Good evening! We hope you got a chance to enjoy the sun today, and now that it’s getting later and darker (well, almost darker– it will be darker by the time you come in from outside and read this) we have the perfect feature for you. This story is our Editor-in-Chief Amy LeBlanc’s fave pick, and if you came to our launch a few weeks ago you heard an excerpt of it read.
Maddy Robinson, the author of “Dreams of Blue Roses,” is an English undergrad at the UofC who wants a bunch of cats and maybe also a house when she grows up. She likes feather pens, unripe bananas, and indoor plumbing, she loves reading and writing and windy days and finally, run-on sentences. And sentence fragments.
(Note: the ” * ” indicate a really neat progression of the phases of the moon that I, being a techno-peasant, cannot replicate. The first is pictured in the image below. We recommend you check out Issue 21 for full impact)
The Dreamcatcher slid in through the window and sat on the edge of the bed. Melanie slept with the window open, and the breeze stirred thoughts around her room. Hamlet is missing hit the Dreamcatcher first; it smelled like dog. Next was the letter of resignation from the library, effective immediately.
But no Melanie; she did not sleep tonight. Her bed was empty, and swing set in dad’s backyard drifted up from the pillowcase. On her way out, the Dreamcatcher caught staccato details from a grocery list, eggs, detergent, dog food, don’t forget milk.
Outside, the cold November sting. The Dreamcatcher felt nothing, slipping into houses along the street, catching dreams of bumble bees in the rainforest and pinball games and her personal favourite of the night, a dream where everyone was bald. She moved down the street, passing a poster for a missing dog, its corners flipping in the wind.
Floating through Melanie’s window, the Dreamcatcher returned, but she received only stray thoughts from the pile of blankets on the bed: . . . broken sink drain . . . it’s too hot . . . blue roses . . .
The Dreamcatcher experienced too many nightmares to dread reality, but she worried because Melanie worried. Insecurities hung, ugly and silly and she loves me not all braided together. The thoughts gave the Dreamcatcher her own insecurities; it was her job to catch these nightmares, take them away, so Melanie could sleep in peace.
The Dreamcatcher heard a rustle, shuffling upstairs, and she slipped through the door like a needle through felt. She flew up the stairs and settled herself on the far side of Melanie’s couch.
A pot of warm milk steamed away on the stovetop. When the Dreamcatcher flew Melanie heard the sound of fluttering pages, but when she turned she saw nobody in her house, and the Dreamcatcher caught a whiff of unease. She usually liked to spook people. Dreams, like art, were meant to disturb the comforted and comfort the disturbed, though Melanie did not need the disturbance tonight.
Melanie sat on the opposite end of the couch, balancing a mug of milk and her paperback. When she began to nod off the Dreamcatcher moved the mug to the coffee table. And waited.
Nothing. No dreams, no nightmares. The Dreamcatcher felt something floral sweep by, something too alive for autumn, but she could not quite place it. But besides deep breathing, she could sense nothing.
She left before morning.
Melanie had fled the house. The window was shut snug; the Dreamcatcher came in through the wall.
Too many dreams packed the mind, dense, made it impossible to function. The Dreamcatcher would always leave a dream or two for contemplation, food for thought, but this made her nervous. And yet . . . she did not feel a blockage. She could reach into Melanie’s consciousness and swirl it like melted ice cream, but now the bowl was empty. Almost empty. Blue roses . . . Hamlet . . .
Nervousness. When was the last time the Dreamcatcher felt it? She knew Melanie, almost; she liked her dreams the best. Always a grab-bag, always creative. Had the Dreamcatcher spooked her one day, accidentally, making her think the house haunted?
The Dreamcatcher lay in Melanie’s bed and focused. Here she could read the pillow like a novel, thoughts overlapping like pages in a tome, dozens of them, remnants of dreams past. . . . tower with dolphins jumping out of the waves . . . Peter will fire me if I don’t wear black . . . she loves me not . . . thank god she found Hamlet . . . my house is my house but it’s different, we’re on TV . . . blue roses . . . why did the chicken cross the road? To get to grandma’s house . . . That last one had been coming up since childhood. The Dreamcatcher allowed it a cameo some nights, just for nostalgia’s sake. . . . we’re at the carnival and Diana hit the hammer and it made it to the top and she got a big purple balloon for a prize . . .
The Dreamcatcher collected ideas so much so that she forgot what it felt like to have one of her own. But her entire existence rested on intuition; the floral scent from the thoughts caught her attention like a piece of jewellery catching on hair. Like a child tugging at a parent’s clothing. Pay attention to me.
She travelled upstairs with her idea. The fridge meditated a baritone ‘ohm.’ The TV flashed muted pictures that bounced off the wine decanter on the windowsill nearby. A bunch of blue roses poked out of it, flocked by baby’s breath.
The Dreamcatcher could smell the roses, see the smile, feel the laughter. She slipped through the walls of Melanie’s house into the street, following the scent and the feelings with it. Blue roses . . . she loves me not . . . blue roses . . .
People nearby dreamed childish dreams, the banker becoming a romantic, the seamstress becoming a neorealist, the student knowing spiritual reckoning like the toll of a bell. And the Dreamcatcher let them have this night; they would blame it on the full moon in the morning. She followed the trail to an apartment out of her usual jurisdiction, occasionally seeing a blue petal litter the street. . . . she loves me . . . she loves me not . . .
In the apartment Hamlet dozed on the floor. If he were awake he would have seen a figure shimmering like a silver lining in the room, but he dreamed of dancing with rabbits. The Dreamcatcher walked towards the bedroom, silent, and peered inside.
Melanie’s arms haphazardly laced with someone else’s in the bed, a girl the Dreamcatcher recognized from the drafts of a thought. And she definitely dreamed; oh yes, dreamed of wind turbines buzzing in her heart while her and Diana collected frogs on a beach somewhere. She smelled coffee and saw the too-bright petals of blue roses being handed over in a bouquet. She heard a phone ringing, a call to pick up a lost dog. She did not sense, she saw, and smelled, and heard, in a very human way.
The Dreamcatcher could not take Melanie’s dreams simply because they belonged to someone else now. She saw petals on the floor and felt the meaning attached to each one . . . she loves me . . . she loves me not . . . she loves me . . . she loves me not . . . she loves me . . .?
The heartache the Dreamcatcher felt changed her mind. Forget about catching dreams; she needed to paint her own. The wind rustled through the window and the Dreamcatcher knew it was time to go.
She climbed up on the windowsill and flew, morning light cresting the city, birds singing their aubades in their trees. She flew on the updrafts of the wind, catching dreams and leaves and thoughts and a stray blue petal that twirled off the windowsill and into her hand.
Yes, the Dreamcatcher thought, she loves you.