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The Dream Weaver

"Dreams provide us with a staging area where we can process our deepest fears and intimate desires" ~ Joanna Gagnier

When you fall asleep,
you go from the presence of yourself
into your own true presence.
You hear something
and surmise that someone else in your dream
has secretly informed you.
You are not a single “you.”
No, you are the sky and the deep sea.
Your mighty “Thou,” which is nine hundredfold,
is the ocean, the drowning place
of a hundred “thous” within you. ~ Rumi

Antoun Final 9 (2012_11_14 21_06_18 UTC)


Phantasmagoria: Simone’s Dream


Simone Ferri dropped the hood of her coat to embrace the cold touch of snow brushing against her skin. She glanced towards the sky and marveled at the forest canopy as it’s branches staggered under command of a series of gusts in conflict. Excess snow pelted towards the forest floor in response, leaving clouds of white dust in its wake.  She closed her eyes and inhaled the air deep into her lungs. A mischievous breeze emitted a sigh as it tossed her hair carelessly from side to side. I feel so free and alive here, she thought as she resumed a rhythmic pace. She discerned the haunting howl of a wolf or two, perhaps the more demanding interjection of an owl’s hoot, the high-pitched bark of a fox. A talented composer at work in constructing a bewitching forest melody; a song composed for her alone, the soft rustling of branches swaying as it danced along, and the faint squeak and crunch of footsteps trudging through deep snow to add rhythm. Simone felt hypnotized, no thoughts to fill her head, her walk almost mechanic like that of a sleepwalker. 


She stopped.  The sound of compressed snow in a pulsating fashion, but not in unison with her own, echoed behind her!  “I’m imagining things”, she whispered to set herself at ease and proceeded along. “Swoof … crunch, Swoof …. Crunch” There it is again! She detected extra compressions akin to the soft tapping of a distant drum with a slow increase in crescendo. A cold chill encapsulated her spine and migrated upwards, making her head spin while awakening the hair follicles on her back. Too scared to inspect the source of syncopation, she glanced upward and identified a falcon perched high above on a lonely branch, small strips of leather attached to the bird’s tarsus, tail, and another around the neck. Tiny bells glistened at the end of some strips, inaudible as the falcon groomed itself for action. 


Should I check the path behind me?, she wondered while slowly turning, her body tensed, palms encased in sweat. Her eyes widened in disbelief. A young girl clad in a long white dress, with a mass of dark hair flowing back-and-forth, was following her. She looked like an angel, her lips and cheeks so red, her hair so dark. Snow White? Simone pinched herself at the sight of the girl. It was surreal, impossible. The dress long and flowing, the sleeves narrow across the elbows, but increasing in volume as it tapered downwards, almost to her feet. Definitely not of this time. Analogous to an apparition. Simone shut her eyes and steadily forced it to open to verify the reality of what she just witnessed, forgetting about the falcon.


“Hello?”, she uttered, but swallowed the word in astonishment. The girl vanished! The snow gleamed as it reflected colors of faint blues, greens, and pinks in reaction to the moon’s commands. The evidence of the girl’s footsteps slowly erased as the snow glided downwards to conceal the forest floor below.


Shocked and amazed, Simone unzipped the front of her jacket to cool herself down. The moon brightened the gold-encased ruby amulet around her neck. A gift from her grandmother. She caressed the jewel and stroked it between her thumb and forefinger as she always did when troubled. The amulet provided a temporary reprieve. I am imagining things, she concluded. Anxiety replaced reason, her heart raced. Simone pried her pockets in a frantic search for her nebulizer without success.  Her face was marred with tiny droplets of cold sweat that rolled down her neck. “You have to calm down!”, she reprimanded herself out loud while engaging in deep in-and-out breathing attempts to stabilize her condition.


“Shriek”A long whistle-like sound pierced through the air from afar. The falcon reacted, like the flick of a light switch. The creature darted towards Simone like an arrow leaving a bow, programmed and on-target. The assailant snatched the amulet from her neck. The skill of a marksman. Impossible! No injury, no evidence of theft.  Simone jerked her head and clasped her throat with her hands, hunting for the jewel, but in vain. She tried to scream but her lungs did not possess the air to command her voice. She ripped her coat from her torso in desperation, her jaw clenched as she shook the garment while purging unwanted contents from a maze of hidden pockets. The jewel was gone. The pick-pocket absconded high into the forest canopy where it could free itself from liability. She collapsed in the snow, trying to comprehend, not knowing how to react.


