Thoughts at Twilight

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When I was a kid, my dreams were often filled with visions of cartoon characters of my favorite shows, make-believe adventures with my closest friends and my brother, fantasies of strange creatures and the ever familiar flying experience. I looked forward to sleep in my youth. Sure I had to contend with nightmares every once in awhile but, by and large, my dreams were a place of happiness.

As I grew up, life became complicated by my life-choices. Along the way, I think I lost that childhood innocence of dreaming. Oh I still dreamed, but the visions took on a materialistic turn. Where fantastic creatures and unbelievable companions once reigned, now desires for fancy houses, beautiful cars, stacks of money piles and 24/7 parties took over. The world’s influences rearranged then corrupted my fantasies.

Lately, I miss the innocence of those fantastic dreams. Part of the beauty of writing Paraclete’s Promise, was the return to that make-believe world; bringing outlandish adventures to life through Timothy’s dreams was like revisiting an old friend. The cares of adulting, the pressures of professional performance; the worries of debt all seemed to melt away while journeying with Timothy. The dreams were once again whimsical and fun; frightening but wonderful at the same time. And I always seemed to awaken refreshed. Ready to take on a new day.

I think it’s time to revisit those dreams again. Set aside the worries and cares of the world for just a few hours of reality, in exchange for the timeless journeys of the fantastic. I want to remember what it’s like to dream amazing stories, and wake ready to share them with the world.

I think a story’s coming…

Look at the Time

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Covering my ears, with my palms, I squeezed until my head ached. My eyes were shut so tight, I thought they might actually burst through the back of my skull. Then I screamed until the sound of my own voice drowned out the cacophony around me. I screamed until my voice went hoarse. Then I fell unconscious.

When I came to, distance explosions, falling debris, and scraping metal brought me back to a reality I wished desperately to escape from. My eyes opened to a red sky littered with dark clouds and thick concrete ash. The total carnage was endless. Buildings, once stoic and majestic structures that defined the downtown skyline, now lay in utter ruin. The Ambassador Bridge spanning the Canadian to Detroit borders had been severed. Its suspension cables dangled from the remains of the two support pillars on either bank. And everywhere I looked, there were bodies; lifeless and charred.

“I’m dead. I have to be dead. This is a dream.”

“Neither,” a deep voice boomed behind me.

I jerked ‘round, and saw him staring at me with eyes blazing like white fire.

“Gabriel?”

“Yes.”

He was massive! Standing at least twelve-feet tall, his proportions were larger than those of an ordinary man. Gabriel’s square chin leveled as he looked out beyond the devastation. His muscled bare chest expanded as he sighed. Then, his gaze fell back on me.

“You did this, son of Adam. This destruction came by the hands of man.”

“What…I don’t understand? What happened? Am I home? And how is it that I know who you are?” My thoughts were incoherent. I couldn’t catch a breath of fresh air. “What is happening to me?”

Gabriel shook his tree-trunk sized muscular arms. Brilliant white light exploded behind him, fanning out and transforming into vibrant yellow and red fringed wings. He reached down toward me. Instinctively, I rested both hands inside his huge left palm. In an instant, we were soaring above the Detroit River, looking down on the ruins of a once pristine downtown landscape.

“Gabriel, what-”

He pointed south. “There.”

A flash of blinding light far off into the distance. An orange mushroom shaped cloud rising from below.

“God no,” I whimpered.

“The light of atom,” he said, cradling me in the crook of his arm as we flew toward the cloud.

“World War III?”

“Yes.”

“I have to be dreaming. This can’t be.”

“You are not, son of Adam. The visions are not dreams.”

“You’re saying this will happen, Gabriel?”

“As it is written by the one He loved.”

“This…is a glimpse into the future?”

“As it is written, ‘your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.’ Look at the time, son of Adam. The hour is near.”

Gabriel cocked his huge arm backward, then hurled me toward the earth. I streaked through clouds, headed toward the base of the mushroom cloud. Below, I could see a rippling ring of concussive fire spreading out, destroying everything in its path. There was nothing I could do to stop my descent, except tuck and brace.

