Short Stories

Stories in Dreams

Dali's Hand of Remorse; and what my dreams feel like right after I awake
Dali’s Hand of Remorse; and what my dreams feel like right after I awake


(I don’t mean the kind you think of when you’re awake)

I’m talking about those strange moments between consciousness and unconsciousness.

Freud said it was the door to our mind, unleashing our innermost secrets long hidden behind our defense mechanisms and instinct to survive. But are they really more than just our brains’ s way of recycling the millions of synapses formed throughout the day? Could anything original and new be born from its crevices? Or perhaps we’ve seen it all before and we’ve forgotten about it?

I’m not sure, but every now and then, I’ll wake up from a dream, and grab the first thing I can write with to write down what I just dreamed because it jut seemed SO DAMN GOOD!!! The next blockbuster, the next great novel, the next award-winning series, Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve dreamed up Breaking Bad at least twice…

…Maybe not.

As I start to write, the ideas evaporate almost as quickly as they manifested. By the end of squeezing out everything I can, I’m left with a skeleton, lacking the meaty muscles of plot, the intricate nerves of characters, with just barely a lung or an appendix of a setting and time, and I’m left disappointed that I’ve let this brilliant idea die a quick death.

What my dreams seem like an hour after
What my dreams feel like shortly after

But, sometimes the idea outlives its biological clock and lives on, sometimes throughout the day. I’ve had a handful of these old timers and decided to write them out. Who knows, maybe this is the start of the best story that’s ever been dreamt. At the very least, it’ll be fun to see what comes out of them.


This happened, more or less, on February 12th, 2015.

I’ll call you “The Mid-Autumn Revolution.”

“Did you see that?” muttered the young lady to her lover.

“It’s October, why would there be fireworks?”

“I don’t care, they’re soo pretty in the full moon.”

“Strange…but oh well. Beats looking at that eyesore of a refinery.”

The lovers held hands while they snuggled from their million dollar condo off the Strand.

The night sky had been dancing with green and purple lights. Fluorescent streaks of neon penetrated the night sky as they shot out from invisible cannons. Dozens of people began to gather at the beach to watch this unexpected show of bright lights. Without as much as a second of pause, another set of fireworks shot out from the horizon. An enormous sunflower bursted from the singular line of yellow fire, melting away into the sea after its beauty was exposed to her spectators. White horses galloped upwards towards the moon, kissing its forehead before plummeting back to the water.

“Hun, where do you think they’re coming from?”

“You know, I was just thinking that. I don’t see any ships out in the water.”

“Maybe it’s a small boat?”

“Doubt it. You need at least a 15 ft. radius to be safe from the blast. Plus, the right equipment, a precise trajectory. The full moon’s out, too. The waves would make the ship unstable. It’d be dangerous to shoot them out from the water now.”


“You also need a license to carry fireworks. Unless it’s the city, someone got them illegally. You can’t fire them without a permit. Try getting one of those if you don’t..hey, are you even listening?”

“…Hmm? Yes, dear. The full moon’s out.”

It wasn’t until the fourth wave that the Hermosa Beach Police arrived. Four cruisers parked their cars by the shore. As they stepped out of their cars, the officers shared looks of confusion. One of them pulled out a pair of binoculars while the others radioed for a helicopter to light a path from a safe distance.

“Griggs, what do you see?”

“A whole lot of nothing. I can’t make out any type of maritime vehicle. It’s like they’re being shot from the ocean.”

“Let me see. I think you’ve been abusing your green card.”

“Hah, maybe. You know I don’t smoke off the job.”

“Griggs, get Jerry. We need eyes in the sky.”

“I already did. He was in Compton, should be here in a few.”

The two cops stood side by side trading the binoculars, expecting to find what neither of them were supposed to find. Several of the remaining police officers pushed the audience back onto the Strip, but not with much fervor. October was a slow month for HBPD, aside from the usual drunken Saturday nights and the occasional speeding tickets. This was the strangest complaint they have received all month.

The sudden approach of the chopper startled the spectators out of their nightly trance. Hermosa’s cozy residents were not used to the sound of its thundering wings. Anything louder than a car horn was considered a big deal in the well-off neighborhood.

“Jerry, light ‘em up!”

The helicopter manifested a spotlight onto the ocean. To everyone’s dismay, the light landed on nothing but water. The spotlight shifted around in search of the origin of the fireworks to no avail. There was no trace of any sort of maritime vehicle. A creeping discomfort rested on the residents at the beach. Each had their own look of perplexity as they tried to come up with their own hypothesis.

“Maybe it was a speedboat? It sped off.”

“We would hear it, wouldn’t we?

“You can’t light fireworks from a speedboat!”

“It was a yacht…”

“It’s the middle of the night! Why would you take your Yacht out now? It’s way too dangerous.”

“Maybe, aliens?”

“Yeah, OK. Aliens came down to shoot fireworks for us. Brilliant.”

“Look! Farther back!”

The onlookers and police shifted their focus southwestward. A streak of blue had shot out from the ocean, only much farther away.  It was barely heard through the loud wings and the waves crashing below, but everyone saw it.

“Just what the hell is going on, Griggs?”

“I think we’ve all been hitting the pipe too much tonight, Tim.”

“Jerry, go after that boat. Griggs, call the Coast Guard. Tell them we have a fish out of water.”

“But they’re still in the water.”

“I know, I was being ironical.”

Another shore had seen the light of the fireworks streak through the night. This beach was nearly empty, save for a homeless man walking towards the pier to rest for the night. He had seen the blue light but thought nothing of it. Sand had jumped in out of his $5 dollar sandals as he tried to avoid the seaweed that peppered the beach. A half-full bottle of E&J Whisky had slipped from his fingers and was caught in a wave crashing towards the shore. Cursing at the ocean, the man stared blankly as the now white streak of fluorescence shot out from a closer point to him. The flash of light blinded him for a moment. He lost his equilibrium and fell into the sand.

The sound of footsteps startled him as he tried to crawl back to his feet. He quickly turned around and squinted to see who was there. The falling firework had served as a light to reveal who was walking towards him. Five women in uniforms marched towards the man. Camo pants, black leather boots, a semi-automatic rifle. Each soldier with her own set. The man had screamed out of sheer confusion. Never had he had such a bad trip before, even when he’d mix acid and weed. The five shadow soldiers continued their approach towards the beach. A soldier with large bun of brown hair had slowly approached the now sober man. She placed a firm hand on his shoulder and knelt down to help him up.

“It’s OK. Get to the Strand and stay there. Don’t look back.”

The man’s feet had embraced the sand and bolted towards the boardwalk. Obedient only for two of the three request, the man peered back as soon as he was off the sand.

The five women stood on the shore where the waves broke and enveloped their boots. The woman in the middle continued on as her companions stood back at the shore. Carrying her rifle over her head, she marched into the icy water. She stopped when she was waist deep in the ocean. The man rubbed his eyes over and over to believe what he saw. The woman, once underneath the water, had slowly been lifted up to the surface of the water, and was now hovering six inches above it.

Another round of fireworks had escaped into the night, revealing brief clarity to the scene that was taking place.

There was another figure that stood opposite of the soldier. It, too, was hovering over the water. He could make out some shouts, but he was too far to hear what they were saying.

The shouting stopped.

The beach was silent. The meanderer dropped his bottle of whisky on the boardwalk, but it fell silently to the world.

He only made out one word:


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