Within a Dream - a Short Story

BOOK: Within a Dream - a Short Story
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Within a Dream
Book 1
Ophelia Sikes

Copyright © 2015 by Ophelia Sikes /

Minerva Webworks LLC

All rights reserved.


Cover design by Ophelia Sikes.

Book design by Ophelia Sikes


Visit my website at OpheliaSikes.com





No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or
by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage
and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the
author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short
excerpts in a review.


This is a work of fiction. Names, places, and events
are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a
fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or
dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.


First Printing: November 2015


- v1 –



Half of all author’s proceeds from this book benefits
battered women’s shelters.



















Within a Dream
Book 1
Chapter 1

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.”

-- Edgar Allen Poe

raced hard
through the crisp-edged night, the crunch of fall leaves sharp
beneath my sneakers. Streetlights high over the quiet residential
Boston streets carved edges on the shadows into the alleys, making
it challenging to tease out details as I streaked past.

Damn, where had that bastard gotten to?

I ran on and on for what seemed like hours,
crossing nearly-empty streets and searching down every staircase
descending into the lower apartments of the rows of brownstones.
Block by block, grid by grid, I made my canvas.

I knew I had to find him.

The full moon shone, a siren blared in the
distance, and at last exhaustion folded me in half. I slumped onto
the cool steps of a dark-windowed home and dropped my head into my

I’d failed. I’d lost him.

The darkness spread …

* * *

I glanced up at the sign above the doorway
as I approached along the sunlit leaf-peppered sidewalk. Fading
gilt-edged letters read “Maria and Suz’s Gifts.” The bell tinkled
as I pushed the door open, and Maria called out, “Hey, Suz!”

I smiled as I stepped into the small gift
shop we co-owned. It wasn’t much, just two narrow rooms in a
cluster of buildings around Grafton Common, but it was ours.
Sanded, painted, and stuffed to the gills with all variety of
candle, soap, greeting card and local art, I finally felt as if I
meant something. As if all the sacrifices I’d made in life

Maria was in her forties, about ten years
older than me, and her plump figure showed her love of pasta and
wine. She winked as I came over to hang up my jacket. “Rough night,
Suz? You look like you didn’t sleep well.”

I shook my head. “It was the strangest
dream. I was in Boston, at night. Chasing someone around.”

Her eyes twinkled. “Oh? Was he

I laughed. “I’m married, remember?”

She nudged me in the side. “In your dreams
you can be anyone you want to be. And if you want to chase handsome
men, you can!”

I shrugged. “Well, I never caught him,
whoever he was. So I don’t know if he was handsome or not. I don’t
even know why I was chasing him.”

She took a sip of her coffee. “So, nighttime
in Boston. Chasing a guy. What could that mean?”

“I always wanted to go live in Boston, when
I was a kid. It sounded exciting to me. But you know how it goes.
Mom was sick and needed my help. I just got that apartment down on
Main. I took that bartending gig at the Milltown Tavern to pay the
rent. And Hank kept coming by …”

She gave a wry smile. “Speaking of which, he
left a message for you. He’s working late tonight. Again.”

I sighed and went over to the coffee
machine. It seemed like Hank was always busy these last few weeks.
was causing these odd dreams.

Maria’s eyes danced. “You know, you keep
going on about lucid dreaming. About being able to be aware in a
dream and gain insight from it. Maybe you should become aware in
this dream of yours in Boston. With whoever this guy it is you’re
chasing.” Her mouth grew wide. “And then you could have some … ahem
… lucid encounters.”

I laughed. “It’s not as easy as that, Maria.
Lucid dreaming can be tricky. Your mind wants you to stay within
the dream. It’s hard to break into awareness. To realize that you
are dreaming. To pick up on those subtle clues that something’s not
quite right.”

Her teeth shone. “Or maybe that something is
oh so perfectly

I shook my head at her teasing and poured my
Patriots mug full. It was time to get back to reality. Maybe if I
used some elbow grease on getting those front windows clear of the
autumn pollen and back to sparkling clear, I’d finally get a good
night’s sleep.

Chapter 2

Early morning. Those classic brownstones of
Boston’s suburbs. Traffic was starting to pick up – Saabs and Land
Rovers slid out toward the financial district or wherever people
who lived around here worked. Maybe off to the Museum of Fine Arts
to check out the latest exhibit.

My sneakers barely made a sound as I worked
my way up the street, peering carefully down each staircase or
along the leaf-filled gutter. I rubbed at my eyes which threatened
to close again. I didn’t know what I was looking for. Something he
dropped? Some sort of a clue?

My phone rang and I absently drew it out of
my jacket pocket. “Yeah?”

Maria’s voice came over the line. “Let me
guess. You’re still out there looking for him.”

Of course I am,” I snapped. “I lost him.
It’s my fault. I have to find him.”

Maria sighed. “You know it’s not –”

Of course it’s my responsibility,” I
growled. “He got away from me. Am I slipping up?”

You’re fine,” she responded. “But you
need to get some rest. You’re exhausted.”

I knew she was right. I could feel it in my
very bones. Every step was an effort.

Maria continued, “Suz, you’ve been on this
for weeks. You haven’t slept a wink. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.
You get home to that stud of yours. I bet Hank hardly remembers
what you look like. We get something, we’ll call you.”

But -”

I’m serious. That’s an order. We can go
through the video footage fine without you. We’ll dump the guy’s
cell. We’ll find him and figure out a next step.”

