Lucinda woke to a serenade of singing
birds. She was lying on her back in soft grass, facing a sky filled with clouds
and each was a shape she recognized. There was an elephant, a pirate ship and a
smiling face just above her. She giggled with delight as the childhood memories
of searching the clouds for shapes with her little sister flooded in. The sky
was brilliant blue directly in front of her, but when she turned her head to
the sides, she could see deeper into the sky. The blue blended to a vibrant
purple, filled with stars and swirling galaxies. She didn’t understand how she
could see the layers of the atmosphere, but she didn’t care. Lucinda sat up and
looked around her. This place she found herself in was beautiful and shimmered
with light. It was as if an opalescent sheen had been applied to all surfaces.
When she stood up, she realized that she
was next to the center hub of stone walkways, fanning out like legs of an
octopus. She stepped onto one of the walkways and viewed her surroundings. The
landscape was magical in every direction. She suddenly heard a scraping sound
behind her and turned to see a large ostrich with a peacock tail waddling
towards her, positioning its face right in hers. The bird’s face was tan with
huge turquoise eyes framed in lush black eyelashes. The tan feathers blended
into shades of lavender and sky blue, which then blended into deep jewel tones
of the peacock. Lucinda began to feel uncomfortable with the intensity of the
bird’s penetrating stare into her eyes.
“You are in my way, madam, please get out
of the flow of traffic if you are going to dally about.” the bird disdainfully
said with a British accent. He could have moved around her, but it was clear
that he expected her to give him the right-of-way.
Lucinda gasped in shock when she realized
that the bird could talk. She stepped to the right side of the pathway and
allowed the “peatrich,” her name for the mash-up of creatures, to continue past
her, watching the luxurious mixture of jewel tones in the plumage that dragged
behind the bird. Once the intimidating peatrich was a safe distance away, she
allowed herself to relax and actually laughed. She had always loved the face of
an ostrich, especially the soulful eyes, and the beauty of the male peacock’s
tail was one of nature’s breathtaking displays. Had her imagination blended
these two creatures into one for her delight? she thought to herself. The
peatrich turned and faced Lucinda, extending his tail plumage into a massive
fan. He then humpfed at her, appearing to show distain for her presumption that
she had created him, as if he could read her mind. He turned away and
strutted down the path, with his fully extended tail swaying behind him.
Lucinda considered which path to take, and
decided not to follow the peatrich, as he appeared to be rather grumpy and she
didn’t want to aggravate him. She chose the path to her immediate left, which
led to a village off in the distance. It felt like she traveled for hours to
reach the gathering of buildings that were clearly from the Renaissance period.
The quaint homes were made of stone with thatched roofs, and cobblestone paths
ribboned throughout the buildings. The trees were covered in clusters of
delicate lavender and yellow flowers, as well as dusty green moss that dangled
from the branches. Lucinda was startled to see dragons flying above the
village, effortlessly gliding above the treetops, seemingly unaware of her
presence … at first.
As she stepped into the village square,
she saw a large shadow covering her, and when she looked up, a magnificent ebony
dragon hovered above her. The dragon had positioned his head so that one bright
yellow eye could watch her every move. Lucinda felt her heart clench up and her
breathing became rapid and panicked. She could not outrun his flames if he
decided to incinerate her.
The village appeared to be uninhabited and
the understanding that no one could save her created bile that churned in her
stomach. The dragon appeared to give her a knowing leer and she saw his belly
begin to glow until it was bright red with leathery veins of ebony running
through the hot flesh. It reminded her of pictures she had seen of glowing lava
beneath a black cracking charcoal surface. Lucinda dropped down into a crouch
and wrapped herself into a ball, waiting for the searing heat to melt her to
“Ebony, desist or I shall thwart you,” a
deep male voice suddenly bellowed out.
Lucinda looked up in the direction of the
voice and saw a knight dressed in gold armor coming toward her. He shook his
massive jeweled sword threateningly at the dragon that hesitated in his attack,
apparently weighing his choices and the possible outcomes. The dragon slowly
rose; the red fire in his belly cooling into glowing embers.
“Henceforth, she is mine. Any harm comes
to this wench and thou shalt die,” the knight threatened with authority.
A rush of gratitude and relief swept over
Lucinda. She would not die by flames
that would devour her flesh.
The knight reached down his hand and
pulled Lucinda to her feet. He placed his sword in his scabbard and then
removed his helmet. The knight was tall with long blonde hair blowing in the
same breeze that also caressed her skin. Her eyes scanned his beautiful face
and she knew him, she had history with this man, and she felt her face flush
and become a deep shade of crimson when he grinned at her with impossibly
white, perfect teeth. He was her secret heartthrob for as long as she could
remember … the supermodel Fabio. She felt a wave of embarrassment and lust
sweep over her.
The knight took her hand and pressed his
full, warm lips against her skin. She felt the tingles of excitement begin to
build within her. After his enticing kiss, he lifted her hand up to his
shoulder, which pulled her up against him. She could see the intricate carvings
on his gold armor, scrolls and vines twisting and weaving over the surface. Her
eyes focused on his chest and there was an etched heart formed with vines and
flowers. In the center of the heart was her name, Lucinda, clearly engraved in
beautiful script lettering. He was hers and she was his. She slid her tongue
over her lips to moisten them, and then she lifted her face to accept the kiss
that she knew was awaiting her. She closed her eyes and anticipated the
warm softness of his desire.
WAHHH, WAHHH, WAHHH blasted into her
conscious mind through her ears as Fabio burst into a showering of gold
particles. Lucinda ran from the village, onto the path that had led her to her
secret love, trying to locate the source of the obnoxious sound that
interrupted her interlude with Sir Fabio. She found herself at the hub of
paths. How could that be? It had taken her hours to get to the village, and
only moments to return to the hub. Again she heard WAHHH, WAHHH, WAHHH as her
eyes fluttered open.
Lucinda was lying on her back staring at
the ceiling fan that spun in her bedroom. It took her a few moments to realize
that she had actually been dreaming. Lucinda wrapped her arms around herself
and squealed with delight. It had
worked, the doctor was right. Not only had she slept, she had dreamed, a
wonderfully delicious dream that was too quickly interrupted by her alarm.