Some people dream in color, others in black and white. Some never recall their dreams, while others recall them in vivid, haunting detail.
Some believe dreams are psychic housekeepers, tidying our subconscious as we sleep. Others believe they are keys, unlocking a multiverse of otherwise inaccessible worlds.
Write a story in which a dream–or nightmare–plays a central role in the protagonist’s internal and external conflict.
Michele E. Reisinger
Michele is a writer and StoryADay Superstar living in Bucks County, PA, with her family and never enough books. Her short fiction has appeared in Across the Margin, Stories That Need to be Told, Sunspot Literary Journal, Dreamers Creative Writing, and others. Find her online at mereisinger.com.
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20 thoughts on “Day 15- Sweet Stories are Made of Dreams…To Paraphrase the Eurythmics by Michele E. Reisinger”
I produced a brief story today about a woman who has a recurring dream which causes her to question her life choices.
Yesterday’s comment appears to have disappeared, but I was able to complete the prompt by the middle of the day!
May 16 2023 – better late than never
There were two reasons she couldn’t sleep.
First, her body just could not sit still. She was tossing, turning, thinking. Even now, her young mind was preoccupied with the state of the world, the state of her home, the state of her soul.
Secondly, she was tired of waking up tired from all of the terrible dreams she was having. Dreams of Ginna explosions and nuclear fallout creating terrible conditions in her town and having to save her family, get on the school buses out. Dreams of a flood destroying their home and carrying Mommy away. Dreams of an asteroid coming, closer and closer until – HHHHHH she woke up and it was actually a snow plow outside of the window. She wasn’t dead. Her brothers were safely snoring. Her mother, too.
Just then, a terrible howling wind began battering the side of the house. Great, three reasons I can’t sleep, she thought.
She lay there in the cold room all night, staring at the four walls she knew so well. She didn’t like this room. It always felt like someone was watching, waiting in the darkness. Ever since they moved to this house, she had the feeling like…they weren’t alone.
The house sat in the middle of nowhere on five acres of land, one acre for the house and the 2-story garage and above-ground pool. About four acres dedicated to a looming wood that isolated the home from the outside world. A long winding driveway headed from the road, passed the two pine privacy groves, up to the attached one-car garage that was used for storage.
She rustled around, uncomfortable thoughts poking at her. Then, a tingling on the back of her neck. She didn’t know why, but she suddenly felt pulled to look outside. So, she scooched up on her bed to try to look out of the window. Standing at the end of the drive, between the road and the groves, was a dark shadowy figure of a horse.
At first, she didn’t think too much of it. After all, they did live out in the farmlands now. But, its two glowing white eyes were captivating…chilling. She wanted to get a closer look, even as the hair stood up on her arms, tickling her.
She opened her bedroom door and peaked out to make sure no one else was up or around. She didn’t want to get into trouble or have to talk to her stepdad for sure. The coast was clear. She made her way down the first flight of stairs to the landing of the ranch-style home, and opened the front door that led outside to the driveway.
She kept the screen door closed, as if the thin pane of plexiglass would protect her from a charging horse…or something worse. She looked out through it, and the figure was still there. She was staring, trying to see if it was really there. It was just so shadowy, she was doubting her own eyes.
She wasn’t brave…stupid maybe. She opened the door and slowly moved closer, unblinking, staring at the same spot to see if it would disappear. Her anxiety had shown her shadows before. But this was different, unwavering, seemingly solid. That’s when she heard a grunt that reminded her immediately of the horses the ringwraiths ride in her favorite series. Deep and breathy, the sound confirmed she wasn’t dreaming.
Just then, the horse shape bucked and she ran back into the house, stared for a couple more seconds before closing the door and locking it in a panic.
“What were you doing outside?” It was her mother. Phew.
“Nothing, sorry, I just saw something and I wanted to make sure everything was okay,” she said.
“You need to get in bed. You have to get up for school in the morning.”
“Ok, I know, I’m going right now.”
Her mother rolled her eyes a little and headed back to her own room. She went to hers as well.
As she lay in bed, going over the horse shadow with the glowing eyes in her mind, she still could not sleep. She went on her phone to search the web.
