The Same Place, Chapter 12: Dreaming

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Published on 15.02.10 09:41 Age: 10 yrs
Category: The Same Place

Letters : 13177 Words : 2371

By: Cedar

Kylie did not go to sleep immediately, but she did eventually drift off to sleep. Her dream was a familiar one-- all too familiar.

Once again, visions of Fisher's Creek came to her in her dreams. It was the same dream she had had the night before, and the night before that, and the night before that. She had been having the every night since she had first come on the walkabout. She was sick of having the dream.

Once again, she was dressed for a news broadcast, and forced to stand aside as a spectator. Being dressed like a reporter was a cruel reminder of the career that had been snatched away from her. Yet she was unable to remove her clothes. Each time she would try to remove her jacket or skirt, another set would take its place. She had been through this all before.

Each night she was forced to replay the incident at Fisher's Creek in her dreams. She was merely a spectator. She could observe her dream, but could not interact with it. Each night, it played out the same way. It was a horrible recreation of a horrible incident from her past.

"Come on, Kylie, let's go swimming," said one of her childhood friends encouragingly.

"NO!" Kylie screamed at the children; at the younger version of herself. "Don't do it!" she shouted, trying to warn her away from reliving the painful memories of the past. It was hopeless. She was a spectator. The kids in her dream could not hear her. Everything was going to play out exactly as it had the night before.

"Oh, I can't" said the 9-year-old Kylie in her dream. "I didn't bring my bathing suit."

"That's okay," said her other friend, "neither did we."

"We'll all go skinny dipping!" her friend replied.

"Oh, I don't know about that," the younger Kylie said with uncertainty.

"Oh, come on Kylie!" her friends protested. "No one's going to come down here. No one's going to see."

"Oh, alright," said young Kylie, who stripped off and joined her friends.

"NO!" protested the older, wiser Kylie. "You're going to get caught! Don't do it!" She tried to dissuade the young kids in her dream from making their mistake. Nothing she said or did changed how the dream played out.

She knew what came next. She hated what came next. Any minute now, there would be the sound of bike horns. With the bike horns, came the older boys, and with the older boys came the insults and the teasing. Kylie braced herself to relive the same horrible memory once again.

She gritted her teeth and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Things were different this time. The boys on their bikes never showed up. The youngsters were allowed to continue their dip in private. This wasn't how things were supposed to happen. This wasn't how things had happened at Fisher's Creek. This wasn't it at all.

As an observer, Kylie watched this alternate reality play out. She was dumbfounded. This wasn't how it had happened.

One by one the kids emerged from the water. Her two friends came out first, followed by the younger version of Kylie. The three of them sat on the grassy bank near the creek to air dry. They all eventually redressed.

"This was fun," said young Kylie. "We should all do this again some time."

Kylie's friends agreed that, yes, they should all do this again some time.

This wasn't how it happened at all...

The young children left, including the younger version of herself, and the older Kylie was left alone staring out at an empty Fisher's Creek, still wearing the outfit of a news reporter. "I don't understand," said Kylie. "This isn't how it happened."

"It's the same place, but not the same way," said a familiar voice.

Even in her dream Kylie could still be surprised. Startled, she leapt with surprise. "Wirinun? What are you doing here?" She had called him Wirinun. She had spoken it automatically.

Mungo stepped forward. He looked different. He was still recognizably Mungo with his dark skin, white hair, and long white beard. His face was painted, with a white paint. He had a horizontal stripe across he brow, and a second horizontal stripe across the bridge of his once. He had two vertical stripes of paint; one on each cheek, and the rest of his face was dotted with smaller dots of paint. And, yes, he was still naked. But something was different. His face looked decades younger. Any sign of age defining wrinkles were not present. He looked young. Kylie had to wonder about him. Was this how she saw Mungo in her dream? Or was this how Mungo saw himself in reality? It was an idealized form of Mungo; true to life, but looking somehow more than a man. It was an avatar.

When he spoke, his voice was deep and powerful. "It's the same place but not the same way."

"I don't understand, Wirinun," said Kylie. In her dream she seemed incapable of calling him 'Mungo.' She called him 'Wirinun.'

"This is how things might've been," Mungo explained. "Ya know how things were, but now ya must decide how things will be."

Kylie did not understand. 'You must decide how things will be.' What did that mean? Did that mean she should take the assistant producer job?

Mungo continued to speak. "I know this dream has been frightenin'. But it's just a dream. It can't hurt ya. You are in control here."

She was in control? "I'm...I'm in control?" she asked unsure of herself.

Mungo nodded in agreement. "You are in control here. Ya can do anythin' you want."

"Anything I want..." Kylie mused. After so many nights of feeling helpless in her dreams, to suddenly regain control seemed almost unbelievable. She decided to test this power. She slowly removed her jacket. She was expecting another jacket to take its place. It did not. "I'm in control," she said more assuredly. "I can do anything I want." She removed her blouse. A new blouse did not materialize. "I want to swim," she said as she began removing the rest of her clothing. "Come join me, Wirinun!"

He said nothing, but followed her as she ran into the still waters of Fisher's Creek. As Kylie submerged herself in the water, she felt a surge of relief; as though years of pent up anger, frustration, and depression were being washed away. From now on, whenever she thought of Fisher's Creek, she would think of this. She had replaced a harmful memory with a positive one.