I sighed in acceptance. I was no good to
them if I collapsed in the middle of Newbury Street. I’d become
more a liability than an asset. Still, utter defeat washed over me.
“All right. I’ll call when I wake up again.”

Sleep,” she ordered, and hung

I sat on someone’s front steps. It was all I
could do to not simply flop over and fall asleep right there. Maybe
if I just leaned against the stone railing for a moment …

* * *

Maria chuckled as we stood side by side near
our shop’s front door, breathing in the fresh autumn breeze. A
motorcyclist drove past, enjoying one last outing before winter
brought down its icy grip. Maria gave me a nudge. “So, still
dreaming about that guy, huh? And you haven’t even seen his

I shook my head, holding my Celtics coffee
mug between my hands. “I don’t know his name. I don’t know why I’m
chasing him.” I grinned at her. “But
were in my dream
this time.”

Her eyes lit up. “Really? Was I ravishing
and sexy?”

I laughed out loud at that. “Well, I’m not
sure what you looked like. You just called me on the phone. You
told me to get home to my husband.”

She rolled her eyes. “I would have told you
to keep chasing down this mystery man of yours!”

I grinned. “You told me Hank was a

She burst out laughing. “Me? Are you sure it
was me on this dream-phone of yours?”

I nodded. “Absolutely. We’ve been friends,
what, ten years now? I’d know your voice anywhere.”

She shook her head. “Clearly there’s
something going wrong with this dream of yours. Hank, a stud? He’s
an insurance broker. Oh, he’s got his good traits, of course.
Steady. Reliable. But a stud?” She chuckled.

I wanted to speak up in Hank’s defense, but
I just couldn’t. Back when he was dating me I would always make the
excuses for him. Over the years it had worn thin.

My eyes drifted up to the sign above our
store, “Suz and Maria’s Knick-Knacks.” The gilt on the letters was
faded in several spots, giving it an unkempt look. Hank had
promised to touch up the paint on that months ago. But he hadn’t
managed to find the time.

He was too tired to go out. He was worn down
from work. But over the years I realized he had plenty of energy
when his friends wanted to play darts or when someone had tickets
to a baseball game. It was just
he never quite had the
energy for.

The thought made my shoulders slump.

Maria draped an arm around me. “Hey, don’t
be like that. I tell you, you should try lucid dreaming. Get aware
in that dream of yours. And find this stud-husband of yours. Or the
guy you’re chasing.” Her mouth quirked up. “Or both of them!”

I laughed out loud at that.

Maria smiled. “That’s better. C’mon, let’s
go take some more photos of the new olive oil soaps to post to our
Facebook page. Maybe we’ll get some likes!”

I drew a smile on my face and nodded. I was
living my dream, after all. I should be more grateful for all I

Chapter 3

The T’s car rumbled beneath me. I didn’t
remember how I’d gotten onto it. Man, I must really be exhausted.
It wasn’t as packed as the morning commute, but the passengers were
alert and bubbly, so it wasn’t late night, either. Down in the
depths of the T it was hard to know if it was winter or summer, day
or night, except by making guesses by who was around you.

Or looking at your cell.

I pulled it out and glanced. November
. 10:30am. Guess it was daytime
after all.

The T pulled in at my stop and I wearily
stepped out. I blinked against the bright sun as I came up out of
the station, then turned left in the crisp air. A few more streets
and I was walking up the steps to our apartment.

I stepped through the front door and eased
it shut behind me. The space was neatly furnished in blue and
ivory, with windows looking out over a tree-lined street. A
painting of the U.S.S. Constitution hung over the long blue

Hi, honey!” came a call from the
bedroom. “I was getting worried. Another long night?”

I glanced at the mirror in the hall. My
shoulder-length auburn hair was disheveled; I brushed my fingers
through it. The dark shadows beneath my eyes added years to my
thirty. I hung my coat on the hook and walked through the living
room to our bedroom.

Hank was sitting up in bed, his cell on the
oak nightstand beside him. He was a few years older than me, in
good shape from his love of jogging and tennis. His dark hair was
cut short and he flashed that killer smile. “So much for our
Saturday trip to the Cape.”

I groaned. “I’m sorry, It’s just –”

He waved a hand and patted the side of the
bed. “Hey, I know how it goes. Don’t worry about it.” He winked.
“The suspects giving you trouble again?”

I sighed. “Hank, you know I can’t talk about
it.” I peeled off the holster and dropped it in the chair by my
side of the bed, followed by my wallet and badge.

He chuckled. “Guess I’m lucky I know you
work for the FBI at all.” His eyes sparkled. “Well, while I might
not know what you were up to earlier, I can see it didn’t go well.
So let me help with that.”

He rolled out of bed, dressed just in black
shorts. I could see every ripple of his muscle in the golden
sunlight streaming through our windows.

He swept me easily into his arms and carried
me over to the bed. He gently lay me down and his smile widened.
“You just wait there one minute, gorgeous - I’ll make this a day
worth remembering.”

* * *

Maria leaned over her salad, her dark eyes
wide with wonder. She glanced around the restaurant, her thick hair
swinging with the motion, before turning back to me, her fork still
hanging mid-air. “Wow, hunk was right! That’s what Hank looked
like?” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “Good God, Suz, and then
what happened?”

BOOK: Within a Dream - a Short Story
5.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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