“Dream Guy” by Catherine Russell

We’d like to present a new Feature Story here at Metro Fiction. Please check the Welcome page for more information about us. This week, we dance in the margins between dreams and reality with this imaginative story.

Please enjoy our Feature Story: “Dream Guy” by Catherine Russell:


Susan gestured to a balding, middle-aged man standing in the cafe door. “Isn’t that your boyfriend?”

Amanda saw him, then turned to stare at her cup. “He’s not my boyfriend,” she hissed.

Susan leaned over the table, her face inches from Amanda’s. “Secret admirer then,” she whispered.

Annoyed, Amanda blew a strand of stray blond hair from her eyes.”Don’t look,” she whispered back.

Susan raised her eyebrows. “What do you want me to do? Hide behind a newspaper?”

Amanda watched the steam swirl from her coffee in silence.

*****

Passengers screamed and ran for a safety that didn’t exist. The lifeboats were gone. Men, women, and children slid as the deck tilted 45 degrees. A screaming woman fell toward her, heels headed straight for her face. A split second before impact, Amanda felt herself tackled and hurtled over the edge.

She flew over the water with her rescuer, too shocked to speak. They landed safely inside one of the lifeboats floating in the icy water. Even as she watched the cruise ship sink, she couldn’t believe their luck.

She turned to thank her savior, but when he looked at her she lost her nerve. The large bushy eyebrow spanning his forehead – like a hairy monster about to lunge at her throat – made her cringe in fear.

She passed out.

*****

Susan kicked Amanda under the table. “Snap out of it, stupid!” she hissed. “He’s coming.”

Amanda sighed. She looked up as her homely savior approached. “Is this seat taken?” he asked.

“No, not at all.” Amanda pushed the chair towards him. Susan shrugged and smiled, blue eyes sparkling. He blushed slightly and set down his paper and coffee.

“Oh, excuse me,” he said, “I forgot my sugar.” He went to the counter, leaving Amanda alone with her friend.

Susan still sat in her chair, except now she towered over Amanda. A glob of thick, vicious venom dripped from her fangs as she slurped lemon-strawberry milkshake from an oversized straw. Black and orange hairs sprouted from her enormous exoskeleton. One of her eight multi-jointed legs sprawled lazily against the window. She regarded Amanda with large, compound eyes.

Now, that’s odd, thought Amanda. Didn’t she have coffee?

“So, chicken, what are you going to do?” asked her monstrous friend. A couple of the black hairs fell into her drink, and she cursed loudly.

Amanda shook her head. “I just don’t know. He seems…”

*****

The spaceship shook. The planet was literally coming apart around them, but the damn engine wouldn’t start. If they didn’t make it off this rock soon, they’d be torn apart. “I could fix this!” she cried in frustration. “Does anyone have a-” Someone handed her the part. She looked up, not entirely shocked to see the smiling, ugly face of her benefactor. She smiled, despite the ominous bushy eyebrow over his otherwise benevolent face. “Thanks, I…”

He gestured to the engine. She recovered, screwing the final piece in place. The rocket tore into space and safety. She would have been crushed, regardless, had it not been for the safety belt that he’d strapped around her. They looked back at the quickly receding fireworks. She found herself holding his hand and blushed. He’d just saved her life. Twice. Nevertheless, she firmly resolved to keep a pair of tweezers handy from now on.

*****

Quiet, mild mannered, handy to have around. She didn’t consider herself a shallow person, but that damn eyebrow turned her nerves to jelly.

Susan nudged her with a hairy, jointed leg. “Stop zoning out, girl. He’s coming back.”

On cue, the man pulled out a chair and sat down. A wry smile tugged the corners of his mouth.

So help me, she thought, he’s almost… cute.

He put out his hand. “You know, I’ve seen you around, but I’ve never properly introduced myself. Call me Morry.”

She shook his hand. “Morry? Oh, nice to meet you. What sort of name is that?”

His eyes glinted. “It’s short for Morpheus.”

“Oh.” She looked at him and then her arachnid friend.

Morry and Susan both laughed. She felt like she should be annoyed but wasn’t. “What’s so funny?”

Morry nudged Susan, who stifled a few giggles. “Nothing,” he said. “It’s understandable you’d be confused.”

“What?”

He smiled. “I just thought my name might have tipped you off.” He grasped her palm, and images flooded her mind. The sinking ship, the exploding planet, pajamas sleeves flapping as he flew through the air.

“You’re wearing pajamas.”

“Yes,” he said. “I know.”

“In a coffee shop.”

“Yes,… well, sort of.”

“You’re wearing pajamas in a coffee shop and I… you keep rescuing me.”

He nodded.

“And I never found that strange until now.”

“Don’t forget about me!” chided Susan. Her giant fangs were slathered with pink foam.

“And my best friend turned into a giant spider which I didn’t think was strange either, so…”

He grinned.

“I’m dreaming.”

“Yes.”

“I don’t get it. Why you? Are we…?”

He smiled. “You’re dreaming. You’ve been dreaming for a very long time… ever since your accident.”

Accident? She rubbed her temples with her fingers and struggled to remember. She could see the motorcycle, her helmet lying bloody in the ditch, and then white walls.

“So, Morry… I mean, Morpheus. You aren’t real?”

“Oh, come on, girl. You’re so close!” said Susan. Amanda wondered how intoxicated a giant spider could get from milkshakes.

She looked at Morpheus again. She remembered flying, lifeboats, holding hands and an exploding planet. She remembered hundreds of other encounters, times she hadn’t recalled more than a few instants after they’d happened.

“But… Morpheus, Morry- sorry, but if you are THE Morpheus… why don’t you, uh…”

“Why do I look like this?” He smiled, and even with the unibrow he was almost handsome. “Well, I wanted you to love me for myself.”

She was stunned. “Love you?” She didn’t know what to say, but then another thought struck her. “You mean this isn’t the way you look?” She hoped she didn’t sound too eager.

“Well, I am a god, but… this is my natural appearance.”

She tried to hide her disappointment.

He grasped her hands and asked, “So… do you think you could love me?”

She looked in his big brown eyes and saw kindness, generosity, and modesty.

“On one condition,” she said. She pulled a hand away to give him something from her pocket.

He gazed at the small gold tweezers and laughed. Soon, she started giggling too, along with everyone in the cafe.

Above the din, Susan called, “Soy-lattes for the happy couple!”


Catherine Russell is an author living in NE Ohio. Her work has been published in the ‘Best of Friday Flash – Volume One’ anthology, Lightning Flash magazine, and Flash Me magazine. She shares her life with her high school sweetheart, their son, and two ferocious puppies in the Wilds of Ohio while writing and learning more about the craft every day. More of her writing can be found on her blog.


Tags: , ,


One Comment

  1. I love this little gem, sometimes dreams preceded reality and sometimes reality preceed dreams. Thank You for sharing.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*