Vivid dreams were something Oeric had put up with his entire life. Mostly, they were colorful improbable plays of his imagination. He could be himself or he could be someone or something else. Those were fine. Then there were the visions that came in the form of visitations from those close too him that died. They were just one time occurrence with each person. Those were bearable though slightly disturbing. Then there were the ones he couldn’t stand. The dreams that mixed memory and nightmare.
That night, he dreamed he was in his childhood bedroom, resting in his cot. It was small and stuffy room with a single open window. No cool air flowed through it. The only thing that was allowed the freedom to do so was light. It was red amber like a low-burning campfire. However, it struck him as the color of blood. He became lucid. He knew the pattern of the dream he was having. He was curious what this one was about.
He was an adult and not the young boy of five that he was supposed to be. On the other end of the bed, slept Alacai, his nephew. He was the age was supposed to be. In the dream, he wanted to stay asleep but there were cicadas worried. It was the sound of summer and of thunderstorms. Whenever a storm was coming, the birds would become silent save the cicadas. He was lucid enough at that point to know one was coming.
He heard his name being called. Oeric could have stopped himself from doing so. Wrestle control over the dream and force it to take a different course. However, he could, the dream went on and he walked out.
“Just let him sleep,” he heard his brother’s wife, Fionna say
“He expects her to come pick him up. He needs to know,” said his brother.
Oeric walked into the den in the home where he lived all his life. It was as it was in the present not as it was in the past. In fact, the vase containing the flowers that Saedee had picked earlier that day, were on the table. They stood against everything else before them in his dream that was shadowed.
His brother was standing at the doorway as he always remembered him. He was a tall man. In the dream though, he was the height of a giant. There was a misplaced scowl on his face. He wasn’t as Oeric remembered him in that moment. He was grieved and at the table. There he stood. The dream turned mixing moments. Oeric wasn’t certain what it was blended with. Was he older? If felt like he was older.
“What were you doing, go back to bed,” he stated curtly.
“No,” answered Oeric defiantly.
He heard sobbing in the corner and saw his sister curled up in a ball crying. That wasn’t right either.
“She’s gone, she’s gone,” she said between sobs.
“Who’s gone,” he asked approaching her. His brother then advancing towards him and for no reason at all, the man backhanded him and Oeric was on the ground. He was in dirt. And next thing he was being kicked. Someone was laughing at him as they kicked him over and over again. When they stopped he could move. But when he felt the hand caress and jaw and a voice too deep to belong to Cordea whispered, in his ears. Oeric forced himself awake.
He lay on his side with his heart in his throat. Cordea’s was pressed against his back. She was facing the other way unaware. He preferred it that way. Oeric eased himself out of bed. Usually he would lay there, but this time he used it as an excuse to get up and go to the window to see if it was still there.
“It’s called a comet,” his mother told him long ago.
It was one of the last memories he had of his mother. Everything else about her was fuzzy and gone. However, he remembered spotting the object and tugging on her skirt with is small hand pointing to the sky. The image of the amazing object burned into his mind.
Seeing it suspended in the sky was a bit like meeting an old friend.
“You never age,” he said to the fuzzy glowing object. “We last met when I was five.”
To the unobservant, it was unmoving. However, Oeric was tracking the comet using rooftops and the wall. It was slowly visiting their world before it would vanish again and wouldn’t visit until… well Oeric didn’t want to do the calculations in his head. Likely, he would be dead. He was getting old. He was trying to stop himself from feeling that way. The realization of that fact hit him just a few days ago.
His oldest had written to them to meet this young man she found. He promised himself to her and it was time to meet him. It was completely nontraditional, as he didn’t talk to his parents to match them. They never arranged dinners, lunches, and outings for them to spend time with each other. No, they let Fern discover love on her own. It was easier. They couldn’t guide her from a distance.
The one good thing about it was she was returning home. The young man’s brother and sister were establishing themselves as horse breeders. Fern, joining them in their venture and would be living on a plot of land very close to Grace’s Hope. He would see her more. However, there was going to be a wedding to plan. That meant his estranged sister, her family, and his late brother’s family would be there. That weighed on him a bit since his nephew died. What if he died before he could make amends with them?
“A comet is a sign of change, the good and the bad,”his mother added.
She was right about that. Shortly after they saw the comet, she died.
As he leaned on the windowsill, the blanket on the bed stirred. Cordea must have finally rolled over because he could heard her hands pat the bed followed by a light sigh followed. She got up from their bed and joined him by the window.
“So you’re contemplating fuzzy objects in the sky now,” she said.
He could feel her eyes assessing him. Whatever she had gathered made her place a hand on his back and rubbed it gently.
“So what was the dream about,” she asked.
“The day my mother died. The anniversary is coming up,” he told her. “And a bunch of other bits of memory my mind wanted to dredge up.”
She gently trickled her fingers down his spine to the small of his back. He sighed, wishing he could follow her mood but it was one of those nights where desire was disconnected from him.
“You should go back to bed,” he told her. “I’m going to go out for a walk about back.”
Cordea held him by his waist. “After all these years, you still try to push me way or distance yourself because you think you disappoint me. We don’t have to go the full mile. Just enough relax you. You’re too troubled.”
He gave her a sideways look. “You could’ve married a man who can be easily seduced.”
“I understood what I was getting.”
She did indeed understand only because she had many years to come to an understanding. No one else had even an inkling. He let her walk him back to bed. She put him back off to sleep this time it was dark dream that felt nothing more than a nap. He was woken by knocking on his door. He ignored it. Cordea would get it. It was his week off. There were no patrols, he got to sleep in for at least one day.
He was expecting a message instead, he heard another female voice. One that was familiar and thought he was still dreaming.
“What are you doing here,” stated Cordea tersely.
Oeric slowly eased himself up out of bed and walked on the balls of his feet to the wall where he pressed his ear and listened. He heard a voice he didn’t recognize at first. Until they spoke again.
“I’m in town, so I thought I would speak to Oeric,” said his sister.