Dreams: An Austin and Elizabeth Story (Part 15)
“I had one of those real dreams last night. You know those dreams where it seems real. I mean really real, like you’re there and you know the people. Dreams that make you feel like it is happening to you RIGHT NOW.”
The dream involved a zombie apocalypse, an air ship sort of air plane, a roughly handsome zombie general who was addicted to prescription pain killers and carried a guitar with him, and a zombie queen. It wasn’t his usual type of dreams. Austin explained his Little Nemo in Hell story as Elizabeth listened.
“They weren’t really zombies in the classic sense, but they had been changed into something else. Like followers in bodies and minds that were connected. Don’t think I’m crazy. It was so real.”
“You’re talking to a Vampire,” she said with just the slightest smile. He thought he could see a bit of fang. “You had a classic Steampunk Zombie dream. It isn’t common but it isn’t that unusual.”
Every guy she ever dated, Regular Human or Zombie had told her about variations on that dream. She knew where it had come from. The ambrotype that held the dream was propped up on a book shelf in her living room.
That is what happens when you are the caretaker of a man who is trapped in an alternate universe within a piece of glass reflecting his image.
Elizabeth kissed Austin. “You should write it down. Really. I’m serious. I’m going to make coffee.” She slid out of the covers and put on a robe. “Coffee sounds good right now.”
It was 3:00 a.m. but she didn’t keep track of time unless she had an appointment. By the time she left the bedroom Austin was already asleep again.
In the kitchen she thought of Austin with his dreams and his warm skin. She turned the burner on under the water kettle and then closed her eyes for a second to think of his touch and the sound of his voice. Almost immediately she opened her eyes again to the sound of heavy breathing.
Her eyes opened. Standing before her was the man in the glass.
“Your man is dreaming of me. Do you know how embarrassing that is?”
“I can’t help it.”
“I’m no walking dead man. Plus I was never addicted to pain killers.”
“I’m well aware of that. Listen, Austin had a dream. Nothing else.”
“I’ve got a hankering to trade places with him. If he was to be in the glass I could…”
“I’ll smash the glass.”
“You’d kill me after all we’ve been through together?”
She lifted her coffee cup up to him and smiled. “Yes, I’d kill you.”
With that he vanished. She put more milk in her coffee and thought about her life a long time ago when she was as warm as the man sleeping in her bed upstairs. There were no Vampires or alternate universes or zombies or ghosts or other things that go bump in the dark. She lived in a world where the only thing one could not see was the face of God. It was a time when no respectable single woman would have a man spend the night. It was time when a Vampire like her would never be falling in love with a mortal man.
Going upstairs she crawled back into bed next to the warm body. Austin held her close and whispered, “I love you,” in her ear.
Elizabeth fought the urge to sink her teeth into his neck. Getting out of bed again she went downstairs again and curled up with a book. The man in the glass followed her with his eyes. Turning the glass portrait around she returned to the book and tried to forget how complicated her life had gotten.