After a short hiatus, The Psychology of Dreams 101 is back, as we prepare for the race up to the end, Leah wakes up and discovers that in the waking world, as in the dream world, things are not always what they seem.
What if you got punished when you didn’t get your dreams right? That’s the dilemma our heroin, Leah, and her psychology of dreams teacher, Al. The Psychology of Dreams 101 is a romp into the sexy unconscious as Leah Kent takes a Psychology of Dreams adult education class, only to discover that the required Dream Journal leads to some seriously kinky night journeys.
Chapter 13 Waking Up
Leah woke with the loud gasp of a drowning person desperate for on last breath. Frantically she shoved damp sheets away from her sweat-soaked body and, before her mind could truly focus on what had just happened, she found herself standing naked and trembling by the side of her bed, the bed in which she was blessedly alone.
“Al?” she called cautiously. “Dr. Clyde?” she grabbed up the robe from the peg on the back of the door and wriggled into it. Morning light poured in through the bedroom window still anemic enough that she knew if was early. She stood holding her breath, waiting for either Clyde or Al to burst from the bathroom with a new surprise from the dream world. She stood for another long moment waiting for reality to shift around her as it did in the world of dreams. When it didn’t, she moved cautiously to the bathroom and peed. It was only when she washed her hands at the sink that she realized for the first time in a long time, she wasn’t horny. And then she remembered, she’d killed both of her lovers just before she woke up – pushed them both off the roof of a skyscraper, the same skyscraper Diana had jumped off of in Dr. Clyde’s dream, in the dream he shared with Al. She plopped down on the edge of the tub as the whole dream came rushing back to her.
When she was certain her legs would support her again, she padded to the kitchen and made coffee while she struggled to sort what had been a dream and what had been real, still half expecting the landscape around her to change mid step or Al or Clyde, maybe even both, to pop out of the pantry and inform her that she would have to take her punishment if she wanted to get out of the dream. But why did she need to be punished? She’d done nothing. The two of them might have messed up – well Dr. Clyde certainly had, but she hadn’t. She hadn’t even known them until recent events – whatever the hell recent events were. Was it possible that even her memories of taking Al’s Psychology of Dreams class were just dreams. Jesus! Her head hurt. How could she figure out what was real and what wasn’t? And what if even now she was dreaming?
She made toast and had another cup of coffee with nothing more unusual happening than a text pinged over from her mother to see if they were still on for Sunday lunch. Surely she wouldn’t dream that, would she? Checking back through texts and emails, she found nothing unusual, nothing out of the ordinary, and then she remembered the dream journal. In her bedroom it lay on the nightstand where she always left it. She sat down on the edge of the bed and, with trembling hands, opened it. She opened it, then flipped through it, then turned it upside down and shook it and checked to see if any pages had been torn out. They hadn’t. The dream about the dog in the McDonald’s taking her Big Mac was there. So was the one about the talking snake along with the dream about planting begonias in front of the convenience store. Even the dream about catching Al masturbating in the shower in the men’s locker room was there, though in it she’d not stated specifically who was masturbating in the shower. Surely she could be given that much privacy. Beyond that, however, the journal was empty. There was no message from her unconscious about being beautiful when she dreamed, no message about needing to be punished until she got it right. There was no long dream sequence written while Dr. Clyde slept in the bed next to her. So then, was she to believe that everything until this morning had been just a dream, that she’d gone to bed the night after writing about Al masturbating and then all the rest of the dreams were a result of her following his advice for setting an alarm to help remember dreams? Had it really worked that well? If so, if what she had dreamed was any indication, well she’d just as soon not remember her dreams after all. She shivered at the thought of pushing Dr. Clyde and Al off the roof and watching them fall endlessly.
Still half expecting to open a door and find herself back in the dream, she showered and dressed and drove to the Adult Education Center, driving around the block a couple of times before she got the courage to park and go inside. That made her nearly late for Al’s class. She grabbed the first seat in the back of the room as much as anything because the sight of Al standing behind his desk speaking of the handouts on dream symbolism he had in one arm made her knees weak. Besides that, she suddenly wanted very much to avoid his attention. While a part of her wanted to confront him about her dream experience, to ask questions and find out if maybe he knew what the hell had happened, another part of her hoped never to dream again. She was toying with the idea of dropping the class even. She was here of her own free will. Surely she could leave of her own free will as well. After all, she’d paid for the class, hadn’t she?
As he drew nearer, she held her breath and sat stiffly, trying to hide her nervous trembling. He didn’t seem to notice if she was nervous or not. In fact, he didn’t seem to notice her at all as approached her desk talking to the group about Freud’s view on dreams and symbols as opposed to Jung’s. He gave her the handout without even glancing at her and, just as she released the breath she’d been holding, just when she slumped into the seat with relief, he stopped turned back to her and said in a voice barely more than a whisper. “Leah, you need to see me after class.” He didn’t sound particularly pleased about it.
Her heart bumped in her chest and she wiped sweaty palms on her jeans. She opened her mouth to tell him she couldn’t see him, to lie to him, to tell him she was busy, to make any excuse she could think of, but he didn’t give her the chance. He moved on and kept right on talking about Freud and Jung as he walked back to the front of the class and settled into lecture mode, every once in awhile glancing at her as though he was keeping an eye on her, as though he expected her to misbehave at any moment. That was the only thing that kept her from slipping out the back door and never coming back.
She didn’t hear a word of his lecture; she didn’t hear anything but the beating of her own heart as she pretended to take notes, doodling in the margins of her dream journal. In fact, she thought the class itself might have been a dream when after what seemed like only a few minutes, or possibly an eternity, she heard an impatient clearing of the throat and looked up with a start to find the classroom empty and Al standing over her, hands folded across his chest. “Come with me,” he said without preamble. “My office is just down the hall.” He didn’t wait for her, didn’t look back to see if she was following. She was, of course. She didn’t want to, but she suddenly realized she really did want to know what the hell was going on and he was the only one she knew who could help her find some answers.
At the end of the hall, he opened an unmarked door and motioned her in. It was a tiny space with a small pine desk and a cheap-assed armless office chair. The walls were bare and the desk buried in books and papers. He nodded to a single orange chair in front of the desk. “Sit down. We need to talk.” Before she could comply, he said. “I need to know how the hell you’ve managed to get into my dreams.”
He grabbed a brown leather-bound journal from the detritus on the desk and shoved it at her, then nodded her to open it.
With trembling hands, she opened it to the page marked by the chord bookmark. For a moment, her eyes refused to focus, and when they did, she wished like hell they hadn’t.
You’re beautiful when you dream. You’re beautiful when you dream. You’re beautiful when you dream. Over and over again it was written until it filled half the page and then, the dream began.
I pushed them both over the edge, Al and Dr. Clyde, over the edge to chase Diana, to make their peace with the dead and with the living. Whether or not they’ll wake up, I don’t know. I just know there’s no other way out.
The room tilted around her as though she were suddenly on the deck of a ship and above the sudden flutter of wings in her ears, she heard Al ask again, “how did you get into my dreams, Leah?”