There are only 3 MORE DAYS until the end of NaNoWriMo! I announced yesterday that I revised my goal and cut it down to 25K, but now I want to know: How are you guys doing? Are you right on target? Did you change your goal to a lower/higher word count as well? And how are you feeling about your story and characters by now? Have grown on you or gotten on your nerves? I tend to love my characters deeply but get frustrated with them just as much when they once more don’t do what I want them to do. I’ve learnt that it’s better to go with the flow when the story takes unpredictable and unplanned turns, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get annoyed when it happens. I wish I had written more this year, but I am just glad that I wrote something new again. I wasn’t getting anywhere with Break Up Buddy anyway.
As Clara was getting ready for bed, she found herself thinking of the dream from her previous night. She still couldn’t recall all that many details from it, but somehow it had left an impression on her. Slipping under the covers, she was both anxious and excited for what she would dream about. Inside she was both hoping that she would dream something similar again and at the same time dreading the moment she would fall asleep. Never had she felt that way before, it wasn’t even real after all and there was no way of guaranteeing that she could remember it when she woke up the next morning. Nonetheless, she put away her phone without her nightly routine of watching YouTube videos and fell asleep almost right away.
It was a sunny day in Portland, a rare occasion that surely every Oregonian could attest to. Still, Clara didn’t find it odd at all, she had spent the majority of her life there and knew that they did happen, even if it wasn’t very often. It didn’t matter to her that she had moved to Seattle years ago, right now it felt like she had never left. She kept wandering through town, on her way to get a donut from Voodoo Doughnuts. Strangers passed her on the street, none of them looking at her or looking familiar in any way. If anyone had asked her, she probably couldn’t have described even one of them. Suddenly someone called her name and her heart skipped a beat. She turned around hoping to see someone in particular. Someone tall, in a dress shirt with a tie. Someone with lively grey eyes and mussed up, dirty blond hair, but the person jogging her way couldn’t have looked more different. Granted he was tall as well, but his skin was more amber-like and his eyes a warm and coffee brown. His likewise dark brown hair was cropped short and he was a little out of breath when he finally got to her.
“Who are you?” It felt like a déjà-vu of some sort, like a similar situation had played out not that long ago but she forgot all about it.
“You have to listen to me, Clara.”
“First, tell me who you are.” The stranger was getting disconcertingly close to her and she was looking for help from people passing by, but the streets were suddenly empty.
“We don’t have much time.” There it was again, someone had just said that to her, but when? And why?
“I don’t understand, but I would feel much more comfortable if you took a step back.”
The man looked at her as if she was crazy, but then backed away slowly.
“I’m not supposed to be here, but I need to speak to you about what happened in your last dream.”
Clara could barely stifle a laugh. This man was clearly mad! She looked around hoping to find someone to laugh along with her or even more importantly help her. She was lost and had no idea what to do next, but the streets were still deserted. Something wasn’t right, this was usually quite a busy alley with lots of tourists coming a long way just to go to Voodoo Doughnuts.
“Clara, you need to remember.”
“Who are you?”
“You met someone yesterday night. Tall, blond, wearing a shirt and tie.”
Clara shook her head, images flashed through her mind. She started to remember something, but it didn’t make any sense. She was pressed against a wall in the shadows, the man she kept thinking about all day with her. He looked concerned. But she hadn’t truly met anyone, she had only imagined the guy. Unless … “How can you know about him? Am I dreaming again right now?”
“Yes and because he’s like me … well, not quite like me, but almost.” He smiled and Clara had the feeling that he thought fondly of the other man. She was afraid to ask what was on her mind, but she didn’t have any other chance.
“And what exactly are you?”
“A Dreamer.” As if the sky wanted to emphasize what he said, it turned darker and more luminous.
“I don’t know what that means.” She admitted defeated, while clouds slowly covered the sun.
“It’s coming. We don’t have much time now.”
“I …” The air became chillier with every sentence they said.
“I know, you don’t understand. But you met someone yesterday and he helped you escape from something, right?”
Another set of images appeared before her inner eye. They were all blurry and dark and they deeply unsettled her. She started to shiver and the strange man put his arms on her shoulders.
“I know you were scared, but I need to know how it looked like.”
“I don’t remember.”
“Not even a little bit?”
“No … I am sorry. I just … it’s all blurry.”
“Do you know how it appeared? Did it say anything? Make a sound? Something?” Clara only shrugged, not knowing what he wanted to hear from her. “Alright, then …”
“Is he okay?” The words came out of her mouth before she could really think about them.
“What do you mean?”
“The guy I saw yesterday. Why didn’t you just ask him? Why isn’t he here?”
For a slight moment she thought she saw concern cross over the man’s face. “Wick’s not coming back.”
“Wick?” What a strange name, Clara thought.
The man winced. “I shouldn’t have told you his name. You shouldn’t know any of this. Not if you don’t remember much of last night anyway.”
“What’s your name?”
Something crashed in the distance like thunder through clouds. She had heard that sound before. The sky had turned completely dark, almost as if it were night already, but none of the street lamps were on yet. Clara got the chills again, sensing something dangerous in the dark.
“I can’t …”
“Please!” She needed to know. She had a feeling that if she knew, she might remember.
“Ely.” Another crash. “Now, wake up!”
Clara sat up straight in her bed. This time she could remember everything, every little detail even though her head was throbbing again. She looked at her alarm clock and it was already 5 A.M., but how could that be? It had only felt like minutes.
She quickly scrambled out of her bed, almost tripping over herself because her feet were all tangled up in the sheets. She ran to her desk and searched for a sketch pad and some pencils through the chaos of pictures on top of it. Even though the rest of her apartment was pretty spotless, Clara couldn’t do anything job-related without her work space being in a state of organised chaos. She knew where to find everything necessary, except for the sketch pad of course. She hadn’t needed it for such a long time, it was now buried under a pile of discarded images.
When she finally found it, it took her a second to really start drawing, feeling like the images in her head were still too fresh and raw. By the time her alarm clock sounded through the room hours later, Clara sat on the floor exhausted and with her fingers smeared with chalk. She had three carefully crafted drawings in front of her, one showing Wick, one Ely and the last one featuring some sort of shadow-being. She felt like she was losing her mind. They were just dreams, people had them all the time, they shouldn’t have rattled her the way they did. Her attention was entirely focused on the drawings, until her neighbour decided to knock on the wall screaming something about her alarm clock. She hurried to her bedside table to turn it off, cursing at the neighbour in the process. Her alarm went on for a couple minutes longer than usual and it was the end of the world, they had extremely loud sex in the middle of the day and she was being a prude. Looking at the time again she realised though that it had rang for a lot longer than she thought. Apparently she had been so deep into her own mind, she didn’t even notice how late it had gotten already. She got ready for work as quickly as possible, but stopped shortly before heading out the door. Clara ran back to her bedroom and picked up the drawings, stuffed them into her bag and then left the apartment.
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