He awoke with a fast start. Pulse still hammering, heart palpitating in his chest, he kept still, eyes wide open, focused on the dark night around him, waiting for his eyesight to catch up.
Common sounds asserted themselves: others snoring throughout the house, including the dog on the floor and his wife beside him in the bed. Wind was kicking around something loose on the house, reminding him that he’d need to hunt the object down before it broke free. Something to do when daylight arrived, after the other winter chores were completed, something to complete while the sun shone and he paced himself until spring.
Sleep was not coming back soon. Lightly he unfurled the heavy blankets and quilts, untangled himself from his wife’s grasp, and slipped free. An icy floor met his soles. Shivers jumped through his body. Eyes finding form in the darkness, he eased out of the bedroom, past the old dog, and out into the kitchen.
A tabby was settled on the kitchen counter, watching him with still eyes. Drifting to the window, he peered out past the curtains and glass while he scratched the cat. It purred happy in response. He’d dreamed of cars again. The car in this dream had been from about 1980, although he thought he was living in 2021 when he dreamed it. Just speculation about that, as those dates felt elusive. He knew the car, though, green and low, was not like anything seen in this century. Cars were still to be invented. He shook his head at that. Cars were still to be invented, but seemed so real… If the car was from 1980, that was still one hundred twenty years away. Scratching his face, he prepared to return to bed.
He awoke with a fast start. Gaping at his familiar bedroom, he settled onto his side with a long sigh. He’d dreamed again that he was living on a farm in eighteen sixty. Breaking free of his wife and the cats huddling against him, he slipped out of bed and moved through the house. Night lights embedded in the walls helped guide him as he made his way to the garage and flipped on its lights. His BMW M1 reflected the scene in its gleaming green surfaces, including himself, staring at the car. For a moment, he saw himself as another person, the old farmer? And then another — the man from 2021?
Shutting the garage lights off, he returned to the house. Cats had followed him and now demanded food, attention, or both. Touching his wrist, he woke his Backhand. “Show me today’s dreams,” he said, amending, “from the last two hours.” The dreams paraded by until the green car arrived. “Freeze.” He drank it in. “Enlarge the driver’s face. Clarify and sharpen.” He squinted as it grew in size, trying to decide if it was him, the man from 1860, or the guy from 2021.
Were they — he — all the same?
He closed the dream. Either something — worlds — were coming together, or something — the divide between worlds? — was coming apart. Maybe something else, like his sanity, was coming apart. Padding down the hall, ambivalence slowed him. He wasn’t certain he wanted to return to bed, wasn’t certain if he wanted to return to sleep. For to sleep meant to dream, and he was becoming worried about where his dreams might next take him.