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The Dreamer

Searching for reality.

By Mark GagnonPublished 25 days ago 3 min read
Top Story - May 2024
The Dreamer
Photo by Sergio Ibannez on Unsplash

“I hope you can help me understand why I keep having this reoccurring dream, Doctor. It’s become an obsession, dominating much of my life, and I’m sick of it. It feels as though the only way to end the dream is to die.”

“How long have you been experiencing this dream, Mr. Corvus?”

“Well, it’s been replaying in my brain since my fifth birthday. The dream is the same, except it changes. I mean, the dream doesn’t change, but the narrative changes every few years. I’m not being very clear, am I, Doc?”

“When it comes to dreams, it’s difficult to be crystal clear. The beginning may be clear, but the story becomes opaque by the time the dream is over. The brain has difficulty retaining clarity when it’s in a dream state. That’s why it’s good to talk about it. Things become much clearer when they're shared with another person. Does that make sense?”

“I guess so, Doc. At this point, I’m willing to try almost anything that might help. Where do we start?”

“At the beginning, of course. Why don’t you tell me about this person who keeps changing?”

“It’s not a person, it’s a bird.”

“A bird? That is interesting, but not uncommon. I also have a recurring dream that involves a bird, a raven, to be specific. Did you know that your last name, Corvus, means raven in Latin? I’m sorry to interrupt you, please continue.”

“When I was five, my dream guide was a Hummingbird. I saw a real one in my mother’s garden and the dreams started that night. It was multicolored and flitted from flower to flower in my never-ending dream garden. My mother said she could hear me laughing in my bedroom, but when she checked on me, I was sound asleep. I looked forward to bedtime every night. The dream gave me a warm, secure feeling. I replayed it over and over in my mind each night. It was my happy place until my tenth birthday.”

“Fascinating! Many young children hate bedtime because they suffer from night terrors. You were fortunate to have the opposite experience. What came next?”

“It was on my tenth birthday that the Blue Jay replaced my friendly Hummingbird. This bird was raucous and territorial. I first noticed one while enjoying outside recess with my class. Someone had dropped a few potato chips, and the Jay swooped in to claim them. Other birds tried to snag part of the prize, but the Blue Jay made quick work of chasing them off. This was his bounty, and he wasn’t sharing it with anyone else.”

“I have to assume this bird had a few lessons to teach you, Mr. Corvus.”

“It did indeed, Doc. Before the Blue Jay ran my dream, I was an easygoing Hummingbird kid. Some might even call me a pushover, always being picked on. The bird in my dreams taught me it was okay to stand up for myself. I felt self-confident. Able to handle the school bullies.”

“You were coming into your own!”

“That’s exactly how I was feeling, Doc! Unfortunately, my new self-assuredness got me into trouble with the school. Detentions and parent-teacher meetings became an all too familiar occurrence. My parents offered guidance, but it was only after my dream manager changed to an Owl that my behavior altered.

I never knew much about Owls other than they were nocturnal hunters and people called them wise. How can they be wise if they keep asking, who-who? That was a joke, Doc, okay, not very funny, I get it. This Owl taught me how to channel my aggression and solve problems without becoming a problem. By the time I turned eighteen, I no longer needed the Owl’s shepherding. I was wise beyond my years, or so I thought.”

“Mr. Corvus, have we talked before? I’m getting this strange Déjà vu vibe that everything we’ve discussed up until now I’ve heard before.”

“Well, Doc, it’s because you have. Every night, we speak about the same things until we get to where you ask me that same question. Next, you’ll suddenly realize that I am a Raven and have been guiding you through this dream world of yours ever since you killed one of your patients, thinking she was possessed.”

“No, that’s not possible! I would never do such a thing!”

“Your nurse is about to wake you so you can start your daily routine of meds and counseling. I’ll see you tonight, Doc!

(To those of you who I follow regularly and who follow me, I won't be on Vocal as often for a couple of months. We just sold our house and I need to devote most of my time to searching for a new place to live. If I don't, we'll be living in a van by the river.)


About the Creator

Mark Gagnon

I have spent most of my life traveling the US and abroad. Now it's time to create what I hope are interesting fictional stories.

I have 2 books on Amazon, Mitigating Circumstances and Short Stories for Open Minds.

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Comments (34)

  • L.C. Schäfer5 days ago

    My mind is suitably boggled! Hope you get the house stuff sorted.

  • Andrea Corwin 8 days ago

    this is a great twisty story, I loved it! Get that move done so you don't have find a new parking lot each night!!

  • Fantastic writing.

  • Karina Thyra22 days ago

    I read portions of this last night before I fell asleep. Now I feel compelled to comment that I dreamt of possessed people (Coraline and Wibey) and even though they weren't themselves, they protected me from revenants because of their new demon / fairy powers. When I woke up from that dream, I didn't realize that I was still actually asleep and I saw a grey pigeon on my stand fan just waking me up, I kept screaming for it to get out because I hate those birds 🥲. Thankfully, I was dreaming. The birds in your story stirred up my imagination. Thanks for that!

  • The dreamer. It is top notched!

  • shanmuga priya22 days ago

    Congratulations 🎉.

  • Ameer Bibi22 days ago

    Amazing twist In the story and best way of storytelling Congratulations o Top story 👏

  • Donna Fox (HKB)22 days ago

    Mark this was so great!! I love the symbolism through out and how well you expected the different elements for the challenge!!! Great work!! Congrats on Top Story!!! 🎉 I hope you find a place to live soon!! If not there's room in my spare room, as long as you don't mind three cats and a hedgehog running around!! 😅

  • FATIMA KISSAMI22 days ago

    I hope you like my article, support me Guys the the article Oh Grandpa https://vocal.media/families/oh-grandpa

  • Carol Townend23 days ago

    This is rather spooky. I love how the Jay haunts the person's dream and the significance it holds. I also love the twist at the end. There is a lot of superstition and gothic tones in this story. It's fantastic.

  • Cathy holmes23 days ago

    Oh my, what a twist. Excellent storytelling. Congrats on the TS.

  • Margaret Brennan23 days ago

    congratulations on TS. This was fantastic. What a twisted ending. Perfect!!

  • Excellent story, reminding me of Poe, and hope you find a house soon

  • Well-wrought! The bird as psychopomp and dream messenger has always fascinated me! Also, I think since you mentioned the van down by the river, Chris Farley finally got his wings! You are now blessed to find the perfect abode!

  • Rachel Deeming23 days ago

    Excellent story, Mark with a great twist! Loved it. Good luck with your move as well. See you in a couple of months, hopefully with some great tales to tell.

  • Congratulations on your top story.

  • Heather Zieffle 23 days ago

    Loved the twist! Great story, a well deserved Top Story placement.

  • Lamar Wiggins23 days ago

    Now that was twist! Great story, Mark! Hopefully it's a nice and quiet river if it comes to that. I'm positive it won't though. Best of luck, My friend!

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Misty Rumsley23 days ago

    Wow! I was so not expecting the twist ending. I love it!

  • Shirley Belk23 days ago

    Mark, that was a great story to put you on pause for a while! LOVED it! Happy Trails and hope to see you back soon.

  • JBaz23 days ago

    Congratulations Mark Well deserved

  • Moharif Yulianto23 days ago

    Amazing storytelling

  • Christy Munson23 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story! 🥳 And here’s hoping we don’t find you in a van, down by the river, a time soon 😂

Mark GagnonWritten by Mark Gagnon

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