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You wake up. You are on the beach, your head resting on the shoulder of a girl. Ash, you remember her.
You remain there and stare at the sea gulls that dip into the ocean from the sky and come up with a struggling fish in its beak.
“Ash,” you say softly but your voice sounds deeper than it normally is. You cough. “I had a dream.”
You realise that you are sweating.
“Hogwash. Everyone knows you can’t have a dream in a dream,” Ash giggles. She obviously doesn’t remember what happened before you hit your head on the granite.
Coal is crouched dangerously close to the waves. He keeps hurtling smooth stones and watching them skip across the surface of the water. He turns to look at you with that indifferent expression on his face and you notice that his eyes is back to being grey. He also seems not to have any recollection of what happened before you hit your head. You decide not to bring it up.
“There’s no laws here, I guess,” you say. “I’m not even supposed to know that I’m dreaming, am I?”
“Nope,” Ash with a sweet smile playing across her lips.
You sit up and stare at Ash more intently. Ash has grown up since you hit your head. Her legs has become longer and shapely rather than knobby like as it was before. Her face is longer, more pointy like an elf. Her hair which was gold and colourful before has become coppery and dull. And she has breasts, they swell on her chest in her low cut silk top. You find that you can’t stop staring at her honey eyes. You notice you’ve grown too. You never much cared for girls before.
You quickly rush to the ocean and stare at your warped reflection in the waves. Beards. You now have beards and hair on your arms and chest. And your jaws are chiseled.
Ash joins you by the wave’s edge.
“How long have I been asleep?” your voice is that of a man.
“Don’t you remember?” Ash says.
“No,” you say.
Ash keeps shut, gets up and begins to kick her feet against the waves causing water to splash on you. You shield yourself with your arms which has huge muscles growing on them. There’s something about dreams. Nobody cares to talk about the intricacies of it.
“So what about the dream?” Ash asks.
“Oh yes, the dream. It was a nightmare.” You say.
Ash stops kicking against the waves. “What was it about?”
“I was walking in this street, and, I don’t know, but there was this thing in the gutter. I could not see it but,” you sigh. “It had—maggots crawling out of the gutter and into my legs, and they were decaying me. They were feasting on me—“
“But that’s ridiculous. You should have passed out from pain,” Ash says. Her eyes are bulbous and she keeps biting nervously on her nails.
“That’s the thing about dreams,” you say. “They’re not real. So as I was saying, they were feasting on me—“
“Did you feel it sucking on you, sucking you dry?” asks someone from behind you. You whirl around to find yourself staring into the dead white eyes of Coal. His face is still half hidden by his long collar top. You begin to wonder what it is about the guy that bugs you out.
“No, I-I-I don’t know,” you stutter nervously and look away from him. “Perhaps…why?”
Coal leans close to your ears and whispers, “Because if you did, then I know exactly what you saw.”