Perchance to Dream Part I

By: Julsey

(This wasn't supposed to be a two part story! Honest! But my muses finally stopped arguing long enough for me to get all of this written I'm not going to complain. For the record, the screen names, websites and email addresses in this story are purely fictional and are in no way related to any of those should they already exist. So nyah. :P)

Jonathon sat up suddenly in his bed, his body trembling, glistening with sweat as he struggled to catch his breath. He feverishly looked around his modest bedroom, a wild look in his eyes. He had dreamed again.

For the last four years, Jonathon’s nights had offered him everything in the form of dreams except for blessed, restful sleep. Ever since he had turned 17, dreams too real to believe and too vivid to ignore had haunted his nights. Some of the dreams were wonderful, truly incredible, so much, in fact, that there were mornings Jonathon hated to wake up. Those dreams Jonathon treasured along with his most precious memories. But there were other dreams, dreams that seemed more of a premonition or foretelling than a dream, and sometimes they came true. And there were still other dreams…no, not dreams, nightmares...that contained creatures so fearful, so horrifying as to make Jonathon dread sleeping at night. No matter what kind of dream the nights brought him, they always seemed so real. He could never forget them, and he couldn’t stop them from coming, night after night.

Jonathon turned his head, glancing at his alarm clock. The numbers 4:13 glowed in bright red on the clock face and he sighed.

“No sense in trying to go back to sleep,” he uttered to himself as he threw back the covers he slept under. He moved to the edge of his bed and stretched, a large yawn coming unbidden from his mouth. He rubbed the heels of his hands into his bleary eyes as he grumbled, “Maybe I should see a therapist.”

Jonathon chuckled a little to himself as if the thought amused him, and he shook his head. With a low grunt of effort, he lurched off the bed and stumbled across his room towards the door to make his way across the short hallway to his bathroom, ready to start his morning ritual. After relieving himself, Jonathon splashed some cold water onto his face, attempting to wake himself up a little more. As he grabbed a towel and started patting down his face he caught his reflection in the mirror above the sink. He smiled ruefully at himself and ran his fingers through the brown rat’s nest that he called hair in an attempt to smooth the unruly locks into some order.

He wasn’t anything particularly fascinating to look at, in his own opinion, just another average joe. In fact, Jonathon saw him self as sort of nondescript. He wasn't scrawny, and he wasn’t extraordinarily built, though he did keep himself in shape. He had a broad face and well-defined features, wide set eyes, a sharp nose and a mouth that almost always seemed to be half-smirking. Jonathon’s eyes were probably his best feature, deep pools of stormy, tumultuous gray, shades of blue or green adding colour to them depending upon his mood. Many called him ‘cute’, some called him ‘handsome’, but few gave him a second look for there was nothing incredibly mesmerizing about him. Jonathon was just average, which he happened to be okay with, since that meant he brought no extra attention to himself.

Jonathon gave up trying to get his hair to behave, shrugging at his reflection before heading out of the bathroom and back into the hallway. He glanced towards his bedroom, then to the other side of the hallway leading to the front of his apartment.

“Change…or coffee…” he murmured to himself. He cast another glance to his room and frowned. He wasn’t yet ready to face the room he despised most again, so with a decisive nod, he turned towards the living room. “Coffee it is.”

He walked into his living room, altering his course a little to make his way through the stacks of books, papers and take-out boxes that littered the floor, couch, coffee table…in fact, every available space, to reach his computer desk. He depressed the power button, grabbing one of the mugs of the desk as the machine whirred quietly to life. He headed on towards the kitchen, sniffing at the contents of the mug he’d picked up.

“Feh…is this coffee, or something else?” he asked himself as he studied the dark liquid contents of the glass, nearly tripping over his backpack. Jonathon simply kicked the bag out of his way, a familiar habit, and stepped into the kitchen. He dumped the dubious contents of his mug into the sink, turning the water on to rinse out the mug and refill it. He placed the mug into an ancient looking microwave and set the timer, banging once on the top of it to get it going. Jonathon opened the cupboard above it and started pawing through the contents in search of his all-to-convenient coffee singles packets.

“Grr…I know I have some, I just bought a box yesterday,” Jonathon grumbled to himself when the cupboard proved to be empty of his staple food source, and he slammed the doors shut. He was starting to get cranky.

Jonathon proceeded to look through each of his cupboards, none being kind enough to deliver to him his precious coffee, and he grew more and more irritated. The microwave beeped annoyingly at him and he eyed the appliance angrily, as if this was all that machine’s fault. He cursed under his breath before yanking open the door to the refrigerator. There, sitting all alone on the top shelf was an unopened box of coffee singles. Jonathon narrowed his eyes.

