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A Dream Journey

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He was flying.

He wasn’t quite sure how, admittedly. He’d just – opened his eyes to find himself floating in a vast expanse of blue. Maybe it had something to do with the cloak he wore, a brilliant white embroidered with gold. Or maybe someone had cast a spell on him while he slept. Whatever the reason, it didn’t really matter. All that truly mattered was that he was beyond the limits of earth, beyond the reach of parents and psychiatrists. He was, for once, well and truly free.

He spread his artificial wings and swooped down. Below him, there was a thick layer of cloud, with little islands made from the tops of mountains sticking up here and there. The rest of the world was nothing but clear sky and brilliant sun. Victor skimmed close to the clouds and held out a hand. To his surprise, he didn’t feel chill water vapor, as he’d expected, but instead a warm fuzziness. Curious, he dived into the white.

Soft puffs like cotton tickled his face, as light and fluffy as any pillow. Warmth wrapped around him like a blanket, and the clouds glowed where they touched him. The light seemed to soak into him as he floated in the fluff, filling him with boundless energy and joy. He burst back up into the open air, laughing as his cloak fluttered around him in the breeze.

A flash of white to his right caught his eye, and he turned to see another cloaked figure twirling gracefully above the clouds. A glimpse of green eyes, and he realized it was Alice. He flew over to her, circling her while humming a nameless tune. She grinned and caught his hands in hers, pulling him into her aerial dance.

They spun happily for a while, then playfully raced each other from one mountain peak to the next. Exhaustion was never a fear – a quick dive into the clouds immediately chased away any hints of tiredness. They could have flown for hours, but just for the pleasure of it they sat on the highest island of rock and bathed in the sunlight. Normally they would have shared conversation, but the thought of speaking to her never crossed Victor’s mind. It seemed wrong to sully the silence with words. It was enough to be here, to have her by his side.

Time didn’t seem to exist here, so he couldn’t have said when they took to the air again, diving deep into the clouds to soak up the warm glow, then rocketing into the sky, twirling around each other as they did. Up, up, up they went, almost to the stars themselves, growing closer and closer all the while. Finally they stopped, floating in the midnight blue, close enough to touch. Victor dared to slide his arms around her – Alice smiled and returned the hug. Their eyes met, and Victor felt his insides turn to butter. Without even considering what he was doing, he leaned forward. She was so close to him – close enough to –

“Victor? Time to wake up!”

“W-what?”

Suddenly the sky was gone, replaced with blackness. Victor opened his eyes to find himself staring at a picture of a Painted Lady pinned to the rotting green wallpaper of Houndsditch. “Up and at ‘em,” Alice called from the other side of his door, then moved on.

Victor sighed and sat up, rubbing his head. Reality. How lovely, he thought, rolling his eyes. But there’s nothing for it. He swung his legs over the side of the bed. I just wish I was allowed to get the girl even in my dreams.