Welcome to Part 9 of The Psychology of Dreams, in which things turn darker still, and Leah’s dreams become harder and harder to navigate.
And yes! The fabulously talented Kev Blisse has worked his magic again with a great cover for The Psychology of Dreams! Thanks Kev! you’re the best!
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.
No, I didn’t dream it, and I’m seriously hoping I don’t get punished like Leah and Al do if I don’t get it quite right, but The Psychology of Dreams did bubble up from somewhere in my unconscious and I had to share it. Since then,the Muse has been back knocking around in my imagination in some pretty unusual ways, and never taking the path I’d expect, but then dreams are like that, aren’t they? Enjoy episode 8!
I have no idea how long this little ditty will be, nor where it will lead, but I’m willing if you are. Please, read and enjoy The Psychology of Dreams 101.
If you’ve missed Episode 8, find it here.
WARNING ADULT CONTENT! It occurred to me halfway through writing this episode of The Psychology of Dreams that this little tale might be a bit of a shock for those who just finished reading In The Flesh. While In The Flesh is dark paranormal romance, The Psychology of Dreams is just raunchy, fun erotica, a bit of light relief after Magda and her Consortium. Be warned, light it may be, but filthy it most certainly is. Enjoy!
A Reminder: Time got away from me this week, so please do remember that The Psychology of Dreams 101 is a work in progress, which means you are viewing the raw story before it’s polished up. That means in some cases it’s rawer in others. But it also means what you’re getting is as close to what’s coming out of my head as it’s possible to get — or as close as you really want to be anyway. 🙂 Enjoy the work as it unfolds.
Chapter 9 Whose Dream is Whose?
“But it was a dream, right?” Leah made no attempt to hide the desperation in her voice. “I mean they might have been in comas, but it was still only a dream.”
For a moment, Al didn’t speak, then he heaved a sigh that sounded like he bore the weight of the world. “Leah, do you have any idea the power dreams have? I mean if I — ”
“What happened,” she cut him off, swallowing back the sudden urge to scream. “Don’t lecture me. This is not your goddamned class. Just tell me what happened.”
“I got Derrick out by convincing him he could do Diana more good if we regrouped and tried to figure this out together. That was a mistake. She wouldn’t let us back in after that.”
“Jesus,” Leah whispered, feeling another wave of vertigo and lying back on the grass until things stopped spinning.
He lay down next to her. “We tried everything we knew – everything, but when it became clear we were helpless, we had to come clean. She was taken to the hospital. We lost our grant. Derrick barely avoided jail. I think he would have preferred to go to jail, actually. Living with the guilt, which was much worse. And the fact that the university let us off easy, covered everything off to protect its own ass didn’t help.” For a moment there was only the tinkling of the stream over the rocks and the whisper of a soft breeze in the fir trees. Leah might have been alone in the place lying there with her eyes clenched shut, wishing she would have never signed up for the damned class. Then Al took a deep breath and continued. “He blamed me for dragging him out of the dream and leaving Diana there. I blamed myself.”
“He shouldn’t have done it to begin with,”
“Hindsight is always better than foresight, isn’t it? Besides, he told me later she’d been hounding him about it for a long time. Diana was fascinated with the work we did. She’d even asked us once about that old wives tale, if a person falls from a high place in the dream world, if they don’t wake up before they hit the bottom, they’ll die. You know what I mean.”
“You think that’s what she was trying to find out?”
“We found out later she was … well she’d suffered from a psychotic break a year before we met her in grad school. She had stopped taking her meds, we found out. No, I think she knew exactly what she was doing, or at least what she was hoping to accomplish. You see, we always took detailed psychological and medical profiles of all of our subjects before we involved them in our work. They were all very carefully screened. But she … well she got to him and, frankly, he would have done anything for her. We both would have. We were both … well we both loved her.” He gave a tight jerk of a shrug. “She chose Derrick. I didn’t know they’d been sleeping together until that night.”
“It must have been a shock.”
He huffed out a jagged breath. “That’s an understatement. I was furious. My first response was to leave them there to be found out and just pretend I knew nothing about it. But it was as much my research as Derrick’s. Derrick was, well Derrick really didn’t need the money. He had an inheritance. I had nothing. I … had nothing.”
“What happened, Al? With Diana, I mean. Did she recover?” Even as she said it she knew the answer to the question with a knot of cold certainty low in her gut.
