A Dream of Him
by John Andreula
Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk
This story contains graphic content!
Reader discretion is advised.
Ty sat on the stone and leaves at the edge of the familiar stream. His shoes were set on the grassy ridge above, next to his older brother’s larger pair.
The afternoon sun shone upon the two brothers and the stream. Ty could feel the warmth along his bare olive arms. He enjoyed the subtle sensation.
E.J. stood in the middle of the stream, his back towards his younger brother. His faded blue dungarees were carelessly rolled up to mid-calf.
The sun’s reflection on the surface of the shallow water past E.J. was too bright for Ty to look at directly, but the younger boy resisted shutting his eyes. Instead he squinted toward his older brother standing in the water.
Ty knew this was a dream. E.J. had been dead a long time now. This particular dream seemed to be jumbled up with some long forgotten memory.
Ty hadn’t thought about E.J. or his childhood for some time. His dreams about E.J. and the farm weren’t normally pleasant. He knew the other shoe would drop at some point, but he didn’t want to rush it.
Ty leaned back, resting on his elbows. His feet rocked outward and inward in slow a rhythm only he could hear.
E.J. sidearmed a stone down the stream. The rock bounced along the surface of the water for what seemed like forever.
Minutes passed—maybe it was seconds—and then his older brother broke the thick silence, “None of what happened here was your fault you know.” E.J.’s back was still facing Ty.
E.J. paused for what felt like another eternity. Then he went on, “James’ father was a bastard. He got what he deserved.”
Ty considered his brother’s words, but he thought more about what E.J. hadn’t said. “What about you, E?”
The older boy didn’t answer. Ty went on, “What did you do to deserve this?” His voice sounded whiny. He didn’t care, despite whininess being something his older brother always looked down upon.
E.J. finally glanced back over his shoulder at Ty on the stream’s edge. There was the deep red hole where his face used to be from the shotgun. Blood, bone, gristle, and brain were all along the edges. This was how E.J. always appeared in Ty’s nightmares, ever since that fateful day.
E.J.’s voice spoke, projected from his mouthless face, “Life is just like that sometimes.” The voice was low and choked. “I died and you lived. Now you get to become a hero.”
Ty wanted to look away from this ghastly dream version of his older brother, but he didn’t. Instead he answered, “Some hero. . .” scoffing at E.J.’s words.
His brother ignored him and went on, “You’re a good person, little bro. You always have been.”
E.J. turned back toward the stream and skipped another stone toward the horizon. Ty stayed staring at his brother’s back. He pretended not to notice the clear stream water around his brother’s ankles spreading into a pool of dark red. He missed E.J. so much.
“I want to stay here with you.” Ty told his brother knowing the dream would end soon.
“You can’t. Too many people are counting on you. . .and I’ll always be with you, in your heart and your memory.”
“That’s not good enough!” Ty’s whiny child’s voice returned.
E.J. peered back over his shoulder again. “Then go get the girl and bring me back.”
Ty sat up hearing his brother’s words. His brow furrowed. What was this dream trying to tell him?
“How. . .? E.J., are you for real?”
E.J. turned his whole body and faced his younger brother. Blood poured from the hole that used to be his face. It flowed down the front of his button-down shirt and pants. “That’s a funny question now. Isn’t it?”
Ty ignored his dream brother’s sarcasm. “Can she really do it? You know. . .bring you back?”
“Maybe. . .maybe not. You’ll never find out if you and your Tribe don’t help her.”
E.J. waited for the words to sink in.
“It’s time for you to go now, Ty. Good luck. I’ll be waiting to hear how it all went.”
E.J. turned back toward the stream. Instantly, the glare on the surface of the water grew in intensity. It got so bright that Ty had to squeeze his eyes shut to keep them from hurting. He didn’t want to leave E.J., not yet.
A moment later Ty opened his eyes.
It took a moment for his vision to come into focus. He recognized the yellowed-white ceiling of the room above him. Sunlight crept through room’s sheer curtains.
A tear rolled down the left side of his face, onto his pillow. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.
Ty took a deep breath and sat up.
As he pushed his feet over the side of the bed a raucous crash emanated from outside the room. Ty leapt to his feet and ran toward the commotion deep within the house.
The Dreamer is an ongoing fiction epic about some very special people.
And if you haven’t read the rest, check it out here.
John Andreula is a writer and dreamer residing in the foothills of Colorado.
More of his works of can be found at:
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