Who was the Mistress of my Dreams?

You can't live without dreams, can you? Of course not. You'd shrivel and die without dreams, they're the lifeblood of the mind, the source of energy from which we draw our reason to live. So I had no choice but to sleep. I had no choice but to dream.

But who would be the center of my dreams? Would it be it Laura Silvan, the woman I loved, the woman who lay sleeping at my side? I felt obligated to magically compress her through a bottleneck in consciousness to become part of my dream world. Yet, despite my desparate efforts to maintain a hold on reality, would it be Laura or some other apparition that took hold of me, some harpy from the Nether World of my mind, bent on driving me insane?

Ell. was my dream. Like the rush of being swept over a cold waterfall from the highest mountain, with your heart pounding and the fear of contact with reality that never quite comes, that was Ell. That was the dream I dreamt, not of Laura or Mahdi Ahmadi nor anything else that makes up the normal apparitions of a mind.

And I dreamed.

I am driving an antique slick midnight blue Maseratti speeding along the cliffs of Big Sur, the crashing ocean below and brilliant fields of flowers above and my heart pumping with the outrageous joy of being alive. At my side is a dream, a woman so beautiful she makes the flowers blush.

"Where are we going!" I ask Ell

"Does it matter?" She replies.

It doesn't.

I am higher than a kite flying a rainbow of streamers in a spring breeze. I am living a thousand dreams and feeling a thousand pleasures and I am with Ell.

And I am alive!

It is curious, you can live a lifetime without really being alive and you can do all the most exciting things there are to do and not even remember them.

"Can you feel the pain?" Ell asks.

"Where is the pain in this?" I asked. "All I feel is joy!"

"Being alive is the most painful thing there is!" Ell said. "You've just never been alive before!"

Ell was right, Ell was always right . . . .

"But are you alive, Ell?" I asked.

A silver tear, like a drop of quicksilver, flowed down her cheek and fell like a pearl of sadness in the pool of life, sending out ripples I thought would never end . . . . .

And I dreamed I was about to fall, that I was a mile above a gray ocean that surged and frothed with the icy allure of annihilation, the allure of unknowing and instant destruction.

The sea of cold nothingness called to me, I stepped forward to greet it, as though I were a waterfall and nothingness was my friend. I stepped over the abyss, but something held me, something as strong as steel but as light as the mists into which I so wanted to fall. . . . .

"S." Ell called. "I have worlds to show you!"

I cringed with fear. "Damn you Ell, let me fall" I roared.! "Give me peace!" But she wouldn't let me slip into the ocean of despair, she was my tormentor.

And my dream appeared before me.

Ell stood there, dressed in radiant silver like the mists that covered the cliffs, her eyes of diamonds, her smiling face knowing all the deepest secrets of my every dream.

"Come with me." Ell said, and I followed.

We were high on a cliff in Big Sur. A hundred yards below crashed the cold surf against black obsidian rocks. There was a mist which stretched as far as my senses could feel and only the sun was brave enough to cut its way through, sending a cascade of sparkling rays of iridescence that cut right to the heart.

"See," Ell said taking my hand, pointing to wildflowers which clung to every niche on the cliff. "Life clings to this world even on the edge of oblivion!"

"To hell with you," I cursed her. "After the pain you've shown me, how can you talk about life!"

"In a thousand ways!" She smiled, radiant as the sun which now warmed us. "You see, you know the torment of physical pain, but you've never known the pain that comes from life!"

Perhaps she was right, but I wasn't going to admit it.

---Chapter 23---