It was seven in the morning. I had barely begun to regain my consciousness, but Jocelynne was already well into the conversation. I often felt as though she left me far behind somewhere, taking my time to catch up. She was the only person I could call “friend” in the small town of Hansem, and so I tolerated much more than early morning calls.
Jocelynne was an odd creature, and I suspected this to be the reason for our friendship. She would often become caught up in some impulsive idea for weeks on end. I was quite the opposite, and she constantly scolded me for over-thinking. If Jocelynne was my best friend, logic was my sister, and they did not get along.
I agreed with whatever Jocelynne was asking me and made my best attempt to sound as though I was actually listening. This didn’t fool her for long, and she finally stopped to ask if she had woken me. She was well aware of the fact that I had never been a morning person, so the question was actually her way of telling me to wake up and listen.
“Yes, Jocelynne, you did,” I replied groggily.
“Oh. I thought you sounded distracted.”
“Actually I had a strange dream last night,” I admitted, “I wasn’t quite sure if I was awake or not.”
“Another one? Tell me.”
If there was one thing for which I liked Jocelynne, it was her interest in my dreams. Since I was a young girl, I had the most vivid visions while I slept. They were often nightmares or things of an unsettling nature. This one certainly was nothing less than unsettling, and I was grateful for her eagerness to listen.
I recounted everything I remembered about the dream; which was an intense amount of detail on account of the sharp quality that lent itself to my visions. Jocelynne was intrigued, and inquired endlessly about the man who’s voice I couldn’t hear.
He had been largely concealed from me on account of the dark clothing he wore, but I remembered him well enough that I could pick him out among a group of people if given the chance. He was dark-skinned with black hair and oddly light colored eyes. His height, I couldn’t tell, but he was thinly built and of a somewhat unfixed nature. His form seemed to shift before my eyes and yet he never actually changed shape. It was as if I had made contact with another dimension, but something within my mind kept the image at bay.
“That’s so strange,” Jocelynne was saying.
“I know. I wish I could understand what he had been saying.”
“It wouldn’t have mattered, Ivy. It was a dream.”
Jocelynne’s reassurance was kindly meant, but there was something in her tone that set me on edge. I was instantly upset, but before I could voice my defense I realized that she was right. Visions were not something to be defensive about, and those who were usually ended up in the mad house. An image of Jocelynne wearing a strangely tall top hat with a card wedged into its side flashed on the backs of my eyes. I squeezed my eyes together once more and studied the objects in my room.
But it did matter. I knew the identity of the man in my dream, and I would remember it.
“I’m meeting the girls later. Want to come?” Jocelynne once again disallowed me to think.
“I’ll pick you up.”
We hung up, and I rose to sit on the edge of my bed as if I were still caught in my apparition. I felt all of a sudden strangely disconnected from the world around me, and yet somehow connected to something new. As I reached the base of the stairs I could hear the television. Jude was watching the news, and Vera was in the kitchen again making breakfast. A few words ebbed in and out of audible range from a report about happenings in Arizona, of all places; one in particular was etched in my head throughout the day: