Shattered Dreams, Chapter 6: On a Day Without a Dream

When I close my eyes everything slowly simmers to black. I can’t feel tired, but everything disappears nonetheless. And as if on a queue I wake up aptly. Somewhere in the distance of my mind I can feel Lottie wake up as well. Lottie is a part of my being, a part of my existence. On that day that I took her shattered dream, I gave her a new life. I stole her humanity and brought her over to the World of the Divine. I felt Lottie stretch and yawn.

“By the way,” Lottie began that morning, “Where are we, anyway? I mean, I know we’re in your room, but where exactly is this?”

“I wish I could tell you.” I really couldn’t answer that question. I hadn’t a single idea where my room existed. There was the theory that I simply existed in the plane between the two worlds. That was the most probable answer, and if I could meet with my Landlord that would have been my first question. Though even if I did ask I probably wouldn’t receive an answer.

“Do you think we’re somewhere in the World of the Living?” Lottie asked. Lottie was still speaking from the space she dwelled inside of me.  I couldn’t help but to smile. I began to imagine Lottie in the space in front of me. And in a blink, Lottie appeared. She was floating in the air between us, her long light brown hair wrapping onto her body like a blanket. She hadn’t changed much from the time she was still a human.

“That’s better,” I said in jest of her appearance, “The World of the Living?”

“Yeah. Couldn’t that be the case?” She flew over to the jars on my desk and began picking at them.

“That would be the case for the majority of divines who were born from the whispers of humans. But I’m a special case.” Lottie nodded.

“You weren’t born from any myths, legends, or rumors. Instead, you were cast into this world by another divine.” I nodded. Lottie raised her eyes as she turned towards me.

“Right. Before I knew it I was here in this room,” I answered.

“And I haven’t really found any details on any supernatural ghost or creature that could match your description,” Lottie added. She shrugged and flew over to my arm. Her hand as they touched my skin felt like a smooth waterfall. She made me stretch my arm. In a breath, her feet planted onto my arm, weightless.

“If we aren’t in the World of the Living then it’s quite amazing how your door can link to it at will,” she played a balancing act but at the edge of my hands jumped off and dived towards the floor. Influence is the kind of word of mouth that made divine beings. Those who’ve had their stories passed down from generations are born as beings powerful enough to sustain themselves. Those who’ve only been talked about in passing for a few days would be born as lesser beings. I found that fact to be oddly human.

“My room is a divine all of its own, so it isn’t that surprising in that regard.” Lottie shot to the sky just as she was about to hit the floor. Her laugh filled the room.

“So that just leaves the possibility that your room is situated somewhere in the World of the Divine. However, even as I siphon information from outside of your room to learn of the World of the Divine, I can tell that it’s a very weak link. ” Lottie went for another dive.

“If the link isn’t strong, then that means we’re much farther from the World of the Divine than we think,” I answered. Lottie nodded as she continued for the floor, stopping before she planted.

“That’s right it’s not strong but it’s still there. So, the most probable answer has to be–” She rocketed again, pulling all of her energy, breaking the wind around us.

“That we’re somewhere in between.” Lottie faltered just as she was about to hit the ceiling. She spun out in the air, landing onto the wall, shaking my table. I laughed.

“Exactly.” Lottie shook her head and begun meditating. I smiled for her.

“Not a very fun topic for an old day like today.” She stopped and looked at me with her head tilted to the side. She puffed her cheeks in and sighed.

“I’m still learning about this world. I have to ask questions. Especially when it comes to issues concerning you,” she said with a light smile.

“Even if you can just siphon me?” She shook her head.

“That wouldn’t be fun.”  Lottie flew over to my bed and lowered herself onto the sheets. Upon touching them she cringed, “This thing’s cold.”

“Much like you?” She scowled with a chuckle. Her eyes then moved to the marbles in my jar.

“I wonder how many that makes,” she said under her breath.

“Enough to know that dreams have been shattered.”

“And you’re their last resort.” I smiled and sought my mind to see if I could pull out a memory I’ve had with the humans who I’ve talked to. My mind could barely climb a mountain.

“I guess that would be pretty overbearing. I can’t even think how stressful that would be, holding the burden of all those shattered dreams,” Lottie said as she flew in front of me arcing to and fro in a light pendulum.

“And what about you? What about the burden of having been human?” The question rolled out of my mouth before I could realize I said anything.

“It’s nothing compared to a thousand humans.” She came to a stop. Her smile was light, it flashed with her eyes. Her breathing stilted. The air in my room filtered through her hair. We remained like that until her words broke my pulse.

“We should do something for your day off. It’s not like staying here would help us.”

“And going out there would?” She shrugged.

“You work six days a week collecting shattered dreams and talking to all sorts of people. But today you get to do whatever you want. This is supposed to be a relaxing time, a break. Have some fun.” I would usually sleep. That was plenty fun. And if I had to derive pleasure from anything, it would be talking to humans.

“You got to learn to live a little Summer,” Lottie flew over and picked up my hand, trying to drag me over to my door.

“I could do any amount of living in the lifespan I have as a divine,” I said as she used all she could to propel herself forward.

“But you have a life all together. Use it!” I couldn’t help but smile for her as her voice cracked.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re human or divine. In fact, being a divine who’s so human-like should merit you some degree of humanity.” A sigh erupted from my mouth.

“I was a human once. I take pride in that despite the kind of life I led. If I were you, I’d take every opportunity I have to go and have fun!” I wanted to dispute her point. To tell her that I was a being who was created to collect shattered dreams. I wanted to tell her that there wasn’t a point in my being able to be free. But the words that I sought to spill out of my mouth stood stilted in the air.

And so on that day, I let Lottie carry me to my door.

“Come on, let’s go into the World of the Living!” With my hand in tow, she flew to my door.

“In the end, we’re going back to the World of the Living?”

“Of course! Unless you want to have our play date in the World of the Divine.” I wouldn’t. I would never subject any human to that cesspit.

As we made our way to my door, I couldn’t help but smile at Lottie’s blazing eyes and face-wide smile.

Next Part

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Lost Train’s Musings

The speakers whirred to life, “Welcome to the end of the world, you’re now boarding line 99, buckle in and enjoy yourself.” Before I could realize what was going on, the doors closed and the train began shaking to life. I was sent back into the glass. Soon, we were racing through the tunnels of the trains and out into the soft morning glow of a new day. I looked around me, there were only a few other passengers. They were all sitting and minding their own devices. I walked over to one of the bench seats and noticed a girl sleeping. I stepped back in surprise and was blinded by the rays that flittered through the window. I brought my hand up to block the sun and as my eyes adjusted, we sprang into a body of blue.

“Surprised?” The girl was peeking through the bangs of her hair.

“I thought you were sleeping,”

“I was until someone walked over me, stepped back, and proceeded to gawk at the ocean. But I get it, you’ve never seen anything like this have you.” She turned and sat with a slouch. Her hair was threatening to take over her face. She laughed upon noticing and flung the dark strands back. Her expression was relaxed, and her smile was gentle, bringing me in the more I stared.

“Don’t stress too much about it, this is how all first time riders feel when they get on. You got a name or what?” Her words lulled me back to reality.

“Muse,” I said.

“Muse?” She chuckled and shrugged her shoulder.

“I guess this train brings in all kinds of strange people. A strange place for strange people, right?” She laughed to herself, her head bobbing down towards the seat of the train, her hair throwing itself back into her face. With another retraction she smiled with her teeth.

“I’m April. The month of spring. Looks like we both got strange names, right?” She laughed, and this time, I couldn’t help but to laugh a little as well.

“Man you’re hairs really pretty in the sunlight you know that?” Like a switch, she became focused as her face lit up and as she held her hands out to reach for my hair. I never really tied my hair or bothered to manage it, and so it found its way to my sides. Just as April’s hand reached over, the train bumped and she was jostled forward. I managed to catch her in time before her face planted into the floor of the train.

“Whoops. Mind the bump,” April said as she laughed in my arms. She leaned back and into the seat. I looked over to the other carts. The other passengers hadn’t noticed us. The scenery outside had begun to bleed from the blue of the ocean to the gray of the city.

“This train will take you anywhere you want to go,” April began with an air of haughty drama, “To the ends of the Earth even.” She snickered and then turned her head to the side, staring at the other passengers.

“Take her for example,” April stuck out her hand slowly and pointed at a girl reading a book. Her glasses seemed to shimmer in the sunlight and as she flipped the page, her foot tapped.

“She’s heading to the library right now, but not just any library, the largest library in the entire country!” April brought her arms out for effect.

“And where might that be?” April lowered her hand, and propped her arms onto the seat beside her.

“Who knows. Maybe she’ll need to stay here for an hour, or maybe a day. But she’s got somewhere she needs to be and so this train will take her there.”

“Line 99, right? Never heard of it before until now.” April raised a hand.

“Yeah that’s how it goes. You found this line by accident, right?” She turned her head the other way, and let her hair pinch her body.

“That’s right.” I didn’t plan to go on the train. Nor did I have any plans to go anywhere. It just so happened that I was wandering and found my way at the terminal. I didn’t know why but my feet often dragged me to the strangest of places when I was lost in thought. Or perhaps I was swept by the movement of the world around me that I found my way to the train station.

“Everyone who finds this train, always gravitates towards the same thing.” April smiled to herself and turned her head towards the ceiling of the train.

“Care to guess what that is?”

“I don’t have a clue.” April shrugged.

“Everyone who’s on this train, gravitates towards,” she then placed one finger over her head like a gun, “Themselves.”

“What do you mean by that?” I asked. April chuckled.

“It means that neither you nor I are living in a world that’s not ours. In other words, we’re all selfish creatures just trying to live our own lives. We seek the things we want, and this train brings them to us, like a selfish delivery service.” She laughed. Her laugh filled the train and yet not a single person paid us heed. From the grey of the city, the scenery outside now bled back into a body of blue. I didn’t know when I stopped caring, but I slowly realized that the train hadn’t stopped once.

“So tell me Muse, why is it that you came here on Line 99? Even if you did find a strange train that you’ve never heard of, no sane person would step on.” She gave me a grin with all her teeth. I should have been intimidated by her. That was usually how it went with me. It was how I’ve always lived. But, as the train kept rolling without a stop in sight, as the sun dipped through the windows behind April and through the empty bench behind me, I began to allow everything permeate my senses.

“I guess I came here to find myself,” I answered.

“To find yourself?” April’s eyes grew, but then her face shifted to a smile. She snickered but soon let out another bellowing laugh. The train took another bump.

“Now that’s an answer I haven’t heard yet. You do well to amuse me Muse, not many people can.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t give you a proper answer. That’s all I had.” She shook her head.

“No worries. It’s the best answer anyone could have given me. You take this train long enough and you’ll find the best kind of people around.”

“Have you been riding long?” April turned over on her seat and faced the window as it bled from blue back to grey. I walked over and without hesitation took a seat. She smiled as I did so.

“Yeah you can say I’ve been riding long,” she answered with a sigh. She turned towards the window of the train, her eyes locked onto every object that zoomed by.

“I’ve probably met every single person who’s riding right now.” She buried herself in her arms, but in the reflection in the window I saw her eyes resting onto the window.

“This train has treated me well. It treats everyone well. If you’ve been chosen, there’s a reason why it chose you, and there’s a reason why you decided to step on. It doesn’t have to be anything big. I mean you might as well just use the train to go to your favorite diner each week. But there are even some passengers that don’t yet know where they want to go.” She laughed in her arms.

“Do you know why this train is on line 99?” She asked.

“I didn’t know we had so many lines in the first place.”

