This story begins with Globe Without Goodbye – The Shore (1). To access installments in narrative sequence, click on an entry title, then click on “Next” at the end of that installment.
Could he be dreaming? Jeffrey did not usually remember his dreams upon waking. In fact, as he stood there stiff as a board on the most alien shore he had ever seen, he could not remember ever having a dream. But he had heard of them, had heard other people talking about them. Perhaps he was dreaming!
This possibility excited him. He had heard of lucid dreaming – awareness of dreaming as it happened – and had always felt jealous of people who could do it. Supposedly, knowing you dreamt enabled control of the dream. Lucid dreamers could do magical things, like fly!
Jeffrey decided to test his idea. He stood at his full height, stretched his arms to either side, and filled his mind with thoughts of flight. Birds. Airplanes. Superman. He tried to jump into the air. He landed back on the sand, thudding a bit deeper into its wetness, and felt ridiculous. He could not fly.
But he felt certain he was dreaming! The first dream of his life that he could recognize. He had heard wonderful stories about dreams. Prophets learned cosmic secrets through them. People talked about them with therapists to learn deep and intense truth. Could he learn something in this dream that he could not learn by pushing paper in circles at his office?
With that thought, he began to run forward up the beach, as fast as he could run. He didn’t look behind him again. He didn’t question the unchanging intensity of the light. The clouds in the sky never let blue through. In fact, when he paused to slow his heart, he realized that the texture of cloud cover hadn’t changed at all. The air hung still. Only two things moved in this quiet world: Jeffrey Hamen, and the unceasing waves, so muffled, so gray. He felt curious about what lay beyond the dunes, but he knew that if he left the shore, he might get lost. He did not need to get lost in this world. So he ran up the shore, as fast as he could sprint or as slow as he could pace himself.
Sometimes, when he could breathe deeply enough, he laughed. Just a bit. After having decided that the stern but peaceful landscape was only a dream, he now felt perfect freedom. He wanted to stay for a very long time. When that sense of freedom crested up into happiness, he laughed; every time, his laughter sounded emptier than the nonexistent wind. The strangeness of it would kill his happiness, so he would stop laughing and pay attention to running. Forget about the anxiety. Feel free instead.
He was laughing when he first saw the entrance to the cave in the distance. It was the first thing he had seen that was different in – an hour? Two hours? He’d been running for a long time. He wondered what the cave concealed, and let his laughter die.
Thank you for reading! Coming up next week: Jeffrey examines the mysterious cave.
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