This takes place after “Camp Cute, Creepy (and Quite Conveniently) Remote”
But it can be read without having enjoyed part I.
All sentient creatures dream, but not equally.
Most slumbering humans are puppets of fear, self-imposed limitations and lack of imagination. But creatures suckled by myth, fantasy and creativity dream a different story. A vampire, for instance, doesn’t doubt the instincts that guide her dreams. She embraces the fluidity of the world at hand, and is rewarded with the power to control almost everything within the dream setting.
Since I started writing my own story, I’ve had no issues getting in and out of dreams concocted by humans. And I always avoid the fully conscious brain; while awake and aware, all minds have the power of creation, change and death over my kind.
I’m particularly careful around my Writer. Her dreams are wild and dangerous. Awake, the woman—and the number of works in progress evolving in her head—can be murder.
Earlier, I entered her mind thinking she was sleeping. Now I’m paying for the mistake. I’m trapped in a mold-covered shack being scrutinized by three unnerving children: Drusilla, an armless vampire; Clare, a girl with bugs crawling all over her; and Roseblood, a blue-eyed kid with rosy lips holding a skeletal doll dressed in pink.
After a scream shook the small shack and probably the entire campground, I ran for the door. I didn’t see her move, but Drusilla and her wee-fanged grin were standing between the exit and me.
“Made vampires awake screaming with pain and desperation,” Drusilla said. “You can blink already, Miss Red. I promise Mistress Claudia will be her usual sweet self as soon as she remembers that she is not asphyxiating. She is harmless after that; unless someone sings the K song.”
“The K song?” I said, hoping that finding out the title of the song was the key out of the dream. Vampires are all about traps, riddles and other people’s blood.
“Yes, the K song.” Drusilla had a haunted look in her red button eyes.
“Killing Me Softly, by The Fugees?”
“No, Miss Red.”
“Kiss This, by Aaron Tippin?”
“No, Miss Red.”
“Kiss with a Fist, by Florence + The Machine!” I yelled, thinking, Yes, this is it.
“No, Miss Red.” Drusilla swallowed. “It is too painful for us.” With her chin, she pointed towards a corner where Clare and her bugs tried to soothe Roseblood. The pale child was trembling so violently that her skeletal doll rattled in her arms. “We never say it aloud.” Drusilla lowered her voice. “I do not want to believe it, Miss Red. But the history of Camp Cute, Creepy and (Quite Conveniently) Remote says the K song was often sung around campfires and at the beach.”
“Kumbaya?” I whispered. And I knew it was the right title, and the wrong thing to say. Not because Drusilla began to fade. Or because Clare’s bugs fell off one by one and vanished before hitting the floor. Not even because Roseblood flashed fangs too long to fit in a child’s mouth and let out a hiss that bristled every hair on my forearms. I knew it because everything outside the shack had gone completely quiet.
Total silence while inside the dream of a work in progress is a disturbing reality. Inaction is death to a character. It could mean that my Writer decided that the story of this vampire was not good enough to be developed. If that was the case, she would just stop writing the tale. And the girls and I would be forever stuck in the dream of a character murdered without even becoming a darling.
Fed by panic and will to survive, I walked around Drusilla’s translucent shape and pulled the door open. There was only darkness. I turned around to tell the girls to stay back. They were gone.
The shack had changed into a large room with walls covered in lace. A vampire with cheeks flushed to match her pink, glossy lips slept in a coffin. The creepy eyes of her doll were on me.
Before I jumped into the chaos of my Writer’s conscious mind, I saw the vampire leap out of her coffin with arms stretched out towards me.
I crashed face first on loose soil. Hands too large and strong to belong to the delicate vampire I had seen in the coffin lifted me by the shoulders, turned me around and smacked me back into the ground before straddling my hips.
I kicked, trying to break her balance. Her body wouldn’t budge. When physical force seemed not to work, I chanted in my mind, This is a dream. I am the twenty-eighth Red in the Circle of Birth and Death. Born to see brutality, to seek justice, to rescue souls, to fight—
The vampire slapped her hands hard against my cheeks, scrambling my thoughts. “Take the kiss,” she said with pink lips that told lies of love and eternal beauty. “Accept the kiss. Change for me.” She ripped off my veil and forced me to look at her.
Without the filter of my veil, I saw the face of the vampire’s fears: discolored bone under rotting flesh, madness oozing out of eyeballs about to fall out of their sockets.
“I am Red Veiled,” I shouted, striking the vampire’s throat with the heel of my hand. Something cracked. She raised her hands to her throat. I pushed her to the left, and rolled to the right.
Unveiled, I saw a carnival of death, life and destruction in my Writer’s conscious mind. I tried to picture the home I shared with Ebon, my best friend. Visualized his strong black wings wrapped around me. But what I saw was AlmaMia wailing for two dead girls who hanged from a mango tree, and Mattalina Thorn trying to keep her aunt’s face from melting away.
There was so much noise; some of it coming out of my mouth.
I closed my eyes. My mind filled with Ebon’s scent, with his voice, his touch… and I screamed, “I am Red Veiled, reborn to fight for my own life!”
I tried to repeat the cry, but my lips had been covered by the mouth of another. One I had desired and dreamed of, but never tasted before.
I stopped struggling.
Ebon’s wings relaxed their hold on me just a little. “You’re back, Red. You’re home. You’re here with me. I got you,” he said over and over. His mouth so close to mine that I tasted the passion fruit and pineapple candy capsules he loved so much. “Are you all here, my Red?”
His Red, I thought, and said, “I’m all here,” before kissing him back for the first time.
posted by Red Veiled
written for Magpie Tales 222
Partly inspired by this T. E. Lawrence quote: “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”