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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sandman: Perchance To Dream

Today's blog has absolutely nothing to do with Japan save that I wrote it while I was there between 1990 and 1993.

No one, save myself, has ever read it.

In the ensuing 25 years, I have indeed spent well over 10,000 hours honing my craft as a writer and continue to do so every single day. The past six years... via this blog, I have written about my past life in Japan, Japanese history and social customs, as well as presented some news and my take on said news.

On a couple of occasions, I have indulged myself, and hopefully a few others, by presenting some of my fictional short stories. Granted this and the others I will present over the next two weeks were written while I was still beginning my craft--and I believe myself to be a far better writer of essays and monographs nowadays--but I think that during my time in Japan, when it came to the short story... I was pretty damn good.

That is self-confidence, by the way... not ego. If it was ego, I wouldn't say the following:

The story features the main character of Morpheus, created by Neil Gaiman and produced as one of the best comic book series ever called Sandman under DC Comics' Vertigo comic book line for mature readers.

I naively believed that as an unknown writer with no experience, that I could write scripts and get them published merely because what I was producing was gold.

I quickly learned that being good and being thought of as good by others, are two entirely different things. But who am I to judge?

I had once upon a time ago purchased copies of the entire Sandman series to present to someone dear to me, but circumstances out of my control dictated that we would never meet again - or at least have not at this point in time. I dislike not being in control... and you'd think I would be used to it by now, but I'm not.

Since the mountain won't come to Mohammad, Mohammad will come to the mountain.

Over the next couple of weeks, uninterrupted, I am going ti present some stories - not scripts - that I created... first to introduce readers to the comic book character Sandman, aka Morpheus, and then a couple of other single adventures and then one novella.

As was my custom in the past, I, the author always used lower case for my name, realizing the author wasn't as important as the story that somehow found its way into his head.

Dream, aka Morpheus (and Oneiros, the Shaper, the Shaper of Form, Lord of the Dreaming, the Dream King, Dream-Sneak, the Cat of Dreams, Murphy, Kai'ckul and Lord L'Zoril,) rules over the world of dreams. He is one of the seven Endless: Dream, Destiny, Death, Desire, Delirium (formerly Delight, but is now two in one), and Destruction.

After being captured and held prisoner for 70 years, Dream is now back in business, rebuilding his kingdom... but there is still much he doesn't know about the power vacuum that occurred in his absence. He has been around for billions of years, but still does not know all that much about humans, as he has, in the past merely acted as King... a king unaware of what his subjects and realm requires outside of the basics.
The stories were originally conceived for the fan of the series, and stuff is weird and confusing at first, but I dare say that if you continue to read these tales, you'll figure it out. To Renae... thank you for thinking I could be a writer. That's two. Believe it or not, I was actually going to present these stories now BEFORE you and I corresponded. By the way, check out Renae's take on what Japan of the future is like in her book (novella): Tokyo 2060: Welcome to the Future
 
Here's my attempt at writing fantasy. Hope you like it.

PERCHANCE TO DREAM

a flight of fancy by andrew joseph
"Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream."

Standing in a corner of the dreamers, Prince Morpheus smiles contently. Every so often, pale, thin fingers draw open the Bag of Purple Sands, and gently sprinkle its entire contents throughout the dreamscape. As always, the pouch is replete for his use.

Whenever a sleeper seeks admittance to the forbidden pleasures of his palace, he is there to entertain them with his violet goods.

Some might marvel at the sheer enormousness of the never-ending job he must fulfill, but worry not.... time and dimension hold no sway over he and his kindred. They are the Endless ones.

Despite being immortal, it is possible to be afflicted with lassitude. Though he is the Sandman, he is unable to partake of his own gifts. Sleep, and thus the dream, are forever denied him. One of the foibles the old and the timeless must bear.

He allows himself breaks and vacations from eon to eon - don't worry, though. You won't miss out on any nocturnal visions... being Lord of ones own realm means obeying your own laws of Nature. Except for the pre-ordained ritual of his station. He has no choice in that matter. It's why he and his kin were created.

Morpheus can remove himself from his job for decades. Then when he is sufficiently dulled by relaxation, he can slip between his younger brother's Sands of Time, and begin where he left off. Having Destiny as one's sibling can be handy when you exist in perpetuity. Of course all this is moot if he is drawn away from his dimension by someone else's power.

So, what does the second-oldest creation do to amuse himself in his moments of lethargy? Why he travels the timelines of the oblate, Terra, to dabble quietly in the complex mechanisms of the creatures great and small who sometimes come to his Land of Nod.

Perhaps feeling the pinch of little sister/brother Desire, this time Morpheus has a hidden taste for the late 23rd century. Or so that is what the inhabitants of the point in existence call it.

The peregrination begins with a walk through a desert. It's not quite a walk, though. More like a meander through the molecules. He wonders what it must be like to feel the glamour of the solar sphere on his skin. He looks to the North and finds a young 12-year-old girl knocking on his door. Mary Farnsworth wants to play inside his garden with her fox terrier, Rap. He stretches out and with a gentle nudge and a tinkle of Sand, she instead prepares for a walk in the sunshine.

