And then he was having the dream again.  He dreamt he was bedridden, helpless in an unresponsive body.  His eyes were blurred so he could barely see, and vague shadow people moved quietly around him.  He heard nothing but the slow pulsing of his blood.  He supposed that he was alive but it felt like he was dead for he could not move, he could not speak, and try as he might he could not evoke a response from those he sensed were nearby.  He felt brief changes from time to time:  wet, then dry; cold, then hot; empty, then full.  But none of these sensations were his to control or respond to, and he felt completely helpless and alone.  The dream was everything.

He hated the dream because he knew he was supposed to get up and go fishing with his dad and his best friend Tommy.  They had planned this for weeks, and they were going all the way over the mountain to a new pond his dad had found, and if he didn't get out of bed it would be too late to drive there.  But as much as he tried to move all he could feel was the great weight pressing down upon him.  He wanted to cry.  Tommy would be so disappointed, and he would do anything to please Tommy.

A shape moved over him and the worse part of the dream began.  For a brief few moments he felt intense pain, smelled the awful smell of flesh burning, and heard the same few words:  "I think this one's a goner, too.  But at least he's got a pulse, unlike those poor kids in the back.  Let's cut him out."  In vain he struggled to cry out, to make some sound or signal, but to no avail.  All his efforts seemed blocked, even though he sensed that he was moving, that the light was changing, that his balance was shifting. 

Then, as always, the dream changed suddenly to the other dream.  Sitting beside him in the back seat of the car was his best friend William, whose dad was taking them fishing.  They had planned this for a long time, though they were late getting started and William's dad was angry.  He didn't really care where they went as long as he could be with this boy that he loved.  Right now he was plenty scared, with the car sliding and screaming around these bends;  thank god William was holding his hand. He desperately wanted to tell the boy beside him how he felt about him but he couldn't seem to open his mouth.  

The room was dark again and he knew they'd gone.  Just as he knew they would be back.  He wasn't sure when one dream ended, when the next began.  He only knew that he was going to go through the same dreams again and again.  Would morning never come?  His breath, ragged, rasped in his throat.  If only he could waken.  If only he could stop dreaming



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