“She died.” His answer was blunt, unembellished.
In spite of the world spinning harder than ever she forced herself into a sitting position, “Fucking hell, Al, and you took me to this guy to sort out my little dream problem knowing what you knew, and you kept it from me.”
“Leah,” he sat up next to her and, when she tried to stand, but lost her balance, he guided her back down, putting her arm around her and settling her against his shoulder, her with her eyes clenched shut to stop the spinning. When she opened them again at last and took a deep breath, he was studying her. She could feel his intense gaze even in the darkness. “Leah, listen to me. I took you to Derrick because of your dreams, and most especially because of what was written in your dream journal the first time you dreamed about me. He quoted the words from her dream journal almost verbatim. “You look beautiful when you dream. It was a good dream, the kind you don’t want to wake up from. At last, you’re doing it right! You can always tell when you do it right by the way your nipples bead beneath the sheet, by the way your lips turned up at the corners, slightly parted as though waiting to be kissed. Your scent is the scent of dreams well dreamed, luscious and ripe. Well done! Well done!”
“You memorized what was in my dream journal?”
“I didn’t have to. I memorized almost the exact same thing five years ago when Derrick wrote it for Diana, whispered it over and over in her ear until his voice was hoarse, trying to get her to let him back in.”
“What?” Everything in her wanted to run away and even though there was really no place to go, she might have if he hadn’t held her arm in a firm grip. “How the hell can that be?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “But when I saw what you’d written, I knew I had to get you to Derrick, if nothing else to find out if he was getting inside your dream somehow, but he swore to me he wasn’t, that he had no idea what was going on. I, well, I would have told you, but I needed to be sure. And if I’d been wrong it wouldn’t have made any difference and you wouldn’t have had to be dragged into this.”
“I see,” she said, not really seeing at all.
“If I’d been right, then you would have had to know the whole story at some point, though I was hoping it wouldn’t be like this. “
“So why do you think he’s doing this, Dr. Clyde, I mean. Why do you think he’d want to manipulate our dreams? If everything you say is true, then he’s not just some pervert getting his jollies from other people’s sexy dreams.” She was a little surprised at just how calm she felt. The urge to run away had dwindled and she felt removed from it all somehow, rather than totally dropped in the middle of someone’s worst nightmare to be used as their pawn for reasons she was totally unsure of, but hey, life was like that sometimes, wasn’t it, and Al had a hard-on. He’d gone to stroking her thigh with tight circular motions inching his way higher, ever inward as he stroked and, for the past couple of minutes, she’d been unconsciously easing her thighs apart to encourage him. She was as slippery as he was hard, she realized. How the hell could that be when he had just dropped such a bomb? She forced her attention back to his words.
“You look like her, Diana, I mean. Oh it’s not a startling resemblance, not like twins or anything, but something in your mannerisms, your coloring, the way you carry yourself, and dreams, well dreams see detail in a different way. I’m not sure Derrick even noticed the resemblance, but then he wasn’t the one in your dreams, was he?” He broke off and caught his breath, which she realized was coming in desperate little gasps. “You wanna fuck, Leah? Because I’m desperate here, and you doing that only makes matters worse.” He nodded to her chest.
She was surprised to find that she was fondling her breasts. She didn’t remember when she started, but with the discovery, she realized that her whole body tingled with desperate arousal, the same desperate arousal she’d felt when they’d gone to Dr. Clyde’s office in the dream. “Yes, I do wanna fuck, actually.” It did enter her mind as he undid her jeans and slid them down over her hips, as she returned the favor that there was absolutely nothing arousing the situation in which they found themselves, and yet she was horny as hell. He shoved up her blouse and nibbled on her nipples in turn. She’d not taken the time for a bra since he’d been distressed and anxious to get away from her house as though Dr. Clyde might be listening from the water pipes or something. Perhaps he was, for all she knew, but as Al shoved her jeans and panties off onto the grass, she didn’t care. As Al fingered her open and kneed her legs a part to make room for himself, she didn’t even care that he wasn’t using a condom.
It was the insistent ping, ping, ping of the alarm on her cell phone getting louder and louder that brought her back to herself with a little yelp and a jerk that nearly unseated her from the booth at Eddie’s diner. The alarm on her phone was drawing the disapproving stares of the lovers and the waitress, who stood over their table with her hands on her hips.
“I’m sorry! Oh God, I’m so sorry,” Leah gasped.
