When I woke up, that’s not right. I didn’t really wake up. When I first became aware of my surroundings, I was standing in space surrounded by billions of stars. Everywhere I looked there were stars and blackness. Something was wrong. I wasn’t sure what it was at first. Then I wished to see one of the stars a little more closely, suddenly I was there next to the star I had wished to be close to. I was surprised to find it wasn’t a star. It was, well, I didn’t know what to call it. It was a sphere of light, but when I got close I could see images. The images in the sphere were of a man and a woman walking hand in hand on a beach. It was a nice image, and I stayed watching until a rain storm chased them into a bungalow and they started having sex. This image felt private and I willed myself away to give them their private moment.
For the next, I don’t know how long, but let’s call it hours. For the next few hours I drifted from one globe to the next. Some I would watch clear through, others I chose to leave quickly. The ones I skipped past were not nice images. It slowly dawned on me what I was seeing. I think the image of the little girl having tea with a talking pony and dog that spoke in a weird British accent finally made everything click. I thought, “what a cute dream.” and it clicked. These globes of light were dreams. Some were good, some were bad but they were dreams. That was why some of them ended in the middle of the scene and others played out fully.
For days, I floated watching as people dreamed. I was very careful not to touch the dream spheres. I was more than a little afraid of what would happen if I touched one. I was tempted several times, but resisted the urge. When I saw children having nightmares, it was very hard not to help them. Something in me wanted to very badly. I soon found I had favorites, viewing the dream spheres of children, there was something so pure about them that it filled me with a strange type of energy.
I had been watching a boy play at being superman with the ability to fart magical laughing gas, when his dream sphere collapsed. It wasn’t the first time that happened. I figured when it happened the person woke up. I started using a few of my regulars to try to measure time. Mostly I used Carl. I wasn’t sure what he did in the real world, but here he mostly dreamed of teaching brilliant college students who all went on to achieve great things and thank him. I had learned if I sort of cataloged a dream sphere I knew when it returned. Jen was one of my favorites. She was the girl who helped me discover the dream spheres. She had a great imagination. Her dreams always put me in a good mood. There is something about a Chihuahua with a British accent that makes me smile.
Anyway, I was watching the farting superman and he disappeared. As I was traveling on to the next sphere a thought struck me. Where is my dream sphere? With that thought, I willed myself to it. I felt myself move but there was no sphere where I moved to. I was getting a little pissed about it. That was when I looked at the spheres around me, they weren’t like the spheres I saw most of the time. These weren’t bright, most of them were dimmer or had an odd glow to them, some were even dull grey. I suddenly didn’t want to find my sphere, not here with these.
I drifted close and checked on a few of the spheres. What I found was disturbing. Every dream sphere was slightly off in some way, and they felt wrong to me. Most of them seem to be nightmares of one fashion or another. I found a few that were fun to watch. I enjoyed seeing a big guy who played with a group of children, but his dreams changed frequently, like someone was channel surfing his dream sphere. When the channel surfing got irritating I drifted off. I was near one of the sickly grey spheres, so I screwed up my courage and took a peak. Turns out I had nothing to fear, because there was nothing in the sphere, it was just endless grey nothing, and that scared the crap out of me.
In my panic, I was backing away and totally freaked out. I backed into another sphere. Worse still, this was a sphere I had avoided. It was a nightmare, one second I’m panicked and backing away from a grey sphere, the next I’m backing away from a scene of horror. First my body screamed. I hurt all over for what felt like an eternity. I finally willed my body to stop hurting and to my surprise it did. In the joy of the pain ending I looked up at the scene before me.
A young woman was chained in some gynecologist’s twisted nightmare. Each of her limbs were chained to rests that had thousands or millions of thorns. Her torso was chained and puncture by the thorns as well. Her head was in some type of brace with a chain across her forehead and she was being raped by two demons. Something in me snapped and I was filed with rage like I had never been before. As I stepped forward that rage formed into a spear in my right hand, and with my next step, I threw that spear with all my might.
It flew straight to the demon at her head and drove through his back. As it sank into his back he turned to ash. The second demon was too busy to notice or just didn’t care. As I reached within striking distance I swung my arm around and a sword swung with it. The sword struck the demon in the back of the neck and his head popped off then it and the rest of him turned to ash. My steps had brought me close to the young woman and without thinking I swung the sword down at the chains on her left leg.
The sword changed into a large sledge hammer before it struck the chains. Two things happened when it struck. First the hammer and chains both shattered. Second both the young woman and I screamed. I fell to my knee clutching my head. It took me several seconds to will the pain away. When I finally pushed the pain away, I stood and approached the still screaming young woman. With barely a thought I summoned a sheet and draped it over her nude form, hoping it would provide her some comfort.
I stepped to her head and began to softly stroke her head and say soothing things. I truth I’m not sure what I said. I just know I was trying to comfort her. Her screaming stopped and became sobs. Then her sobs became sniffles. She never stopped crying completely. The tears that ran from her eyes and off her face slowed but never stopped. Time had no meaning here in the dream sphere. Everything seemed to take forever.
Over the endless time it took her to get over the sniffling and sobs, I learned her name was Sarah and she had been trapped here with those monsters forever. I told her my name was Patrick, but my friends called me Pat. I asked her to call me Pat as I wanted to be her friend. After she had her crying under a semblance of control I moved to look at the chains on her left arm. She told me to please be careful as her left leg hurt more than any other part of her. I realized she was still laying on those thorns. I tried to change the torture device several times, to no avail. Finally, I summoned a heavy mat and the two of us worked together to get it situated under her. It stretched from just under the edge of her butt cheek down her leg and past her foot. She said it helped ease some of the pain, but that leg still hurt more than the rest of her.
I knelt next to her arm and started trying to work on getting her loose. The chains had no lock. They where like a Gordian knot. They looped around and through themselves in a single continuous piece. I tried everything I could think of. I summoned a hack saw that didn’t even scratch the chain. The cutting torch didn’t even warm the link I used it on. With each failure, I got more frustrated and my efforts became more extreme. I was stepping back from just having put plastic explosive on the chain when I realized what I was doing. I had just put a bomb on a chain holding a defenseless teenaged girl. With a thought the explosives disappeared.
I rushed to her head and knelt crying at my failure. We made quite a pair the two us crying together. She finally said, “Pat it’s ok. Use the big hammer. I know it will hurt, but do it anyway.” So that is what we did. Well, there was the back forth of are you sure nonsense, but in the end, we used the hammer.
I summoned the hammer and swung with all my might. It hit the chain and nothing. It just bounced off. I tried again. Same result. Again, same result. Then something changed. I got mad. I was pissed Sarah didn’t deserve this. No one deserved what she had been put through, and I was going to set things right. I am Patrick Callahan and God himself won’t stop me. With that declaration, I swung the hammer down again, this time it worked just like it had the first time. Exactly like it had the first time in fact. Hammer and chains both shattered and Sarah and I both screamed.
It took longer for me to push the pain in my head away than it had the last time. Sarah was much quicker to get her screaming and her sobs under control. When I had the pain in my head pushed back enough to become aware of my surroundings, she was saying “Pat are you ok? Please be ok Pat.” She said it over and over again. I croaked out I was fine and pushed myself to her head. Then I stood and smiled down at her. I bent forward and kissed her on the forehead. As I stood up, I saw Sarah smile for the first time. Yes, she was still crying, but it was a real smile. That smile gave me strength.
.... There is more of this story ...