Summer Dreams


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Chapter 1
The Sleeper Wakes

by Katrina

The following is a bit of alternative fiction based on certain characters from the Xenaverse. It is not meant to infringe on anyone else's rights.

Remember, it's all meant in fun.

AUTHOR'S NOTES:

I told myself I wasn't going to do disclaimers anymore. I figured books don't come with disclaimers, so I'm not going to warn you to expect that there's going to be sex or violence or sex and violence or magic or naughty language or appearances of characters from tvshows who are bringing me no moola whatsoever, but have given me a whole lot of joy. Or whathaveyou.

Instead, I'm going to note that this story is a tension reliever, a block remover a. .fresh start. It will probably be as plotless as the original SOG, but it does have a few directions that I intend to go in, sort of. It's a soap opera which will be, as SOG was, updated upon whim, or whenever I need to get back to the root of whatever it is that drives me to create and write long epic poems in the forms of stories. To me, SOG, from the beginning (till almost the end when it suddenly became a burden) was a word game, a waking dream, a poem. I need that again, for a little bit.

If you are really daring, and you want. . .perhaps you'll join me. If you're really really daring, write a chapter or two and see if I like it. . . It is, after all, a waking dream, an exploration of the soul. If you hate serials, this story is so Not for you, that I don't even know how to express it. If you love serials, then this story is a dream come true.

Of course, I'll be continuing with other series, plots, and whathave you. All that serious stuff that I've been writing. I'll probably work on Dark Promise next.

But tonight, it's whimsy, a sort of serious whimsy to get my juices flowing and to take a vacation of the mind. It's something I don't "have" to do, so. . you know. . I feel. .more like doing it. . Funny that.


I think I was most aware of the ticking of the clock as I came to. Click click click. I could feel the light splatter across my body, warm and sunny, breaking the shade that had earlier cooled my skin. Her voice was very pleasant, I thought.

"And Five. Wake up now, completely alert, totally refreshed."

I didn't even remember being under, not really. I was so sure I had been awake, but now I knew that I'd been totally asleep. But the images, the feelings were still vivid to me. So vivid in fact that I looked at her as if she were a stranger to me. And she was, for a moment.

"Are you with me Bernice?"

I blinked, and wrestled myself from the semiprone position that the soft black chair put me in. I thought, 'Sometimes they stuff these things too much,' and I thought, 'Now what was I doing?' and I thought, 'Who am I talking to?'

That was kind of the question I asked, "Whooo?" I managed to sound a little like one of those puppet owls on children's teevee shows. I know I peered at her strangely, feeling more disoriented than I was comfortable with.

"Whoa there, relax. Don't be in such a hurry." She pushed me down gently, till I was almost prone again. My body filled the curves of the chair. My feet were up on the recliner's footrest, as if I ought to be flipping channels and watching a big screen tv. "Taking you a little bit to come out of it I see." She noted something on the clipboard.

"I think we're making some real progress." She sounded pleased and smiled brightly past lipsticked pink lips. I was beginning to clue, but wasn't sure I liked it. I moved in emotional discomfort and my clothes made a sliding shifting sound against the black leather. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath in, and couldn't sift the odors, save there was that mediciny smell that was always in the background. Hospital.

I looked at the woman again. She was dressed in a casually middle class kind of way. She wore a white tag with a ph.d after her name. I remembered her now. "Doctor Gabrielle."

I said the name in wonder and stared for a moment at a woman with mousebrown hair, cropped short. Her skin was pale tan, almost pink, freckled. She'd been in the sun, but not too much. Her teeth were a little crooked. Her eyes were a rich rustbrown.

"You don't look a thing like. . ," I blurted out, unable to control my tongue or my surprise.

She laughed, not mockingly, "Well, we are talking dream figures." She looked down at her notes, which I realized must be copious. Third session? "Let's see. The Gabrielle of your dreams was a God. While I'm fairly sure therapists are not, I'm very intrigued by the imagery here. Golden threads that tie the worlds together. What do you think you were trying to tell yourself?"

I stared at her and then, after about a half a minute of silence, shrugged sullenly.

I couldn't help it.

I was feeling very disappointed.

It had all been a dream.

------------------------

I went home in a snit of sorts. Threw the small brown paper bag with my medication on the couch. We'd talked a bit about my fear of death and how I was teaching others by my behavior. We didn't really talk about the content of the dream, but I could feel it jostling within me.

They felt like memories. Lots of memories. But they weren't.

She said it was symptomatic of my illness, but that since I wasn't really a trained and magical killer, she felt it was fairly safe to let me loose on the world. She gave me some happy pills for a prescription. Hope in a little yellow plastic bottle. I told her I'd take them, but I didn't really intend to.

I wandered about for a bit. Getting settled. Stripping out of clothes that suddenly felt too confining. I stared at flab for a minute, then decided to ignore it. Put on a shirt that was more comfortable. It was white, and I left it unbuttoned, just because.

I didn't want to do it.

I knew that I would.

I avoided it by turning on the teevee, and sitting numbly on the couch. The bag flopped and crinkled against my hairy naked thigh. I needed to shave. The thought made me laugh. Somehow I doubted that Brigid ever needed to shave.

My nonexistant alterego.

My nonexi. . .

I had to do it.

I knew I would.

I stood up, moved into the bathroom. I could feel the deja vu of it. It was a deliberate repetion of the dream.

