[This is a story I’ve been working on. I’m going to be posting it in sections every Friday for awhile].
Jacob dreamed the same dream often, in colors and shapes so vivid that when he awoke the real world seemed vague. At these times, waking was like submerging his head under water, blurring and muting his hearing and vision. Everything jumbled itself, and his clearest thought was that scene created somewhere, real or imagined, known by the firing of synapses and rapid eye movement.
I’ve said just now that Jacob dreamed in vivid colors and shapes, and that isn’t a lyrical interpolation on my part. Literally (and it was the same dream over and over) he dreamed himself in the middle of a grass field, with ovals and embryonic shapes floating and bouncing around him. It was a peaceful, if somewhat odd scene, and the forms were softly contoured, like purple and blue marshmallows.
Then, he was wearing snow-scape camouflage while he ducked and dodged neon balls of paint. They seared through the air and splattered and dripped down in bright oranges and yellows and pinks against the shapes, which were now, clearly, made of wood. Around him there were old classmates, people from church, and family members, who fired and ducked, covering each other, while advancing from barrier to barrier. So he followed, intermittently firing his weapon on the run or around the side of his cover. Large blinking arrows pointed down from the sky and, apparently, indicated the land-mines which every so often would douse one his friends.
Dust then, from bullets’ impact, showered down from the concrete shapes, and all the world had grayed into the drab color of war. Men fell on Jacob’s right and his left – Robert, a tall and likable guy from high school. Brian, the computer tech at work. Pastor Mark. Jacob, to protect his life, huddled behind the walls, but still advancing, swerving to avoid the mines, feeling bullets in the air. He ran and he ran, shooting, and fighting the fight which had engulfed him. It was always the same: his legs heavied, while his heart was racing, breathing heavily (somehow feeling the dream in the real world where he was sleeping) and he couldn’t run or swerve or weave around the mines and just as he mis-stepped—
And he entered again that blurry and real world, sitting up frantically trying to recognize his own bedroom where his steadily-breathing wife, Anna, slept to his right. Picture frames and lampshades, clock radio and bedroom door — all gradually became familiar to Jacob again, like grasping for a memory on the tip of your brain and finally catching it. He could see dimly, and figured it must have been almost morning. Recently he had come to expect waking with the dream fresh in his mind like a recent memory. It had been happening for a month or more, and he started to think it might be important or prophetic. Or maybe he was just worried.
Jacob was honest with Anna, and did his best to let her in, by telling her things he had been thinking or, in this case, dreaming. She knew about the dream, and its details, as clearly as he could remember them. He didn’t have any reason to hide the dream, but it disturbed him more every time he dreamed it. At first, when the dream started recurring, he would tell her every time. Somehow, though now, the dream shamed him, not the dream itself, but the fact that he kept having it. Jacob hadn’t mentioned the dream to Anna the last few days.
“Did you have that dream again?” came her sleep-slurred voice, suddenly, muffled because her face was buried against her pillow.
“Uh, yeah,” Jacob responded.
“Who died this time?” Anna asked, almost casually.
[more to come next week]…