He Dreamed In Erebus
A Writing Challenge Contest submission by C. Tattiana H-H


He thinks he hears someone laugh as he pukes up yesterday's sole so he gets up, wanders around a bit. Eyes bloodshot, lips dry and cracked.

Soul coughing, his lungs feel like shards of glass. They fill and empty like gas tanks and this one's burning up.

Hears something on the TV about the underground but ignores it because Nyx swirls around him, undresses him with her eyes and he lets her.

He catches her grin; decays under it and he ages. Is consumed by night and he spins.

In his ear she purrs like a cat, prowls a moment, pounces, pulls and Erebus greets him. He nestles into its bosom and waits for her to come get him again. Uses leaves as a blanket; weaves them together with roots and thoughts still dangling unspoken to the dreamers he meets in the darkness. He adorns his blanket with clovers. For luck. Just in case.

Closes his eyes. Falls into a dream. Or perhaps he was already dreaming. Thinks he dreams of her dreaming of him. Not sure. Not sure.

She was asleep when he passed. Didn't realize his dreams had torn their way through the fabric of fantasy to reality. Hadn't realized she had left him in some nightmare caught between two worlds eyes unseeing skin shriveled and blue.

She goes out, thinks she hears something on the TV about the underground but ignores it because he's lost in someone else's thoughts and she's worried he'll forget her.

Glides along avenues and boulevards whispering last year's argument because the memory keeps her warm.

Tu es vraiment incroyable! Mon dieu. J'ai été très bête.

She laughs at the memory and the sound reflects off his mind and leads her to his presence. When she finds him she tells him it's just a nightmare. Covers his eyes with her palm and tells him they're not real. That only she is. To come back into the apartment; outside is cold and the park isn't safe after dark.

He stirs from his bed of leaves and clovers and thoughts. Shuffles along beside her through the streets of Little Prov. A wail tears their silence and then, chaos.

Only four minutes, oh. Wait.

Three.

News broadcast cut short as hoards of people race past. One clips newscaster in the side with his shoulder and both men go tumbling.

Tooth and nail tooth and nail. Gotta be first in line; first in the underground.

Sprawled out on the pavement, no one bothers to avoid trampling them. Through the square, hurry hurry inhale exhale what may be your final breath.

It's chaos, baby, our time's almost up, he says, come let's find Erebus! but she shushes him.

They hurry along Little Prov to the underground, stepping on spines as they push to be first in line. Smell of sweat fills nostrils. Excites the wild beasts they've now become.

He forgot his soul back in the apartment moments before the spirits came and dragged him down. Or maybe it was just a dream.

Wonders if he'll still be let down when, Va te faire foutre! He doesn't know what it means, although she laughs. Only sees the spray of blood as another one goes down. As another one bites the pavement.

Two minutes.

She dreams she was asleep when she woke him. That he's still trapped in Erebus waiting for her and she must go out and retrieve him.

"This is just a nightmare", he says when she finds him once more in the same park same spot same dream.

But the wail rings out again and now she's not sure who's dreaming. Or if it is really just a dream. Maybe this is someone else's dream. Maybe, oh, maybe, for a moment, she thought he was only a vision, a specter.

He thinks she's his succubus. That she's a lovely dream to be in.

One.

He wakes and realizes he had dreamed her. Dreamed of her awake and sleeping. Fell asleep within her dream and dreamed of her again. Awoke and dreamed he had left her in Erebus. Dreamed she awoke to realize she was only dreaming of him waking. Dreamed her wondering if he was a dream. Dreamed of her being just a dream.

Soul coughing, lungs filled with shards of glass, mouth tangy. Thinks he hears something on the TV about the underground but remembers her grin and spins in it as he drifts back to the park. Covers self with a blanket of leaves. Is told by Nyx that she was just a nightmare.

Is calmed and told with palm over hand and finger trailing chin to go back into sleep.