“Come on, just guess. Play with me here Muse.” I couldn’t help but to smile at her.

“Line 99– Well, one more number and its line 100, right? Maybe it has to do with the whole idea of bringing you to the end of the world.” April began nodding her head.

“Good answer. One more number and it resets the whole thing. You’re starting a whole new line of trains once you’ve hit 100. Now you’re in the triple digits, in a whole new realm.”

“But in reality we don’t really have 99 lines anyway,” I added.

“You’re right. In reality this train is just like every other passenger who gets on. It’s just living in its own little world. We all gravitate, remember?” The train then bled from a grey to a blue in a matter of clockwork. I didn’t care where the train was heading, I was adamant on letting it bring me to wherever it went. I had lost all my inhibition. I wanted to know why.

“But be careful Muse, if you’re only here to find yourself, you may be riding for the rest of your life.” April lifted herself from her arms, and pressed forward against the glass, her eyes glued to the blue in front of her.

“I might be fine with that.” April snickered but then began to laugh, and I couldn’t help but to join her.

“You really are amusing Muse. I’m glad you came on.”

“How about you? Why are you on the train?”

“Me?” April chuckled.

“Like I said, we’re all here to get to a place we want to go. This train will bring us to wherever we desire. It’s already done so.” I looked at April as she stared back at me, her eyes glistening in the sun. Much like me, I thought that she might have been lost in her own thoughts one day and found herself on a train in an attempt to find or lose herself. Thinking of it like that, I began to sink into the seat of the train and muddled myself in my own mind as I repeated the words ‘line 99’.

 

 

Shattered Dreams, Chapter 5: Dream to Move On

5

            “But don’t worry,” Jordy continued, walking up towards the window of her shop. Her hand traced the glass. It simmered on her skin.

“This is my dream now. I’ll have to do with it myself. ”

“And yet you talked to me.” She shrugged, and turned, sunlight dousing her face.

“And yet I talked to you, I guess that’s also being human. To be unable to move on from my daughter being missing for so long. Some might think I’m crazy.” My hands twitched at her words.

“It’s quite nice,” Lottie said to no one in particular, “Loving your daughter like that. It’s quite nice, and it should be commonplace.”

“Whoever Jordy’s daughter was,” Lottie continued, “I’m jealous of her. I’m sure–” If I closed my eyes enough, I’m sure I could see Lottie’s downcast face. “Wherever she is now, she’s still looking for the mother who loved her so much.” Her voice echoed in my mind.

“Are you afraid of your dream?” Jordy smiled. Her smile darkened in contrast to the beaming light that filled her face. A single woman walked by behind her. Her steps light.

“I am. I’m deathly afraid. I want to move on. I don’t want to feel this pain anymore. Isn’t that just being human?”

“What does moving on mean to you?”

“What it means to me? Being able to one day stop thinking about my daughter. It fills my days, wondering where she is, wondering when she’ll come back. If I have to move on, it’ll mean forgetting about my daughter.” I walked towards her. My steps ringing in weight.

“Moving on doesn’t have to mean forgetting your daughter.” I felt it surge through me. It was a familiar feeling. It ran up all my limbs, made me feel alive. It began to remind me of all the humans I’d talked to.

“What if your dream to move on wasn’t about forgetting. Moving on from a tough memory, isn’t just forgetting.” I stepped at the edge of the light, where Jordy hid.

“How would you move on?”

“You shouldn’t  forget about your daughter. But just accept that she’s dead.” I could feel Lottie churn.

“You haven’t even accepted her death. Isn’t that the truth?” The gears in my mind spun into place. Her dream shouldn’t be trying to move on from her daughter. It should have been trying to send her off properly. I couldn’t have been too sure of my reasoning but I didn’t need to.

“Is there really a difference?”

“Moving on from something implies that you’ve already come to agree with the loss. You can’t move on to another job, or to another country, or to another person unless you’ve validated that you were with another job, another country, or another person.”

“Even so accepting something doesn’t mean to move on. You can accept that your daughter’s dead and be content with your life. You can accept the pain and all that comes with being unable to have a family and live your life unchanging. To move forward, to be able to do something else after you’ve come to terms with what happened, is to move on. You have to be able to propel yourself from that event and not pretend like it hadn’t happened.” I stepped and allowed myself to bathe in that light again. It was even warmer now.

“Saying it like that makes everything sound so simple.”

“Simple or not, I think you don’t have to ‘move on’ or dwell on what moving on means. There’s nothing to forget at all. You’re not going to forget about your daughter. What you should do is to just say she’s dead and do what you will afterwards. If you decide that you’re not stuck on your daughter, then you’ve already moved on. You’ve moved on by accepting it in whole.” In the end, this was all a matter of semantics. Whether ‘this’ meant ‘that’, or if ‘that’ meant ‘this’, moving on or accepting. It was all in how the words danced and planted them in Jordy. I didn’t know why humans had so many words that meant the same things, nor did I know why there were so many ideas and concepts that could be confused as one. There were over a thousand ways to convey any single emotion, and such a thing meant that there would never be a dearth of human articulation.

“And how can you be so sure?” Jordy asked.

“If you’d already come to terms with your daughter’s death. If you’ve accepted she’s dead, would you really be looking at her notebook all day? Or pretend that you were there with her at the park? Or even roam around a cemetery without stopping for anyone? Would you really be so absentminded thinking of your days surrounded by her?” Her eyes widened. The notebook was Lottie’s guess, and I trusted her. But the park was a far cry from myself. If it was me, I’d have already tucked away all of her things someplace I wouldn’t ever need to see. I’d have her memories with me, and that was all I needed. I wouldn’t have to recall or to try and attempt to remember her every single moment of my life. That was what I gathered might have done. A human unlike me.