“Look at the time, son of Adam,” Gabriel’s voice boomed again.

I shut my eyes and prayed that the afterlife would be pleasant. God knows I don’t deserve it.


“Then what happened,” doctor Spilner asked.

“I opened my eyes, here; in your office.” Daniel said.

Doctor Spilner and Grace exchanged a puzzled look.

“This is a regular occurrence, Mrs. King?”

“Lately, his dreams have been a bit more…extravagant,” Grace said. “Of course, he’s been prone to have a full night’s sleep also.”

“How long was I out?” Daniel asked.

Doctor Spilner and Grace exchanged another glance.

“C’mon, talk to me! How long was I under?”

Doctor Spliner cleared his throat. “Seven minutes, Daniel. You were officially in REM sleep for seven minutes.”

An awkward silence settled over the tiny office. It was suddenly shattered by the screech of the doctor’s wrist watch alarm.

“Oh my, look at the time. I would suggest we reschedule for another session, Mr. and Mrs. King. Something fascinating is happening with you Daniel.”

Doctor Spilner saw them out, to the parking lot. The ride home was an especially quiet one.

“Honey, what’s wrong? You’re in your own little world.”

“He said, ‘Look at the time.’”

“I’m sure he had other appointments.”

“No. Not the doctor. The archangel, Gabriel. He warned me to look at the time.”

The Dream Remembered

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I saw you last night, someplace other than our separate lives now. In that place, we were young, together, and we loved each other. There were no obstacles binding our true feelings. For a time beyond the confines of our different realities, we were free to talk, laugh, and share companionship with one another. Nothing taboo occurred. Nothing forbidden was allowed. We simply enjoyed each other’s company.

 

Though your face was as young as I last remembered, your eyes reflected a deep soul bathed in the wisdom of age. Likewise, you saw not the youthful and vibrant glow of my 17 year-old skin, but the 40 years of stored knowledge within my soul. I gently touched your cheek, simultaneously timid and anxious to prove your existence, in that place. Your fingers softly lit across my arm, sending a chill up my spine.

 

How could this be? What was God’s plan in allowing this to happen? Was this your deep desire, or mine? Did we ask for this impromptu encounter, in our hearts? Did you pray for me recently, or is this the result of my prayers for you, years past?

 

 Remembering, I looked into your eyes and knew that this was real and right, for the moment. Our embrace was not that of secret lovers. No; it was the envelope of timeless, genuine, and true friendship. I held you close, and you squeezed me in kind. I could smell the familiar scent of your hair. You delicately fit into the fold of my arms and I suddenly realized…you’ve been with me all the days of my life. It was as if no time had ever passed between us. Our friendship was as fresh in this place, as it was the day we met so many years ago. We’ve never separated.

 

 The moment in that place existed as a split second, but lasted for a lifetime between us. Our laughter was unabashed; free. Our conversation was honest and heartfelt, as we walked along clouds side by side. We spoke of the Lord and what He’s accomplished in our separate lives. Together, we praised Him for the fantastic enigma He is. We thanked Him for this impossible moment; this ridiculously unexplainable, and fascinatingly wonderful meeting. We thanked Him for blessing our separate families; our spouses and our children.

 

 That’s when the atmosphere changed. I noticed the dim fading of your eyes and the translucency of your skin. Reality beckoned; it was time to return home to where we each belonged. Just before parting ways, we shared a final warm embrace bound by the love of untainted selfish desires. No more words were spoken, but our hearts exchanged an unspoken message all their own.

 

‘No matter where I go in life, I’m with you and you are with me. I’ll always find you and you’ll always see me, even when I’m far away. I’ll always remember you friend.’

 

 Your heart responds to mine, as we step back and wave to one another. As you smile goodbye, you fade away, into reality. I wake, aware of my surroundings; aware of my life. But I remember that split second of impossible joy. I remember the dream, and smile before it fades into oblivion.