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The Not-Dream

It all came to me while I slept. One of those deep sleeps, where you wake up all refreshed and feeling yourself. Your true self, the self you like, are fond of. You know? Well, I would have woken like that if it wasn’t for this…well I don’t want to call it a dream, as it felt so real – too real – but there isn’t another word for it. Vision? That’s what you’d said? No, no. Visions are when you’re awake, aren’t they. A dream’s what it was, just didn’t feel like it. Felt as real as this. You and I. Across this table. You know?

Look mate, you got to keep telling me. You know what I mean. Yeah? It’s only common courtesy…respect, yeah? You stare at someone like that, while they’re talking to you, they’re going to start thinking you’ve switched off. I know you’re interested, but just a little reassurance would be nice. Thank you. Yeah…thanks mate. I’m just on edge, jumpy like. Don’t get me wrong, this not-dream thing was good, a happy…one. But, it’s just got me tense. Know what I mean? Yeah. There’s been a weight tugging at my ankle all morning. Just can’t shake it. Not…no, my shoes are fine. I just feel…bloody hell, I don’t know. Something’s off.

Humm, sorry? The dream…yeah well…you got a light. Not often. Oh…no, erm, no worries. The dream…it’s hard to talk about. You know? Not just this one, no, just in general. They go so quick. You just get, just left this impression of what it was. Like drinking, or eating, and not having the sensation of the, the texture of it. Just the taste and nothing else. I’ve been thinking about this, this not-dream, all day to remember it. I’ve still got it, right here. All of it. I might just hold on to it forever, never let it go. Huh? What do you mean? I’d…I’d just have to keep thinking about it. Play it over and over again. Dream the same dream every night. That, that’s how determined I am to hold on to this not-dream. Never – and I mean it, never – let go. It’s too important, too…well just too bloody special. It’s everything, you know? Everything I want. It’s just, it’s just special.

Wonder if anyone round’s got a light? Pint puller might? Think he smokes? Him, he does definitely. Not what I’m after though. I’ll ask…don’t want to go and buy one. Don’t you want to stay here? Few more? Misses won’t mind, would she…let’s ask him. Sorry mate, you alright, just wondering…do you happen to have a light? Yeah mate, yes. Cheers. Be right back…yeah. Thanks mate.

Right, outside? Well…finish the last of it. Can get another when we’re done. Come on.

Now, this dream. The rain’s not too bad, it’s clearing. I’ll only be a minute. But this dream…okay…the dream. It starts like this: I was in my parent’s house, no, their flat – where they first had me. They’ve shown me pictures of it, I’ve never actually been. I was too young at the time. But it was my parent’s house, but all foggy. Like moving through a cloud. Sort of dense. I could feel that there were people there, a few people. Just…sort of sense them. It was…you ever walk into a room after something then just forget…forget what you’d been after? But you were so certain that whatever it was, was in that room. You just, couldn’t think about it. No? Really? It’s sort of like you’ve lost something, but you haven’t actually lost a thing, a real, actual thing – yeah? – just…the thought of it. Fuck it, well it felt like that. Moving through the rooms. I’d gone looking for someone, but I’d lost them. But not actually lost them, forgotten them. I’d lost their memory. I knew that, I just knew. I’d got no reason why I knew it, but I just did. And it was all foggy, I’d walk past my parent’s stuff just looming out the, the cloud…cloudy-ness. Grandad’s chair and stuff. Were it Grandad’s? Can only think of dad sitting there…

I’ve finished now, so cheer up. Isn’t cold at all. Oh yeah. Too bitter for you? Shouldn’t have been from the south then, should you. Bet you get some weird looks. Another? Come on. Sorry…I mean the way you talk. Bet they do. Too posh for them. Hello love…just a StormMate’s for me. Thank you.

Well…doesn’t make much difference does it? You know? Who gives one where you’re from? Twats…that’s who. They said what? I can’t see that, no. Like I said, twats. Thanks love.

What’s that you’re drinking? Bit light ain’t that? Huh…

Seats gone…see another? Which? Corner’s not bad, no? well, come on. Honest with you, like it a great deal more. Find it better to be out the way. You’d planted us right in the middle of the room back there – could feel everyone’s eyes on us. Let’s have a bit o’this…

Hmm…sorry? No, no…that weren’t all the dream.

Yeah, so…my parent’s house and this fog. This thick fog, like dense enough that you could hardly see your hand out in front of you. You know? And, it wasn’t bright, but not dark. Somewhere between. Think eerie’s the right word. Is it? Yeah then…it was like that. And just, I moved past the house. I was there, then I weren’t. It was all gone and I could hear the ocean. That faint crashing, you know it in films? It always looks so beautiful. I’ve never been. And maybe I could feel the breeze. It would be powerful, weren’t it? That…presence of the ocean. Just, just a little reminder – you know? That there’s no more land, nothing else. Just those reminders. No, I didn’t see it. I…wish I’d had. Would’ve been beautiful. The curl of the wave. The feeling of it. Would, would have been something.

But, yeah, I kept moving through. Listening to the ocean, that really faint crash – constant, you know? – and, and feeling the breeze. I just kept going. Then I, I then felt someone. Didn’t see them, her – didn’t see her – but knew she were there. Close by. It was, here – right in my chest. And sort of in my throat. Here. A sinking. You know the feeling of an exhale? Yeah, it all felt like that. And she were close by , somewhere in the fog.

I don’t think I’m quite putting it right. Like…if she’d sit down with us, right now, I’d know it were her. I’d…just feel it. Like how I could, you know, feel that she were there. I can look round and say – with complete bloody confidence – that she ain’t here. I can feel it. Her name? No, I don’t know that.

Don’t…don’t you look at me like that. I’m bloody certain you don’t doubt me. I ain’t lying. Thank you. But I’m telling you, she’s completely real. Yes I feel it.

What don’t you get about it? It’s just a feeling, you know? In…well I guess it’s in the heart. Don’t look at me like that. It’s possible. It’s completely possible. You know how many people there are, how many people are about? She could be one of them. Walk up into town, bloody teaming with people. Always teaming with people. Can’t move for people…for God’s sake.

It’s not impossible. Have you got no bloody…sense – sense of joy? Possibility, you know? Think of all the impossible things that have happened, yeah? Remember that little girl, it were in the papers. She’d got washed out, up near Blackpool, and some fishermen hooked her in a week later. All she was was lucid – dazed. She were fine. Yeah…after a week in hospital. But fine. You hear of people surviving plane crashes. I don’t trust the things personally, but it ain’t impossible surviving them going down. No, I ain’t been on one. Wouldn’t want to. But tons of impossible things are possible. Bloody tons.

Just trust me, it’s possible. Completely possible. Don’t doubt me on this. I feel it. One day I’ll see her – the impossible would, absolutely would, happen – and I’ll know. Yeah…huh…that dream would come true. You bloody wait and see. I know it will; I feel it. I feel it.


Daniel S Martin is a writer from the West Midlands, England. An avid reader, Martin enjoys experimenting in his prose work. Alongside these exercises, Martin maintains a blog The Endless Chess Game (

Photo by Wolf Zimmermann on Unsplash

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