In your dreams

Legend says, when you can’t sleep at night, it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dream.”

abstract ceiling fan

Belle lays in bed watching the blade of her ceiling fan make lazy circles. Tearing her eyes away from the hypnotic circling, Belle dares to look at her clock. Dim neon green numbers taunt her with 3:34. Despite her early bedtime, sleep eludes her yet another night.

Turning on her side, Belle tucks a pillow between her knees trying to find a comfortable position. Balancing on one elbow, she punches her other pillow several times out of frustration, then flips it to the cool side before flopping down again.

Eyes squeezed tight, her mind is a maelstrom of disjointed thoughts vying for her attention. Every noise – the click of the fan, the whirr of the air conditioner, footsteps from the apartment above – acts in concert to deny her slumber.

Another glance at the clock – 3:42 – and Belle gives up. Padding to the bathroom, she splashes cold water on her face. Her image in the vanity mirror reflects back a gaunt face, dark circles under her eyes, skin ashen, and her hair wild with anger.

Switching off the light, she doesn’t let her vision adjust to the pitch blackness before making her way back to bed. Belle barks her knee against her dresser, then catches a toe on the leg. With a hideous crack, she stumbles on one foot to her bed. Flipping on the nightstand light, Belle sees the purple bloom of a bruised broken toe seeping across her foot.

Resigned to another sleepless night, Belle turns on the TV, and waits for the sun to rise.

Across town, Fred is deep in REM sleep. When he wakes later in the morning, he will feel unsettled, but not remember why. His dreams melt away at the first light of day.

In these dreams, he is in love with a young woman. By day, she is a woman Fred sees walking in the business district on his way to work. He’s too shy to approach her, to ask her name, or invite her to coffee. He doesn’t even know she lives in the same building he does.

Outside, high atop the roof of the Berkshire where Belle and Fred reside, sits Pano. Straddling one of the gargoyles adorning the roof eaves, he is having a deep conversation with his boss’ secretary. Pano was tasked with bringing Fred and Belle together, and it wasn’t working. Fred doesn’t remember his dreams, and Belle can’t sleep.

“Tell him I’ve done all I can,” Pano said. “I can lead them, but I can’t make them act on it.”

He listened to the reply, a frown forming across his brow. “That wasn’t part of the deal. Like I said, I kept my end of the bargain, now it’s time for him  to keep his.”

Light and Shade Challenge. "'Tell them I came, and no one answered, that I kept my word,' he said.
Light and Shade Challenge: “Tell them I came, and no one answered, that I kept my word,” he said.” ~ Walter de la Mare, The Listeners

10 thoughts on “In your dreams

  1. Okay, I want to know more – lots more. What was the deal, and will poor Bella ever get a night’s sleep? What was offered in return? Great description of the physical turmoil. Lyssa M x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really clever concept – and you portray insomnia so beautifully! I’ve felt taunted by the time on the clock too from time to time

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So good 🙂 I really enjoyed this one. What a neat thought and take on the prompt–making two fall in love through dreams 🙂


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