Almost Sleeping

Almost Sleeping

A Story by ctwood

Enter the world of the subconscious...


Almost Sleeping

Vocabulary story


            The sunlight glittered off the gentle, cascading waterfall. His mystical, bright blue eyes latched onto mine. Even as the land of enchantment around us began to deteriorate, his eyes stuck with me. Even as I drifted in that area of semi-consciousness, his eyes remained embedded in my mind. Then I was yanked from this realm by my annoying alarm clock. It was 6:30. Great! It’s time to get up.

            As I went on with my insipid morning routine, for some unknown reason I became very distracted, disoriented almost. By the time I was ready, my dad was gone and my mom was waiting, rather impatiently.

            “Okay, okay, I’m ready.” I said, grabbing my bags for school. In the car, I was overcome with this gut-wrenching, almost prophetic, need to put my seatbelt on. I invariably do not wear my seatbelt to school because I live right across the street, but I succumbed and as we backed out the safety belt was hugging my body gently.

            I remember pulling out of our driveway talking to my mom about how exalted I was about getting Homecoming Court. Then I was blinded by this bright, white light. I felt my entire body jerk. Now, I’m here in this black room. It’s not really a room because as far as I can tell there are no walls. It’s more of a nothingness, an abyss.

            “It doesn’t have to be.” I heard a voice and for some curious reason I felt my heart jump. It was a guy’s voice.

            “Hello?” I called. “Who are you? Where are you? Where am I?”

            “So many questions.” A boy about 15, my age, jumped out in front of me. “That’s just like you.” As his familiar eyes caught mine, the darkness faded away, replaced by a familiar scene. He smiled. When I finally managed to pull my eyes away from his angelic visage and look around, I realized I was back in my dream from this morning.

            “Am I asleep?” I asked, stepping away from the boy and inspecting my surroundings with a discerning eye.

            “Not exactly,” He answered, “but close.”

            I tried to repress my panic but I was loosing the battle quickly. I turned around and scrutinized the boy. He seemed amiable enough.

            “What do you mean ‘not exactly’?” Then a morbid thought overcame me. “What do you mean ‘close’?”

            “I mean you’re in a comma, which is kind of like sleeping, in that you’re stuck in your subconscious,” he gestured to the world around us, “like when you’re sleeping.”

            I suddenly became incredibly dizzy. I muttered an “Oh, God.” Put my hand on my head and fell back against a rock.

            “Are you okay?” the boy asked.

            I was suddenly unbelievably indignant.

            “And who are you?” I snapped.

            He seemed slightly apprehensive as he revealed his identity. “I’m Johnny Adams, your dream guy.” I gave a little chuckle. He grimaced as if I had slapped him, but then he seemed to lose his compassion and matched my anger.

            “What’s up with you?” He mimicked my loathing attitude perfectly.

            “Are you kidding me?” I looked at him as if he was the one who had lost his sanity. “Oh well, I’m sorry if I’m being a bit callous but you’ll have to forgive me. I just found out that I’ve gone crazy posthumously!”

            “Well, you always wanted to do something unprecedented.” We just glared at each other for a moment then he broke the silence. “Oh, Taylor, quit being so melodramatic. You haven’t gone crazy posthumously because you’re not dead.”

            “Meaning I’ve just gone crazy, much better.” Then something dawned on me. “How do you know my name?”

            “I’m a figment of your imagination, smart one.” He said emphatically but I could tell his anger had left him. “I’m in your head. I know everything you know, nothing more, nothing less.”  

            I walked away from him saying, “This isn’t plausible. It’s unconceivable.”

            For an answer I got a disembodied voice. “ ‘The Unkind Bee’ ” My mom’s voice. “ ‘I was out in the garden…’ ” It was an excerpt from my favorite poem.

            “What’s going on?” I asked Johnny. He gave a sympathetic smile. “You can still hear when you’re in a comma.” He hadn’t spoke but I knew somehow he had helped me with the answer

            “ ‘Smelling a rose, …’ ” My mom’s voice again. A storm cloud covered the sun. As a raindrop fell from my eye, a tear fell from the cloud. “ ‘When a great big bee/ Stuck his sting in my nose…’ ”

            “What do I do?” I turned to Johnny for the answer. “I want to see her.”

            “ ‘It was very unkind-’ ”

            “Please.” The word dripped with desperation.

            “ ‘As unkind as could be-’ ”

            Johnny’s face showed he had an idea.

            “ ‘When I didn’t hurt him,…’ ”

            “Please” I repeated. It was pouring now.

            “ ‘For that bee to sting me.’ ”

            “Honey?” My dad’s voice.

            “I might know a way.” Johnny got up from the rock he had sat on during the continuing storm.

            “What are you doing?” Dad.

            Johnny came into proximity to me and gently lifted my powerless hand into his.

