Pamela Dane Hayes
In that White Rush

The dream came one fiercely hot summer night when both sleep and breezes were elusive. The stagnant air crackled with heat and Norma chafed with a rash. Imprisoned in a labyrinth of sweltering sheets, she squirmed and twisted, searching for the egress. The book she had been reading before the lights failed slid off the bed, still open to Leda and the Swan.

A city wide black-out had shut down the streetlights as well as her fan and the darkness only made the dead air more oppressive. Twelve stories below, sirens rebounded through the streets while the revolving lights of patrol cars, ambulances and fire engines illuminated the scene like a surreal disco. The flickering lights made strange apparitions, Norma thought for a moment she saw a dark figure in the corner of her room.

It was in this Daliesque vision of apocalypse that Norma finally found a jagged arm of sleep. She careened down it, bashing against the banks of wakefulness. The figure in the corner of her room moved closer to her. Norma's mind filled with images of water.

She found herself on the precipice of a great waterfall, a cataract to oblivion; she dove over the edge, feeling the cool spray in her face, it tasted of freedom and forgetfulness. She fell, feeling as if she were flying. Norma smiled into the dark face of Morpheus as he stood watching over her. He bent down and softly licked her brow, savoring the saline musk of her skin. She stirred, imagining the rush of the river spray on her face.

Norma felt herself drifting like a dust mote on air currents over the water. In a slow spiral she made her way down to the river. She felt the water reach up to grasp and enclose her. Within its cool embrace, eddies caressed her inner thighs, swirling like icy fingers over her warm skin. Waves licked at her belly and kissed her breasts, she stretched and sighed. Above the girl, Morpheus' expression was hideous delight; finding the total darkness he needed to manifest was rare.

Through the night Norma rode the river, the relentless water seeping into her from every direction. Its icy embrace shocking in the still waters as it gently lapped across her skin. Ever cooling touch brought relief from the heat and a peculiar kind of excitement. Her languid limbs fluttered on the water's glacial skin until the gentle rocking motion that carried her along began to change. Norma opened her eyes and looked into the dark eyes of the creature astride her. He waved his hand over her face and she yielded back to the dream.

The waves began to swell and chop as the water increased its speed. She was bucked and tossed on its torrent. She slipped over, around and between giant boulders smooth as sea glass. Her breath came in gasps. Norma fought against it but the rapids pummeled her into submission. Suddenly she was awash in whitewater foam, she choked and sputtered and then felt herself released from the water's grip. Pushed aside, she found herself adrift, surrounded by flotsam and jetsam.

The first gray light of morning gleamed over the cityscape. This day was just as hot as the last, though with the power restored the city began to recover its usual poise. Norma's fan whirred to life. Norma sat up in bed and ran her hand through her wet hair. Her bed was wet as well, she searched for a reason. Her open window showed clear skies, the ceiling above her dry. Norma remembered the dream and shivered despite the heat. Then she wept.