Dream, dream, dream…
“To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,”
(William Shakespeare, Hamlet)
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,”
(William Shakespeare, Hamlet)
Annie Furman once died, but the doctors saved her and brought her back. A young child, she had just experienced the loss of her parents and the effects of a brain injury after a car accident. Now she is left with a gift, or a curse, and she never knows where she’ll wind up during her dreams. Annie’s dreams are often filled with catastrophes and the frustration of not being able to help people in need; she does help with just her presence. Sadly, her own life is a mess, and she can’t help herself.
When we close our eyes at night, or for some during the day, we allow our bodies and brain to rest. Rest is important to our health, we should wake feeling refreshed, less stressed and better able to cope with the various issues that may come our way. Our sleep is normally broken into stages allowing relaxation and sinking into a deep sleep where our bodies and breathing slows, our muscles rest, and even our temperature drops. Then comes a period of rapid-eye-movement (REM) when we dream, our hearts, breathing and brain are active and reacting to the sights we are “seeing”. The average person also experiences a form of voluntary muscle paralysis which keeps us in our beds even as we dream if running down a road. Then our sleep cycles back to non-REM and repeats. Each cycle usually takes about an hour and a half to two hours.
The concept of dreams is important to writers. We use dreams in our stories to add character information, introduce a character’s fears or hopes, to relive a real-life nightmare of the past, or foretell a future misfortune. Dreams can be pure fantasy because dreams are, traditionally, not real. The dreamer can, in reality, fit a week into a ten-minute sequence, or can mix time periods such as being grown-ups having a conversation and being the same age as a deceased parent. We use the metaphor of “having a dream” to explain ambition and drive, or to excuse trickery and greed. Writers also use dreams to create new ideas and keep journals by their beds to jot down the latest imagined dream-movie before the memory fades and is lost.
Annie Furman experiences out-of-body dreams or astral-projections. In astral projections the astral or metaphysical self is able to leave the physical body. Sometimes critically injured patients will wake after life-saving surgery to remember the feeling of floating above themselves in the OR. Only some people can see Annie while she travels in her dreams, the ones who need her comfort, but she is never really there. She discovers the one person who does see her and can talk with her and he’s not in any known danger. Neither of them knows how this phenomenon is happening, but neither one wants to give it up.
Do you remember your dreams and how real do they seem to be? Deja-vu is sometimes attributed to out-of-body experiences – has it ever happened to you? How different are you, really, from Annie Furman?
An Excerpt from Karma Visited:
Annie had these types of dreams ever since she was a little girl, she just didn’t always understand why. There was a time when she was normal and happy. There was a time when she had the love of two adoring parents and she felt like a princess. Then there was a night she was napping in the back seat of the family car, her parents’ lively laughter and conversation soothed and comforted her. Suddenly her mother screamed, her father yelled, and Annie was tossed in the back seat. She remembered sobbing and screams… and pain. There was heat and crackling and then nothing.
Sometime after she woke up in a hospital bed she heard the nurses talking about how she was pulled from the wreckage by the rescuers just before the car exploded. She arrived close to death because of burns and damage to her smoke-filled lungs, a minor head injury and other cuts and bruises she had just added to the pity everyone looked at her with. She was in the hospital for weeks.
Annie went home, not to the childhood home filled with happy memories of her parents, but to her mother’s elderly aunt and uncle. It was an old but comfortable farmhouse and Annie would play with her dolls while hiding behind the furniture. Her aunt always made sure she was taken care of before she would tend to her chores. There were days her aunt would offer coffee and donuts to friends in the country kitchen. One day when Annie was playing close by, she overheard her aunt whispering to a neighbor that Annie actually did die on the operating table and, through the grace of God, the doctors managed to bring her back.
She was so young and couldn’t understand why she had been able to come back from the dead but her mommy and daddy couldn’t. Annie believed it was absurd that her whole life since then was just borrowed time.