She joyfully swam about with Mungo, Wirinun, swimming close by. "Hey, Wirinun?"

"Yeah?"

"How did you know about what happened to me at Fisher's Creek?" It was a question she had asked him before. She had asked him this question at the Koala Bares. That seemed like an old memory. How long ago had that been? A year? Two? She couldn't remember exactly.

She did, however, remember his answer. 'A little birdie told me.' Would he answer the same way this time.

"The animals talk to me," Mungo answered. It wasn't the exact same answer he had given her at the Koala Bares, but it was surprisingly similar.

"And what do they tell you Wirinun?"

"They tell me ya lost yer job. They tell me about the Assistant-Producer job, and how yer not sure about it. They told me about yer birthday, and how it made ya sad," there was an unusually heavy sadness in Mungo's voice. "They tell me that you've been sad more than usual these days."

These revelations were amazing. Sure she may have told him about her birthday, but the rest of it? She knew she had not told Mungo about the Assistant-Producer job, or that she had lost her job. How did he know about that? This seemed to blur the lines of what was possible in a dream. Was Mungo's presence the product of her imagination, the product of her dreaming? Or was Mungo able to enter her dreams? The latter seemed impossible, but if he could talk to animals, anything was possible.

"Ya don't need to be sad," said Wirinun. "Ya don't need to be sad about losin' yer job. You're young. You're talented. You'll find yer way."

So did that mean she should take the Assistant-Producer job?

Mungo continued. "The animals wanna talk to ya. Will ya listen?"

"I can't talk to animals, Wirinun," Kylie protested.

"Ya don't need to speak," said Mungo. "The animals wanna talk. Ya need to listen." These were obtuse instructions. What did it mean to listen to the animals? She had been listening to the songs of birds this whole trip, and hadn't heard anything. Mungo continued. "Tomorrow'll be the hardest day yet. You'll be tested, but you'll succeed. Don't doubt yerself, and you'll find the way."

Mungo seemed to slowly vanish. The dream was ending. Yet still Kylie called out, "Wait, Wirinun! Don't go! I still have more questions to ask!" She reached out as if to grab a hold of the vanishing apparition.

Kylie awoke suddenly. She sat upright with her arm outstretched. "Wirinun!" she said aloud, before realizing that she was no longer dreaming. She was awake now.

It had all been a dream, but what a dream it had been. It all seemed so real.

Even though she had not broken out in a sweat during her dream, she was already starting to sweat again. It was awfully hot in the tent. Clearly, things had not cooled down from yesterday. And if it was already this hot, how hot would it be by this afternoon? They would need to start hiking soon to avoid the heat of the afternoon sun. Unfortunately, this meant that she probably would not have breakfast.

"Oh no!" said Kylie as she tried to turn the camera on again. "No, no, no, no, no." Once again the low battery light flashed and the camera turned itself off. "No! No! No! Shit!" That was the end of the batteries. She had no more battery power to capture the return trip. The documentary was ruined. This must have happened when...when she had done her 'monologue' last night. "Shit!" Kylie let loose a string of endless profanities.

Her documentary was ruined. Her magnum opus was ruined. This was supposed to be her triumphant return to the TV news, and, just like her career, it had been cut short. Any good feelings from the dream last night were instantly replaced with feelings of anger and frustration. It was so unfair! Now she was doomed to a life of anonymity as an assistant-producer.

There was nothing more she could do. Her documentary was ruined beyond repair. Well, with any luck, the trip would be over soon as well. She unzipped the front door of the tent. Mungo was probably already awake and ready to go.

Kylie wanted to ask him a few questions, anyway. She wanted to talk to him about her dream; about what it meant. But did he already know about it? No! That was impossible! Wasn't it? And yet it seemed like she was unable to rule out the possibility. Kylie could not convince herself that the Wirinun, er...Mungo, who had been in her dreams last night had been something she made up. Maybe it really was him? No! It couldn't be! Could it? There was no way another person could enter and interact in another person's dream. Such things were scientifically impossible.

As Kylie opened the flap of the tent, she could see Mungo still lying on the ground. So he wasn't awake just yet. Kylie realized that this was the first time she had seen him asleep in the morning. He always seemed to get up much earlier than she did.

He was lying on the ground, sleeping atop leaves and bare pebbles. He couldn't possibly be comfortable like that. Then again, the tent provided just a small layer of canvas between her and the ground, and her sarong was barely even a blanket. If anything, two thin layers of fabric were the only difference between how she slept and how Mungo slept. They may have only been two layers of fabric, but the distinction still seemed quite large.

Enough. They needed to get moving.

As she approached him, Kylie could have sworn that his face was coved with the same pattern of face paint as in her dream last night. She could vividly see the pattern of lines and dots on his face. Yet when she blinked, the pattern vanished. Had it ever been there at all? This only seemed to blur the line between dream and reality. 'Great! The day's barely started and already I'm hallucinating,' Kylie thought to herself. She resolved to eat more, drink more water, and to try and get to sleep earlier.

"Okay, Mungo," said Kylie tapping him gently on the toes. "Time to get going." He did not wake up right away. "Come on, mate, rise and shine," she said tapping him again. Still he did not wake up. "Mungo enough kidding around," she said giving him a bit harder of a shake. "Mungo, are you alright?" she asked. The worry was rising in her voice, and she shook him harder. "...Mungo?"

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