Extreme Dreaming for Beginners
On my right index finger, just beneath the nail, the skin burned with an ember that refused to heal. I couldn’t escape that painful twinge, no matter how many cooling dream cures I concocted.
I lived with that inconvenience, though it reminded with every flex of my hand that I had forgotten my real life, that I was trapped in this dream world. I learned to fly to the limits of my mind’s sky; I dove into lukewarm oceans, swimming downward until the icy water burned my frozen pores and my lungs strained for an intake of breath. Here, fairies didn’t hold a grudge against me just because my parents forgot to invite them to a celebration.
I knew that time passed in the real world when my memories came more frequently, like cattle returning home on mere instinct. Threaded wheels were spun by the angry fairy, whirring whenever I turned my back, only to disappear when I swung around to face them; spindles danced before me, making my finger throb as they thrust towards my dream-perfect flesh like a lustful animal.
And then, one day just like any of the thousands I had slept through, I woke to an infant’s cry. He was tiny, so small I could have held him in one hand. His hungry mouth was clasped around my finger, gums working to find some kind of nourishment. I pinched myself, and my vision cleared, and memories flooded my brain. The child coughed up a small piece of twine, just a sliver, and began to howl in tune with a second babe who rested, red-faced and miniscule, between my bloodied, tender thighs.