As she fumbled in her bag for the offending device, Al jerked convulsively into wakefulness from his side of the booth and catapulted to a standing position beside the table with a none-to-subtle, “What the fu …” Color rose to his cheeks as he took in his surroundings and settled back into the booth just as Leah shut off the alarm, still apologizing to the waitress and her fellow diners.
“Is everything all right?” The waitress studied them over the rim of her tortoise shell glasses and nodded down to their breakfasts, which were still steaming. “For a second there, I thought you were dead.” She offered a little laugh that was just this side of being really nervous.
“Fine, everything’s fine,” Leah managed. “I’m so sorry. Studying for exams, you know? Pulled too many late nights with too much caffeine.”
The waitress forced a smile that said she didn’t believe that for one minute, but this was Eddie’s Diner. She probably had actually seen stranger things, though not likely tonight she hadn’t.
They both watched as she returned to the counter, then Leah leaned across her waffles and hissed at Al, “you said we weren’t dreaming. You said this was real.”
“This is real,” he picked up a piece of bacon with his fingers and nibbled at it suspiciously.
“Then what the hell happened?”
“I don’t know.” He shoved the rest of the meat in his mouth and spoke around it. “At some point we were pulled back into your dream.”
“It couldn’t have been my dream. I’ve never been to that campground. My parents never took me camping.”
“Do you really think that matters at this point?” He said, shoveling in a huge bite of eggs. Then he nodded to her plate. “Eat, Leah. Whatever the hell’s going on, visiting the dream world unexpectedly like we just did takes a lot of energy.” And he was right. She was starving.
For a moment, the feeding frenzy took priority and, as they ate, Leah noticed that her head was beginning to clear. “The alarm. It pulled us back, didn’t it? I set it for yesterday. I had a Skype session with a client in another time zone. For me it was the middle of the night. I guess I forgot to delete it.” She reached for her phone to delete the alarm.
“No wait, don’t delete it. Set another one for a half an hour. In fact set it to go off every half hour.” He pulled his phone out. “I’ll do the same, only at the fifteen minute mark of yours. That way even if we are pulled back into the dream, we’ll have a built-in safety every fifteen minutes. As you can see,” he nodded down to their half-empty plates, “we weren’t in the dream but a few minutes and yet it felt much longer. Time runs differently in the dream world.”
As they set the alarms, the lovers paid and made their exit, and there was no one else in the diner. It was too early for the breakfast crowd and too late for the bar crowd. Oh, there might still be the odd rendezvous or someone working really strange hours, even a student or two, but not at the moment, so Al took advantage of the quiet. “Excuse me,” he said to the waitress, as she filled their cups, “but I want to apologize for what just happened and ask,” he shifted nervously and glanced down at his plate, “well could you tell me, did we do anything really embarrassing?”
“Well you didn’t drool or snore if that’s what you mean. It’s just that for a minute there, I couldn’t wake you up. Scared me really. I thought maybe you were on something. Thought I’d have to call the cops, but I’ve seen you both in here before, so then I start thinking that something sinister is going on.” She offered an embarrassed shrug. “You wouldn’t believe some of the strange things that go on at Eddie’s on the graveyard shift,” she gave them a dramatic roll of her eyes, “but then the alarm went off and you both woke up, so I figure no harm no foul as long as you pay the bill and tip the waitress for her efforts.” She offered them a broad smile.
Al dug in his pocket. “Here, I’ll just take care of that now and give you a little peace of mind.” He handed her a wad of bills.
She glanced down at the money and smiled back at him. “Hon, you can sleep in my booth any time.” Then she left as two retired men came through the door and settled at the counter.
For another moment, they shoveled in the food and Leah was just reaching for her last sausage link when it hit her. “Al, you said that the message in my dream journal is the same message that Dr. Clyde used to try and get through to Diana.”
“That’s right, why?”
“Well, what about your message? What exactly did it say?”
He took a slow sip of his coffee and wiped his hands on his napkin, delay tactics, she thought, but at last he spoke. “You have to be punished. It’s the only way you’ll get any relief. Until you take what’s coming to you, there’s no real satisfaction, and no walking away. Stay in the dream.” It’s been recurring since Diana’s death, but then it all but stopped until I met you.”
The room felt suddenly ice cold and gooseflesh climbed Leah’s spine on little barbed feet. “Al, why would you get that message? That message sounds like it’s intended for Dr. Clyde. From Diana.”