I did the whole thing, right to the washing of my hands. What did Doc Gabrielle call it? Babtism? I looked into the mirror, saw my own hazel eyes and spoke a name I only wished was mine.

"Brigid."

Of course, nothing happened.

There were no babies to search for. No lost family. No unsolved mysteries. It was just a dream.

There was no ultimate split personality friend turned lover. Joni was just some high school chick who I obssessed over with my hidden same sex desire. I gave a half hearted laugh. Who *knew* where she was now?

I certainly didn't.

At least the revelation that I was potentially bisexual wasn't a surprise. That was almost a relief actually. Worries put to rest. My Masters thesis was over and done, comprehensives taken, graduation complete.

I didn't bother drying my hands, but shook the water off. The droplets felt good spinning away from me and on to me. They made interesting patterns on the mirror.

"Fuck," I said, displeased. Not with the droplets, with myself. Couldn't resist, could I? The doorbell rang.

"Fuck," I said again. This time for an entirely different reason.

I ran around trying to find my jeans, hopping into them and zipping in a hurry, feeling a buzz of pain in my finger, swearing some more. I buttoned my shirt, but had to deal with the fact that nothing was really hidden. White shirts never hide anything, and I'd no bra on.

I wondered briefly why I was in such a hurry to answer the door. It occured to me that I was tired of fighting the battle and was looking forward to a break. No more trying to get the mirror to approve my fantasy. At least while whoever was at the door.

My hand gripped a warm handle, and I puzzled over that, but figured that just because I felt cold didn't mean the rest of the world did. I unlocked the shackle. My wrist turned. I probably should have looked in the peephole. I heard the click and squeak of the door being ready to open, and pulled.

The door opened, all the way, then I gaped.

They were goodlooking, I'll grant you that. Tall, dark, and intimdating in black suits and glittering sunglasses. They waved their wallets around as if I were supposed to realize they were badges. I suppose they were, but didn't really get a good look at them because I was promptly engaged in an argument about *why* I wasn't going with two strangers.

They didn't like that I said no, and were determined enough that I *was* going with them, that they started moving threateningly, looming over me and trying to make me back into my apartment so they could step in.

I don't do intimidation.

I started screaming and making a ruckus and my neighbors started peeking out and the toughs started waving people indoors. With that, I promptly slammed the door and locked it. I figured, if they were going to shoot me, they'd have to do it through the doorway first. They started banging on the door and telling me to open up. I knew my rights. No written thingy, no entering. Meanwhile I felt a certain gratitude for being on the first floor and debated my chances of getting out before they remembered the same.

Now this wouldn't have worked with teeny windows, but I was fortunate. I had a grey wood planked patio with a burnt up barbeque grill and some semithriving plants. No time to pack, but plenty of time to grab my purse, my shoes, and the prescription. I thought maybe I might need a dose of hope after all. Later.

I was running through the grass of the backyard park, barefeet hitting hot pavement before I could really think about the wisdom of such a manuever. I heard a, "There she goes!!" and a, "Catch her you fool!!" and a, "Damn it Don't shoot, She wants her alive!!" Well thank heaven for small mercies.

You know, I'd been feeling as if I were being followed for days. Doc Gabrielle had said that it was a symptom, but it was kind of nice to find out that there was at least one aspect of my delusion that had some basis in truth. Or so I assumed. If I was wanted alive, I had to figure that they knew who they were chasing. So they must have been following me.

It made sense to me.

I passed a beautiful rosebush along the way, would have stopped to look at it except I was busy ducking into the alley. I knew exactly where I was going, mostly because I walked a lot to avoid dealing with my obsession. The walking took me strange places. Now my running was taking me to Vinny's, which was a car repair shop.

I liked Vinny's. I liked the noises and the activity because of the comfort I felt with each buzz, spark, and salty ribaldry of the mechanics. They let me hang out even though I didn't have a car. Vinny himself, a white haired ancient dude, would sometimes let me into the shop because I liked tools. He told me I wasn't crazy. I was just burned a little and it made for dreams. I knew a different, but it was okay. Sometimes he would show me things, about how a motor worked. I liked knowing and we talked about rebuilding a truck. There I was, with polished fingernails, getting all dirty and loving it. I didn't really know what I was doing. I was a recent graduate from college, but it felt natural and safe to be there. Which is why I ran in that direction.

I should have known they'd be there. I counted four shiny sunglasses. One squarejawed agent held Vinney back, warning him off when he shouted, "Run." I kind of figured that one out by myself, but my options were limited and my feet were getting sore.

So I turned, intending to zag away and ran into something soft and crisp. I felt two hands push back on my shoulders, and spun around on my heel. I landed on my butt. My eyes followed the natural trail up. Up, From black heels, sculpted legs that disappeared into a skirt that ended at the knees. Up past a hand that gripped a pistol (gosh she moved fast) and the dark shiny belt and white blouse, which was covered by what must be the standard "I am an Member of a mysterious Governement Agency" jacket. Then I was looking up the fleshy column of a sinuous neck past a intense, but beautiful, frown on a face that was framed by golden curly hair and into another glimmering pair of sunglasses.

She pointed the gun right at my forehead. The breeze fluttered the collar of her blouse and I could feel the gravel remenant of the pavement on my hands. My shoes were to the left of me. My purse to the right. My prescription was nowhere in sight.

"Don't move," she said and I obeyed.

I think I may have blinked. I recongized her.



Dancing Winter
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ŠJuly 1998

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