2007-09-23: I'd Rather Be Dreaming Than Living


Kory_icon.gif Mariska_icon.gif

Summary: Kory gets a glimpse at the dreary dreamlife of a mother who misses her child.

Date It Happened: September 23rd, 2007

I'd Rather Be Dreaming than Living

East Village, NYC - Enlightenment Books

It's another Raymond Chandler evening at the end of someone's day… the weather has turned wet and gray with heavy clouds having been hung in the sky since midafternoon, bringing on the night prematurely. This little bookstore in the Village offers some welcome respite from the weather, though it seems hardly anyone's taking up the tidy place on the offer. Except for Mariska. She's carved out a small space of the store and claimed it as her own, seated beneath the mismatched pillows on the window ledge instead of on it. The better for catching a catnap with proper posture, apparently, because her eyes are closed and she's sort of slumped at the shoulders with a book of poems by someone called 'T.S. Eliot' butterflied open on her lap.

Kory ties the beagle outside, because he is wet. He enjoys being wet, and is a muddy mess. There will be a bath for him later. But right now, Kory's enjoying the fact that her ankle has healed enough for her to almost walk normally. She sets her brolly at the door, and heads for the back of the store. To her surprise, she catches sight of a napping Mariska. She smiles gently down at the other woman, and almost unintentionally, reaches for her dreamstate.

It seems the weather outside isn't the only thing that's covered in a gray haze… Mariska's nodding brain has seen fit to thrust her in the midst of a mist. A thick sort of London fog clouds everything while the Russian woman stumbles her way through unfamiliar streets. Welcome to generic city dreamscape number three hundred and seventy-seven. This must be a residential district - rowhouses line both sides of the street - and Mariska presses her nose to every window, peering in on one happy family after the next until — wait! The Russian suddenly cries out, «Sasha!» A little dark-haired girl sits on the floor, surrounded by colored construction paper, scribbling in the way the young children often do. The child doesn't seem to realize there's a grown woman shouting at her from the other side of the window and, indeed, proceeds in her Jackson Pollock pursuits unblinking while Mariska meanwhile slowly loses her mind outside. The door? It's locked. She still shakes and rattles the doorknob anyway…

Kory stands in the shadow of a streetlamp, and concentrates. The fog shifts around the window, a little, so a little light gets in to the little girl coloring on the floor, but it may not quite be enough to get her attention yet. The dreamwalker frowns, silently, and concentrates a little harder, marshalling her will. Could just be that she's cold, wet, and not entirely healed that's causing the bottleneck.

The Russian remains blissfully ignorant of any interlopers into her dreaming psyche, attention fixed on her unobtainable baby girl. Unless… yes. Mariska unclenches her fists and presses her palms against the window and then blinks right out of existence, er — not quite. Kory comes with and discovers that the woman has seemingly relocated herself by force of will from the exterior to the interior of the house. Unfortunately, the little dark-haired girl is no longer in the living room, though her crayon creations are still scattered over the floor. «Sasha?!» cries Mariska in desperation, trying to find the child though, oddly, it seems there are no other rooms adjoining this one. The window to the outside world and the front door seem to have disappeared, too. Mariska reaches down to pick up an aquamarine sheet of paper depicting a vaguely human-shaped figure with a triangle hat but the construction paper suddenly erupts in flames and turns to ash… as to the rest of the little girl's work. All evidence of Sasha's presence suddenly insubstantial…

Kory is an old pro at dream shifting, so the motion doesn't toss her for a loop. She concentrates again, still keeping herself to the shadows, and the bits of Sasha's presence stop burning, returning to their ordinary form. Little footfalls can be heard in the distance. Perhaps the little girl is coming back for her crayons and papers?

Gasp! Really?! The look on Mariska's face in this moment must surely be priceless — she's so surprised by the good turn. This dream never sorts out with a happy ending. «Baby??» she wonders aloud, seeking the source of the footsteps with blurry eyes.

The footsteps go quicker and louder, as if the owner of the little feet was going from a walk to skipping, to a jog. The little girl appears at the end of a long hallway. But as she approaches, the jog becomes a sprint, and contrary to normal dream logic — the hallway shortens! «Mama?» she says, eyes wide. «Mama!» she repeats, smile lighting on her face like the sun coming out from behind clouds.

Kory's own eyes are a little blurred, but if this is what makes the dreamer happy, she will hold it together for Mariska's sake a little longer.

«Sweetheart!» God, it's so stereotypically saccharine but, fuck it, who cares? Mariska grabs up her little girl and squeezes her tight, beyond elated to be cheek to cheek with her missing child. It's that 'never letting you go again ever' sort of grip. Of course, such is not meant to be - not yet, at any rate - and the pure joy that the Russian woman experiences suddenly floods her brain with endorphins and she inadvertently rouses herself from her reverie with a shudder. Goodness. That was… oh. Just a dream.

Kory, sensing the diminishing of the dream state, breaks contact, and turns to glance into the stacks. Dreams only ever take a minute or two at the most, so the beagle splashing around outside is still enjoying himself, in no hurry for the human to come back to him.

How embarrassing! There's Mariska, mouth open, suddenly jarred back into reality after having nodded off in public. She tries to subtly ensure she hasn't been drooling on herself by running a finger over her lower lip and then looks down and digs in to her messenger bag to find everything where it ought to be. Not that she totes around much worth stealing. Of course, in the depths of her tote is a picture of her little girl, different from the one used in her MISSING posters or the one she gave to Felix, and she eyes it up thoughtfully, wearing a sad smile. Maybe there's still some hope to be had, after all…

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