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All parts of this story are copyright W.R. Gingell 2016. I've stolen several names from popular singers, actors/actresses, etc, but any resemblance to real people or situations is entirely coincidental.

[Apologies in advance to any native Korean speakers for mistakes made with the language and forms of address: I'm still very much a student. Feel free to let me know what I get wrong, and I'll even thank you for it!]


I don't remember when I first started to Dream. I don't know why I began to Dream, either, or even how the way I Dream is possible. It could have been because I was bored. Perhaps it was because I'm nosy. Yes, that's far more likely. I was bored, and nosey, and for the first fifteen years of my life I couldn't walk, so what else was there to do but Dream?

I didn't know I was spying on people. Not at first, at least. And when I did find out, I didn't care: I couldn't stop the Dreams, and it was pointless to be embarrassed by something I couldn't help. The Dreams came by night or by day, intruding upon the real world until it was all but impossible to tell which was real and which the Dream. My nights were long, but my days were longer, and the Dreams were a welcome distraction from the beige ceiling and the window from which I could see only grey sky. In Scandia the sky is always grey and the ceiling always beige: there's probably a moral in there somewhere.

You have questions. That's all right. Ask away.

Oh, that's a clever one: no one has asked me that before. Did the Dreams come first, or the paralysis? I don't know for sure, but I can guess. I think the Dreams came first, tugging my soul away from my body, and I became so used to being away from my body that I never learnt how to use it or really live in it.

But it's more than that. I'm left alone in my quarters most of the time, simply forgotten. People don't see me. Servants sweep past me without bowing, and if I'm not very careful, I get left out in the garden when I take the air on my couch. I used to think it was because I was actually dead, and perhaps I wasn't so far off. After all, what is a body without a soul, and why should a soulless body be seen?

***

The year that made me seventeen, my dreams of Eppa began a few weeks before I actually arrived in that country for my now annual visit. It wasn't unusual for me to dream about Eppa, though I didn't often dream about it when I wasn't there. My dreams chiefly follow people rather than places, and I normally dream of the people I'm with. Unless it's Jessamy, of course. I dream about Jessamy no matter where he is. That's probably why the dreams began early, if it comes to that.

I was a perpetual nomad, flitting between Eppa and Scandia, and though my father made sure I spoke both Eppan and Scandian, my real home was Scandia. My home was small and light, one of a long line of sea-side houses that faced the bare, open shore. I couldn't see the water from my windows unless it was a day when I could walk, and those were few and far between. The rest of the time I spent on my chaise lounge, my view alternating between beige ceiling, empty sky beyond the frame of my window, and the dreams that visited me by day and night.

Despite insisting upon my visiting him in Eppa every year, Father didn't otherwise concern himself with me. He had never said so, but I knew he was ashamed of a daughter who not only looked like the wife who had abandoned him, but was crippled into the bargain. He still made the correct overtures, however: once I was thirteen, summer meant Eppa and three months in the house of Kang Eun-hee, one of Eppa's brightest, richest, and most social widows. She loved me unreservedly, for whatever reason, and though I didn't seem to have the capacity to love anyone but Jessamy, I was fond of her in a distant sort of a way.

After the summer came the autumn, when I would be conveyed from Eun-hee's estate to Father's estate to spend the next two months. He would see me on the first day that I arrived, his face blank and unreadable, to remark: "Are you walking yet, Clovis?" and for me to reply: "Aniyo, abeonim."

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