Nightmares, Dreams, and All Things in Between
Copyright by Paige Bergen, 2017
First Shakespir Edition
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Table of Contents
Amy took everything. Her backpack with the taco pin on it, her stuffed make-up bag, and her favorite book Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. The only thing she left behind was Harry. And she wouldn’t miss him.
Shiny, silver keys jingled in her hand as she ran down the cement, gum-littered stairs to her slick, black Cadillac. She opened the door, hopped into the driver’s seat, and drove.
The night was as black as a crow’s back. Amy smiled then winced, her puffy, purple eye stinging and throbbing. She inhaled through her nose and sighed, smiling smaller this time.
The wind whooshing in from the windows scattered her short pixie hair like a wishing flower on a breezy summer day. The cool air soothed her sore scalp and swollen face. She grinned wider now as she stopped at a red light. Her eyes stared at the bright circles above, and her eyelids drooped.
A man stood before Amy in a dark cave. She stood tall, but her fragile hands shook. The man scoffed and took a step closer.
“Stay away,” she said, her voice wavering as she swung her tiny fists at him. He grabbed both with one large hand. Amy whimpered.
“How can you say such a stupid thing?” He crushed her two hands into grey, bleak sand with a single squeeze. Amy screamed and fell to her knees.
“Get up,” the man said.
She paused with silent tears lingering in her eyes. She wiped them away with her forearm and rose. “I will,” she said, “I always will. But not for you.”
The man laughed and the dim cavern echoed. “For who, then?”
She turned to face the monster. “For me.” A gleaming, silver sword appeared in front of Amy. She leapt for it.
However, her lack of hands caused her to pound her face to the sooty ground. The man laughed louder.
Amy stood up again. Her feet walked along the grimy floor past the sword to the man. His black eyes looked her over as she came forward. “What?” he asked with a smirk. Amy stopped. Then, she kicked him right in the jaw.
He cursed, flying backwards and hitting his head on the rock wall. He fell to the ground, limbs sprawled out like a drunkard’s.
Amy walked toward him one last time and as she did so, her hands grew back, smooth, seamless, and metal. She stuck out one behind her and the sword fled to it like a magnet. She looked down at the man who looked a lot smaller now.
“Are you okay, Miss?”
A police officer stood at the window of Amy’s car with a tiny flashlight in her hand. Amy blinked. “What?”
“Are you okay?”
Amy looked around. The car had drifted onto the grass at the side of the road. The traffic light still buzzed. “I must have fallen asleep. I’m sorry, officer.”
“Don’t be sorry, darlin’. Just tell me that you’re okay. You look like you’ve been in a boxin’ match.” The woman motioned to Amy’s eye.
Amy reached up and touched it. It no longer stung. Amy smiled and nodded to the woman. “I’m okay,” she said, “I’m free.”
The Enchantress and the Sprite
A pointy, black boot hit the wooden floor of Taboo Tavern with a sharp tap. The drunkards who giggled and hollered over their booze mere seconds before didn’t make a sound. They only stared at Audra as she prowled her way to the bar, her metallic silver and green cape whisking ratty shoelaces that tied themselves together upon her magic touch. When she reached the bar worn with scratches, dents, and dried drops of blood, she slammed down her fists. Even though beers spilled all over the bystanders, nobody moved.
Audra lifted her chin to reveal shining, steel eyes from behind her large, dark hat. “Your finest drink, please.”
The burly barkeep’s bald head wrinkled up with the lift of his bushy brow causing beads of sweat to trickle down his face. “You sure, Ma’am? It’s quite expensive.”
The enchantress raised a fist. The man flinched. Then, she opened her hand, letting an avalanche of gleaming platinum coins clatter before him. She smirked, looking into his eyes. “That shouldn’t be a problem.” Her smile, then withered. “And don’t call me Ma’am.”
He nodded his head. “As you wish, Miss.” He scurried through a doorway in the back where smokes in shades of purple, blue, pink, and gold crept from. Audra inhaled the scent of Octopus Pus, Forget-Me-Not Vodka, Love Liquor, and Queen’s Brew. She pulled up a spare stool with a flickering of her fingers and sat down amongst the men, awaiting her beverage.
She glanced up. A wanted poster displaying a drab photo of herself dangled from one of the weathered cabinets above. She sighed as she rested her elbow on the bar and her cheek on her palm.
Audra looked up with an arched eyebrow and pursed lips at the unexpected voice. “Yeah, actually.”