            “I’m reading to Taylor.” Mom.

            Johnny’s breath warmed my ear. “This world around us is very malleable. You have the power to change it.” He whispered.

            “Sweet heart.” Dad’s tone brought more tears to my eyes.

            Johnny’s breath warmed my ear again. “Imagine what they are doing. Close your eyes. See them.”

            “She loves this poem. She can recite it verbatim, by memory.” Mom was determined.

            “She can’t hear you.” Dad’s voice sounded closer. I opened my eyes and gasped. I heard Johnny laugh. I looked him in the eye and found myself smiling.

            “Yes, she can.” My mom was saying. I broke apart from Johnny and turned my eyes onto the hospital room I was now standing in. I saw my dad standing up and looking down at my mom sympathetically. My mom sat in a chair next to the bed with my tattered copy of Runaway Rhymes in her hand.

            “This is ineffectual.” My dad tried to persuade my mom.

Then my eyes turned to the bed, my bed. I saw me lying on the bland sheets customary to hospitals, tubes going in and out of me, machines surrounding me.

“Oh, God.” I gasped, terrified at what I saw. “I look so… wan.”

“Well, you’re in a comma; you don’t get much sun here.” Johnny joked.

“It’s not funny.” I said.

“She can hear me” My mom began talking again. She opened the battered book and read. “ ‘There was plenty of room/ In the heart of that rose…’ ” The hospital scene faded away… “ ‘For a rather large bee/ And a very small nose.’ ”

We were back at the waterfall. The storm had stopped but the area still reeked of gloom. I had regained my composure.

“You know that wasn’t real, right?” Johnny said. I spun around and stared at him. “What they said was but what you saw was what you imagined was happening.” He sat on the same rock he had earlier.

“So, I can’t really see them.” He sadly shook his head. I went and sat next to him.

“Honestly, I’m surprised you imagined so much negative stuff and not anything positive.” He had regained his pompous air. “I always thought you were an optimist.”

I smiled. Yes, I actually smiled. What is it about this guy?

“Hello!” He knocked on my head softly. “I’m your dream guy.”

“Hey!” I said, pushing his hand away. “Stay out of my thoughts.”

“I am your thoughts.” He laughed.

“All right then what ‘positive’ stuff do you think I should have imagined.” I was trying to change the subject. Talking to your dream guy is a little weird.

“Uh-huh, trying to change the subject I see.” He laughed again.

“Stop doing that.” I snapped then laughed myself.

“Well, to answer your question. Flowers.” He said

“Flowers?” I was lost in the mixing subjects.

“You could have, should have imagined flowers in your hospital room.” He clarified.

“Why do you think I’d have flowers in my room?” I questioned.

“Now you’re kidding me, right? You have like a million friends.”

“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes jokingly. “I’m just a crazy vegetable. Why would anyone want to be my friend?” Johnny got up from our rock.       

            “Maybe because when you’re conscious you have no contempt for others, you’re never condescending. Maybe they’d be your friend because you’re ethical, you’re vibrant. It could be because you’re whimsical.-”

            “That’s a good thing?” I interrupted.

            “Yes, it is. Who likes a Plain Jane? It could be because at times, and I’ll give it to you that it’s not all the time, not even most of the time but, on occasion you’re judicious. You are a mentor to many. You have tons of charisma.-”

            “Okay, okay.” I rose from the rock and grabbed his hands he had been gesturing wildly with. We laughed together. 

            “Face it, beautiful; you are among the elite of human kind.” I was blushing as he bent down and kissed me. My insides melted and my knees buckled. Johnny caught me in his arms, laughing.

            “I don’t know what to say.” I whispered, resting my head on his chest.

            “You inarticulate? Never!” His breath warmed my ear again. I gently pulled myself away from him so I could look into his eyes. I felt myself start to drift away. “Don’t fight it.” He whispered. “Don’t be scared.”

            The sunlight glittered off the gentle, cascading waterfall. His mystical, bright blue eyes latched onto mine. Even as the land of enchantment around us began to deteriorate, his eyes stuck with me. Even as I drifted in that area of semi-consciousness, his eyes remained embedded in my mind. Then I was yanked from this realm. I found myself in a hospital room similar to the one I had imagined, less tubes, more flowers. I laughed.

            My mom quickly took notice and called a nurse. All the ruckus my mom and dad were causing called a lot of attention to my room. Through all the faces, I noticed a boy candy striper in the doorway. As his mystical, bright blue eyes met mine, he smiled.    







© 2011 ctwood

Author's Note

I wrote this when I was in 10th grade as a vocabulary assignment so be gentle, but I have thought about expanding the idea into a novel so I would like some feed back on the idea and voice of the piece.

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Added on July 25, 2011
Last Updated on July 27, 2011
Tags: comma, subconsious