When her nightmares first started and no one understood why she woke up screaming so often, hospital counselors told her aunt and uncle that she was reacting to the loss and it was normal. When the dreams continued the doctors suggested that the minor head injury she suffered and the brief lack of oxygen when she coded might have left lasting problems. Soon everyone was convinced that her nightmares were all spawned by the trauma of her parents’ fiery car crash and they not so patiently dismissed her concerns for the strangers she claimed were in danger.
She knew early on that her dreams of devastation and calamity were more than mere memories or imagination, but she never had proof. As she grew older she found newspaper articles here and there that bore uncanny resemblance to her dreams. Most times she had to hunt for the articles, something the local library came in handy for; but then her aunt and uncle dismissed the similarity to her “dreams” by stressing how hard she had to look for the stories.
She didn’t understand how or why she was dreaming of actual events. No one believed her when she tried to tell them that people, unknown strangers, needed help. Annie was frustrated when she couldn’t find the details that could have proven that she wasn’t crazy. She learned at an early age that most of her dreams didn’t need to be spoken about, especially not the ones she couldn’t connect to actual events. She always hoped that the less she talked about the phenomenon, the more she would be believed when there was something she couldn’t let go of. Annie also hoped for the day people wouldn’t look at her with apprehension and pity.
She got older and the dreams continued. Some of the dreams were so intense that there was no way of hiding the effect they had on her. It was bad enough to see people suffering and dying, but she couldn’t do anything to help and she was frustrated. Without control and without the ability to help, her nighttime was filled with devastating nightmares.
School counselors suggested that her aunt bring her to a psychologist, he merely repeated the earlier diagnosis and prescribed mood enhancing drugs. The pills made her woozy and weepy, and the dreams still didn’t stop. Annie flushed the pills, she refused to take them and her uncle complained about the expense of the doctor and they implored her to try to help herself get better.
“Little one,” no matter how old she got, her uncle still thought she was just a ‘babe’. “You have to start by admitting that these dreams aren’t real.”
About the Author:
Chelle Cordero writes stories of Passion and Suspense. Vanilla Heart Publishing has published ten Cordero novels: Bartlett’s Rule; His Lucky Charm; Within the Law; Courage of the Heart; Final Sin; Hostage Heart; A Chaunce of Riches; Common Bond, Tangled Hearts; Hyphema and Karma Visited. Chelle has been writing both fiction and non-fiction for the bulk of her adult life and has been with Vanilla Heart Publishing since early 2008.
Her books have earned many plaudits which includes: Bartlett's Rule was named one of Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top Ten Reads for 2009; Final Sin was an Honorable Mention in the Fiction Category of the 2010 NY Book Festival and a 2009 Pushcart Prize nominee.; Hyphema won the Dec 9, 2011 Friday Book Cover Vote on the Shades of Love website; A Chaunce of Riches was Winner of D. Renee Bagby’s readers’ choice for The Best Overall First Chapter, April 2010; and Hostage Heart, Final Sin and A Chaunce of Riches had top ten finishes in the 2009 Preditors’ and Readers’ poll. Chelle was also featured in "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading" published by The Author’s Show in 2010. She offers a weekly writing workshop for Kindle Blog subscribers at http://bit.ly/pILcG.
Chelle lives in the northeast with her husband, Mark, and family. They have two adult offspring. Jenni (& Jason) and Marc (& Trish); they also live with three mischievous and spoiled pussycats, one of whom has taken up permanent residence on Chelle’s desk. Chelle is a full-time freelance journalist for multiple publications; her articles appear regularly throughout North America and she writes a monthly column on NYS Emergency Medical Services issues as a NYS Emergency Medical Technician (First Responder News).
author’s blog http://chellecordero.blogspot.com/
media room http://chellecordero.com/media/
You can email Chelle at ChelleCordero(at)gmail.com.
promotional blog http://ccepotourri.wordpress.com/