Caught in a dream


Though I was caught in the dream and unable to wake, I knew the story was incredible, possibly the best I’d ever written. I held the entirety of it in my grasp, but only for a moment.

Like a handful of sand, elegantly written paragraphs started to slip through my fingers. Soon I was left with only a jumble of sentences, none making any sense at all. There was no connection between the one that came before or the one after – they were fragments at best.

Still, somehow, they were little bits of an unbelievable larger story. I was sure of it. The jumbled fragmented sentences needed to be written down lest they too fade away into the nothingness surrounding my dream. Struggling to take command, I tried to wake myself, but to no avail. Using dream pencil and paper, I start to jot down notes.

I remember we were at the beach, and as I tried in vain to grasp the fragments of the story slipping through my fingers, they continued to spill down to the ocean waters tugging at my feet. The rising tide was threatening, and what the waves brought in, the tide pulled away — and with it my words and any possibility of reconstructing the story.

Perhaps by writing, I could later piece together what sentences were left and remember the whole fantastical story when I woke. Looking in my palm, I start to read, but what I was holding made absolutely no sense – at least in the real world it didn’t.

The T. Rex was wearing pink pajama pants and a blue tank top. Yes, I agree. That’s a little odd. Everyone knows T. rexes don’t wear pajamas, but who am I to correct the fashion taste of a dinosaur even if it’s only a dream.

Besides, she kept talking while poking me in the ribs with little arms, “Papa, Papa, Papa.” To get away I start climbing up one of the huge trees in the forest to the first level of five zip-line platforms.

The zip-line platform hung on a cloud high above the land of the pajama-wearing, rib-poking, talking T. rex. Soon I was sliding along the cable from cloud to cloud looking down on the T. rex trying to jump up and grab my feet, all the while calling, “Papa, Papa, Papa.”

Stepping out of the safety harness at the line’s end, I saw a plane passing with a little girl waving to me from her window seat. It felt as if I knew her. The beautiful blue-eyed girl jumped from her seat and started to run up and down the aisle of the airplane, her long black hair trailing behind seemed to barely able to keep up with her.

At the cabin’s door, she quickly spun around and ran back again. Pausing for a moment, she brushed back her hair, pointed and then giggled, “I know you,” before running back up the aisle again.

When I asked where she was going, she replied smiling, “To see my parents. Haven’t seen them this whole year.” She started to skip away, so I called after asking why she hadn’t seen her parents in so long. Before she could answer, we were suddenly interrupted by the rib-poking, talking T. rex now carrying a snow leopard on its shoulders.

Shaking my foot with its paw, the snow leopard said, “Papa,” and the T. rex started crying. Not only was it strange, but the pajama-wearing, rib-poking, talking, sad T. rex was getting quite annoyed.

With the snow leopard on her shoulders, she stomped away through the thick zip-line forest just as the plane landed on the front lawn of a red brick house in Virginia. The blue-eyed little girl jumped out, ran up to the front door and rang the bell. Opening the door, her parents, both in their eighties, greeted her with hugs and they all went back inside.

Riding the zip line once again, I ended up at the National Zoo, but not alone. The annoying T. rex was already there. She had taken the Metro and was in the Snow Leopard’s cage playing tag.

This seemed strange to me because T. rexes have very short arms and aren’t the best at playing tag. Upon seeing me, she climbed the fence of the enclosure with the snow leopard on her shoulders and once again started to poke me in the ribs, saying, “Papa, Papa, Papa.”

Finally pulled out of the dream, I awoke to find Sweet Caroline dressed in her pink T. rex pajamas at our bedside still poking me in the ribs. Her sister, Little One, dressed in snow white pajamas, was tugging at my foot. Bad dreams had awakened both and now they needed some comfort. After they got a drink of water, I sat and read a chapter of Junie B. Jones, and soon the girls were fast asleep once again.

In the morning The Wife asked, “Did you have a nightmare last night? Must have been running away from something really big the way you were kicking.”

I told her the dream, as much as I could remember. She laughed and started to piece back together all the fragments.

“That’s funny. That little girl on the plane was me. Haven’t see my parents in over a year. You were dreaming of our May trip to D.C. to see them. We’re flying up with the girls, and I’ve already made reservations for an entire day at the zip-line camp, a day at the National Zoo seeing the snow leopards exhibit, and our last day will spend at museum of National history. You know Caroline loves seeing the T. rex. That dream would make a funny story. You should write it.”

I would … if only I could remember it.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001.]