Week 9 - Novel - Dreams Part III - July 29-August 4

Exactly one terrible day later, where indeed her breath did not prove to be of any importance as she spent her entire time at school in complete silence, Jo returned home. She hated this part of the day, coming home from school, almost as much as she hated being at school. Her mother wouldn’t be home yet for another five or six hours. She was staying later and later at work these days.

In the meantime, Jo felt incredibly alone. She had no friends she could hang out with or even talk to. She’d already read every book in the house three times over. As the final nail in the coffin, mother had requisitioned her computer until she got her grades back up. There was absolutely, positively, nothing for Jo to do.

As much as she griped and despaired about it, she had to admit—the computer thing was working. Even homework was mildly enjoyable when there was actually nothing else to do. She plopped down on the couch in the living room, and quickly finished the modicum of homework she’d been assigned that day. She wasn’t stupid, just hopelessly apathetic, and now that there was no option but to do her homework her grades would be back up soon enough.

In the meantime, however, she was sentenced to what seemed to her a life worse than death. She yawned uncontrollably. At least she was tired, which seemed like a good thing to her now, she mused absentmindedly. A brief reprieve of unconsciousness would rescue her from this unmitigated hell of boredom and despair, she thought, as she drifted to sleep.

This time, Jo found herself in a vast city of stones. Stones that seemed to reached to the sky, as high as the tallest buildings she had ever seen. The stones came in every color and shape and texture—obsidian, marble, emerald, ruby, opal, cylindrical, pyramidal, spherical, conical, jagged, smooth, striated. The roads, too, were paved with assorted stones of all kinds. She gaped, slackjawed. She had never seen so many kinds of stones in her life, let alone arranged into a city like this, at so massive a scale.

Unlike the last dream, she was now surrounded by people. She found herself at what seemed to be an open-air market, with tents and stalls sprawled across an area the size of a football field. People - humans, just like her, she noted - milled about left and right, haggling and bartering over a motley collection of goods.

“Your time here is short, it seems. Still, I am glad you have come again.”

Jo spun around, and saw that the not-dragon was once more present. Elvir stared at her coolly, black eyes betraying no emotion.

“Do you…have a gender?” Jo asked.

Elvir raised an eye in what appeared to be a gesture of surprise or confusion.

“That is what you wish to ask me? Not why you are here, or what this place is, or who I am, or how you came to be here?”

“I figured those are the boring questions you usually get. Plus, I need to know if I should call you a he or a she. That seems pretty important to me before we get going on anything else.“ Jo replied, affecting a manner of being perfectly nonchalant. She wasn’t going to play into his little games. Plus, this was just a dream, so nothing mattered, anyway.

Elvir regarded her for a moment before answering.

“Hmm. I am a he.” he finally replied.

“Got it. Great. I thought so, with your name and the way you talk and all that, but I figured it was polite to ask before assuming, you know? Anyway, it was nice talking to you. I have to run now. Important things to do.” Jo waved to Elvir, and then began walking away. She wasn’t going to let the not-dragon waste all her time again. She wanted to explore this place and meet some other humans for once.

Jo couldn’t help but look past her shoulder as she walked away. Elvir hadn’t moved. She couldn’t be sure, but it seemed like he had a startled look on his face. She felt surprisingly self-satisfied at this. Elvir didn’t look like the kind of guy that was used to being stood up or walked away from.

She passed the stalls quickly. She wanted to spend more time investigating all the eclectic and very interesting looking items being sold, but she still wasn’t entirely sure that Elvir wouldn’t change his mind and come after her. As much as she believed this was a dream, she still maintained a visceral fear of invoking the wrath of a rather dragon-like creature.

Reaching the end of the stalls, she turned a corner, and had to stop again to take in her surroundings. Contrary to her initial impression of the city, or whatever this place was, the megalopolis did not solely consist of overbearingly large stones. Indeed, those now appeared to be the exception. Littered rampantly on each side of the street she now found herself on were rows and rows of stone homes, one or two stories tall at the most.

All around her, people milled about. She noticed, suddenly, that she was drawing a significant number of stares. She blushed, and looked at herself self-consciously. She was still wearing her tea-shirt and jeans, and stood out like a very conspicuously eccentrically sore thumb. Everyone else was wearing what was decidedly rather quaint and medieval-looking clothing, though it struck Jo that she did not in fact know what medieval-looking clothing really looked like, and this could be another case of incorrect dragon pattern matching.

Despite the stares, no one seemed to care enough to stop and question her. Almost no one, that was. As she stood motionless amid the sea of overwhelmingly strange people, paralyzed in her indecision as to what to do next, she noticed two suntanned teenage boys similarly fixated in place, watching her with puzzled curiosity.


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