“Accepting that she’s gone, means knowing that she’ll never be around anymore. But that doesn’t mean you’ll forget about her. If you’re any decent a parent, shouldn’t that be obvious?” I walked towards Jordy, and wrapped my arms around her. I made sure that she felt every bit of warmth that my divine body could emanate. I felt Lottie’s warmth as well. She was trying her best.

“It’s commonplace,” Jordy said over my shoulder.

“That’s right. Just let her be. Let your mind have a break for once. It’s not forgetting about her, it’s just not thinking about her. It’s not being obsessed with her. I don’t think about every person I’ve met, but I certainly haven’t forgotten about you, right?” I apologized in my head as I said this. I forgot about a plethora of humans. I forgot about many dreams. It just so happened that Jordy stuck in my mind.

“I suppose, you’re right. And I suppose I’d already known all of that.” It was then that I saw an object fall from Jordy. It was in the shape of a crayon and upon landing on the floor, made a soft thump that Jordy couldn’t hear. I didn’t need to pick it up to know what it contained. But I had a duty. I let go of Jordy, who wiped her eyes.

“Just picking up a shattered dream,” I said to Jordy with a smile. She couldn’t help but to smile as well, looking with solemn eyes at the crayon she might have thought fell from her shelves.

“And so another case for the collector of dreams, has been solved” I could feel Lottie prancing about around me. I had to hold in my laughter.

“Maybe that’s why I talked to you, hoping you’d say that to me,” Jordy smiled, “I guess that’s how we humans are. We know our dreams give us pain, but we dream.” In the end, I left Jordy’s store hoping that I’d never see her again. I hoped that she would never have to remember the fact that her daughter had died, that she had lost a dream to have a family, and that she had been so strung up about her daughter that she had another dream to move on.  I hoped I didn’t ruin her life forever by stinging her with my presence.

Next Chapter

Shattered Dreams, Chapter 5: Dream to Move On

4

            “But dreams disappear,” Jordy added. She flipped the page over, where a collection of words came together to form a miasma of ink. Jordy’s fingers traced each word. Her skin seeming to prick at the dried markings.

“Oh, I get it,” Lottie suddenly chimed in, “What she has in front of her. That notebook. It’s her daughter’s. It has to be.” Jordy smiled to herself before looking back up at me. The man who parked outside of the store opposite came out. He leaned over the hood of his car, sending the bird in a spiel. He didn’t look our way once.

“No matter how much times we dream, they’ll disappear,” Jordy said, her voice only reaching me through the small drafts of the door.

“You either achieve your dream, or you let them be shattered,” I added. It was a matter of semantics. Dreams either disappear in joy or find themselves within my jar. And even more so, lost to the world. It wasn’t that they just simply disappeared and were never heard of again. That notion was far too much a fallacy.

“That’s right, in the end, there are only two fates to those who find themselves living according to their dreams. And yet we will dream.” Jordy smiled and shook her head. Her hands began to shake as she flipped the page. She took in a breath, and cupped her hands together. I wanted to reach out to her, to show her my warmth. But I found strength to sought against that notion.

“It’s all because we’re human,” Jordy  repeated with a jump in her voice.

“We’re stuck in a cycle,” Jordy continued, “In a cycle that begins in joy, and only ends in misery. If you can tell me how to break out of it, I’d appreciate you till the end of my life. But until then, I’ll still be here, dreaming.”  She closed the notebook, and let her hands rest on its worn cover. The man had left on his car, the atmosphere picking up dust. It clouded the window for a moment until a brief entree of sunlight spilled through. The aisles of her store sought that light. Though only some had found salvation.

“And even now, you’re dreaming?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Lottie interjected to no one in particular.

“Would you be surprised?” Jordy asked.

“That depends. What would you be dreaming about now?” Jordy picked up the inkless pen and ran its body through her hands, as if a cut. Lottie closed her eyes. In the back of my mind, I knew Bird was somehow watching over us. It’s within her domain to seek those who’ve lost a loved one. I knew she wouldn’t abandon anyone who still had lingering thoughts.  My feet ached to run at her.

“I really liked this pen,” Jordy said, her voice picking up with the ticks of the clock. Every other syllable matched a third strike.

“A pen you just picked up?”

“Just like dreams, I tend to latch onto things,” she laughed at herself. Her eyes lowered in solitude. Her face was warm.

“I’m sorry,” Jordy said as she chuckled, “I’m just being silly.” She placed the pen behind the counter and got up. She stood by the register and looked at me. Her eyes, although close, were tinged with distance.

“You really are human, aren’t you?” She asked. I was stunned. So was Lottie. I tried to give a rebuttal, but the words only simmered with the ticking clock. Somewhere beyond us, kids were playing down the road. I couldn’t tell how wide my eyes were. But she smiled. The kids laughed about as they kicked up a storm and raced each other down the road. A horn resounded. Wheels screeched to a stop. And all life ended.

“And if I wasn’t human?” I asked chuckling.

“You wouldn’t be here talking to me if you weren’t human.” Then, the kids continued. The clock’s ticking seemed to simmer with the walls. I stopped listening.

“After all, I’ve never heard of a monster who liked humans, who just wanted conversation.” I honestly wracked my head around the beings I knew, to try and produce an answer appropriate for her. I couldn’t quite pick out any one being who would converse with humans as freely as I did. Perhaps the divines who did talk to humans enjoyed their conversations, but only as far as gaining them more influence. Influence is the power every divine holds. It could only ever increase through the use of word of mouth, and is directly tied to how a divine is made in the first place.

“I’m not sure I’m a monster, but I wouldn’t mind talking to humans,” Lottie chuckled.

“And, even if you were a monster who liked to talk to humans–If that was the case, then I’d happily accept that I’m wrong.” The air around us froze. Jordy gave me a smug smile.

“Actually,” before I could answer, Jordy continued, “That wouldn’t be necessary. Much like a dream, knowing the answer is no fun.” She smiled to herself and chuckled. She then leaned back and sighed, staring at the ceiling of her store.

