“We all dream; we do not understand our dreams, yet we act as if nothing strange goes on in our sleep minds, strange at least by comparison with the logical, purposeful doings of our minds when we are awake.” – Erich Fromm
“Rather than seeing dreams as containing hidden messages, see dreams as experiences of empathy. Then use empathy with the dream to reconnect with the experience of dreaming itself.” – Henry Reed
The Calm & The Storm I
Kiera lunged forward in the bed. There was a loud, menacing rumble. So close, as if a monster rose from the sea to tear the roof off of the house. The waves crashed violently outside. She rubbed her eyes and looked out the window. Her eyes widened. In the flashes of lightning, she saw a boy, about fifteen years old with silver hair, running down the tattered dock and lowering a simple row boat into the water.
“Riku!?” she exclaimed.
She grabbed her puffed sleeved, denim jacket, and dashed out the door, nearly leaving a red, gleaming star charm composed of enemal seashells, hanging by a thread out of her pocket, and a golden locket beating against her chest.
She attempted to open and umbrella in order to avoid being pelted by rain, however a wind gust immediately blew it away. Instead of running to grab it, she sprinted down the dock just as the boy entered the boat.
“Riku! What are you doing!? It’s not safe to be on the water at this time of night!”
“You can go back inside if you want, but I’ve got to secure the raft before it gets ruined! We worked on it too long to have it destroyed!” The boy cried.
Kiera exhaled exasperatingly. This was crazy. This storm was quickly spiraling into a hurricane. Was it really worth risking their lives for a raft? No, that raft was the culmination of her brother’s greatest dream. Once he put his mind to something, there was no going back.
Finally Kiera resolved, “Fine. But I’m going with you!”
Immediately she hopped into the boat. Riku shot a glance at her, and nodded. He grabbed the oars from the back of the boat, and began to row.
The tiny island off the mainland was their personal playground. They would go every day after school and wouldn’t leave until dinner time. Kiera loved the island. She could be herself, and there were no responsibilities. About two months ago, her older brother Riku expressed to their closest friends, a boy called Sora and a girl named Kairi, his plan to get off the island. He was convinced that somehow, they could get to another world, and he suggested building a raft and head out into the open sea. Kiera wasn’t sure how safe that would be. She had read about the ocean being full of storms and big fish that could swallow you whole in one bite! However, the excitement rising from their friends, and Riku’s enthusiasm for such a grand task, convinced her to help.
As she was coming back from the east side of the island from picking up coconuts, she saw a boy with spiky brown hair lying on the beach sleepily. Kiera groaned, but giggled. Sora was always lazy: sleeping on the beach when he should have been helping Kiera, Riku, and Kairi build the raft. Kiera decided to leave him and went to find her brother.
She found Riku trying to cut a large palm tree that had fallen.
“How were you able to bring a saw here without Mom and Dad finding out?” Kiera snickered.
Riku looked up at her with his bright blue-green eyes and shrugged.
“I’m stealthy” Riku replied, winking.
She picked up a piece of the tree along with Riku.
“Where’s Sora? Kairi went to go find him.”
“Sleeping like a little baby.”
“Again? Must I do everything myself?” he asked exasperating.
“Hey! I’m helping!”
“Well, let’s head to the beach and wake the lazy bum up, and find Kairi.”
When they got to the beach, they found Sora and Kairi chattering. Riku scoffed and playfully rolled his eyes. He called:
“Hey, aren’t you forgetting about us?”
They turned around.
“Riku!” exclaimed Sora, “Kiera!”
“Happy birthday, Kiera!” Kairi congratulated.
Kiera nodded and smiled.
“So, I guess we’re the only ones working on the raft?” Riku asked.
Riku tossed the log to Sora, causing him to comedically tumble to the ground.
“And you,” said Riku, pointing at Kairi, “you’re just as lazy as he is!”
“So you noticed” said Kairi, giggling, “okay, let’s finish it together! I’ll race you!”