I should turn back, Simone thought, her heart beating fast. Back home? Which way is home? My necklace is gone. She activated her iWatch and sighed with relief to see that the watch still contained some power. “Where is the navigation app? Shit!, there is no service out here. Out here? Where is here? I can’t be a sleepwalker” Hmph, he wants me to believe that. “I am not a sleepwalker! Who the hell does he think he is. Yeah, he may be a so-called sleepwalker expert, but his claims are all theoretical.” What the fuck is going on - there is no date displaying on this watch? The aftermath of the escapade consumed her mind and spawned an introspective interrogation as she grappled with the authenticity of her experience.


The whimpering sound of distress echoed nearby. Simone gathered her senses and hunted for the source of the wail. I am so exhausted. I have to investigate while I still have my wits at my disposal.  She concealed herself behind a tree, now being the observer. “It’s the girl in the white dress.” A set of large-sized black-and-white photographs were splayed out in front of the girl. Simone edged forward and exposed her face to enable a thorough investigation. The girl stroked each photograph with such tenderness, tears welled up in her dark eyes, her chin quivered, and brows furrowed, while tracing the facial features of treasured reflections. She looks familiar, even a bit like me, Simone thought. Her eyes, nose, heart-shaped chin, prominent cheek bones, her skin tone, lovely hair, a beauty spot visible on her cheek. Simone’s left hand slid up her neck to detect a similar mark on her own face. Why did I think of Snow White? She is Italian to the bone! 


“Photographs of women”, Simone whispered unintentionally. She could not help but to think of her own thoughts on the subject of photography. “The Photograph is a Protective Chamber that safeguards the Moment and Immortalizes the Soul”, the subject of her doctorate’s thesis. These pictures definitely captures that notion, she thought. Simone froze for a second as the girl forwarded a darting gaze towards her. She wanted to retreat, but remained in place. The earth underneath the duo trembled. Horses? The girl scrambled to safeguard the pictures in a leather satchel that appeared between the folds of her dress. She retrieved an object and briefly offered it to Simone, but discarded it on a nearby rock as a cloaked figure on a horse approached. Simone looked up, her mouth aghast. She witnessed the figure reaching over and hoisting the girl on the stallion in one effortless motion.


Simone retreated behind the tree and surveyed the action with prudence. “That was a scene right out of a movie.” A black stallion, a long mane flaunting in the air, and a man in a hooded cloak. The intermittent sound of a falcon’s cry interrupted the thunderous gallop. No sign of the amulet. The rider partly obscured and protected as the moon refused to reveal its identity. The tall, broad-shouldered figure held out his arm to double as a temporary perch for the raptor as the trio vanished in the mist and snow. Simone scuttled to the rock to retrieve the note. “A sealed note with a magnificent crest imprinted on red wax! Astounding”, she exclaimed while the cold air transformed her breath to vapor. She wanted to continue her investigation, but her head started to spin, a familiar feeling, not another blackout! Dark clouds robbed the moon from its light and summoned the emergence of the shadows of the night forest. The silent movement of air occupied her conscious, a coup d’etat, accompanied by the soft touch of snowflakes — everything faded away.


The abrupt spark of lightning followed by a loud rumble released Simone from her troubled sleep. She was safely tucked in bed, home, her sheets however soaked in sweat. Simone screamed when another menacing bolt of lighting struck. “Versions of the same dream, over and over, absolutely debilitating.” She propped herself up while searching for the amulet around her neck. No sign of it. She checked her iWatch — odd, all data clearly visible: Saturday, 14 July 2018, 9:10 AM, sunshine with scattered thunderstorms in the morning (displayed as icons), 82° F. Thank God Roger is not home. Her hair still wet, sticky, and tangled. Her coat strewn on the floor and jeans clung to her legs.  Her shoes abandoned with a trail of snow left in its wake. The evidence apparent. That never happened before! A dream in constant state of flux.“ Or, am I a sleepwalker? No, I know I am not, damn you Rodger!” Simone stared at her left hand in shock. She was clasping the note. Rodger’s wedding ring still on her finger, an octagonal-shaped diamond glistening in the early morning light. Hands trembling, she managed to break the seal and unfurl the fragile artifact. Scribbled in smudged black ink were the words: “Per favore, non lasciarmi morire.” It was written in Italian. My Italian, well it was suspect for sure, Gran tried to school me, she smiled slightly at the thought of Gran.  She reached for her laptop and entered the words into a translation app, her hands sweaty and still quivering while the ellipsis on the screen flickered as if thinking. PLEASE DON’T LET ME DIE! The words leapt off the screen and assaulted her eyes as she was trying to make sense of it all. She shuddered as she realized that the lines between the recurring dream and reality is starting to merge, a little more fusion during every occurrence. Rodger can’t be right.


Still shaken from the drama, she entered the kitchen to prepare a coffee. The downstairs area pristine as she left it the night before, doors latched, windows closed, not a trace of snow! Maybe I need something stronger than coffee.

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-Novelist and Conceptual Photographer-

Joanna Gagnier

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