Dreaming of What
By John Andreula
“I’m so sorry I snapped like that,” Janice spoke between sobs and streaming tears. She repented her earlier words as soon as they left her mouth. Her exhaustion had boiled over yet again.
“Doc, my baby’s hurting. She can’t talk to me. My husband works all the time. When he finally comes home he forgets I exist. And I’m so tired that I can barely breathe,” she went on to the space between herself and the doctor, “Now I’m breaking down to a stranger…”
Janice leaned back, straightening her posture. She wiped her eyes with the rough generic doctor’s office tissue she had been clutching. The moment passed. Composure returned to the normally stoic woman.
Little Sierra sat on the length of white paper rolled out on top of the sterile metal medical table. The young girl stared through her doctor’s office window. Something in the grassy field beyond held her attention captivated. Her feet kicked almost imperceptibly over the table’s end.
“Thank you for the offer, Dr. Tomas. We’d prefer a non-pharmacological remedy if you have any other suggestions.”
The tall, balding man stared blankly at the slender blonde for a long moment.
Finally he said, “Well, don’t take my advice, Janice. I’ve only been practicing medicine for more than thirty years.”
The man sighed. His shoulders drooped as he resigned his professional persona into his more human self. “Sierra needs you to be strong. You may have to make some tough decisions.”
The doctor paused before continuing on, “Look at the bags under your daughter’s eyes. See the lack of pigment in her skin.” He nodded at the seemingly distracted girl. “Her body needs sleep to regenerate. If she doesn’t get some soon her body will continue to deteriorate further, and more rapidly.”
Janice listened intently, despite her predisposition to treat any ailment holistically.
“Janice, there’s some curious new sciences arising. Much of it has to do with these powered people that keep popping up. The Effected.” Dr. Tomas emphasized the last word. Sierra’s mother squinted, trying to decipher meaning behind the words.
“Have you been following the stories?” he asked.
“Of course,” she replied, “They’re all over the papers and the internet. Stephen also works at VIM. Although he never discussed the details of his work with me”
The doctor raised his bushy eyebrows. “They are certainly leading the way in terms of the research.” Again Janice heard more than just the words.
“Some of these Effected exhibit healing capabilities. I don’t know much more than that. It’s probably a long shot, but you may find your answers are with one of them.”
Janice considered Dr. Tomas’s words for a lengthy, silent moment. “Thank you for the advice. I appreciate your counsel.”
She extended her hand in appreciation and to conclude the conversation. The doctor turned a wary smile and accepted Janice’s hand.
Janice grabbed Sierra under her armpits and lifted her from the table to the floor. Sierra’s eyes remained fixed in the sunny field outside.
Janice took Sierra’s small hand and led her from the sterile office.
The Writer leaned back in her antique chair. She slowly reached her hand forward and set her pencil on the desk just beyond the stack of parchment she had just finished writing on. A lone candle fluttered. The flame came back to center.
The woman attempted to roll the soreness from her left wrist. She had been using it excessively lately. She opened and closed her fingers several times.
Gingerly she pushed the chair back from a worn wooden desk and stood. It took a tremendous amount of energy, but nowhere near the amount needed to transfer these stories from her imagination onto the paper, as she done mere moments ago.
The woman was wearing a long white house gown. Its flowy fabric hid her gaunt frame. Her matching white head wrap hid the hairless scalp beneath. She was barefoot. Delicate lavender nail polish adorned her finger and toe nails.
Her frail hands lifted the pages from the desk. She tapped the stack once, twice, three times, to even the pages held loosely between her fingers.
She took the story and exited the dimly lit room. She walked down the long hallway towards a door not unlike her own. She wrapped three times softly on the door frame.
“Come in,” a woman’s voice answered from inside the room. The frail woman turned the brass door knob and pushed the door inward.
“Celeste, sweetie, how are you feeling this afternoon?” the second woman inquired after looking up from the jumble of papers spread out over her desk, many of which were in Celeste’s own cursive.
“I feel like I look, Gi,” the Writer rolled her eyes playfully at her friend, “I’m dying.”
“You are absolutely a sight for my tired eyes…And you are still absolutely gorgeous.” The second woman smiled lovingly at the first.
Celeste’s cheeks went blush and betrayed some rare pinkness within. She beamed at her friend. “Here’s what I have on Sierra and Janice. Sierra’s health is not great and Janice seems to be going a bit nutty, but they’re okay and safe for now.” She crossed the room and extended the hand holding the stack of pages.
The second woman’s hair was long and wavy. It was streaked with strands of silver. The lines in her face hinted at her age, but it did not detract from her incredible beauty. She looked over her small rectangle reading glasses and reached for the stack of papers.
Celeste retracted her arm just before her friend’s fingers touched the pages. “Gigi, you’re going to need to figure out what you and the tribe will do to protect yourselves when I’m gone.”
Gigi kept her hand outstretched, beckoning for the story. Her smile faded. A genial smirk remained. “You’re right–in more ways than one–I do not know what we,” she paused and reflected before continuing, “what I will do without you. Luckily we do not have to figure it out for the time being. I have faith that things will work out as they should. We will protect Sierra. We will prevent The Controller from realizing the destiny you predicted for him.”
“But there’s so many ways things may go wrong,” Celeste’s words were interlaced with deep concern for the comrades she had grown to know as family. “You have too much faith in the Traveler…and far too much faith in our Glitch. You need to become more realistic.”
“Like you, my wonderful sister? Should I give up? Shall I quit on the girl? On all of them?…On you?” Gigi’s voice became more solemn with the last. “You know me better than that.”
“I do. It’s why I love you.” The Writer hesitated as she caught her breath. “And why I fear for what will come when I’m gone. You’ll have no one to keep that senseless optimism in check.” She finally handed the story over.
Gigi grabbed the pages and gently placed her hand on Celeste’s slim, bony hand. “We would never have come this far without you, you know.”
“I know, dear.” It was Celeste’s turn to smile. Her own beauty from just a few years prior returned for an instant.
“I know, old friend,” Celeste chuckled. The laugh turned into a throaty, dry cough. The roughness within her throat caused her to wince in pain. The sensation left her face somber once again.
“I’m going to check in on Stanton. Then I’ll see what Blanks is teaching our Traveler.”
“Alright, but don’t do more than you can handle,” Gigi’s concern for her friend’s health was obvious in the expression on her face. “Let me know if there’s any trouble coming our way.”
Gigi rose from her desk and circled it. She took her friend’s arm in her own. She walked Celeste back down the hall to her bedroom study.
Once Celeste was settled comfortably back into the cushions of her chair Gigi left to return to her own work.
Celeste’s worry had begun to seep into her mind. She really had no idea how she would protect the Tribe and Sierra once Celeste passed on, but she would need to figure it out soon.
The Dreamer is an ongoing fiction epic about some very special people.
John Andreula is a writer and dreamer in the foothills of Colorado.
Reach him for commission work or media requests at: