Falling usually isn’t a big part of my dreaming, there might be some random tripping or me lacking the ability to run very fast, but falling was usually never in the cards. Not to say my dreams were always consistent mind you, sometimes there was some crazy messed up stuff going down, but there was little to no falling. This however wasn’t a normal dream and I knew it from the moment I drifted off to sleep.
Just as if the ground ripped open into a giant hole, I slipped and fell straight through a clear blue sky. I could hear and feel the wind whip against my face. My clothing rippled violently against my skin, as I dropped further into a neck-breaking decent. I watched the ground heading closer with no way to put on the breaks. Pretty sure I was going to hit bottom and splatter into a thousand chunks, my mouth opened wide, trying to scream, but no sound would come forth. All I could do was brace for impact.
I hit the ground with a sickening thud. Blades of grass stabbed from every possible angle, scratching the underneath my chin and even poking into the very tips of my fingers. At first I was too relieved to move, so I hugged the ground instead, giving thanks for it’s solid surface, being kind enough to buffer my fall, and not kill me in the process. Once I had assured myself, I was indeed still all in one piece, I tried to stand.
I’m not sure if gravity pulls were different on planet weird or what, even trying to stand required work and extra effort on my part. I pushed from the grass, but it felt like someone was sitting on my shoulders, trying to press me back down into the ground. Dust continued to swirl from my initial impact as I finally managed to my feet. The dream had not gotten off to an enjoyable start. I could feel an array of mixed emotions cascading through me. Do emotions cascade? Well they are going to for this instance.
Anyways, more than a few times, I had attempted my fail safe way to wake myself, but even those proved ineffective.
Once I had gotten to my feet, I took in a bit of my surroundings. Everything about the place was strange. The grass was an odd shade of green, the larger pink and white bloomed trees were unlike anything I had ever seen before. Even the birds sounded different. I brought a hand above my eyes, attempting to block out some of the sun, in order to allow for my eyes to adjust. “Anyone around?” I called out into open grass. It didn’t look like there was, but it didn’t hurt to double check. “Yo Tilly!? You here?!”
A bird continued it’s cheerful coo in the distance, but no other contact was made.
“Alright… I guess I’m alone then.”
There really wasn’t much to see other than the beautiful greenery. There was every kind of white flower you could imagine sprouting up from the ground, or drooping from the over hanging branches. One strange thing did stand out a bit in the setting though. Set oddly in a small dip, was a fountain. A white fountain, resting in the grass all alone. It looked misplaced at it’s location and somehow, even though I had never seen it before, I knew it wasn’t supposed to be there. Almost as if it dropped from the sky like I had. The water trickled from some unknown source, harmonizing with the natural setting around it. I brought myself closer trying to get a better look, but something stopped me. A woman’s laugh.
It was soft and sweet, not like the hyena sounds my sister made. Like rain tinkling on the tin roof. Exciting. Inviting. It caused me to lose all interest in the fountain, and instead follow the sound to it’s source.
“Hello? Miss?” I called out once again. A little louder, in hopes whoever was there might hear. “Can you hear me? Where am I?!”
I walked closer to the wall. I could hear her, she couldn’t be far from the other side, another sweet giggle rang out across the skyline. I looked down the perimeter, it seemed as if the wall went on forever. I peered up to the edge above me, it was too high, out of my reach. There was no way to get over it or around it. Frustration fueled me to pound my fist on the wall, perhaps waiting for the mystery woman to open an invisible door, bringing me inside.
“Tosca~♫” She knew my name. How could she possibly…well anything is possible, it was a dream after all. Something I had to remind myself over and over again. It all seemed so real. I tried to call out to her, but again there was no sound. Only the gentle jolt as I woke.
The first time I had the dream, it was weird. The second time, it was a strange coincidence. It wasn’t until the third time around, that I finally convinced myself that it meant something. Something I wasn’t too sure of, but I knew it was my job to find out. I sat up in bed and looked around the room. I was back at home. Back in my pajamas and socks. I touched my chest, examining myself for holes or broken bones. Everything seemed in order, so I slipped out of bed. With each instance of the dream, my curiosity grew. Now it was full blown, and I was ready to share my experience Tilly. Perhaps she had been there too. Maybe on the other side of the wall. It certainly would not have been the first dream we shared over the years.
I headed across the house to Tilly’s room. Her door was cracked enough that I could see her pushing back the covers on her bed. Good, she was just getting up as well. This was a very good thing, because Tilly is not one to be rudely disrupted while she is sleeping. You might just get a stuffed animal to the side of the head, or perhaps something worse if nothing soft were in her range. I rubbed my left temple just thinking about the piggy bank indecent.
Knocking on her door, I stepped inside. “Morning sis!”
“Mmmmmuuuuh.” She grunted, throwing her covers back over her mattress, still in a disheveled mess below her pillow. I should have swung by the kitchen first and snagged her a cup of coffee, I was entering at my own risk.
Testing fates I decided to press further. “Sleep well?” I grinned.
She blinked a few times before letting out one of her overly loud yawns. “Alright I guess. Why? Did you not sleep well?”
“No. I slept fine. Just had a weird dream. Did you… have any weird dreams?”
