“So, until you teach me how, I’m stuck working for you in this generic Dream suit?”
“Correct.” Sarah responds.
“If these are the rules,” I say, “then when in Rome.”
“As Mr. Twain once wrote,” Rebecca recites, “‘Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.’”
“Hey,” I exclaim, “something else just hit me.”
“What now?” Sarah says in her mock-annoyed tone.
“Didn’t that old guardian priest in the cave...”
“Are you referring,” Sarah indignantly asks, “to Kaman-Thah and Nasht?”
“Who?” I ask.
“Those are the names of the two priests who judge all who enter Dreamland.”
Hmm. I saw that old Aztec lady, Mictlan. My journey into Dreamland has been shaped by Tezcat. “Anyway, I was given the impression that they weed out any creeps who try to get into Dreamland. So, how come I got run through by a refugee from juvenile hall? Why should those creeps be here at all?” How long has Lord Mictlan been asleep at the switch?
“If you mean,” Sarah intones, “when did we first notice the appearance of such riffraff in Dreamland? We were told that it started around ten years ago.”
Rebecca adds, “And now those disruptive elements have joined together into gangs.”
“Does anyone have an explanation?” I ask.
“No,” Sarah flatly states.
Hmmm. “Has anyone gone and asked the guardian at the gate of Dreams what’s going on?” I ask again.
“Not that I know of. How about you Sarah?”
“No one that I’ve spoken to has bothered.”
“Hmmm.” Things I would like to do, One, have tea with the Queen of the Night. Two, have a bite with that old guardian lady. Maybe while we dine, they will open up and I can get some questions answered.
“Right now,” Sarah breaks into my chain of thought, “let’s get you out of here, and situated in the living room, I want my bed back.”
“Do you feel up to standing on your own?” Rebecca asks. “And, by the way, what name do you go by while you’re here?”
Then, before I can answer Rebecca, Sarah hastily interrupts. “That spoils everything! I was hoping we could call him: ‘Hey you’, or maybe something that would appeal to his male ego like, Rex.”
“No, I think the name my mother gave me will do just fine. The name’s Lamont. And, yes, I think I can stand now.”
I still feel a little weak, but I believe I can manage to get to the couch, which, I hope, is only a short few feet away in the next room. With their help, I get settled on the couch. I spend the remainder of the day reading and finishing my period of recuperation.
Hmm, I just got myself signed up with two lesbians, that might have been a bit hasty, Lamont. I put up a good front, trying to act all accepting of others life style choice but, is this really okay? Since when did being different been a problem, Lamont? Hey, I’m not exactly normal. In a way, it is actually good that they’re not interested in me, now that they're my bosses and all. The whole sex thing, hetero or homo, is not something I’ve had any experience with anyway. Hmm? If you think about, Lamont, if I was a girl would I really want some guy to be sticking their thing in me?
The idea is kind of gross.
I could probably handle hugs and kisses better than that, so being a lesbian might not be such a weird choice. So, the fact that they want to kiss another girl rather than some guy is really no big deal to me. I’d definitely rather kiss a certain locker neighbor girl than any guy I know! So what’s the big deal, when you really think about it? I guess there isn’t any. They like girls better than boys, well, so do I.
Now that I’ve gotten that problem out of the way, let’s check out more important stuff, like books. Sarah and Rebecca have a fantastic and extensive collection of manuscripts and scrolls, on the subject of Wiccan tradition, the Goddess, and the Kabbalah. Cool.
I was left alone, happily examining her collection, when there appeared a faint silvery light in the center of one of the bookcases.
I was so startled by its sudden appearance, I actually let go of my book. The hairs on the back of my neck and my arms were tingling as I watched in intense fascination. What started as a small globular area, about a foot in diameter, slowly expanded into a translucent mass about five feet in length, which hovered above the wooden floor. It began to take on greater clarity and, to my amazement; it formed into a transparent silvery image of a woman clad in a nightshirt. The woman was staring off in my direction but I had the impression that she didn’t see me at all. Rather, she was examining the paintings on the wall behind me.