“horse shadow glowing scary”
She whispered aloud to herself and the room as if it was a friend to comfort her: “Beware! The dark horse figure with the glowing eyes is a negative entity. It may seem like a nice horse by a river or a ditch. Targeting children but open to any victims, you must stay away! If you get on the horse, it will drag you into the nearest body of water and drown you.”
Okay…she thought. Four reasons I CANNOT SLEEP.
I’ve been writing every day, but not always remembering to get here. =)
Yesterday was a hefty 1,879 words – my longest of the month, so far. Today was a drabble – 100 words of conversation, where a human wife is blaming her very confused Vulcan husband for an infidelity he committed – in her dreams!
Wrote it first thing after a nap. Y’know – Writing Research! =)
I’m proud of myself for writing today! It was a tough one, I didn’t find time until almost the end of the day, with a long bike ride home still ahead of me. But it’s the 15th! And as Julie said in a comment recently, if you can make it to the 15th, you can do the whole month. (I have missed some days, but if that’s all the more I miss, I’ll still be doing well!)
It ended up being a really interesting meander through the prologue of a story (which I “finished” in outline form at the end). It was a letter from someone with hermit-y tendencies, to the person they retreated from society for having wronged, about how they’d dreamed of them the night before and the leftover feeling helped them decide to start trying to be a friend to people again. But most of what I wrote was them musing about brains and how they help us out with dreams sometimes, waffling before getting to the emotional part of the letter. It was fun writing their voice, anyhow!
Day 15 completed ✔️! Yay!
I had an idea for a story, but it didn’t come together as I hoped. It’s about a woman who dreams about her childhood home. She sees the house and walks towards it, but no matter how long she walks, she can’t get to the house.
Day 15 in the books!
Day 15 ✔️
“I keep having the same dream,” she told her friend Sasha when they met up for coffee on Saturday.
“I’m walking slightly uphill, heading off on a trail I think I’ve been before, but then it doesn’t look familiar, “Traci said, taking a sip of her coffee. “Is this coffee worth $7?” She suddenly asks.
“I think they have to charge for the ambience,” Sasha said.
“It is nice here, all right,” Traci agreed, looking around at the beautiful flowering plants out here on the patio. “Well, in my dream I walk for a while, there’s open, rocky space, sometimes I have to climb over rocks, there are trees, bushes, it looks familiar, but then it doesn’t.” She sat and thought for a minute. “Then I feel lost. There are, I think, three trails to choose from. I start to worry if I’ll find my way home and chastise myself for even starting out.”
“Scary,” Sasha said. “Do you make it back before the dream ends?”
“Yes,” Traci says. “Well, not exactly back home, but to a trail that looks familiar. I know I’ll make it back home. In the dreams I always tell myself I shouldn’t have wandered so far out.”
I wonder what it means,” Sasha said. “I never dream, you know.”
“Maybe you just don’t remember your dreams?”
“That’s possible but I wouldn’t know,” Sasha said.
After coffee they went their separate ways, Sasha had errands to do and Traci needed to clean her apartment.
At home, Traci thought about her past, the fact that she was getting older, what she was doing with her life, as she went around emptying the trash, vacuuming, changing sheets. She thought she was doing fine now, with her job, her nice apartment, she wasn’t rich but she made enough to cover expenses. But she needed more and was afraid to venture out into unfamiliar territory. She might not succeed. She might get lost.
Nice one, Valerie. Please keep writing more and sharing. Best wishes.
Rathin, thank you!!! So glad you liked it.
I wrote a 650 word sci-fi horror story. It has potential to be fleshed out a bit more. I might save this one for later 🙂
A meandering start to a story about a person participating in a realistic dreaming experiment. Virtual reality in dreamscape. She wants to talk to some people from her past who are now dead. Not finished yet, but I came, I wrote and I will conquer (eventually). Happy almost halfway, everyone!
Victory dance! An actual draft of a flash piece, just under 1,000 words. Beginning, middle, and end all present. Conflict and character development, check. Good enough for anyone else to see, absolutely not, but that’s ok. It was a coming of age story, in which that dream about a familiar house where you keep opening doors onto new rooms helps the MC decide to take the next step toward being an adult.