“No… nothing out of the ordinary. Though I did have a nice little interlude with Clover from second period. Would you like to hear about that?”
I shook my head quickly so she had no chance to jump in. “No no. That’s fine. I’m good. Thanks. No, the reason I am asking is, I had a weird dream and I was just kinda hoping you had been there. Maybe you could help me make sense of it.”
“Nope sorry bro. No clue, but do tell.” She inquired as she headed into the bathroom with her clothes. I didn’t feel like talking to her through the bathroom door, so I headed for the kitchen instead. “We’ll talk over breakfast. I’m gonna grab some cereal.”
I was already sitting at the counter with my cereal, by the time she entered the room. Obviously still not fully awake, she shuffled across the floor to the fridge. Instead of opening the fridge door like a normal person, she reached for the handle of the freezer and swung it wide. Scratching the spot just above her hip with one hand, she reached in with the other to grab a carton of world class choco creme ice cream. “So what was this dream?” She asked, opening the silverware drawer, pulling out a spoon and stabbing it into the middle of her breakfast…
I scrunched up my nose. “That’s your breakfast?”
“Yeah.” She nodded spooning in a big bite. “Got a problem with it?”
“No. If you want diaberries by the time you are thirty. Fine by me.” I looked at my boring bowl of wheat bits. They looked a whole lot more bland than before.
“Well, maybe I do, or maybe I don’t care.” She took another over-sized bite, her mouth now full of sugar and cream, but she kept right on talking. “Nowfff tell me aboufft your dreeamff.”
I stirred my wheat mush, as it was now a soggy mess. “Well, I am in this big open place. There is a lot of green and white. Really pretty, but there is something strange about it all.”
“Well that’s just it. It was all strange. The flowers were strange. The sounds from the birds were strange. Everything seemed different. Then I see a fountain sitting in the middle of everything. It looks really out of place and somehow I know it is. Like it belongs somewhere else, but I have no idea how I know it, or where I have seen it.”
“Yeah! But it gets weirder. I hear a woman laughing and calling my name.”
“Then what happened?”
“I woke up.”
“Bummer. Maybe it was a just a weird dream, nothing more.” She shrugged.
“I thought so too, but Till I have had it three nights in a row now…”
“Like a reoccuring dream?”
“And it is always the same?”
“Yes, I try to keep my interest in the fountain, but the moment I hear her voice, it’s like I am pulled away and all I need or want is to get to her.”
“Sounds romantic. Any idea who she is?”
Tilly put down her spoon, by stabbing back into the carton. “Well maybe this fountain is the key. Maybe if you find that, you will find the girl.”
“Ohh! What if it is the fountain at the park?!”
“I don’t know… that seems a bit too big.”
“Well, it would better to check just in case, right?”
“I guess so. Yeah.”
“It is Saturday. And I have nothing to do, and I know you have nothing to do.”
“Well it’s true right?”
I ran through my mental schedule. Blehhh she was right. “Yeah…”
“What are we waiting for then?!”
We finished our breakfast and pulled the old bikes out of the shed. We hadn’t used them in months, but everything seemed to be in ride-able condition, so we headed for the center of town. Tilly was having a hard time keeping up, if she had worn actual shoes it probably wouldn’t have been nearly as hard, but one can only do so much with giant bobbly cat heads on your feet. I think if she ever decided to wear actual shoes I would have died of shock.
I could tell as we walked up this wasn’t the right place. The fountain was way too big.
“So is this it?” She asked.
“Errr. No. It’s really big. Too big.”
Tilly’s eyes trailed off into the falling water, her attention drawn into its pull. “Hmmm okay. Let’s try somewhere else.”
“How about this?”
I wanted grab her by her ears, because she obviously wasn’t listening. “Till you are thinking way too big. It wasn’t this big. It was like a lawn fountain, not a monstrosity like this.”
Again she contemplated all her options. I could see like a hundred different fountains in her eyes and we would undoubtedly be hitting up all of them.
We trudged through the cemetery till we got to the center. I knew it wasn’t the right one either, but as promised, I was willing to give it a shot. A giant statue of death loomed over head of the moderately sized fountain. She was at least getting the right idea now. “Closer to the right size, just a little less creepy.” Suddenly I was really starting to hate fountains.
We walked up and down almost every street in town. Having ditched our bikes at the park, we were able to engage in a bit more… extensive reconnaissance.
“I’ll keep watch, you go.”
I turned to look at the fence, the distinct sound of a fountain could be heard on the other side. “I don’t know about this.” I whispered.
“Just look over!”
“Okay.” I Hissed quietly. Grabbing hold of the top of the fence, I dug one shoe into the planks making a slightly too loud a clunk.
“Sorry.” I gave a mighty heave into the wood to prop myself up and over. There was a fountain on the far side of the yard, but it wasn’t the one. I was just about to jump back down when my eyes caught onto something I wasn’t prepared for. A woman probably in her 40’s had been sunbathing completely nude. She noticed me way before I noticed her. She had stealthily equipped herself with a hose and water shot right at my face, causing me to fall backwards off the fence. Tilly yelped and the woman started to rant. “Get out of my yard pervert!” Water sprayed over the fence as we made our escape.