“Rebecca! Sarah! There’s a ghost in your living room!”
The ghost continues to explore the room, oblivious to me. A few minutes pass and then Sarah and Rebecca emerge from their bedroom, looking very disheveled and hastily attired, clutching closed bathrobes.
“So? What’s this nonsense about ghosts?” Sarah asks. “Lamont, this better not be some sort of stupid joke, because if it is...”
Sarah never did get to fully elucidate upon the dire consequences of playing a joke on her; she was stopped short by the sight of the ghost.
“Oh, is that what the fuss is about? Foolish male, that’s no ghost.”
The way Sarah says “foolish male” it’s as if the two words were inter-changeable.
“If it’s not a ghost then what is it?” I ask.
“It’s only a sleeper.” Sarah imparts, “Don’t worry, she won’t harm you. If your attention span were a little shorter, like the rest of your sex, you probably would not have even noticed her. Now good night.”
As Sarah turned back to the bedroom, the ghostly sleeper walked through one of the room’s walls, as if on cue.
“Rebecca,” I plead, “could you please explain it all to me, in a little more detail, what that was?”
“As she said, that was a sleeper, someone who has entered Dreamland, without being aware of it, from their normal Waking World dreams.”
“Oh. How come the sleeper didn’t see me?”
“Sleepers are here but are on a different frequency, so they exist in an immaterial form and can usually only see physical objects. Our Dream Bodies are more like an energy pattern than a physical body. We hold our shape and form because we think ourselves into that pattern. The physical, non-sentient things, chairs, pictures, buildings, animals, plants, etc., are all more stable atomic forms. These material objects can be perceived more readily by sleepers. At least that’s how it seems to work.”
“These sleepers are sort of on a different plane of existence than our Dream bodies. While the physical world exists on both our plane and this other plane.”
“That’s another way of describing it.”
“Hmm, meaning, perhaps, the Sleepers are on what has been called the astral plane?”
“I guess so.”
“If you have no more questions, I’d like to retire. I have better things to attend to right now than your further education,” Rebecca says in a tone that implies a demand rather than a question.
She leaves. Hmm. So, some people, through astral projection, enter Dreamland when they dream. This could explain why in some of my dreams I had the impression of being in a physically real place. A place I kept coming back to in many of my dreams. It was a real location, but not one in the Waking World. It was one that existed somewhere in Dreamland.
My head jolts. It’s late. Very late. It’s well into the night. I dozed off while reading the authors handwritten draft of When God Was a Woman. I still wake up not in my bedroom but in this Dream place. Hmmm?
Perhaps this is proof that this is not simply a dream. Perhaps it’s a Big Dream within a little dream. It appears to be so. Huh? What’s that sound? That’s what woke me, that most disturbing noise. Hmm. It’s the distant and muffled voice of some guy crying out for help.
I get up and go to the open window to locate the source of the cry. Most people have deserted the darkened streets. I see only cats, which tread the starlit pavements, and scorpions, which guard the shops. I do not see, but hear, one other evidence of life, the sound of fluttering leather wings belonging to bats. The night air again carries the sound of the faint, deadened crying of an anguished man.
I decide to go out into the street to investigate. The night air feels neither comfortable nor cool. It’s oddly neutral in temperature. As if, it’s hesitating as to which way to go, or perhaps not bothering to decide at all.
I follow the sound to its source, which takes me about a block away to a small three-story inn. From an open window of a darkened room, on the upper floor, I again hear the muted sounds of suffering.
I stand under this window and can hear the plaintive sounds of a man crying out in his sleep. He’s trapped in the cold claws of a nightmare.
This unknown man’s suffering disturbs me and causes me to shudder. I’ve a feeling that I’m overlooking something, that there is something out of place here. On the other hand, what is in place here in Dreamland? What can I do for him? His cries drew me out here. I stand for a few minutes and nothing comes to mind, reluctantly, I return to the shelter of Sarah and Rebecca’s home.
 From Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894, chapter one: Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar.