The Cafe Irreal: International Imagination

Issue Thirteen

Alice Whittenburg
G.S. Evans

This issue went online
February 1, 2005

copyright 2005 The Cafe Irreal
all rights reserved

Čeština Translations into Czech


irreal (re)view #4

Dreams & Abductions
by James Foreman

They split open your dreams and stick their hands inside. They weave long nets, knotted with nightmares, and cast them wide across the sleeping houses.

They move with subtle grace, no wasted movement. They don't fidget, or bounce their knees, or twiddle their thumbs or tap their feet. Every thought that crosses the wide canyons of their minds is cold, almost frozen, and travels on swift feet. But you are human, so your thoughts run, or skip, or dance, or swim or fly.

It began when the first human dreamed his first dream. Maybe it had gazelles or bison, and maybe the dreamer was running with them. Maybe he saw his long-dead mother in the cave of his birth, sitting cross-legged at the mouth, with a hide draped across her shoulders. Or maybe it was not the dream that brought them to us; but the nightmare, of hot-breathed lions hiding in the tall grass, or the fresh meat from the fire turning rotten the moment it touched the lips. Whatever that first floating thought, the first that ran instead of walked, this brought them to us. They came here and stayed.

They made their homes in the sky and in the oceans. They see our dreams, live their lives nestled in ours. You are connected to them because they dream no dreams of their own. Any one of them would gladly trade his quick mind and sterile life for just one night of your most terrifying nightmares. Even now, they toil and struggle with our farthest-flying fantasies for just one of their heavy-lidded nights to bear the same fruit.

You will think of them only in passing through the edge between sleeping and waking, when brief glimpses and sneaking suspicions are all that remain. You may wake up the next morning and remember every patchwork moment of your dreams, but you won't remember them. They are too precise to allow it.

The edge between sleeping and dreaming is soft for you. They may even overlap, as your consciousness slips softly through them. But the barrier for them is hard, and they pass through these states as a line drawn across a piece of paper.

Our dreams brought them here, and our dreams keep them here. They manipulate cold calculations, quantifications, delineations, all with one aim: to bring our dreams to them. You will be asleep when they come. Your mind, unaware, turned inward, floating with dreams that fly upward into the night sky. They see these motions as we see waves of heat rise from a road, and they are drawn to them.

They pluck you gently from your bed with invisible hands that cup you softly and pull you to their silver disk, passing through mortar, stone and wood as though nothing were there.

They lay you on a slab of silver. The slab is cold to your skin. It is so cold, in fact, that light sleepers shoot into wakefulness, and catch a glimpse of their surroundings before the metal arm comes down and drops them like a stone through the deep waters of unconsciousness.

They come to your side and touch your skin with instruments of shining metal, poking here, drawing fluids there. Sometimes, but very rarely, one of them may stroke your hair with long, pearl-white fingers and whisper a soothing word, but only when the others are not watching. They place a silver, threaded cap on your head. Invisible wires transmit the contents of your dreams to similar caps that they don. They nod in unison.

For those scant few hours, the images, smells and sounds, whether blissful dream or terrifying nightmare, are shared between all of you. And while you may twitch, your limbs may jerk, or you may let loose with short gasps of laughter, they stand motionless, experiencing all that you experience but feeling nothing.

James Foreman wears t-shirts with superhero logos on them. He has no idea what he wants to be when he grows up, but writing stories is a pretty good start. He lives in Sewickley, Pennsylvania with four dogs, three in-laws and a very patient woman.

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story copyright by author 2005 all rights reserved