Saturday, April 19, 2008

Chapter 29 ~ The Dream

Photo by
Brendon Stuart

That night I had the dream. Eddy and I were down in his room, the one that belongs to Henry now, beneath the rest of the house. It was dark. We were huddled beneath a blanket. The blanket was gray, or iron blue, rough in texture, like the old blankets my father brought home from the army after World War II. Itchy and tightly woven. Warm but uncomfortable. The opposite of soft...

The dream was set against the back wall of the room, under the stairs, except there weren’t any stairs then. When Eddy had the room, he preferred there not to be any stairs. That way, we could never enter his room without going outside and around the back, through the little door that led to a storage room, and the bigger door that led from the storage room to Eddy’s. He entered it himself through the hole in the floor in a closet-like space off of the kitchen, using his upper body strength to lower himself down until his feet reached a ledge along one wall. Young people could do this, climbing in and out of his room like monkeys. His parents could not.

The condition of stairlessness was the result of an accident. The water heater had broken under the house, flooding the basement room. I had to remove all the furniture, and all the carpet—first ripping it into pieces with a box cutter—and the makeshift spiral staircase which was holding down a section of wet, moldy carpet, all by myself, because Lawrence was consumed at that time with opening a restaurant in Sunnybrae, a restaurant that might mean our financial ruin, or our success, and because our children were young and uncooperative, as suburban children often are, raised without chores or household responsibilities or much respect for their elders.

After I removed everything from the room, and got a new carpet put in, Eddy asked that we not rebuild the stairs. This was an easy request to honor. Lawrence didn’t want to rebuild the stairs anyway. They had been ridiculously hard to build in the first place, requiring multiple attempts to get the angle and rise and curve just right, so that they led from the ceiling to the floor in reasonable increments. Sections had to be built outside and humped through the short doorway before being reassembled in the room. It was a hard job. It was an unpleasant job. It was an expensive job. And when I had to destroy the stairs to get them out of the room, it was an easy decision not to build them again. Besides, I got some strange sort of satisfaction from seeing Eddy pull himself up out of his room each day—from seeing him struggle. He had made our lives difficult in so many ways, on so many days, that this seemed one small recompense, one tiny tip in the balance of the world’s burden off of our backs, onto Ed’s.

So there we were—against the back wall of the room, in my dream, under the not-stairs, behind the hole in the ceiling that Eddy could pull himself through but I could not. I would have to go out the locked door (but did I have the key?), through the musty storage room, into the overgrown backyard and around to the dilapidated back stairs if I wanted to leave.

There was movement beneath the blanket. I couldn’t see our faces. I couldn’t see our limbs. I couldn’t see our bodies or even a tiny patch of skin or any part of either one of us, but I knew what was happening. My point of view in the dream was that of an observer. I wasn’t experiencing the dream from inside my own body. I watched from the middle of the room, transfixed. I saw the movement beneath the blanket—hidden in the dark, against the back wall of the basement room, beneath the no-stairs. And then I saw the movement stop.

One edge of the blanket fell back and I saw my own head emerge, my long, reddish-gold hair. I pulled something from beneath the blanket. It was a dagger, slender like a letter opener, long and silver with a t-shaped hilt, like a tiny sword. The silver was pure, spotless, sparkling in the no-light. The dagger was the most brilliant thing in the room. The blade was close to twelve inches long. I plunged it into Eddy’s stomach.

I had to kill him.

I didn’t feel guilt, or remorse. It was natural. It was necessary. I climbed down off of the shelf (was it some kind of altar?), leaving Eddy’s body beneath the blanket. I held the slender dagger in my hand. There was no blood on it. It was clean and shining, made of precious metal. I walked toward the door. I would look for Henry, next. To be fair, to be merciful, I would kill my younger son immediately, as soon as I saw him, before I had a chance to meet him beneath the blanket. That way he would die as innocent as he had been born; he would enter the gates of heaven unstained...

After I had this dream I awoke in high confusion. “Omigod, Lawrence, I just had the most horrible dream,” I whispered fearfully to my husband.

“Really? What was it?”

“I dreamt I was down in Eddy's room, in bed with him, and then I killed him. Then I went looking for Henry, planning to kill him, too.”

“That’s really twisted,” Lawrence said in a low, seductive voice. “What a pervert.” He turned toward me and put his hand between my thighs.

Come back next Sunday to read the next chapter, or buy a paperback copy of the whole novel HERE.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home