resume stand out at bit more.
Piping Pigeon People Corp. 2007-2011
I ensured functionality of the Human Resources Department on a day-to-day basis.
Freezing Scarf Yarns and Bobbins 2011-2015
I turned my hobby into a lucrative small business until a freak snowstorm ruined everything.
In response to TBP’s Wed Stories Calendar Prompt. Did you know that there is a random generator site for just about anything you can think of?
“I had the weirdest dream last night,” she announced to her roommate over their morning cups of coffee, one with sugar, one without.
“So tell me about it,” her roommate prompted.
“I’m warning you, super weird. Anyway, I was in this house, right, and it was like, just this straight shot through the house, but it was infinitely long. I mean, there wasn’t a regular hall or anything, you just had to keep going through one room after another to get to the end of the house. And every room was so different.But it was like a hotel, you know, every room was somebody’s. And I knew all their stories.
“The first room was pretty neat, actually. I knew it was a photographer’s room, dream knowledge, you know, but he wasn’t there. The walls were floor-to-ceiling puzzles of candy. There was a normal hotel bed in one corner, all made up and stuff, and it had one piece of that strawberry candy on each pillow.
“I opened the door, and I came into a room with those two little girls from The Shining. They were just standing there looking at me, and I think the wallpaper was the same as in that hotel from the movie, but I haven’t seen it in forever so I’m not really sure. The end table next to them had a cage with a monkey in it. I kept going.
“I came to a room that was an aquarium. Not full of aquariums, or fish in the walls or anything, but seriously, I was walking through a room full of water in like, this bubble that was just my size and shape. I liked that one. The sides looked like they went on for miles, so maybe I was in the ocean. I don’t know, it was a dream. But the fish acted like I wasn’t even there. Maybe I was in Aquaman’s room or something.
“Then a room with the nicest carpet ever. Like I seriously sank in the carpet up to my ankles. It was so soft, like a cat’s belly, but without the teeth. And without the shedding. There was an old woman in a rocking chair, just rocking and knitting and singing to herself. I didn’t recognize the song.
“In the next room, this guy was just sitting on a chair. Not a recliner or anything, just like a kitchen chair. The only other thing in there was some art on the wall by the far door. He had a framed portrait of Jesus giving a thumbs up, a framed poster of Ganesh some girl gave him a few years ago, and a painting his mother had done of his dog, on which, for some f-in’ reason, she’d placed a crown of flowers. Regardless, he liked to have all his bases covered. I got the weirdest vibe in there.
“Oh, and the frogs! There was a room full of frogs instead of carpet. I don’t even know what kind of floor was under the frogs. Super gross.
“There were just so many rooms. I don’t even remember all of them anymore. But it was like I was a ghost, because nobody noticed me or did or said anything to me. Weird, huh?” She looked expectantly at her roommate.
“Yeah. You wanna ditch work today and sit in those comfy chairs at the bookstore?” her roommate asked.
“Sure, whatever. It’s not like the office will burn down without me there for one day. And I haven’t skipped with you in forever. Let me get dressed, and we can go,” she agreed.