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A Different Beast
He hated the bus with a pedestrian animosity. It was an ugly, cumbersome necessity of life, for it was the Dreamer’s only means of transportation. Even so, it was an abhorrent thing: always too early or always too late, and always belching clouds of smoke which painted the surrounding sky a tenebrous hue. Every day the Dreamer prayed the bus would take him someplace different. And every day the bus disappointed him, as so much else in life was wont to do.
More than anything else, high school itself disappointed the Dreamer. In the foolish optimism of his younger years, the Dreamer had seen high school as an interpersonal utopia. He now saw it in a rather different light. It was a place of acquisition: with hormonally charged teenagers looking to get some, overly ambitious cutthroats seeking to get somewhere, and stereotypical mooches looking to get something out of anyone they could. Over time, the Dreamer found high school to be cynical and clinical and sordidly subliminal. It was a place that haunted his existence: a place he knew he was fated to escape, yet that fate seemed as if it would never come. And as the place grew to darken his imagination, the Dreamer gradually began to forget what it was to dream.
?And the Dreamer yawned. He could scarcely keep his eyes open, but he knew he must, for he was fearful of the shadows and sunlight which lurked beneath the cover of the night. He loathed the prospect of falling asleep and relinquishing control over his stream of consciousness, becoming entirely vulnerable to the capricious nature of nighttime apparitions.
At times, he would experience bliss. Pure tranquility, unmarked by the strife and suffering which lay rampant just beyond the crystal panes of his bedroom window. And there were other times, when he would writhe in agony at the hands of a different beast: the harbinger of nightmare.
The Beast was not so much a physical specimen, but a lingering shadow over the sunlight of his contentment. It was a shadow whose touch, and even its breath brought death. Death to flying creatures and those confined to the Earth. Death to fanciful hopes and those faint aspirations grounded to reality. Its presence signaled a halitosis reaction, breathing rancid fire onto a pyre of dreams grown wooden with the passage of time.
At times, the Beast was merciful, sparing him the excruciating exploration of his darkest apprehensions. The fear the Beast instilled was virulent in nature, causing his frail body to writhe in the grip of the psychological pestilence, waiting...waiting for the sunlight which would inevitably come. Sunlight was all the Beast feared. The Beast recognized the sunlight as its Master, forever holding dominance over the shadows.
And then, the Dreamer would wake. He would wake and find his life completely untouched, apart from the shattered emotions the Beast had lain to waste. At times, it was a blessing unto himself: to hear his alarm sound, shattering the tranquility of the early dawn. The remainder of the time, he loathed the sound, shrill and domineering like a violent cacophony of sufferance and pain.
"Let me sleep..." he would moan, for it was early...far too early, and he was tired...so very, very tired. The Dreamer would then long to re-enter the world of sunlight which had held him captive with its dizzying promises of a sweet repose.
"I...don't...want...to...go...to...Calc..." the Dreamer would moan. He would try, in vain, to suppress the need to rise. He wished he could simply sink further into the seductive softness of his satin-smooth sheets and forget completely about the world at large. But he would rise eventually, as he knew he must, shutting off the alarm and silencing its malevolent song. But the alarm would smile at him, for it knew it had won. As it always would, time and time again.
He would get dressed for school, the intellectual internment camp where others would ridicule him: for being awkward, for being different, for daring to dream. They would taunt him, abhor him, demean him for his inability to conform; to be another member of a forever faceless crowd.
The Dreamer, while fanciful, was no fool. He knew what it cost to dream, to dare of flying too close to the Sun. He knew the price of aspiration, the punishment of pain entailed by the dangerous venture he so oft pursued. But dreams and life itself were too savory for the Dreamer to relinquish so easily.
Acquiescing to temptations both shadowed and incandescent, the Dreamer finally closed his eyes, sighing in belated contentment. He drifted away, floating upwards into the clouds. In the sky where he could fly; where he could always dream a dream.