Chapter 6: Sweet Dreams are Made of This?

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Chapter 6: Sweet Dreams are Made of This?

Nights with Keel may have been a horror show of escalating proportions, but days with him –  sleeping when he slept – were something else entirely.

There was no present or future in Keel’s dreams, no creativity or wishful rewriting of history – only what had come before, only us. They gave me a front-row seat for viewing our relationship through his eyes.

It was even better than what I'd been hoping for: a safe time to get some rest, without new traumas, or any reason to wake up screaming.

Right now, in his dream, Keel was looking at me. I was sitting on his king-size bed directly in front of him, holding his creased copy of Interview with the Vampire in my right hand and crinkling my brow at him. I’d just spent the last twenty minutes trying to explain the differences between Nosferatu folklore and human fiction, with varying degrees of success. Next, he was going to try to deduce how humans got the traits of supernaturals so mixed up. It was a puzzle to him, and one he was about to give himself over to whole hog; something that had somehow been much more exciting and compelling when I was me and he was him. But observing it from his perspective just resulted in a whole lot of staring at my own face. And that took major getting used to, given its scarred state. My instinct was to turn away, especially since those scars were no longer buried in the past – they were worn by someone else now – but it was impossible to avoid them; I looked at what Keel looked at and he preferred to look at me. He saw those scabbed-up wounds as badges of strength and personal fortitude, just as a warrior would, but to me they were reminders of trespasses and suffering and all Ephraim’s failures.

Unwilling to topple down that well of disappointment again – the past was the past, resolute and unchangeable – I found myself wishing that this part of the dream had a fast-forward button.

We’d already moved through half a dozen vignettes in no particular order, and even though they blocked out thoughts and physical sensations, for the most part they still captivated me – at least, until this one crawled under my skin and dug in its poisonous thorns.

As I listened to Keel and I debate long into the afternoon, I turned my focus away from my face and away from our words, until they become little more than incessant background noise in our shared dream. What did this mean? Not the bond or our connection, which bridged night and day apparently, but Keel’s dreams. Was he experiencing them like me, in a mental sensory deprivation tank, or in some different manner? What did it mean that he dreamed about us and only us? Every time one scene faded or winked out and another blipped into existence, I expected to see something new – a snapshot from his childhood, perhaps, or from his training, somethinganything – but it was always just me. Keel seemed as obsessed with me in his sleep as he was during his waking hours; was that the bond’s gift to him? Was one feeding the other?

It was possible, but it didn't account for his behaviour, not entirely. Our bond had only just re-emerged, unless... his dreams came first. 

Not unreasonable. Not when I considered it against what the bond gave to me and the inexact science of that. Is that why he’s doing all the things he’s doing? Finding the doppelganger, recreating my wounds... What if it wasn't his Nosferatu nature clouding his judgement and making him act out, but the bond itself?

There was no telling who he would have become had he transitioned without it, but I was certain he wouldn’t be this obsessed. Nor would I.

Had Keel even stood a chance? If the bond was driving him crazy, I couldn’t really blame it all on him, could I? After all, how long was I going to be able to keep living and dreaming with him, before I snapped in my own way? Perhaps we were simply opposite sides of the same damaged coin.

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