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I have a superpower. At least, that's what it felt like the first time I created a dream from scratch. See, lucid dreaming is uncommon, but not exactly rare. Any person has at one point or another been in the midst of a dream, realized it was a dream, and instead of waking up, have committed to changing aspects of their surroundings. That's lucid dreaming.

But I don't have to be asleep to create dreams. And they don't have to be for me. If that's not a superpower, I don't know what is.

You've heard the saying 'with great power comes great responsibility' right? Well, I have power. What I lacked was responsibility. Purpose. Goals.

Those are what he gave to me. A reason for what I could do, and an idea of what to do with it.

Having a superpower doesn't make me the hero.

Turns out, good and evil is a matter of opinion.


There were honest to God marks on my wrists! Red and raw, the throbbed as if burned. Ridges were forming where the edges had dug in when I'd strained against them to get to my sister.

That bastard!

Even though the lamplight was too dim to pick out anything but the most obvious changes, I still dug in my purse and pulled out my compact mirror. A glance was all it took and I began to seethe.

My lips were noticeably swollen, and the handprint over my mouth was blatant.

Now, I'm going to be honest here. Before my mind shot off the entire trucker vocabulary, I couldn't help but feel a little awed. He'd put his hands on me in a dream and his marks had carried over into the waking world. They carried over!

How? How the fuck was that possible? How did he learn to do that? Could I learn to do that? Would he teach me to do that?

It felt like falling down a rabbit hole, thinking of all the things pertaining to this that I could ask him. If I ever got the opportunity again.

That was another thing I would have liked to know: How was he there in the first dream?

It may have been his dreamcraft, but he'd never had contact with the finished products. So how was he connected? I was both creator and dreamer where they were concerned, and he was definitely present in both, but that should not have drawn him into the dream. Unless I subconsciously drew him into it? There was a thought...

No.

Maybe?

Every time I'd drawn someone in, it was with intent. It was how I kept in touch with O. I brought her into dreams with me; I didn't go to her. Same with D or Sarah. So how did he get into the dream if I hadn't called him?

Sarah was right; however he was keeping tabs on me, it was better than a search engine.

Another thing to ask him when we met again.

It was the first time I'd let myself accept the inevitable. We would definitely meet again. Whether in our dreams or he found me at one more event.

But something had changed last night. Before, he was content to let me deal with the dreamcrafts. Some sense of him without direct contact. Smart, really, when you're trying to figure someone out, but don't want to show all your cards just yet.

Now, however, we'd opened a dialogue. That was something neither of us could back out of. We'd spoken actual words and dragged each other into our own realities. He was in my dreams and I'd wound up in one of his nightmares. There was no avoiding it now.

So when would we meet again? Under what circumstances? And if I had pulled him into the dreamcraft, how the hell did I keep him there or in one of mine long enough to get answers?

I honestly lost track of time as I pondered dozens of different scenarios in which we might have a real conversation. Okay, half that time was also spent in coming up with witty remarks about his melodrama and that damn kiss. It really was unnecessary. And if he was going to kiss me, I would have at least liked the chance to participate a little bit. Maybe then I could have called it decent.

Wow. Okay. I was abducted into a nightmare by a guy that could do what I do, but yeah, sure, let's focus on the kiss. Stupid.

Shaking my head, I brought the heels of my hands up to my eyes to rub some of the grit from my eyes. Then I glanced at my phone and almost choked. It was 3am. Which meant there were plenty of hours between me and an actual decent time. I could get some real sleep.

That thought made me smile a little and dropped the phone back on my purse. Spotting the mirror, I decided to indulge in a little morbid curiosity. With a deep breath, I angled my face so that the light from the lantern would shine on it better and opened the compact. The breath left me in a relieved whoosh. My lips were no longer swollen and the handprint was fading fast. By morning, it would be impossible to see.

As I reached down to put the compact away, I realized again just how grotesque my wrist was. I'd fought hard in that cavern and the metal had gauged into the skin and where I had twisted, the skin was rubbed raw. While I'd been able to ignore the throbbing for a while, I knew that it would be worse in the morning. For the first time, I was actually in need of some aloe gel.

Suddenly, I found I had a disturbing love/hate relationship with the marks. On the one hand, I had verifiable proof that what happened in that nightmare was real. What he did to my face was temporary, but these he couldn't take back. Which meant he couldn't pretend not to know what the fuck happened to me the next time I saw him.

That being said, they were going to be a real bitch to hide. It was July and long sleeves were not an option. If I wrapped bandages around them, everyone and their brother would think I was slicing my wrists in my free time. No need to perpetuate the suicidal Native stereotype any more than it already was. But if I didn't cover them somehow, then every single person I spoke to for the next few days would ask what happened. Considering I couldn't even tell O about the dreamcraft made it even more likely I wouldn't be able to utter a word about the nightmare.

Covering it with makeup was out of the question because I didn't know how it would affect them. And if I tried covering them with bracelets or cuffs, I was pretty sure they would rub them even more raw. So, no matter what I did or didn't do, I was screwed.

Shadow Man: 1

Istas: 0

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