“So what is your dream?” Back to square one. She turned with a tired smile and looked back at me.

“My dream then was to have a family.” The streets bled into nothingness. The sun that peered in through the window stretched. My body loosened. I headed up one of the aisles, tracing my hands over the metal shelves.

“It’s a good dream to have,” I said, watching as she watched me.

“I wondered what her family was like,” Lottie asked to no one in particular.

“And you’d think maybe I’d move on by now. To find a new dream.” Jordy averted her eyes for a second, “If I could do so, I’d tell you about all the things I might want to do.”

“But you can’t?”

“Things that happen ‘eventually’ aren’t always things that will happen, even if eventually.” Jordy laughed to herself.

“I’m sorry. I’m being silly again,” her voice trickled with my footsteps.

“What you mean to say is that you can’t expect anything to happen. You can’t expect results until you’ve had it. Tell me about your dream, Jordy.”

“Maybe I really am living in my own little world.” I turned the aisle, stood to face her in the middle of the sunlight. She was shrouded in all manner of dust and dark. I felt the sun on my back, Lottie was basking.

“We’re all living in our own little world,” I said with a breath. My mind itched to have her spill every little detail about what she was going through. It pierced me more than the lull of cicadas in the distance.

“You expect one and one to make two, right?” I nodded, letting Jordy spill all she had. Even if it wasn’t the point, I had to be patient. I found in humans, that most often they would never find themselves at the origin. No one liked pain.

“You expect fire to hurt you, right?” I nodded.

“You expect the sun to rise, and the sun to fall, right?” I nodded.

“You expect water to evaporate and to fall back down as rain, right?” I didn’t want to but I nodded.

“You expect that upon impact fragile things shatter and tough things resist, right?” Her words barely found their way to my light.

“And you know that the things you expect to happen are sometimes referred to as law. I can’t fly, that’s expected. My skin is soft, and can be cut, that’s to be expected. These things are inevitable, like death.” Lottie was no longer listening.

“So would you not call these things commonplace?”

“If you want to put it like that, they would be commonplace.” But that was all semantics.

“And so, it’s commonplace to feel grief after losing someone important to you.”

“I can’t think of any other way it should happen.” I wondered how a human would feel if they knew that, if they couldn’t be granted something described as commonplace.

“Then why is it so hard for me to move on?” Her voice stung the air around us. The world seemed to stop. Jordy’s face contorted as she avoided my eyes. In a blink, they were back up. They didn’t water, but  remained placed on me, searching me for some kind of salvation that I couldn’t bring her. Every muscle in her body was tensed. It almost seemed like it was hard for her voice to leave her mouth.

“Is that your dream?” I asked, figuring as much.

“Your dream is to move on? Is that it?” A dream is a dream, no matter what it is. No matter who it’s for, no matter what you have to do it achieve it, it’s a dream nonetheless. I can’t fault Jordy to want to move on from the pains she felt. If it became so powerful that it became her dream to move on, then so be it. I respected her for that. It was a wonderful dream. That was what humans did. That was what my body itched to hear. I wanted to erupt.

“Really makes you wonder what a dream is.” I stepped towards her, slowly out of my light.

“It doesn’t matter what you say a dream is. It’s your dream, hold onto that feeling.”

“You don’t understand how hard it is to–” Before she could finish, I treaded into the dark half of her store and placed my hands on her shoulders. Her body switched into a silent trill. Her pulse came on like the clock that ticked behind us.

 

“It doesn’t matter what you say. Hold onto that feeling. It’ll be everything you have now, and once you lose it you’ll never be able to find that again.”

“How can you say that so–”

“We’re human. That’s why I can say this. That’s why you can still wake up and dream.” The words that came out of my mouth were mine. The lies I told her, the way I consoled her. It was my warmth to her.

“Humans prevail. You will prevail. So hold onto that tiny fraction, and keep dreaming. ”

“This is just… A conflict–” Jordy said with a muffled voice, “A conflict from me to me. Nothing more, nothing less. I just want to move on. It’s nothing extravagant, just commonplace.” I felt my grip tighten on her shoulders. I shook my head and retracted my hands.

“It’s become so difficult,” Jordy continued shaking her head, “That I started to believe that moving on to me was something like a dream. But that’s no excuse. Saying it’s a dream like this is so–”

“It’s your dream, and it’s something you feel passionate enough about that you would call it a dream. That’s amazing, Jordy.” Jordy walked past me, edging on the border of the light that came in. I watched her back, shrouded in all that she had.

“Is it really so amazing?” Jordy said, her voice trailing about in the air. I really didn’t want her dream to be shattered. And yet it was my fault. After all, no matter where te people that I’ve talked to end up, they’ve been inflicted. Lottie was shaking her head as I stood watching her. She sighed. The clock could not stop ticking.

Next Part

The Approximation of the Distance Between Us

Every day at the break of dusk I would find myself sitting on an old worn out bench by the park. I watched as the sun began sinking into the clouds. Its light was absorbed into the skin of the clouds. Whatever light escaped would become the light that filtered through the leaves of trees. However, on odd occasion, the clouds would break, and the light would filter through the cracks. That light would shine softly on my face and begin receding from the dirt. I imagined as time passed that the light that filtered through the cracks of clouds left only a fickle membrane of itself in the form of a shadow, and soon enough the park would be engulfed in darkness. Thinking of things like that made my mind iridescent. When these moments happened, she would appear.

I would hear her nestle behind me. She stood in my shadow. She would lean herself just slightly behind my hair, so that if I were to move, I would bump into her back.

“You’re here again,” she began, “You’re always here. No matter what.” I could feel her smile. Though maybe it was because of the cold winds that brushed against my face that made me want to smile, that made me think she was smiling. I could feel her breath from over my seat. I could feel her heart beating to the sounds of the steps surrounding the park. It melded with the winds that drove in hordes.

