Previous: Chapter 3, “Eyes Wide Shut”
“Here we are.”
Val flipped the light switch, illuminating a small, but cozy, gable room. There was just enough room for the desk, a small bed, and a dresser with pretensions of being a bookshelf. Through the circular window underneath the roof’s peak, Sand could just make out a few faint stars.
“Great. Thanks.” Sand set his duffel on the bed.
“I’ll let you get settled in. Just holler if you need anything.” Val ducked through the doorway and headed down the stairs.
Sand turned and closed the door behind him. Time to get settled in.
It didn’t take long to get everything squared away. Well, almost everything. The glinda sat on the bed, unpopped. Sand pulled a silver pin from some half-forgotten dream and deftly burst the bubble before the pin dissolved.
The glinda disappeared with a faint pop and a jumble of items occupied the space it had rested a moment before. Sand dug through and found his phone first. It powered up with a satisfying hum. He sent a quick text to Lenore to thank her, then set the phone on the dresser.
The rest of the pile contained a mixture of clothes, cash, and magical esoterica. Sand sorted it into piles and put it away, eventually leaving only his magic mirror sitting on the bed.
Sometimes called a ‘Well of Dreams,’ Sand’s mirror was actually a broad, silver bowl. An interlocking design of ivory and polished horn circled the basin an inch or so from the rim, on both the inside and the outside of the bowl.
Sand ran his fingers gently around the rim of the well. Finding a small smudge, he gently picked it up and buffed the spot to shining. Then he neatly stowed the well in the bottom drawer of the bureau, nestled in amongst the nicer of the clothes he had brought with him.
He glanced at the clock on his phone. It was late enough that most people would be asleep.
“Hey, Val,” he called down the stairs. “I’m going to turn in for the night. I’ll see you in the morning.”
A muffled reply drifted up the stairs to him.
Sand stretched out on the bed, his phone with him. A few taps brought up the pictures he had taken on Val’s phone earlier. Then, with the image of that young couple the last thing he waking looked upon, Sand fell asleep.
Carried on the dreaming tide, drawn unerringly to his target by the image he held, Sand found himself in the dreams of Juliette Moore. She was dreaming, conveniently enough, of John Gross, the young man she had been enjoying coffee with, earlier.
The two of them were walking along the beach, at night. There were a few other people walking along as well, in the hazy manner of dream figments filling in a background. Sand stepped into one and laid a metaphysical finger on the pulse of Juliette’s dream.
The warm glow of nascent love fluttered lightly beneath the surface. Sand found himself smiling, euphoric.
He stepped out of the supernumerary. He wasn’t here to get caught up in the dream. He was here for answers. His gaze went back to Juliette and the dream-figment of John she was walking with.
Perhaps it would be better to kill two birds with one stone.