Someone posed a question asking if dreams ever influence stories. My answer is below.
The Girl Under The Covers. By C A Middleton © 2017
They say early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Well, some people say it. Darren Reynolds was one of the strange breeds who spewed out such idioms.
But, it wasn’t until he slept through his alarm for the first time that he saw how flimsy such a statement was.
Darren first awoke at seven thirty after falling into his bed with a stinking headache at eight the previous night. His sleep had, as usual, produced little in the way of memorable dreams. So, with nothing to reflect on, bar an ex-love travelling somewhere in Europe, he turned off the alarm and lay back to stare at the ceiling. Happy to note his head felt heavy, but with no vicious ache.
Against the norm, even for a Saturday, he stretched once before closing his eyes…
‘I’m trapped, can you release me?’
A female voice asked.
Darren looked along the crisp white bedcovers and saw a body shaped underneath. Without fear, he slipped his thumbs under the hem and, with slow care, lifted the blanket away from his stomach.
A pair of ocean blue eyes, framed by straight golden hair looked back up at him.
‘Please?’ Her full, yet delicate lips mouthed in a delicate accent not from the north of England he trudged and well may have been Scandinavian.
‘I’m not sure what you want me to do,’ said Darren. And was not lying.
‘Just a kiss will release me.’
‘Can’t you just shuffle out?’ He asked, aware he had not brushed his teeth yet. The last thing he wanted was to kiss such a beautiful lady and then have her nose wrinkle in disgust. It was not the done thing. ‘Why don’t I get you a shirt and then you might feel comfortable? Better still, if you don’t mind me popping to the toilet, I will kiss you straight away. No problem at all. Although, I would love to know, you know afterwards, how you ended up getting under my covers in the first place.’
‘Wait!’ Said she, looking worried. ‘If you go, I’m quite certain you won’t come back to me.’
‘Oh, I’m sure I will,’ Darren replied, allowing his eyes to flick down her long back where they stopped for a moment on the two perfect mounds of soft, flawless buttocks.
‘Please. One peck. If you must go.’
Darren held his bitter breath and leaned down to peck her on her lips. The feeling she produced through his body was like an overdose of superlative excitement careering through his entire body and smashing out of his meatus.
‘I will be back. I will be back,’ he repeated, for no other reason than she had intoxicated his soul.
He brushed her warm cheek with the back of his hand and bolted into the bathroom.
‘You can only prove yourselves,’ said a gruff man, with the appearance of someone who may be comfortable standing on an ice wall, keeping an eagle eye out for Wildlings and White Walkers. ‘When you can remove the lenses with ease.’
Darren looked at the plate of bulls eyes being offered across the trestle table, with the complete distaste of someone promised Turkish Delight yet thrown tripe.
‘But, I did this when I was at school and I was in detention for lobbing the jelly at Esther Robinson!’ He protested. ‘I want the prize!’
‘Do as you’re damn well told, boy!’ The gruff man snarled and dropped a small serrated blade on top of the plate of four dead eyes.
Darren set to work.
A group of five friends, dressed similarly to the gruff man, with no name between them, waved and wished him luck as they trotted down the bridal path with the ancient stonewall backdrop.
‘How could they be picked and not me?’ Darren moaned.
The face of a blue-eyed Scandinavian beauty flashed at the back of his mind.
With a murky mixture of reluctance and want, he sliced and squished. Soon he had removed
every slimy lens, placing each back onto the goo-streaked plate.
‘Good,’ the gruff man growled, arriving from nowhere. ‘Put this on.’
Darren caught the strange belt and examined it. There were two hoops of thin string attached to a leather belt clipped to a length of thick rope with a shiny carabiner twinkling at the end.
‘Do I put my legs through these hoops?’ He asked, fearing the thin rope might slice him like cheese to a wire.
‘What else?’ Grunted the man.
‘There’s some sofa foam over here,’ Darren told his superior. ‘Maybe stuff some between the loops to make the journey less painful.’
‘These have been made the exact same way for thousands of years, Reynolds. What makes you think you can change them now?’
The gruff man attached his carabiner to a length of overhead steel rope before swooping off into the distance.
Darren shrugged, packed himself with sofa foam and followed Gruff McGruff into the air. Down sparse fields he sped. Through a sports hall which led to a play about singing Jesus carrots and out into the highest turrets of a peach-painted castle.
Darren knew somewhere in his mind a fear of the heights he was zipping up into should close his eyes and flip his stomach. But only exhilaration caused his throat to whoop.
Over a golden river where huge swans screeched and down into a town of colourful cottages they flew. Until the tiny murder of black-clad men came to a halt, all seven, in the grubby car park of a bowling alley and burger joint.
Each man unclipped, hugged, smiled and congratulated one another with pats on backs.
Darren sighed, closed his eyes and awoke during a heavy rain storm battering the bedroom window. Alone. And sad.
Where there should lay a man amazed at such a vivid dream, aghast at the adventures his mind was capable of, groaned the opposite.
Darren had done what he said he wouldn’t and now couldn’t get back to her.
For the next year, until Darren’s mind collapsed in on itself, leaving a hollow human; a human Wicker-man without Mr Woodward screaming from his torso, he tried to get back to her.
At first, he slept as much as the weekends allowed. But there just didn’t seem enough hours in two days. So, he overslept during his work days too. He lost jobs, friends and sanity. Until white coats wheeled him, in silence, to the psychiatric ward of his local hospital.
During a long afternoon of drooling and dribbling, though he couldn’t be certain what exact day due to drugs which rattled in his stomach, he saw her. She smiled to him through the crisp white sheets.
Darren screamed with pure joy, sending the ward into total uproar. Legs, arms and faces bounced from every wall for at least the whole day or seven. Their screams joined his. The charge-nurses bass shouts for calm came next.
‘It was an advertisement for the Danish tourist board, Darren?’ Dr. Yelper told him in a careful whisper, after showing him the girl under the covers, smiling with warm seduction from the pages of a glossy magazine.
Darren knew it was a sign though agreed with the bearded gentleman, nonetheless.
How can you know love? Darren asked the man, in thought.
Because certain thoughts were best kept to oneself, weren’t they?