The grandfather clock in the corner chimed midnight, the bells striking softly -12 strokes of the vibrating bells. The sounds, themselves, were pretty, but they were not welcome to hear in the empty house. It was mostly dark throughout the place, with the lights doused, but the flames licking up from the logs in the fireplace cast flickering shadows against the walls, and illuminated the face of the room’s sole occupant.
R.L. sat in the chair, facing the flames, watching them dance and cavort in their iron and brick confines. It was like he was hypnotized, except that occasionally, he would turn to look out the window, gazing into into the cold winter night,
Ordinarily, it would be pitch dark outside, but snow softly piled up, the flakes coming down with an inevitability that made the performer shiver. The snow seemed to give off its own luminescence, though it was probably just the yard light that was along the front, making the sparkling white blanket that covered everything outside glitter like it were alive.
R.L couldn’t help drifting into the memories of those days, the ones he spent walking in the snow with him. They kept playing through his mind, especially when they’d held hands that time. They had played, running and sliding through the snow, barely catching the bus at the stop in time.
They’d both been so bold that day, at least for them, but that had ended once that afternoon was over, and the shyness came back. R.L. curled up even tighter under the soft fleece blanket, and sighed deeply. “I am too shy.” He said, as that memory of the hands.. The almost kiss.. The look in his eyes.. “Almost”.
He only wore his white jeans, tight and hip-hugging, but he felt sexy in them, and fit like a second skin. He had a fur stole looped around his neck, a gift from the boy, framing his lean tattooed chest. It felt warm, like his boy was embracing him. Brown silken tresses hid his eyes from any onlooker, if there was one. His hair tumbled over his chest, and down his back with a soft wave.
He shivered under the blanket, his nipples going hard, as if a draft had caressed his skin, and he curled tighter inside the blanket, glancing at the fire, wondering if he should stoke it. But he just didn’t want to leave the warmth of the chair. He sighed again, and lowered his chin to his chest.
Again, the memory. This time, in the memory, the almost kiss was different. R.L. was holding hands with the boy, long black hair half hiding his eyes, but he smiled warmly, invitingly, and somehow, they both kissed – lips pressing to one another, hands squeezing. A soft puff of breath as the snowflakes melted on their cheeks and hair. He had closed his eyes, and R.L. delight and wonderment at the softness of his lips went on and on, until …
“No.. this.. Didn’t happen.. “ He seemed to come out of a doze, the fire was crackling in the fireplace, but was burning lower. “Damnit.. “ he sighed again. A wave of despair seemed to wash through him, as he slid out of the chair to his knees. He shook his head, the brown locks whipping back and forth against his skin, until he stopped and looked up at the ceiling. “Why can’t it have been real?” He said softly, the feelings of heartache and loneliness washing over him.
“Partly because it was a dream, “ the voice said, that of a lower midrange, resonant male, probably in late teens or early 20s by the sound. It was as if the voice had spoken right into R.L.’s right ear and he even felt the warm breath against his ear and cheek.
Starting in shock and surprise, R.L. pushed up from the floor and whipped around, assuming a defensive stance, at least as best as his fogged mind could handle.
Standing by the fireplace, 5 paces away, the young man stood, blue eyes glowing like neon, leaning on the mantle. He looked about 18, with waist length dark hair, and dressed in a black linen jacket and pants that fit him well. He was barefoot, and had blue painted finger and toe nails. The jacket was open, exposing a hairless flat stomach and tattooes that looked like mythic animals, all done in blues, grays and blacks. He had a number of silver piercings – lip, eyebrow, and in his pointed ears. He smiled softly, as he spoke. “Pardon the intrusion.. I just thought I’d step in, before you got any more maudlin. “
“Who the F… “ R.L. started to say, getting angry at the flippant tone of the young man’s voice.
“Now – Tut -tut! Language! Besides, I’m just a dream – you’re still in it, you know.. The dream.. You just jumped up a level. “
“Jumped up.. A level.. What ? “ R.L was exasperated, and he tilted his head and glared at the young man. He squared his shoulders, and started to walk at the intruder, “I want you out of here. “ The tattoos on R.L’s arms seemed to roil like they had come alive, as if getting ready to do battle. When he reached for the boy’s leather-banded wrist, his fingers drifted right through him, like he was grasping at smoke.
“I told you.. You’re still in a dream. But.. “ he said, looking more serious, gazing into R.L.’s eyes, “I can help you make your dreams come true.. “
“What in the hell are you talking about? Who are you, really? And don’t give me that crap about this being ‘just a dream’.” R.L. anger was there, but he felt uncertain. “Grandma warned me about.. Dream Riders. “
“Oh, I’m no common ‘Rider – that’s like calling me a highwayman! A robber of dreams, “ he said with a soft chuckle. “No, I’m more a Guardian Dream Spirit. But since you have inspired so many dreamers.. Well.. I thought I’d try to return the favor. You’re quite special, R.L. And you deserve your own dreams to come true. “
R.L. narrowed his eyes and looked at the Dream spirit, and pursed his lips. He wanted what the dream boy was saying to come true. Gods he so did, but something.. Wasn’t.. Quite right. “And you can just ‘wiggle your fingers’ like a Hogwarts reject and make it come true? “ He sounded uncertain, but oddly hopeful.
“I know you’re hesitant, but think of it this way – if I’m just a dream, you’ll wake up and you can go on moping around, mooning over the chances you missed. But if I’m real – you have a chance here. Let’s go change that together. Because it could be he’s too shy for you.”
Eyeshadow- Zibska ~ Sayuri (Store)
.Reckless. – Fatality (Uber)
Table/Flowers/Moon- Air_Mizukagami (CCB)
Pose: La Jolie Rose – Wild Kid (TFC)