“What? Are you kidding?” said Riku, groaning.
“I’ll race!” Kiera chimed in.
“Ready! Go!” cried Kairi.
Everyone reached the finish line breathlessly. Kiera was the first there, followed by Riku, Sora, and Kairi last.
“How are you so fast!?” Riku demanded.
Kiera shrugged. “I’m faster than I look I guess.”
“Hey, can you hear me?”
There was darkness. She felt herself floating aimlessly through the black. She was paralyzed, unable to move. Strangely though, she wasn’t afraid. She could hear crying. It wasn’t a child, nor an adult. Something in between. She could see a light in the distance, a glowing, golden orb buoyanting just as much as she was. Somehow she got a sense that whoever or whatever the orb was, was the source of shedding tears. She called to it. A moment later, she received an answer.
She shuddered, surprised at the answer.
“I-I heard you crying. Why’re you sad?”
The light slowly descending, growing closer towards her.
“I…I’ve been in the darkness for so long…My friends, my home, everything and everyone I loved are gone…and it’s all my fault.”
It was a boy’s voice. He sounded so tired, so drained of life, so without hope. Kiera didn’t understand the cryptic message. There was only one thing in her mind: that this person was lonely.
“Well, you don’t have to be alone anymore. I’m here! And I can be your friend!”
The orb was now straight in front of her. Kiera stretched out, cupping the light in her hands.
“My name’s Kiera. What’s your name?”
“My name is…”
The sun went down. Everyone gathered to a leaning palm tree, across a wooden bridge, overlooking the sea. It was so peaceful here. Kiera was convinced that there was nowhere else in the world that could have a better view of the sunset than here.
“So, how far do you think a raft could take us?” Sora asked.
“Who knows…” said Riku, “If it doesn’t work, we’ll think of something else.”
“So, suppose this works, and you could actually get to another world,” said Kairi, “what would you do there?”
Kiera instinctively reached around her neck to clutch something, like a necklace but found nothing. She frowned. Why did she keep doing that?
“Well, I haven’t really thought about that” Riku responded, “It’s just…I’ve always wondered…why we’re here on this island. If there are any other worlds out there, why did we end up on this one? And suppose there are other worlds; Then ours is just a little piece of something greater. We could have just as easily ended up somewhere else, right?”
“I don’t know” Sora shrugged.
“Hmph…exactly” said Riku.
“What about you, Kiera?” asked Kairi, “You’ve been pretty quiet. What do you think?”
Kiera glanced at her red-headed friend, then thought for a moment.
“Well…I know I wasn’t born in this world. You and I washed up on shore roughly the same night, Kairi. I don’t know where I came from. If I had a family, friends, who I was…But at the same time, I’m happy here. I have great friends, a great island; I have everything I could want!”
She was silent for a moment.
“-But I wonder…where my friend is…He’s always so sad. Even when he laughs, he sounds sad. He’s out there somewhere, all alone, unable to run and play like us. It’s not fair that I have all that I have, and not him. I want to find him. I want to wake him up, and be friends for real.”
Sora scoffed. “You’re still into imaginary friends? Kiera really, you’re thirteen! You’re too old for that!”
“He’s not imaginary!” Kiera insisted, “I just…don’t know how I’m able to see him…and talk to him when I sleep…”
“Don’t worry Kiera, you know that I believe you,” said Riku, “We’ll find him, I promise!”
She glanced at her big brother.
“I know you do,” she smiled, then added, “Mostly, I want to go where Riku goes! If he wants to fly into danger, then I’m going to make sure he stays safe!”
I can’t lose someone else.
“You know I’m two years older than you, right?” said Riku.
“Hey! Just because I’m the younger sister doesn’t mean I can’t protect people!”
“You two have been thinking a lot about this, haven’t you?” asked Kairi.
“Thanks to you and Kiera: If you hadn’t come here, I probably wouldn’t have ever thought of this. Thanks.”