“And you always come,” I answered. She chuckled, her voice singing in the air.

“I guess that makes both of us strange people. Strange people in a strange place.”

“At the park? We’re just two people at the park,” She laughed, her body moving against the back of my head anyway.

“So how was school?” I asked. We always talked about school. Not that I ever went, not that I ever knew that she went.

“It was normal. Nothing really happened. Nothing ever happens,” she said with a low tone. She always told me how normal school was in a low tone. But that always meant that she was lying to me, that she was keeping it all to herself, that of course something happened. I knew at least that much about her. I could also tell by the way the winds began to wrap itself around us that she was lying. It would filter through the leaves with the light and whistle softly across the park.

“I see,” I answered plainly. I sighed, finding myself in that light, and imagined her day. I imagined her being alone. She drifted on by each day without causing trouble. At the end of the day, I imagined her to be like the girl on the windowsill. The girl on the windowsill being the last girl I ever saw at school. She was somewhat of an urban legend.

“What about you?” She asked in reciprocation.

“Me? I’ve just always been here,” I answered back. I knew she imagined what I was like as well. And for that, I always found myself back in that light, the light that filtered through the cracks of clouds. And the wind blew with that light, swirling our truths, blowing it to a place we would never reach, the place where we would meet face to face.

“Do you ever wonder if the world would change?” She suddenly asked. I could feel her scuffle. She was tracing something on the dirt. I didn’t dare look.

“If the world would change?” I repeated almost cracking a laugh.

“You know, if it would ever get better than this.” Her voice left her mouth like a slow waterfall.

“It’s already at its peak I’d say. No going back now, and no going any further. Isn’t that the kind of place we live in?” I looked down at my hands. They were worn.

“If you think of it like that, it’s sad isn’t it?” She asked.

“The fact that we can never progress? The fact that we’re already doing the best we can right now in this very instance?”

“You’re projecting,” she laughed.

The light continued to recede. The winds around us settled. I wondered how close we really were.

“But it really is sad,” I added.

“Right, and the saddest thing is if we don’t think it’s sad, then it’s not sad. In fact, if we just tell ourselves that we’re the happiest people on earth. We can be the happiest people on earth,” her voice fell over herself, scattered in the wind.

“You’re projecting now,” I added in jest. She laughed. Her laugh filled a noose within me.

“Someone from my class came to me today. I think we’re in high school now, place before adulthood. We’re mature. But she came up to me, and told me off. You know, like how they always do in those comics. Like how they always do in those shows. Scripted drama.” I listened watching the light recede to my feet. She was pacing now.

“She told me off because I was apparently putting on a face, a cool girl persona, she said. She told me I was creepy, that I never talked to anyone, never bothered anyone, but still remained pretty.” I laughed. I heard her turn.

“What?” She said in annoyance.

“Nothing. Just strange to hear you call yourself pretty.” I held in another laugh.

“And what would you call me?”

“Enigma.” She turned her body, and leaned back onto the bench. I felt her hair prick my shoulders.

“I ignored her like usual. I didn’t want anything to do with her. And I’m sure she didn’t want anything to do with me. I wonder why she even bothered to do that.” She sighed. She really did remind me of the girl on the windowsill. The girl on the windowsill had long black hair that shone in the light of dusk.

“Maybe she was jealous?” I threw the idea at her.

“Jealous of what? There’s nothing to be jealous of.” She shook her head, her hair flailing about.

“Well, what about you being pretty? What if it was true? What if you’re the prettiest girl in the entire class, and she wants you in ropes for stealing all the attention from her?” She snickered, but couldn’t hold it in. I would often find the girl on the windowsill in an empty classroom at the end of the school building. She would sit there, propped up by the edge of the window, looking out into the skylines. I was always afraid of approaching her, lest she fall out.

“What do you think this is?” She said in between her laughter. And like a switch, her voice dipped into a slow churn, “This isn’t some comic, some drama airing on prime time. This is real life. And that kind of… That kind of insidious… No, not insidious, that kind of acerbic stupidity doesn’t exist in the real world–”

“But unfortunately–”

“Unfortunately, it does. And I’m tired of it. Tired of the world.”

“That’s why you asked if it would change? If it could change?” The cold winds began creeping up  my feet. It  was dragging me to the shadow that flew past me. The swings in the distance began moving with the wind.  If I were to approach her, I was afraid of startling her. But she noticed me anyway, the girl on the windowsill. Her bare feet shone in the dusk while her legs bathed in dust. The clouds moved in a gentle sway, almost as if mimicking the sway of her hair in the wind.

“Girls like her, people like her, just all need to wake up and change,” she continued, “They just need to leave me alone. Everyone needs to leave me alone.” Her voice stung the air.

“Even me?”

“You’re okay, I guess.” We laughed.

“I wonder why it feels so warm here,” she started. The girl on the windowsill entranced me. I remembered the last day I saw her.

“It’s really warm here, even in the dark,” her voice spilled out of her mouth like a cascading waterfall.

“Does that mean you want to stay here?” I asked.

“Is that a confession?” She laughed while answering.

“And what would you do if it was?” We laughed again.

“The world won’t change huh?” She said in her low tone.

“No. It won’t. Nothing we can do will make it change.” The girl on the windowsill wasn’t planning to have anyone see her that day.

“So if the world can’t change, the next best thing is to change the people in this world, right?” However, the girl on the windowsill didn’t care if someone had seen her.

“Maybe so,” I answered.

“And do you know what the easiest way to change people is?” The girl on the windowsill had a lovely voice. She spoke in a low tone that travelled well with the wind. Her eyes were a deep dark that matched her hair, and she smiled before she fell, telling me, “Leaving an impact on them.”

“I don’t,” I answered.

“Leaving an impact on them.” I nodded.

“I know.”