“We really could use our bikes right about now!”
“Shut up and keep running!”
Once we had gotten far enough way, we stopped to catch our breath. I was feeling quite embarrased about peeking in on someones naked time, but something good did come of our getaway. Tilly was doubled over, trying to slow down her labored breathing, while I had news. News that might just help to narrow our search. “I *pant* remember something. *pant*
“What is it? *gasp wheeze pant*”
“The fountain it had these lion faces engraved around the water holes.”
Tilly’s eye lit up like he had just won the lottery. “OH!” She squealed. ” I know just the place!” We were close by the park, so we made a quick stop off to snag our bikes before we headed onto our next stop. Tilly was convinced she had found it this time.
“Taddahh!! Your fountain awaits.”
I cocked my head to the side. Well it had the lions, but it definitely wasn’t it. “It’s not the right color.” I explained, crossing my arms over my chest. I felt bad turning her down so many times, but the truth was the truth. Her arms fell in disappointment. “Boy you sure are picky.” She groaned, already heading back for her bike. It turned out to be our last stop for the night, it was already getting dark and both of us were famished. We rode a bit slower all the way back home.
I didn’t have much to say at dinner. I was too busy thinking. What could it mean? The woman. Was it someone I knew? Someone I met before? Was she even real? Maybe just a creation of my mind. I went to take one more scoop out of my bowl, when I hit the bottom. I had finished every last bite and didn’t even realize it. My spoon hit the ceramic bottom, bringing me back to reality. I looked around the table to make sure no one noticed, thankfully, Tilly was in the middle of her detailed account, about her day at school two days prior and no one was the wiser. I tried scrape a bit of cheese from the bottom, but I had done a pretty thorough job of inhaling every last bit that I could. I was done before mostly everyone else, so I excused myself from the table with my bowl in hand. There had to be some other way to find it.
I’m not sure what I was expecting to find online, but what can’t you find online?! It had everything! I guess I was hoping to open a page to find big bold letters and an arrow. This way Tosca. As you can probably guess, I got no where. It didn’t stop me from searching for a good four hours on berrycrawler though. I looked at so many lion faced fountains, it was ridiculous. The pictures started to melt into each other and I knew it was getting way too late. That was when I decided to call it a night. Maybe my fourth time in the dream would lead to new clues.
I settled in for the night, after my teeth were brushed and all that other good stuff. Isn’t always the way, when you want to actually fall asleep, that you can’t? I waited for sleep to come, but I was wide a wake. I laid in bed, staring the roof my bed canopy… thing. Weird, I never even noticed there was a roof up there before. I tried closing my eyes, pretending I was asleep, that didn’t work either. Finally I was so exhausted that I finally conked out. Too tired to even feel it as it came over me. My eyes slammed shut without warning. Shut down mode in 3, 2, 1…
When I opened my eyes again, I found myself not where I was hoping. I was back in the park. Pink flowers as far as the eye could see, and the lonely swing sitting still just behind me. I knew the place all too well. I had been there so many times since I was a child, it would have been impossible to count. Not that I wasn’t happy to be there, I loved it, but I had just really been hoping, I would get another chance to study my clues at the other place. I let a disappointed sigh.
“Hey… you know the rules. You’re not allowed to be sad here.” A voice I wasn’t expecting popped up behind me.
I turned around to find the empty swing not so empty. My friend was sitting, slowly swaying back and forth on its seat. She and I had been friends since I was a child, but in all that time, I don’t think we ever exchanged names. Didn’t seem that important really. She obviously knew me somehow and I could feel the same connection. I looked over my shoulder and gave her a smile. “I’m alright. Just had a weird couple of nights.”
“I see. Haven’t seen for a while now. Where you been?”
“I don’t know.” I walked over to her, she could clearly see my confusion, as I took a seat at her feet.
“I was in this weird place. I have never been there before.” I took a moment to explain, just as I had done before with Tilly. Her face, made a few different expressions, things I didn’t really recognize, before finally settling on an odd look of confusion similar to my own.
“Hmmm. I don’t really know. Doesn’t sound like anywhere I have been.” She leaned out the back on the swing dipping her head to look up at the night sky. “Only place I get to see is here.” That wasn’t what I was hoping to hear. I thought for sure she might have some insight.
‘Never seen a fountain with lions before?”
“No sorry. Haven’t seen that either.”
“Maybe you should ask your family.”
“Well I talked to my sister. We spent the whole afternoon looking around town.”
“Who says it is in town? It could be anywhere.”
“I hadn’t thought of that.” The thought, caught my breath in my throat. Imagining having to travel the state looking at every fountain, was exciting yet terrifying.
In the middle of conversation, I could see her fading away, like most nights she only stuck around for so long, before she was gone again. “I really think you should talk to your family!” She called out to me, her voice beginning to fade right along with the rest of her. “Family always has the answers!”
With those final words of encouragement, she was gone. I looked around the empty grass. I hated when she left. It always felt so lonely and empty, especially when Tilly was no where to be found either. I thought about what she said though, perhaps asking around would be the way to go. But where would I even start?