The Tempest Dream by Jason Orszt

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SUMMARY: This was to be part of the first chapter in a novel I decided to put off. I think it can stand well enough on its own... be it good or bad in quality.

Jacob fell into his bed, his eyes already heavy. The bed felt warmer than usual; he didn't even cover himself with the blanket. A rough day finally over.

He dreamt... His room was inundated with a slow dusty gyre. It felt like he was in the eye of some lethargic storm.

Someone was sitting over his pelvis. It was a man—no, a woman—maybe an angel. She, he decided, was tenuous and pale with tawny locks falling about her shoulders. This woman was beautiful in her very solemn features. She was dressed in an illuminating white gown that blanketed over his naked body. Her eyes entered his own. "You are mine," the angel spoke mellifluously. And he wanted to belong to her.

Soft fingers began to palm around his neck. It felt wonderful and nearly gave him an erection. She began to descend on his face with an open mouth. Her kiss tasted of honey and elated him. Joseph's eyes shut passionately and he began to breathe heavily.

When he opened them, her face had transmogrified into a male with a trimmed beard and long red hair. He thought for a moment that it was just a thick patch of dust in front of his eyes. With his hands, he fanned away what few motes there actually were. The face was still its male-transformation staring at him with maddening eyes. He was still on top of Jacob, making him nervous. The strange man began to speak with the same soothing voice. "The beast drenched in nightmare, Jacob, will wake—" His words became muffled by a storm, which seemed to be the dust in his room. Winds began to lash around the room, seemingly to center on this man.

The innumerable clusters began to circulate rapidly. It had become a cyclone within the small confines of his bedroom. It took up everything that had bestrewed the floor.

The man stopped attempting to speak through it. It seemed that the tempest was sentient, as if trying to prevent a nameless evil the stranger could perpetrate. He grimaced and grunted.

The white ceiling began to give in. The wood was lined with fissuring cracks. It broke and spun upwards, pulled by the storm.

The strange man's face began to decay, as if the winds were stealing him away. For some reason, Joseph wanted to know what he was saying. He called out to the deteriorating man, ordering him to repeat those words, to do so before he went away forever.

The man returned with a gentle smile that remained on his face until the very last specks of his lips were vacuumed into the leaden firmament.