The light receding from the park, was now receding into the street. I got up from the bench, and began walking home. The light that filtered through the cracks of clouds somehow still shone enough so that I could follow it all the way home. My hands were worn, and I sighed into the empty air. I didn’t know how much more I had to see her. I thought maybe forever. That’s what we promised each other when we were children. Forever. When we grew up that forever became empty. I wished I could talk to her more, back to how things were before we knew the world wouldn’t change, before we knew how incredulous we were, and before I came upon the light that filtered through the crack of clouds.

Writing With A Community

Writing can very much be an act filled with solidarity. I’d reckon that most people think this way and I wouldn’t blame them. Writing is often associated after all, with a person slouched over a keyboard or with a pen in their hands in some dark corner of the world and staving away.  And although that is still true for the most part, writing nowadays, with the advent of social media shouldn’t be such a lonely act. People often go into the creative arts expecting some kind of loneliness, that their works will never see the light of day, or that they live as an entity among others. But, that just isn’t true. It can’t be true, there’s no way writing and the arts is a lonely thing. After all, everyone loves a good story.

That ‘everyone’ may even include a quaint group of individuals who came together on Twitter after a Reddit post. Thus, I and many others came together under the banner of Reddit Writers where we use twitter as a means to connect. It’s our own little community started from the dredges of the writing subreddit. And from there, an even more focused, and smaller branch of us have decided to go back to our roots here and are playing this weird multilayered game of social media. It kind of feels like we’re all misfits, or even a gang, coming together through the wood-works to join up in arms to do the things we love, which, is writing.

It’s a small community sure, but, to us, to the people who’ve never had a chance to connect like this, to the people who’ve only known their own little writing world, this is the largest, best, welcoming, community that’s around. It’s been a slice seeing this thing “blow” up in the way it has and hopefully this only continues to be a snowball of amazing people coming together to join arms in what we do best, storytelling.

At least, that’s what I’ve been up to in between updating Shattered Dreams and making adjustments to my 2017 Archives and making excerpts to each one of my short stories so that it’s easier to pick out the one’s you’d want to read. So, if you haven’t been reading my web-series or if you want to pick up a short story, maybe give those a try.

And for new readers, hello. Thank you for reading. This was just a small little update/ intermission between the writings that I would normally post. So, have a nice day, and, hopefully, I’ll be seeing you later.

Shattered Dreams, Chapter 5: Dream to Move On

3

“Oh. It’s you. I remember you,” Jordy said without much face. The air around us began thawing, a human warmth filled the void that was left by the atmosphere. She held her head in her hands and eyed me.

“You’re that woman. From before, you had that jar.” She knew of what I did, at least, in whatever way she chose to understand what I did. However, there was no way that she could have completely grasped who I was or what I did. In fact, it was probably more prudent for her to believe that our exchange was all but a fickle dream in of its own.

“Right. I’m the one who collects shattered dreams. I’m surprised you remember.” I couldn’t help but to chuckle.

“I never did peg that as a bright ice breaker,” Lottie said sprouting back up from wherever it was she went.

“It was such a strange encounter. I wouldn’t forget something like that.” Her expression lightened as she let out a breath. Though her eyes still struggled to stay.

“Does that mean you’re here to collect another dream of mine? Like a Grim Reaper, you’ll come to those who’re ready to let their lives go.” She laughed a spell. I felt Lottie raise her face. I couldn’t tell how long it was since I last saw Jordy. I wondered if her shattered dream had that much of an effect.

“I’m afraid not,”  I answered, though, it wasn’t that there didn’t exist the Grim Reaper.

“I don’t even know if there is another dream to collect here. That is entirely up to you,” I added with a smile.

“If she can handle knowing about you, then she must be pretty special,” Lottie interjected to no one in particular.

“Right, you collect things that are– What did you call them? An amalgamation, was it? The last one you got from me was–” Jordy stopped, and closed her eyes. The air around us was sharp. The sun began to recede behind me. The light that showered me left me in shade again. I didn’t budge from my spot. I didn’t think I could. Jordy then lifted herself, put both of her hands on the counter, and looked up. Her eyes locked onto mine.

“Why are you here?” I thought to lie to her, to say something like I was passing by on my duties and so happened to spot her. But those words dissipated in my mouth. They followed the receding sun.

“I figured something interesting might happen in following you,” I told her. Her face raised. Lottie was laughing. I sighed. I didn’t know why I said the things I did. I just had to say them.

“Something interesting?” She asked, her voice slightly higher.

“And here we go,” Lottie added.

“I see, so that’s how it is to you,” Jordy continued without giving me room to breathe. Her expression didn’t change. She sighed and walked over to the aisle of notebooks beside mine. She hummed as she checked the stock of items in her shop. Her movements were sluggish, and yet still somehow able to hold a certain eloquence in having owned the shop for as long as she did. As she spoke, it seemed her voice cut into the air between the shelves. I turned my body towards her, watching through the small cracks as she moved down the aisle.

“I guess you really aren’t human,” Jordy continued, “Or if you are you’re playing one dangerous game of house.” I didn’t care what Jordy thought of me. But, if she were to delve into the World of the Divine earnestly she could be in danger.

“But you probably aren’t a bad person. Even I can tell that much.” Jordy finished checking her aisle and then moved on to another. Not a single person came through her doors.

“I’m sorry to say there really isn’t anything interesting about me. I’m not so much an interesting person that I would satisfy whatever crazy notions you had. I’m just Jordy. I just own this little store here, and I just live day by day like this. That’s all you’re getting.”

“I’m Summer.”

“And I’m Lottie!”

“And I didn’t come here expecting something extravagant, I just wanted to talk.” Those words were entirely mine. I almost skipped a word in surprise.

“You wanted to talk?”

“Right. That’s what I do. I talk and sometimes I collect shattered dreams. But I don’t know if you even have a dream right now, let alone one to be shattered. Dreams are–” And a lie erupted from my mouth, “Precious and strong things that we hold, right?”