My story ended up rather short too. 191 words. Kind of a quick and hazy delve into a moment of a character dreaming while still grieving the loss of her grandmother.
This was a quick one. I ended up writing a drabble(it was actually 104 words, so I adjusted until it was exactly 100), and it only took me about 10 minutes. This is sort of a continuation of yesterday’s story. In Muiren’s POV, when she’s still trying to find her spouse and children. The last line(after she wakes from a dream):
Her family was in danger. She had to find them.
This was a short one again, about 400 words. My character turned into Rapunzel in her dream. Her boyfriend turned out to be the witch who locked her up in the tower. In the end, she hears the sound of hooves in the distance. After she wakes up, she smiles, trying to imagine her boyfriend as a prince from a fairytale. He was a much better witch, she thinks.
Sometimes dreams tell us quite bluntly what’s wrong and we still don’t get it.
This wasn’t a masterpiece of a story, but a little exercise in foreshadowing.
Now back to my novel, I want to take another look at how my character feels at different stages of the story, and dreams are certainly a away to do so.
Some Dreams Die Hard
Anik felt sorry for his sister, Adwiti. She was past seventy-two, infirm, sitting on the edge of the bed, unsure of what to do. She had her hands on her knees.
“Get ready, Anik. We’re getting late.” His spouse tried to hurry him up. He looked her daggers in the eye. How could she be so uncivilized? Didn’t she have the common sense that they couldn’t have left Sister like that? Didn’t she have any feelings for his sister at all?
Anik pulled the pillow closer to his head and was back in his subconscious. That day they were visiting his Adwiti’s residence at Salt Lake. She lived there all by herself, at the mercy of two paid nurses working in an eight-hour-shift each. Luckily, Asim, Anik’s elder brother had come up from Australia with his wife and had been staying at their sister’s. The bad news was, and that was why Anik was there at her residence, that while travelling by plane, Asim, travelling against the doctor’s advice, suffered a series of heart attacks.
By the time, they reached Adwiti’s, it was around eight in the morning. Asim and she were in the drawing room.
“Where is Baudi (sister-in-law)?” Anik asked.
“She has gone out for her morning walk and to get some medicine from the druggist nearby.” Asim replied apprehensively.
He looked tired after a while and retired to the bed room. Adwiti got up to prepare tea for Anik and his wife,Shilpa. No sooner had Sister got into the kitchen, there was a knock on the door. Shilpa, who was coming out of the kitchen, her request for helping Adwiti having been flatly turned down, walked across to the door. Anik was in for a rude shock the next moment.
Ester, their elder sister-in-law, who was back, was standing at the door. She started screaming at Shilpa as soon as the door was opened. She was directly blaming Shilpa for the mishap that had happened to Asim on his way to Kol.
“You requested him to come up to Kol when you knew about the Doc’s warning…” She hissed at Shilpa like she had a score to settle with Anik and Shilp.
Anik, sitting on the bamboo armchair, kept his head buried in the magazine in his hands. He felt sorry for his wife. He couldn’t recall a single instance where someone in his family, said something nice or in support of the poor girl.
Having vented out her frustrations on Shilpa, Ester retired to the bed room, still fuming. Hardly had she gone in when Asim came out and sat heavily down on the chair at the dining table near the door.
Asim lowered his head in his upraised hands on the dining table before whispering : I always told Ester to deal fair and square with the people close to me..” He left the sentence incomplete and started shaking his head vehemently.
Later, when things had quietened down a bit, Ester came out with a letter in her hand. She put it forward to Anik, “Have a look at what our family physician had to say about him (Asim) trying to travel by flights any more.”
Anik didn’t even look up at his sister-in-law and slowly took the letter, his head still buried in the magazine. The name of one Dr.Chang at the bottom caught his attention first. The gist of the letter was that, considering Asim’s present state ( he had been diagnosed with dementia), it was best for him not to travel by plane again.
Why was Ester showing that letter to him? Was she feeling guilty for the way she had treated Shilpa earlier? Besides, he himself could have easily asked his family physician write a letter like that had he started worrying about his spouse’s health. Anyway, Anik took a drastic decision at that moment. If Ester was trying to imply that he and his wife (Shilpa, Could you believe it? The two of them who loved elder bro, Asim to distraction?) were the reason for Asim having suffered those attacks of a stroke, he would never ever talk to Asim again, let alone his family members, no matter what.
