Strange Dreams

NOTE: This is part of the new novel I am writing. I am posting it here as a diversion for readers who may be living under shelter-in-place policies while the world waits for the coronavirus pandemic to pass. For an explanation of this project, please click here. To read the chapters I’ve posted in order, click here.

Strange Dreams
Tumbleweed Motel, Coldwater, N.M.

Morgan padded into the kitchen in her sock feet. Joey was sitting at the table, enjoying a bowl of cheese grits — his favorite breakfast — and chatting amiably with Grandma Sandy as she started a pot of coffee. Mom stood over the stove, keeping a watchful eye on a pan of bacon. 

Morgan yawned. “Can I help?” she asked. She rolled her shoulders and stretched.

“Just have a seat and keep Joey company so I can start some French toast,” Grandma Sandy said. “How are you feeling this morning?”

“Much better.” Morgan poured herself a glass of orange juice from the carafe on the table. 

“How did you sleep last night?” 

“Not too bad, Grandma,” Morgan said. 

“No bad dreams?”

“Nah. Just weird ones.”

Mom set a platter of bacon on the table. “Weird how?”

“Weird like I was sleeping in a cave in Ireland.” Morgan helped herself to a strip of bacon. “It was cool and dark and I could hear water trickling way off in the distance. It seemed like it should have been scary, but it felt like … I dunno … home, I guess. Like somewhere I’d been before. It was nice. I was just lying in there, listening to the water and relaxing, and I could feel my headache sort of draining away.” She took a bite of her bacon. “I think that’s the best I’ve slept since Daddy died.”

Mom sat down across from her. “That’s odd,” she said. “I dreamed I was in a cave, too, except mine wasn’t completely dark.”

A series of soft sizzling noises came from the stove as Grandma Sandy laid four slices of French toast on the hot griddle. “Where was your cave, Sierra?” she asked.

“I’m not sure. There were ancient-looking spirals carved into the entrance, and when I got inside, it was all dark except for one little shaft of light coming through a sort of skylight in the ceiling. As I stood there watching, the light moved until it filled up the whole chamber I was in. The light was just blazing around me, and then in a few minutes, it moved on, and the room got dark again.”

Grandma Sandy dipped another slice of bread into the vanilla-scented batter she’d mixed up. “That sounds like Newgrange.”

“Where?”

Grandma Sandy pulled her smartphone out of her pocket. “Newgrange. It’s not really a cave. It’s more of a Stone Age temple in Ireland. It’s famous for having an inner chamber with an opening in the roof that lets the sun in on the winter solstice.” She fumbled with the phone briefly before handing it to her daughter-in-law. “Here. There’s a video of the light coming in.”

Mom took the phone. Morgan watched her face as the video played. 

“Holy shit,” Mom breathed. “That’s exactly where I was in my dream.” She looked up at Grandma Sandy. “How could I dream about a place I’ve never been?”

Grandma Sandy shrugged. “Maybe that ancestor of yours is trying to tell you something.”

Mom nodded. “Maybe,” she said. She looked at Morgan. “I think we need to do some more research today.”

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