“You are mocking me,” he stated to the offending box before snatching it up. “Don’t let it happen again,” he told it as he tore open the box and pulled out one of the packets. He tossed the box into the first cupboard he had opened in his quest to find his coffee, then removed his mug from the microwave. He set the packet into the still steaming water and carried the mug out of the kitchen and back to his desk, the aroma of coffee filling his nose and waking his senses further.

A small icon in the shape of an envelope was flashing on his computer’s task bar when he reached the desk. He had email. As he opened up the program to check what he’d received, Jonathon brought up his favourite chat server and logged on.

“Spam…spam…stupid porno ad…spam…don’t wanna talk to her…spam…gah, how’d he get my email? …more spam…” Jonathon trailed off, still muttering occasionally under his breath as he weeded through the emails he’d received during the hours since he'd last checked. Nearly all of the letters found themselves in his trash folder, and there was only one that caught his eye enough for him to open it.

“Couldn’t sleep again?” the subject read, but when he opened up the email, he found it blank. Curious, Jonathon checked the from field to see who had sent the email to him. "" He didn’t know anyone with that email address…and upon further investigation, Jonathon found that didn’t even exist.


He shook his head, smiling a little at himself. He took a drink of his coffee, his smile widening as the brew touched his lips and found its way to his stomach. "This is normal," he thought to himself, "not out of the ordinary, like terrible dreams and weird emails." He shut down his email program, glancing into the chatroom he’d logged into, deciding to say hello before browsing the internet.

“Pretty empty,” he said aloud, eyeing the handful of names listed. He recognized a couple as regulars and typed out his greeting, hitting enter before minimizing the program to open up a web browser, ready to make the rounds of his favourite sites. The browser’s homepage had just finished loading when the chatroom he was in beeped and started flashing. He clicked on it to find that one of the occupants of the room had sent him a private message. Curious, Jonathon decided to take a look.

*MorphedReality* Can’t sleep?

Jonathon did a double take, his eyes narrowing slightly. He shook off the eerie feeling he suddenly got when a chill raced down his spine. It was probably just someone in a similar position looking for a chat.

*HauntedNights* Yeah…how’d you know?

*MorphedReality: You could call it a lucky guess, my friend…or perhaps just an inference from your s/n.

*HauntedNights* Oh…heh...yeah

*MorphedReality* Bad dreams, then?

*HauntedNights* tonight yeah…

*MorphedReality* Nightmares are killer…do you have very vivid dreams?

*HauntedNights* sure do…

*MorphedReality* Almost so real you could believe the places and people and…creatures…in them could be real?

*HauntedNights* yeah…how’d you know?

*MorphedReality* Has anything you ever dreamed of come true?

*HauntedNights* …

*HauntedNights* once or twice…what is this, 20 Qs or what?

*MorphedReality* Do you dream of some fantasy place quite often, or are all your dreams based on this world?

*HauntedNights* mostly fantas-…hey, just who are you?

*MorphedReality* No one to fear.

*HauntedNights* what’s that supposed to mean?

*MorphedReality* Have you ever dreamt of a man cloaked in shadow, offering you a choice to make, and you knew it would change your life forever?

Jonathon stared at the screen, his coffee long forgotten. Who was this guy? How’d he know about that dream? He’d never told anyone about the recurring cloaked figure and the choice that always presented itself during those dreams. How’d this guy know?

*MorphedReality* Have you, HauntedNights? What about a dream containing horrifying creatures that threatened your very existence? Did you ever wake up afraid that it wasn’t a dream?

*MorphedReality* Or maybe you’ve dreamt of a gorgeous woman with eyes greener than the lush trees of the forest and hair so fiery red you thought it’d burn your hand to touch it? Did she ever come to you, begging for you, making you wish you never had to wake up?

Jonathon stared even more intently at the monitor before him, his eyes unblinking and round in shock. How did he -know-?

*MorphedReality* Come on Jonathon, tell me, have you ever dreamt that you could exist somewhere other than this dull earth you mortals call home?

Jonathon suddenly stood up, his chair falling back in his rush to flip the computer off. His breathing was coming in rapid, shallow gasps and his heart was racing, thumping in his chest.

“Who…how…what the…” he babbled as he continued to stare at the now blank computer screen, his hands clenched at his side as his body shook with tremor after tremor.

“It’s some cruel joke…that’s it, someone’s idea of a funny…” Jonathon forced a weak laugh, his body still trembling a little as he turned away from the computer, nevously running a hand through his hair as he began to walk to his bedroom.

“I’ll just go to work and pretend none of this happened,” he murmured as he left the living room to get ready.

And somewhere, in the ether between reality and fantasy, a figure cloaked in shadow laughed.

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