The Dream King closes his eyes to the anticipated wealth of relaxing thoughts. It has been many an epoch since he last tasted the gentle flicker of Sol.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRR," he and she cry out in pain. Never before has he felt such terror! Such pain!

In her misty tower, Despair laughs a hungry cry before allowing a young man to slash his wrists. Through her sensory windows, she salivates at his anguish. He will die slowly.

Dream's ivory hand quickly clutches a handful of the inducer and allows the girl to play in his garden. Apologizing for her pain, she will not remember his intrusion. He then grants her the forever boon of a peaceful sleep. The sleep of innocence.

Morpheus, the King of Dreams, berates himself for his carelessness, and moves along the vista of reverie. He re-enters the physical and begins to travel again. This time, on foot.

He knows not what had caused the child to enter a zone of the Incubus, save only that he was at fault.

On and on, through the sands that are not his own, he journeys. A zephyr begins to pant its hot, fetid breath against the fantasy master. He does not notice.

For a day plus one, he travels forth - pausing for neither rest nor refreshment. He passes no one. There is no one. His forced exile from the Dream confuses him. "Is this what it is to be lonely?" he inquires of himself.

"Perhaps," he answers freely.

The breeze has now become a storm. Tiny beads of silicate and sand pound against his face and form as he continues his march.

To his left he hears the rambling chatter of a human.

Approaching the large outcropping of rock, he sense a man amid a shell of heavy, yet soft, malleable blue-grey metal. The man begins to sleep within.

"What curious creatures, these mortals are. Living their lives in the Plane of the Material, yet constantly seeking admission into my realm whenever they see fit. I wonder if they will ever learn why they need to visit me?" asks Morpheus caught in an oral flight of whimsy. "Mayhaps it's best the key to that House of Secrets remain closed awhile longer."

With the fluid motion of thought, he travels back to his realm. The somnambulist approaches the imagined Gates of Dream. Morpheus watches closely from above as his loyal servant, a human now inhabiting the form of a raven, "caws" open the gates allowing entry to the dreamer.

Though the man (Christopher Arkwright, 33, single Caucasian, a surveyor for Trans-World Geological Foundation - these and more, the Lord learns instantly) has entered the amphitheatre of deep sleep, he has not yet begun to dream. HE dips long fingers into his pouch and sprinkles its contents upon the sleepy head of Christopher Arkwright. He begins to walk towards Fiddler's Green which has just appeared to his left. Morpheus adjusts his dream, to one of the sun. Fiddler's Green wavers back to its room. The outside world appears.

Christopher groans in his sleep. The Night Hag atop her pestilent steed approaches quickly screaming abuses to the Caves of Winds. Open pustules cover both ride and rider. The Dream tenses. Sensing the oncoming affects of the Nightmare, Morpheus intercedes and tells Kr'thal she is dismissed from this dream. Offering a meek bow, she turns her horse around and howls shrilly into the vanishing darkness of the Nether Regions.

Descending from his throne, he takes Christopher by the hand and leads him towards Fiddler's Green. Christopher smiles contentedly as his dreamself plays in the perceived coolness of the lake and trees.

Morpheus leaves his kingdom once more and awaits Christopher's re-emergence in the Material Plane. Minutes later, Christopher awakens refreshed.

It is still dark out, but the sandstorm has ended.

They talk for hours. Human and an Endless one. Dream learns of the hole in the human world's sky. It is poison. None feel the joy of the sun now, at least not without protection. No one dreams of the sun anymore save those who enter the dark closets of Morpheus' home. Few remember the good it used to utter.

Wiser in the ways of Mortals, he leaves Christopher to sleep until dawn. He will not remember his royal visitor.

After a trip to his brother Destiny's Rock of Ages, Morpheus enters his own land and begins to sprinkle the stuff of dreams upon his guests.


 - 30 -

This was my first fictional story attempt that I wrote a few weeks after I began writing It's A Wonderful Rife... a vehicle originally for my comic side, while the fictional stuff was just an outlet for the not-so-funny stuff. At least at first. Then I learned I could write comedy fiction too.

I have maintained the original British/Canadian spelling that I wrote it in. The headline I swiped from Bill Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare but admit I have not read everything. Yet.

So welcome to the realm of Morpheus, the Sandman, who is the king of dreams. We'll meet a few of his Endless brother's and sisters, and his raven, Matthew - but really we'll learn a bit more about dreams and ourselves.

Too melodramatic? Sorry.

Pleasant dreams,
Andrew Joseph

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this story. It's very good but totally unexpected. I'm not familiar with the Sandman comic but it's clear your story fits into the fantasy genre. Could you please add a short blurb at the beginning as an introduction to the characters and the plot? Similar to what you might find on the back of a paperback so there is no confusion. I'm looking forward to reading more chapters!

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    Replies
    1. Because you asked, Renae, all the stories have been updated (and so too each chapter). I really should have thought of doing that myself... sometimes I forget that not everyone knows certain things. It is why, when I write about Japan, that I always spell things out. I just forgot this time. Let's call it zeal.
      Cheers!

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