It’s night. Always night. Dreams guard against the evil forged by nightmares. Infinite shooting stars illuminate a moonless sky. A city stands alone, surrounded by a darkened field. On its fringes, a man watches one star separate from the masses and fall. What survives the crash will unveil a secret centuries long hidden.
Molly hasn’t slept well since the night of her twenty-fourth birthday. Being struck by lightning might have something to do with it, but then again, her chicken did look a little undercooked at dinner. Whatever the culprit, her life quickly catapults from mundane to insane as, night after night, Molly is transported through her once dreamless sleep to a mysterious land illuminated by shooting stars.
There she meets the captivating but frustrating Dev, and together they discover Molly possesses a power coveted by his people—the ability to conjure almost anything she desires into existence. Seduced by the possibilities of this gift, Molly shifts her attention from waking life toward the man, the magic, and the world found in her dreams.
But Molly must ask herself—does something truly exist if you only see it when you close your eyes?
Faced with the threat of losing everything—her job, best friend, boyfriend, and most importantly, that little thing called her sanity—Molly will learn just how far she’ll go to uncover what is real and what is merely a figment of her imagination.
I begin to dream of something familiar. I’m floating over a nearly empty field at night. A solitary elm tree rests in the distance. My body’s warm with light, as bright as a star, and I move faster and faster, racing toward the tree. A shock of penetrating, ice-cold water bursts across my skin, and I smack down to the earth. My vision goes dark.
Gradually, I hear movement around me. Feet stepping on grass. The sound of crickets chirping. A soft, cool breeze brushes across my skin. I open my eyes to the sky, my view partially blocked by the leaves of a tree. The part of the sky I can see is streaked with white lights zipping past. I’ve dreamt of this place before. I’ve seen this tree and felt this grass beneath me. I’m so at ease lying in this familiar place. No pain comes from my head here, and I want to stay like this forever.
I’m brought out of my reverie by a girl’s whispers. I chance a look around to see two figures standing at my right, looking down at me. They are both completely dressed in black with some object strapped to each of their backs. One is a girl with almost white-blonde hair and fragile features. From the dark silhouette of her body, I can tell she’s as skinny as a stick. The other figure is a man with short-cropped raven hair and two-day stubble, which, coupled with his attire, allows him to seamlessly camouflage into the dark surroundings. His pale skin is what sets him apart from the backdrop, along with the brightest blue eyes I’ve ever seen.
I stare into them, trying to stir up the memory that is swimming around in my head suggesting I’ve seen them before. All I can currently deduce from the rapid beating of my heart and the tense heat in my belly is that I must find him attractive. And if anyone else were seeing what I’m seeing, I don’t think they would blame me.
The girl next to the shadowed man whispers fervently in his ear as he stands still, arms crossed over his chest, studying me intently.
“It’s a Dreamer,” he finally says, his voice deep and rich. The girl flinches at his volume used but follows suit.
“I see that it’s a Dreamer, Dev. But what is she doing here?” The light, twinkling quality of her voice contradicts the vehemence of her tone. Do they think I can’t hear them?
The girl paces to his other side while gazing at me warily, her blonde locks pushing forward to cast shadows around her face. Even with her features slightly obscured, her beauty is obvious. I begin to wonder if this dream is going to be all about supermodels, which would definitely make it a nightmare.
“I’m not sure. Something must have gotten crossed on the journey to her landscape,” he says while turning his attention to the night sky.
“That’s never happened before. It’s impossible.” The girl puts her hands on her hips in bewilderment and faces him.
Dev—I’m guessing his name—shifts his weight and scratches his stubble-filled chin, regarding me like I’m a car with a flat. “Well, it’s happened now.”
This whole time I’ve kept quiet, and I decide it’s time to say something.
“Excuse me.” I begin to sit up.
Dev stands perfectly still, his face subtly lighting up with curiosity. The girl, on the other hand, takes a step back, steadying herself like she’s about to throttle me.
“Whoa.” I put up my hands, indicating my nonviolent intent. “I’m not going to do anything but stand. Can I do that?” I fix my gaze from one to the other questioningly.
“She can hear us.” The girl tries to whisper sideways through her mouth.
Is she kidding me? “Of course I can hear you! What’s going on? Where am I? Who are you guys?” My numbness upon waking here has quickly evaporated and is replaced instead by slight hysteria.
“Inquisitive, isn’t she?” Dev arches one of his brows in amusement.
I let out a frustrated sigh. “Please stop talking like I’m not right in front of you. Like I said, I can hear you. And I have a name. It’s Molly.”
The girl is about to say something, when Dev puts his hand up to quiet her. “Hi, Molly.” He flashes a lopsided grin. “What’s going on is that you’re dreaming.” He elongates the word dreaming while wiggling his fingers as if he’s telling a spooky story. “Where you are is in your dream. Who we are… Well, we’re obviously figments of your imagination.”
E.J. Mellow is the author behind the NA Contemporary Fantasy trilogy The Dreamland Series. When she’s not busy moonlighting in the realm of make-believe, she can be found doodling, buried in a book (usually this one), or playing video games. Residing in Brooklyn, NY she is a member of Romance Writers of America and their Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter.