As the countdown to 2020 begins, many of us like to take stock of our lives. Reflect on what we’ve accomplished (or lack thereof) in 2019 and make our 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Eat less junk food. Get more exercise. Travel. Be more compassionate and caring. Get organized. Learn to manage money. Save more. Forge new friendships. Find a soul-mate maybe. Buy more William Blackwell books, lol.
You get it.
Whatever your plans for 2020, from the bottom of my heart, I hope it’s productive, healthy and happy for you and yours. Happy New Year!
As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I’ve decided to bring in 2020 by starting a new full-length novel. My God, how time flies. I can’t believe I’ve been scribbling stories for over eight years.
In any event, here’s a short summary of IN YOUR DREAMS:
A zombified TV and junk food addict finds vicarious carnal comfort in his dreams only to face the grim prospect that the escapist fictional world he’s so meticulously constructed might actually be his terrifying reality.
To whet your appetite, here’s the prologue for what promises to be a wild and entertaining ride. Enjoy:
Stella, or that’s what she thought she was called, watched the opaque image appear from a black void, devoid of passion, absent of feelings, empty of emotion. A bleak nothingness. She blinked a couple of times, watching it take shape and color. It slowly morphed into the form of a large gray man, bulbous and ballooning as he neared. It didn’t arouse her curiosity much. It was the seventieth time she’d seen it. For the first twenty times, the specter had given her faint hope of a better life, a love-filled union, and a consummation of souls. But the hope had always vanished before it ever turned into anything tangible. In the past, she’d tried desperately to communicate with the apparition, but had only been met with a sad, sad silence. On three occasions, it had opened its mouth to speak, but no words had emerged, and a few seconds later it had vanished with a pop and a fizz.
Right now, Stella knew one thing. She’d had enough. “Get the hell out of here,” she said. “You’re nothing more than a figment of a lonely imagination, here to taunt and tease me. Leave, will you?”
She closed her eyes and curled up into a little ball, hoping against all hope that when she opened them the Goodyear tire man with no discernable facial features would be gone for good.
Inside the black void, the temperature rose rapidly and Stella began to perspire. A salty bead of sweat dribbled into her open mouth. She licked and swallowed it, wincing at the taste. Hadn’t her past tears tasted salty when they’d flowed, so many times before? She thought so.
She wrapped her hands around her knees tighter, burying her head in her bosom and wishing she too could just vanish into thin hot air. So much sadness. So much disappointment. So much loneliness and despair. It was high-time to end it all.
“I feel your pain,” a voice said. “I feel your sadness. I feel your despair.”
Its compassionate tone sent hot flashes radiating up her spine.
She convulsed, jerking her hands free from her legs, and looked up. The gray image had thinned noticeably and for a second she thought she saw facial features on its head. But she blinked and they were gone.
“Who are you?” she asked. “And what do you want?”
“I’m her to tell you that there is hope. Hope for you. Hope for me. Don’t give up being. Don’t give up wanting.”
Overwhelmed with a rush of loving emotions, Stella tried to stand. But the surface on which she stood was spongey like quicksand, and she felt herself sinking into it. This time, I’m the one disappearing, just when it matter the most.
“No, she said, now up to her neck in the black ooze. “Help me.”
“I can only help you if you help yourself,” the voice said, distant now.
Helpless, she watched the form shrink as it faded into the black nothingness that was her life. “No, no, please, no. Come back. Heeeeeelp me!”
As a tidal wave of negative emotions bombarded her—fear, sadness, hopelessness, and a debilitating loneliness—she closed her eyes and succumbed to the inevitable state of being which she had so uncomfortably grown accustomed to.
It was as if time and space had no relevance in her life, but it felt like a long time later that Stella again opened her eyes. Seeing only the black void of despair, she closed them again and repeated in her mind the questions she’d so often asked herself.
Why is my life so black? What am I doing here? Is there any hope?
Where usually the same answers flowed, this time there was a slight derivation from the previous theme of helplessness and misery. Why? Because the voice had spoken. For the first time.
Is there a chance for me? A chance for happiness. A chance for a soul mate?
But those questions only produced troubling answers and more disturbing questions.
I’ve seen the same thing over and over and over again. Why the change. Why now? Why me?
Is this a dream? Is my life a dream? Am I even alive?
Yes, I must be alive. I think, therefore I am.
Stella closed her eyes again, giving slight hope to the possibility that when she opened them, all the blackness would be gone and, although she had no recollection of it at all, that she would find herself living some wonderful, productive, loving and happy life in an ideal and pastoral setting.
But when she opened them to the black void, the tears started flowing freely again, salty, sure enough; and suppressing any notion that she actually had a life, any life at all.