A woman with mauve wings down to her ankles watched her from a few seats away. She rose and walked toward Audra. With every step she took, white glitter dripped onto the rotten floor boards beneath her delicate bare feet, cleansing them of their grime.
Once in front of Audra, she fluttered her wings and sat mid-air with her legs crisscross apple sauced. Up close, her feathered eyelashes quivered just above her sparkling, opal eyes. “Well,” she said through flower petal lips, “you don’t have to be a witch about it.”
The men about gasped, cupping their mouths with soot-covered fingers.
Audra’s eyes froze, void as two blank pages. Each unreadable, for she had no words.
After a slow moment of disbelief, intrigue, she stood.
As did the sprite.
The corners of Audra’s mouth tickled as she looked this opposing force up and down, but her fuzzy lips did not curl. “What’s your name, Flutters?”
The fairy grinned, each tooth as white as the moon. “Zanoa.”
Audra nodded and turned her back to Zanoa, walking a few paces forward.
She stopped, her shiny shoes shocking the floor with a sound, simultaneous click.
“It sounds like you want a duel, Flutters.” With a wave of her hand, she summoned a silver staff with an orb blacker than Space atop it. Her head pivoted so that only one of her stormy eyes peered over her shoulder. “Is that correct?”
Zanoa chuckled. “No.”
Audra’s eyebrows flew upward. She spun to face Zanoa, still gripping her staff. “No?”
Mouths laid agape upon watching the scene.
Zanoa smiled as she hooked her thin fingers through the belt loops of her light-blue jeans. “Nope.”
The orb buzzed just above Audra’s hand, causing the staff to shake. The buzzing grew louder and louder until both the orb and its staff vanished in a puff of silver mist.
The men let out held breaths.
“Hmm.” Audra crossed her arms. Her eyebrows furrowed. Her chin wrinkled. “Then, what do you want?”
Zanoa laughed again. “Hell, I want a lot of things. Books. Cash. A waterslide would be nice.”
Audra almost smiled.
Zanoa grinned, walking closer to Audra. “But what I want presently, is to talk.”
“Really?” Audra asked, placing her hands on her hips, “To a fearful fugitive like me?”
“Yes,” said Zanoa, “but to be honest, you’re not all that scary to me.”
The crowd gasped.
“Oh, hush,” she said, then looked back to Audra. “Apparently, some people disagree.” Her smirk faded. “That’s actually what I want to talk to you about.” She sat down at a small, empty table with two seats.
Audra considered the seat, her fingers touching down one at a time on her waist as if they were at a football game, doing the wave.
Zanoa watched the deliberation.
Audra sat down. “So,” she said, “go on.”
“Can I ask you something?”
“What do you think ‘go on’ mea–”
“Are you happy?”
Audra’s lightning, zig-zagged eyes rumbled. “What?”
“Are you happy?” Zanoa repeated.
Audra’s jaw slacked, as her eyes welled with water. “No, you insufferable fairy.”
“Hey,” Zanoa reached her hand out, but Audra scooted back in her chair. “I only want to help.”
“Why?” Audra asked. “Nobody wants to help the wicked witch. They only want to throw stones at her or whisk her hair with torches aflame.” Glistening tears spilled down her dark face. “They only leave her alone when she’s cruel. If she can snap their bones with the snap of her fingers, they dare not cross her.”
“But, is that the life you want to lead? A life that emanates fear?”
“Of course not!” Audra shouts. “I just want to be respected like any other creature in the land.”
Zanoa nodded. A milky teardrop fell down her smooth cheek. She stepped toward Audra, opened her arms, and hugged her. Her wings beat a soft, slow pattern behind her. “I respect you.”
Audra stood straight, thin fingers twitching at her sides. Then, slowly, she reached up and placed her coarse hands onto Zanoa’s warm shoulders. “Thank you.”
“Your drink, Miss.” The bartender placed a petit cauldron of golden, bubbling Queen’s Brew on the counter.
Audra pulled away from Zanoa, wiping her face free of drips and drops. She nodded to him.
The barkeep nodded as well, and started toward the kitchen once more.
“Excuse me, Sir?” Audra said.
“Yes?” he said, cringing.
Audra walked over. She picked up the mini cauldron and took a sip.
He wrung his sweaty hands together like a nervous raccoon.
She gulped. “This is delicious.”
The bartender’s hands stopped fidgeting, then fell to his thighs. He smiled. “Thank you, Miss.”
“Could you please make another for my friend, Zanoa, here?”