That day, while they were coming out of Adwiti’s residence, she cut a pathetic figure standing on the top of the steps near the main gate of her house. She looked tired of Life’s Battles, confused and pained as well.
Anik turned over to the wall and was heard snoring a few minutes later. The unfinished dream came back to haunt him almost immediately………
Anik and Shilpa had left Sister sitting like that, looking all confused and forlorn, on the bed. Next, he could see them travelling by bus. As both Anik and Shilpa couldn’t find any empty seats, they both were standing, their hands on the support rod over their heads.
Then all on a sudden, there was a great noise, and Anik found Shilpa pushing past him to one of the windows on the left. She had her head craned out to catch a glimpse of something. Anik turned around to the nearest window and followed her example. The bus, by then, had reached near Don Bosco school on the right. In a corner on the left opposite Don Bosco, inbetween the railinged walls of the Park Circus Maidan and the road, there was a heap of dead bodies, all wrapped in colourful clothes, scattered around the heap.
On getting up that morning, Anik shared the horrid dream the first thing with Shilpa.
“I’ve a premonition that something bad is going to happen today. Those corpses in a heap…” It was too painful for Anik to try to recollect the dream, nay, the nightmare.
Whole morning, he felt like he had a heavy weight on his chest. Whenever he had a minute or two to spare, the sight of the corpses, wrapped in colourful clothes, came to haunt him.
“What may be the meaning of the dream? Why were there so many dead bodies? That area in Darga Road is not that disturbed an area like it used to be in days gone by. In the pre-independence days, very often there were communal riots between the Hindus and the Muslims. He had heard stories of how one community would butcher the members of another and throw the cut-to-pieces bodies down the drains. The very thought of it, gave Anik the goosebumps.
Was the dream trying to forebode a message to him of a communal fighting or something like that?
Whole day, Anik couldn’t get the dream out of his mind. He thought and rethought over it but couldn’t come to any definite conclusion. He was feeling somewhat relieved by the evening, knowing that dreams were dreams only and had very little to do with reality, when his mobile started ringing ominously.
Ominiously because as it kept on ringing, Anik couldn’t, for the life of him, find his mobile anywhere. Finally, he unearthed it from underneath his pillow.
“Hellow,” he spoke into the phone.
There was a silence on the other end. It took Anik a few seconds to realise that the person calling him at the other end, was hesitating.
“Yes? Can you tell me who’s calling?” He went on repeating the question a couple times more before Rina, the estranged, widowed daughter-in-law of his Adwiti, told him that she (Adwiti) had passed away in her sleep in the early hours of the morning. They were not going to wait for long for all the relatives to assemble and taking the body direct to the Keoratala Crematorium. Anik might join them there if he so desired.
Then the line went dead. Anik was stunned by the abruptness of the news. Besides, the fact that Rina, the widowed daughter-in-law, who never bothered much about his sister, was calling to break the news to him, was something too difficult to digest for him. Anyway, he and Shilpa were out on the street hailing a taxi within the next ten minutes.
As they stepped inside the enclosed area of the Crematorium with the electric chullis (pyres), they found Adwiti’s lined up in a row. The air was poignant as there were not many to shed tears for his aged, deceased sister. Anik placed the wreath over her body. The serene face of his sister in eternal sleep, the maddening scent of the incense sticks drove Shipa, covering her nose with her hand, out of the enclosed area. As Anik persued her outside, he heard a shrill cry outside.
There were at least some ten-twelve fresh dead bodies being brought in. Some of them were of young girls wrapped in colourful dresses, the bottom of their feet painted in alta, a kind of red dye applied to the hands of spinsters and married woman.
He heard a passer-by remark that a building in Darga Road had collapsed earlier in the day killing all of its sixteen inhabitants almost instantaneously.
Anik felt his stomach churn as the nightmarish dream came back to him again. He scurried towards the washroom in a desperate rush to throw up and relieve himself.
(Please let me know if you think that my story is prompt-based and makes sense.)
Reply to Rathin: Prompt-based and makes sense, yes.