Book of Dream, Second Edition
Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories
Victor D. López
Copyright 1976-2012 by Victor D. López
No portion of this copyrighted book may be copied, posted, transmitted or otherwise used in any form without the express written consent of the author.
About the Author
Victor D. López is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies in Business at Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from St. John’s University School of Law and is a member of the New York State Bar, New York State Bar Association, The Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB) and the North East Academy of Legal Studies in Business (NEALSB). He has been an academic for more than 25 years and, prior to joining the Hofstra University faculty, served as a tenured Professor of Business, as Dean of Business and Business Information Technologies, and as Academic Dean in urban, suburban and rural public and private academic institutions.
Professor López is the author of several textbooks and trade books and has written poetry and fiction throughout most of his life, some of which has been publishes in anthologies and literary magazines.
- Of Pain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems (Printed through Kindle Book Publishing and CreateSpace, Summer 2011)
- Intellectual Property Law: A Practical Guide to Copyrights, Patents, Trademarks and Trade Secrets (Printed through Kindle Book Publishing and CreateSpace, Summer 2011)
- Business Law: An Introduction 2e, Textbook Media, 2011. (text, test bank, and instructor’s manual) Available at http://www.textbookmedia.com
- Business Law and the Legal Environment of Business 2e, Textbook Media 2010. (text, test bank, and instructor’s manual) Available at http://www.textbookmedia.com
- Free and Low Cost Software for the PC, McFarland & Company 2000.
- Legal Environment of Business, Prentice Hall 1997. (text, test bank and instructor’s resource manual)
- Case and Resource Material for the Legal Environment of Business, Prentice Hall 1997.
- Business Law: An Introduction, Richard D. Irwin/Mirror Press 1993. (text, test bank and instructor’s resource manual)
- Free and User Supported Software for the IBM PC: A Resource Guide for Libraries and Individuals, McFarland & Company 1990. (coauthored with Kenneth J. Ansley)
For Claude, Cathy, Andy and Christina Morell, with love and gratitude for a lifetime of friendship
Table of Contents
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
I am not insane, of that fact I’m certain. It matters little that nobody reading this will believe me. Frankly, I don’t much care. My death will be hardly noticed. I’m not even sure why I’m writing this; ostensibly it is to leave a warning, some vital information which is quite valuable‑‑if it is believed. But I guess it is also out of a childish need for reassurance that I leave this testimonial. I suppose I’d pray if I believed in God. How comforting that would be, to simply go to bed, close my eyes and put everything in the hands of some benevolent deity. If only I still had even the illusion of hope.
No matter. I just want to make it clear: I am sober, lucid and drug free, facts the blood and urine tests that will doubtless be performed on me post mortem will clearly verify. And I hope this letter will convince you that no illness or natural cause can explain my condition‑‑that the coma I’m sure to lapse into as soon as I am no longer able to remain awake has no physiological cause and is not rooted in some infirmity. Please, please believe that; the hope that you may is the only remaining source of comfort in these waning moments of my life.
I’m sorry if I ramble; I’ll try to be concise. I’m so damned tired, though; I’ve not slept in twenty days. That’s ironic. It’s a new record. Nobody’s been able to stay awake that long before‑‑others who’ve tried cracked in little more than a week. But then, their lives did not hang in the balance between sleep and wakefulness. In any case, it will end soon.
But to the point. It all started just over a month ago. I mean the nightmares‑‑at least that’s what they seemed to be at first. God, it felt good to wake up the first few times and know it was only a dream. I never fully appreciated the absolute bliss that awakening from a bad dream brings in its delectable deliverance from the unimaginable inner horrors of the sleeping mind; there is no pleasure quite like being rent up from the bowels of hell, squeezed up through the narrow, shimmering tunnel of our emerging consciousness to a rebirth in the warm safety of a familiar bed, the light of a new day pushing nightmarish images back into the shadows of the subconscious mind, calming the frenzied hammering in our chest back to blissful quiescence. It had never occurred to me to be thankful at such times before, or even to revel in the delicious feeling of dissipating tension as fear fades, its effects lingering in the awakening consciousness, with adrenaline still pumping and the heart pounding in a chest seemingly too small to contain it. I’d gladly sell my soul, had I one to sell, to experience that indescribable relief once more.
As I said, it appeared to me about a month ago that something was really wrong. I’d had nightmares before, of course, but not like this one. It was so devastatingly real that it took me quite some time to shake it off upon awakening. And it returned the following night, and every night thereafter until I stopped going to sleep after nearly a dozen repeat performances, when it became clear that the inhabitants of my dreams intended to take over my consciousness.
I know how that sounds; I’m not yet quite past the point of reason. I would also dismiss anyone making such a ridiculous statement immediately. But then, when you read this you will have some objective proof‑‑my comatose body. Please keep an open mind.
