Chapter One: Caught Peeking

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Caught peeking

Morpheus, god of Dreams, watched the scene unfolding before his eyes not quite believing what he was seeing. It wasn't at all what he expected to find when he popped in for a routine dream check on his latest assignment. Everyone knew he was doing everything in his power to get rid of his list of dream charges, but for some reason his father had pushed this mortal on him at the last minute. And Hypnos, god of Sleep, was the law. His father was the only god besides Zeus himself Morpheus could not deny.

Now he was wondering if he'd been a little too quick to judge. This latest assignment was already a little more interesting than what he was used to. 

It was Manhattan. Union Square. The air was crisp and vibrant, which could only mean it was some time in the early fall. Each detail was perfect – from the street vendors and food trucks lined up along the city blocks, to the farmer’s market stalls that set-up every other day of the week. People milled about everywhere: perusing shoppers’ wares, talking on phones, or going off to work. All save for two people. These two individuals stood out in the middle of all the hustle and bustle, as much a part of the scene as separated from it entirely. Morpheus knew one of those individuals was the creator of this particular dream.

And the dreamer, a Gwen-Stacey Reynolds currently dressed up as Wonder Woman, was seriously kicking the crap out of Spider-Man.

Spider-Man of all people.

Sound bubbles exploded in bright primary colors around the pair: BAP! WUFF! POW! It was like a bad episode of Batman, only without any of the cheesy dialogue. That wasn’t even the strangest part. Besides the fact that no one appeared to notice the superhero brawl happening in the middle of a busy Manhattan intersection, there was music playing in the background like their very own Rocky III soundtrack. Instead of Survivor's Eye of the Tiger, this music was much more modern and entirely too catchy for his taste.

Morpheus couldn't remember the last time he'd stumbled into a dream with an actual theme song. It was at once bizarre, yet entirely entertaining. At least it beat the Hades out of the recent dream trends currently popular with mortals. Zeus, if he had to witness one more vampire-werewolf interlude he was going to pull his freaking wings out. At least the 50 Shades people were a little more interesting, but they were starting to wear him out too. Whatever happened to originality?

He focused back on his latest charge. Morpheus couldn’t help but wonder why this woman was so hell bent on kicking the web slinger into next week?

Seriously, who didn’t like Spider-Man?

Morpheus used his powers to turn down the volume on the music and listen to what Gwen-Stacey was saying to her archnemesis:

"This is for ruining my 7th birthday! And this is for ruining every Halloween! And this is for all four years of high school!" Each offense she spat at the beaten down superhero was followed by a solid uppercut, roundhouse kick, or straight up groin shot.

Four POWs and three ZAPs later Spider-Man was out cold. Even with all that butt-kicking, there wasn't so much as a hair out of place on Gwen-Stacey’s head. Her ebony hair fell straight past her shoulders in a sleek curtain. She was young and pretty - out of college perhaps, but not by much.

Then again, this was a dream. She could've been a senior citizen in the real world but remained young and vibrant in her dreams. He'd seen it a million times before. It was the reason he advised all the newbies not to fall for their charges. Dreams were simply an illusion - a fantasy world of the dreamer's making. This was the place fat people could be supermodels, lame emo kids got the hot cheerleader, and wusses could kick some ass. Plenty of watchers had been sorely disappointed after they'd searched for their charges in the real world. It didn’t happen often, but every now and then one of his kind would become taken by a dreamer’s astounding beauty, their creativity, or even their inner most fantasies.

They’d forgotten the cardinal rule of the dream realm: dreaming was not reality.

As a matter of fact, dreaming was reality’s polar opposite. Morpheus was an expert on this – he was the first of the Oneiroi, the gods in charge of dreams for humankind. But now, after several millennia, he’d finally grown weary of the disparity between the two. Countless years of watching other people dream but never having a life of one’s own could do that to anyone – even a god.

As Morpheus watched, Gwen-Stacey tied Spider-man up in what could only be Wonder Woman's golden lasso of truth. When she was satisfied she had the webcrawler good and tied down, she dusted off her hands and turned on her red heeled boots. That was the moment she spotted him. Morpheus had been so engrossed in watching Gwen-Stacey’s dream unfold, he’d forgotten to cloak himself.

This could be bad.

She gave him a thorough once over from wingtip to toe. The ebony feathers of his imposing wings ruffled at her stark perusal. Was she actually sizing him up? Morpheus got the distinct feeling she was, measuring him up to see if she could take him too.

This human had some real stones if she thought she could take him on. First of all, the very idea was laughable. She couldn’t touch him. Nothing happened in the dream realm he didn’t allow. Granted, there wasn’t much that was off limits but that wasn’t the point. A human would never be able to take him on his own turf. He was stronger, faster, and more powerful. Period.

Secondly, this was  more than Morpheus' domain. The dream realm unfolded according to his design. Sure humans had some say in what they dreamed about, but as an Oneiroi, once he stepped into the dream it was his to command. He could turn it into a fantasy or a nightmare with a mere thought. He could have her out of her Wonder Woman get up and throwing herself at his feet before she ever got close to him.  

Gwen-Stacey cocked her head to the side as she studied him, as if totally undisturbed by his presence. What was going on in that head of hers, he wondered? She didn't appear the least bit nervous about a random stranger watching her in her own dream. Most humans instinctively knew to be a wary of an Oneiroi in their dreams. It was the human survival instinct at its best.  It was also the reason they cloaked themselves in the first place, in order not to disturb the dreamer's subconscious flow.

Just when Morpheus was about to do something stupid (like talk to her), Gwen-Stacey smiled and gave him a cheeky wink. Then, as if she was the one totally in control of her dream, his latest charge gave him a quick salute before vanishing out of sight. And Morpheus, supreme god of dreams, master of nightmares and general nightly badass felt his entire world shift on its axis.


This girl was trouble.




* A/N:

Image Credit: A ridiculously fabulous fan Art Cover for GoMD Courtesy of the very talented: @sarahjanesmith408 

God of My Dreams (Formerly titled: I Only Date Superheroes & Greek Gods & Superheroes) Copyright © Wendy Nelson 2012 All Rights Reserved. No part of this literary work may be reproduced or used without the written consent from the author. 

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