Dream Girl

Three days Selene had been living under this mans house. He with the fiery beard and merlin-esque image, she thought she had wandered into a different age, and half-expected mist to appear suddenly and an ominous sound of chanting in the far off distance. But it did not come.She knew she would sleep with him that first day, and did not question it despite the fact that he was three decades older than her fresh-faced 23 years, and not at all her usual type, still, it was irrelevant.Something more important than desire even was presenting itself in her psyche, and she listened to it call her and let herself be swept up in it’s mystery.The event itself was not earth shattering by any stretch, but it was nice enough.The next morning, merlin man said to her at breakfast, over a cuppa, “we have work to do, you and I”, knowingly and with a post-coital grin. Selene had no clue what he meant by it, except for an unsettling murmur of memory that she could not quite place? She forgot about it, and went about her day trying to figure out where she would head to next. Cairns was simply a pit stop until she had decided where her next port of call would be on her grand adventure …that was the plan anyway.It did not take long for the man to start raising the subject of them having babies together, and other such flights of fancy, which, at first she did not take too seriously, but soon realised that it was not a joke! Of course Selene had no doubt in her mind that this was completely out of the question…it was getting it through to him that proved to be challenging.Her instinct, after that day, was to spend as little time as possible at that house, except when it was time to sleep, so she would head into the city and try and find something interesting to occupy her time with, which was also challenging in Cairns, where nothing much happens, but for mall shoppers and the old folk sitting under the ancient fig trees by the promenade, recalling the “good ole days”.The markets were a colourful destination, and it was easy to spend a few hours watching all the people pass through , and the coconut sellers cutting down swiftly with their machetes, and dunking in red and green straws for the eager tourists.Her favourite pass-time was to watch people…all the different faces and body shapes, shoes and earrings and clothes of many fashions. It kept her amused and she would play games with her eyes to pass the time.Even a brief stint dressed as a koala for the local environmental organisation kept her busy, and it was there that she met her canadian friend tracy. The two of them would cruise the streets in koala suits asking tourists to donate money and yelling back at ignora-mouses “oh yeah, well how do you intend to breathe when all the trees are gone?” ,who hassled them for being “greenies”, as though it were a terrible thing to care.With her new friend, it was easy to have fun.

They would steal shopping trolleys and charge for trolley rides down on the main drag, though there weren’t many who would pay for it so they were content to simply push each other and laugh about the silly people thinking there were too many trees anyway!
Selene invited tracy to stay with her at her basement home, thinking it was good for both of them. Tracy did not have to pay rent, so she could save money as a traveller, and she would have someone to play with and help her avoid the growing impatience of the man upstairs, who was still under the impression that they were in love and that she would gladly forfeit her life and plans to stay and have his children.

Days had passed by blissfully, until it was eventually time for tracy to leave. She had saved up to visit Costa Rica, and invited Selene to join her there, which she considered. They said their goodbyes, which pleased the man watching them both from his window above. He had grown jealous of the time they were spending together, and how the other girl had stolen his “beloved’s” time and attention from him.This left Selene back at square one, and there was no more avoiding him. One day, after she returned from the city, the man approached her in her room and , quite perturbed by her continued absence, demanded to know if there was someone else she favoured!At this she laughed to herself, “We were never together” she thought…and decided there and then to tell him that she had been seeing someone else (though no such man existed), she had had enough of him and his clinging, wierd behaviour, and delusions of babies and happy families. Enough…better to have him hate her than to continue to think she loved him, was how her immature mind rationalized the situation.His mood turned to a raging storm, and he left her room scowling. She felt powerful in her defiance, and satisfied with her cruel lie, even laughing to herself later as she recalled the look on his face when she told him. It was not nice of her, but she felt he had left her no choice. She was at her wits end and could not think how to handle it any other way. He was pathetic in her eyes, and she took a certain pleasure in seeing him at the moment her words had hit his brain and he realised that she would bear him no child, and that she did not love him as he thought he loved her.Obviously she could no longer stay there, so she made plans the next day to get a bus down to a town where tracy said she was heading, to pick fruit for extra money.She went to the markets one last time to buy some lunch before she would head to the house and tell him of her plans. To her surprise, he was there with two younger men, and a look of complete spite and bitterness was evident on his weathered, rough-skinned face.She cautiously approached him, though her intuition was telling her to run. The two younger men were staring at her, and it was clear to her then that the man had told them about her, and no doubt did not portray her in a good light at all. His look was triumphant, as though he had won and knew something she did not. Selene said hello briefly and kept walking.Later she saw him walk down the stairs and approached him again, determined to speak to him and even apologize for her false betrayal. He did not say a word to her after she spoke, but merely took a deep drag on his lit hand-rolled cigarette and nodded his head in acceptance that she would be gone before he woke the next morning. She felt relieved as she walked away.Walking back to the house, Selene bumped into the mans good friend, Tom, who had seemed so familiar to her when she first was introduced to him, the day after she moved in, a month earlier. She explained what had happened, and with a look on his face, as though he had heard this story before, he began to tell her that whilst he loved his friend, he did not approve of his behaviour, and that infact Selene was only one of a dozen young women who had moved into the basement on their travels, unaware of the mans’ intentions to impregnate each and every one of them, over a span of ten years. All of them betraying him, in his eyes, all of them running off and leaving him without child or lover, only his smouldering rage at their rejection remained.

Selenes’ head felt dizzy as she tried to digest what she had just been told. She felt tremendous relief at learning this as well as frightened for her safety, her guilt for the night before dissipated instantly. She thanked him and bid him farewell, and raced home to pack up her things. Once this was done, and without saying goodbye to the man, or feeling any remorse, she simply left.

A year later, after her adventures were over, and she had returned to her parents home, to rest before moving on to find a place to sink her roots down, Selene found herself looking through an old dream diary she had once kept. Flicking through the pages, re-living old dreams and marvelling at how such amazing things can come from inside her head, she stumbled across an interesting dream, a dream she had dreamt and recorded at least six months prior to her setting off on her adventure… different from the others, and it sparked a memory so vivid that it made her gasp with shock.The dream entailed her walking through an ancient Roman coloseum. There were no spectators. She was alone, until a man walked towards her, and instantly she recognized him as THE man from Cairns! He said to her “We have work to do, you and I” and took her hand.Selene felt so right with him, and as they walked towards the gate, she looked up into the universe and saw colours swirling in chaos, and three umbrellas drifted down to earth, one of them turning into a dove and landing before them both.She could hardly believe it, but he WAS the same man who lived above her in that house a year earlier? “How is this possible?” she whispered with a faint tinge of horror creeping into her voice.Shortly after this puzzling revelation, Selene, bewildered, decided to take her mind off this disturbing realization by looking through a magazine on witchcraft, as she held an interest in these ancient arts. Finding an advertisement in the “silly section” ,as she liked to refer to the columns that advertise grimoires and spell books promising gullible men the secrets on how to draw to them the woman of their dreams…for a price, of course.Something caught her eye, though, and she read it out loud to herself, as though there were an audience. It spoke of a spell where a person draws the woman of his dreams to him, BY MEETING WITH HER IN HER DREAMS!

“Impossible” was all she could manage to utter, as the hairs on her neck stood to attention, her skin all of a sudden cold, and the blood rapidly draining from her frozen face.

Of all the mysteries in Selenes’ young life, this was surely the wildest of them all, which she would never quite know the answer to, and every now and again it haunts her with the possibilities…?

Dream Girl

Philippa Mercieca

Melbourne, Australia

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