The nightmares I speak of were recurring, but not repetitive, as if some sort of continuing drama were being played out in my head every night. I don’t want to digress further by giving endless detail. The gist of it is as follows. I am held captive in a windowless, doorless cubicle that constantly changes in size to accommodate the beings who visit me there. I am unable to move and find myself sitting, in a reclined position or lying down, depending on the whim of my captors.
My captors, by the way, are not “nightmarish” creatures; they are for the most part quite human. I can recognize some of the languages they speak‑‑German, Spanish, Catalan, Galician and Italian, among some others I cannot place. They visit me at will, materializing individually and in groups into my little cubicle which expands as needed to encompass them. Some are dressed in almost contemporary garb, others in anachronistic styles and a few sport only a thick pelt of hair over muscular torsos and look more like gorillas than human beings.
The first two nights of my recurring dream, I’d merely spent watching a seemingly endless parade of human and nearly human forms that came to observe me, sometimes caressing, poking or pushing my motionless body as if to reassure themselves of my existence. On the third night, a group approached me and, after discussing me at length among themselves in various languages, one of its members addressed me in Spanish, my native tongue. My questioner identified himself as a Spaniard, yet his version of Spanish was unlike any variant spoken in any region of contemporary Spain. Nor did it bear a resemblance to the many, easily identifiable variants spoken in modern day South and Central America. He questioned me on politics, science, philosophy, and aesthetics. I had to answer; I was not coerced in any way, but I felt a compulsion as though I were under a hypnotic trance, while remaining fully conscious and alert.
The same thing went on for the following two nights: the group questioned me, with the same questioner acting as interpreter. By then I began to have a notion as to the purpose for their queries. From the questions they asked, and from what I could pick up from the discussions they held amongst themselves—at least the ones I could understand in English, Spanish or Galician, I theorize that these beings have lived before. Some part of that which made them unique as individuals apparently remains imprinted in a collective consciousness that is encoded into my subconscious mind, perhaps imprinted in my genetic code itself. I know that makes little sense, but it is nevertheless true. I have untold numbers of past consciousnesses living within me, normally subjugated to my conscious mind, yet nevertheless ever-present and self-aware.
That’s what scares the hell out of me, even now when little matters; in a way, I am thousands, perhaps millions of different people. They, or perhaps more accurately we, coexist and are only marginally aware of each other. Physically, they probably inhabit the major part of our brain, perhaps as large as 90 percent, for which science cannot divine specific use. There is an apparent line of demarcation separating the two‑‑a zone we cannot normally cross. Perhaps this is part of the instinct for self-preservation; without it, we’d go insane. In my case, my partners-in-self broke through in a manner I can’t understand, much less articulate. But I know that they managed to bend the rules, not break them; whatever kink in my psychic armor allowed them through does so only at the level of the subconscious, when my defenses are lowered. They can’t reach me in a state of wakefulness, although I sometimes feel them reaching out when my mind wanders or when I feel myself drifting off into sleep. The separation between the two minds seems clear from my counterparts’ intense interest in, and lack of knowledge about, matters with which I am intimately familiar, such as current events.
Perhaps that is the reason for our need to sleep‑‑a sort of tradeoff to the others within us. The subconscious, from my experience, seems to function on the level of memory. It can allow its inhabitants only an imperfect sense of self, and then only when it is able to function over the watchful eye of the conscious mind. It’s common knowledge that there is no scientific explanation for our need to sleep. Yet I’ve always needed more sleep than most; perhaps that is because my subconscious mind is stronger than the norm, and my conscious mind is proportionately weaker. In that way, my subconscious demands a greater portion of time in which to assume an active role in our mind-sharing relationship.
My experience also gives me some insight into what makes certain people very creative, and why there seems to be a notable correlation between high levels of creativity and mental instability. Highly creative people tend to be less stable than the norm; they appear to be more susceptible to mental illness and addictive disorders. Perhaps the reason is that a strong subconscious allows them access to a sort of collaborative effort as they share the input of consciousnesses not their own. But that is a dangerous and equivocal communion. A thin line separates genius and madness, and I feel certain from what I’ve seen of the others within me that there are forces of both good and evil, the best and worst of all who’ve lived before seems represented. The effect is that the extremes cancel each other out and a sort of ethical nihilism seems to prevail and guide the processes of that huge mind pool. The sense of self, however, is strong within the individual parts that form the whole, and seeks an outlet.
Therein lies the greatest danger, and there the root of my undoing.
[*****END OF PREVIEW # 2*****]
This short story is one of eight short stories in Book of Dreams 2nd Edition and has also been reprinted as a stand-alone short sot for the Kindle reader. You can view additional information about each by clicking on the book covers below. For additional information about other titles currently available through Amazon, you can visit my author’s page by clicking here. Thank you for visiting this page and for your interest in my short fiction.