“Of course!” He scuttled away.
Audra turned back to Zanoa.
Zanoa’s wings flapped, suspending her a few inches off the ground. Her smile shined.
Audra held up her drink, smiling back. “To you.”
Fred sat in a velvet, green chair at the edge of a shadowy, wooden room, his mustached face behind The New York Times. The smoky ashes in the fireplace next to him dimmed from bright orange to chalky black much like his blank, heavy-lidded eyes.
Paul, wearing a pair of overalls and a buttercup-yellow shirt, took a step toward him.
Fred straightened the newspaper to cover his face further. Paul stopped before him and slipped the paper from his fingers to the hardwood floor. Tears spilled down into Fred’s bushy beard.
“Fred,” Paul said again, crouching down and taking Fred’s face into his hands while wiping away the droplets with his callused thumbs. “What’s wrong?”
Fred’s strong jaw quivered, shaking the remaining tears onto his striped shirt.
Tears fell from Paul’s pond-blue eyes, too.
Fred looked up. “Now, don’t you cry.”
“Then, please…just talk to me.”
“Where did the years go?”
“Why did we waste them so?”
Paul’s eyebrows lowered and his eyes brewed into a stormy grey. He stood up and walked to the other side of the room. He squatted down, rummaging through a dark brown cabinet in the corner.
“Paul, what are you doing?”
“Finding the years you ‘wasted.’”
Paul shuffled over to Fred with arms full of framed photographs. A few clattered to the floor along the way.
“Here,” Paul said, plopping the pile of pictures at Fred’s feet. “take a look.”
Fred wiped his cheeks with his shirt sleeve and picked up a sepia photo of the two of them holding hands in their garden out back. In another, they smiled up at the skyscrapers in New York City. In the last one he picked up, they kissed in their foyer.
“So,” Paul said, “do you still think we’re a waste?”
“Of course not,” Fred said, taking Paul’s hand, “I never for a second thought that we were a waste.”
Paul blushed and his eyes teared up. “Then, what are you so sad about, Love?
Fred’s grin dissipated. “Do you forget what happened outside of the frames?”
Paul frowned. “I remember. What about it?”
Fred grimaced and jerked his hand from Paul’s. “What about it? What about it?” He stood and stomped to the window. “Throughout all those years of thieving, of robbing, of killing, of plotting, what did we ever really get out of it besides a broken conscience and a heavy heart.”
Paul rose. “We got each other.”
Fred turned around, the soft light from the window playing with his sharp nose and carved scars. “At what price?” He sighed and sat down on the windowsill. Snow fell cold outside the cottage. “I wish that I was more than a criminal. I wish that I was a better man. I’m not happy with the crimes we’ve committed, Paul. I’m happy that I met you out of them, but I don’t like what we’ve done.”
Fred looked up at Paul. “Don’t you feel even a little guilty?”
Paul walked to Fred, putting his hands on his taut thighs. Their foreheads touched.
“Yes,” Paul said, “I do feel guilty. I would take every bit of it back except meeting you.” Paul kissed Fred’s plump lips. “You’ve got to forgive yourself though. We were young, desperate, and hungry for money. We aren’t those people anymore. We’re us.” Paul cupped Fred’s face in his hands. “And I love us.”
Teardrops dribbled into Fred’s beard once more. “I love you.”
About the Author
Paige Bergen is an edgy, quirky screenwriter in the film industry. Although film is her main squeeze, she is also a gifted poet, novelist, short story writer, and lyricist. As a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars who is earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Entertainment, she writes both whimsical romance pieces and dark, mystical tales at Full Sail University. She gains these ideas whenever someone or something strikes her as beautiful, raw, and real…or when she’s dancing around her condo manically.
If you want to reach her, her LinkedIn profile is here: . She also has Instagram (
quirkyworks) and Twitter (quirky_works_) accounts.
“Free” is the tale of Amy, a young woman, who slips away in the night to escape her monstrous boyfriend, Harry. Although Amy is able to escape Harry in reality, he still lurks in her mind, transforming her dreams into nightmares. “The Enchantress and the Sprite” is a fantasy story set in a dingy tavern where Audra, a dark sorcerer, is confronted by Zanoa, a bright fairy. However, this adversary does not want to battle Audra, but debate with her for Audra believes the world is against her, while Zanoa tries to show her otherwise. “Us” is the heart-warming story of Fred and Paul, two ex-convicts in love with one other and working through the regrets of their past.