“Depends on what you mean as a dream.” Jordy stopped and stretched her arms towards the ceiling.

“Well,” I began to humor the lie, “A dream is a goal to be met, right? It can be something big, or something small. But it’s something you want to do. You hold onto that goal in your life in hopes of achieving it one day. It’s something you hold strong and dear to your heart.”

“That might be one way to define a dream, but dreams are scary as well.” She shrugged and sighed. From beyond the store, a rock fell over. It was distant, and I knew that only I could hear that distance.

“Scary?”  Jordy stopped and laughed.

“I see. I guess this is what you mean by wanting to talk.” Jordy’s eyes widened as she shook her head.

“I’m beginning to like this Jordy. She deals with you like cards,” Lottie laughed and pranced about.

“Dreams are scary. I tell you, there’s nothing more scary than having a dream.” I’d never come to think of a dream to be scary. I found interest in her notion.

“What’s so scary about them?” She opened her arms.

“Absolutely everything. Have you ever had a dream?” I shook my head.

“Not at all,” I ended up answering honestly.

“You’ve never had a dream before?” Lottie laughed. I wondered what would have happened if I brought her out for Jordy to see. I spared her the misery.

“That’s right.” Jordy let out a breath as she adjusted a falling jar.

“And yet, you seem so adamant on collecting others. It’s a mystery how you’re able to know what is and what isn’t a dream then. ” Jordy came over to the aisle I was still standing in. It was then that I moved out of her way such that she could check the inventory of the shelves. I then moved to the counter where I watched her from the front. The streets were quiet, and if I focused long enough I could hear the soft ticking of the clock in the room behind me.  Another rock was upturned, followed by tires.

“It’s my own interpretation but bear with me. You wake up every day in hope of being able to move closer to your dream. Even if that progress is only a small fraction. Even if in that day you’re only 0.001% closer to your dream, it still helps you up in the morning. And you know what?” Jordy turned towards me holding a dry red pen. She twirled the pen in her fingers, putting all of her concentration into allowing the pen in her hands to spin freely. But her fingers bumped and the pen went flying towards the ground.  She knelt and recollected herself.

“Making that 0.001% become a day where you’re 0.002% closer to your dream is absolutely dreadful. You wonder when it’ll come, but it’s very hard to make that leap.”

“In what world would that be a leap?” Jordy’s hand slipped once more. She let out a breath before trying again. Her foot began to tap along with the car that zipped on by.

“Oh yeah. That tiny change in progress, to someone with a dream, is monumental. It’s extraordinary. You live in that moment. You wish to always be in that moment. It’s amazing. I wish I could share that feeling with you in words.” She dropped her pen again. Not a single flinch. It became rote. Light began to envelope us.

“But no matter how amazing that feeling is, no matter how thrilling it is to see yourself be closer to your dream, it eats at you.  It consumes you. It becomes your life.”

“And you can’t escape?” The words slipped out of my mouth as she failed her spin.

“Exactly.” The pen fell to the floor. Jordy kicked the inkless pen towards the counter. I went down to pick it up. It’s body was cold.

“Your dream becomes your life. Whatever it is, small or big, it stops just being something to help you wake up. It is who you are. And what do you think happens when you realize that your life is lived 0.001%  at a time?”

“You’ll feel small, insignificant.”

“Right. And, that’s when the doubt starts to seep. That’s when everything about your dream starts becoming like a pipe dream. That’s when you become impatient. You’ll think that there isn’t a point in doing it anymore as you can never breach that 0.002% and you delve into a state of fear.”

“And your progress becomes null.” I heard Lottie’s breathing come to a stilt.

“It’s scary to see yourself never being able to move forward no matter how hard you try.”

“Even if you can only move an inch a day, you’ll still reach a meter given enough time,” I said in lieu of the other side. Jordy laughed. She rummaged behind the counter. I placed the pen down, allowing its red body to brighten the grey shadow that loomed on this part of the store.

“If people could honestly say that to themselves, everyone would be pursuing their dreams. But the truth of the matter is there are people who can’t. There are people who know about how hard it is before even trying, and are afraid that they’ll waste their time. And there are people already in pursuit of their dream, see how much they’ve scarified for no gain, and be afraid.” Jordy froze. Her eyes closed, and the air came to sting at my face.

“Even if that dream was right in front of them?” She opened her eyes and shook her head.

“Even if they had a dream right in front of them. It’s still scary. You know what my dream was?” Before I could answer, she chuckled.

“Of course you do. You picked it up last time, right?” Her voice was raised and she laughed. I couldn’t help but to smile for her.

“I just wanted a family. It’s quite humorous.”

“It’s not something to laugh at. It’s your dream.” I listened as another car came by the window. It stopped at the shop opposite. The man who got out had weighted steps. They rung in the streets.

“In the end, even while I had my dream right in my hands, I was still afraid. And when it finally happened, the pain of losing that dream wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Isn’t that terrible?” A bird perched on top of his car’s hood. It’s eyes peered into mine.

“There was nothing you could do if it was out of your control.  Even if you may have your dreams in front of you, there are a plethora of things that could happen,” like the clock somewhere behind us, I wanted to console her.

“There are things out of your reach as well, Jordy. Isn’t that what they call–”

“Fate?” Though, the Weaver of Fate, Lydia, wasn’t that bad a person. She almost never interfered anyway.

“You’re right. There is fate. And to add in fate to your dreams is another thing to be afraid of.”

“But even so you dreamed right?” Jordy stopped rummaging. I looked over to see her smile. She sat back against her seat and placed a notebook beside the register. She flipped to the first page which was littered with scribbles.

“I did. I did dream. Despite all that. Despite all the things I just said. I dreamed. Even if every person in the world was born with that knowledge. We’d still dream. It’s because we’re human that we dream.” Jordy’s smile was light. Lottie smiled as well. Jordy’s hand traced the scribbles on the page. They seemed to want to scream at her.

Next Part