My eyes fluttered open, I saw nothing but a dark blur. I couldn’t move easily, my body felt stiff. Did I sleep wrong? I moved my left hand reaching for where my phone usually was, but couldn’t find it. I tried moving my right hand but it wouldn’t budge, probably numb from laying on it, I thought. I was warm, warmer than I had been in my bed even with the electric blanket turned on and snuggled between the two fuzzy blankets and the big fat quilt on top. I felt like I was lying in leather and fur. Leather is expensive and I’m cheap. Something was off. After forcing myself a few blinks, my eyes cleared and I saw a rough wooden ceiling that had plants I didn’t recognize hanging upside down in bunches, netting, and a large hole with smoke going out of it into a night sky filled with stars. Looking around without moving my head, I saw I was in a log cabin. There were carvings along the corners of every surface that reminded me of lettering made of simple lines and shapes but I didn’t recognize them. I must still be dreaming.
I tried lifting my right hand again, thinking it didn’t feel numb, but it wouldn’t move. I looked down towards it and saw a large man sleeping beside me, holding my hand. He had long auburn hair pulled into a thick, silver metal-banded braid that fell to his waist, a beard that was braided and had metal rings decorating it, and a large nose that hooked a little. He had a scar along his right cheek that looked deep, but his sleeping face looked gentle.
I took a deep breath and turned my head to look towards the lighter side of the room, wondering what weird thing I’d see now. There was a large rough wooden table on one side of the room with various tools and a pile of what looked like fabric or furred skins on one side and a space cleared where one could sit to eat or work on the other. Along the walls, I saw multiple skins hung in various stages of drying, several long poled implements, was that a spear? I saw no televisions, no electrical cords, no technology beyond iron or steel. The room was cozy, comfortable-looking, but you could tell that its owner was practical. Nothing was excessively ornate but the apparent lettering was on nearly every tool and along the lines of every corner. Yep, I must be still sleeping.
I moved my other hand to try to pull my right hand free but his eyes snapped open. His nearly black eyes looked at me, a smile lifted the corners of his eyes and rounded his cheeks. Muzzily he said something but I couldn’t understand him. It didn’t sound like anything I’d ever heard before. He must have seen I couldn’t understand him because a look of concern came across his face, he reached a rough hand to my face and gently stroked my cheek.
He quickly got up and left the bed to run to the firepit in the center of the room below the smoke hole. He fiddled around then came bounding back with a bowl full of what smelled like porridge with some light herbs inside. He set the bowl down beside the bed and moved to help me sit up. I looked at him, nodding with a smile.
I saw I was myself, everything about me looked familiar down to the old rings on my hands and the weird scar on my right hand. My skin kind of sagged a little more than usual. Yay.. still forty-five, huge, and hideous. I sighed to myself that I couldn’t at least have gotten a better body for this dream. My hair flopped over my shoulder, a long very thick blonde braid. I was very proud of the fact that my hair had no grays in it. But I noticed it was considerably longer than I remembered from the real world where it barely hit the middle of my back, now it was braided and hitting my lap. He must have noticed my surprised look because he moved his hand to hold mine and spoke again, gentle comforting words even though I couldn't understand. I looked at him, and tried to talk, but my throat wasn’t working properly. He shook his head and offered me a bite of the porridge. It was probably the most delicious thing I’d ever eaten in my life. It was savory and coated my throat gently, not too many spices but the flavoring was perfect. He continued to feed me, not letting me hold the spoon or bowl for fear I’d be too weak I suppose. He talked while he fed me, probably more to sound comforting while I ate. So surreal a dream but the feeling of actually eating crossed my mind. Was I really dreaming? Most vivid dream I’ve ever had in my life! And who was the dude? Had I seen him while shopping and just created a mental life for this dream?
I looked around the room and saw no electronics. The last thing I recalled before this dream was reading on my cell phone in my bedroom. I thought maybe I’d been reading too many novels and comics. I silently ate while he continued talking. I watched him for a while, as he finished feeding me and moved to clean up the bowl and spoon. He was a big man, easily 6’5” and muscular, the kind of muscle you’d get from hard work, not bodybuilding. The pirate-style, linen shirt he wore was dyed a bright blue and had embroidery at the opening of the neck. He also had on a pair of black breeches that were loose around his legs and ended just below the knee, the rest of his legs and feet bare. His braid swung merrily as he walked, his steps were very light and silent for such a big man. He was a beautiful sight. He looked to be my age, or thereabouts.
I tried to talk again, my voice sounding raspy, “C- could I get some.. w- water?” He turned looking at me, head tilted to the left like a confused puppy. I made a motion of drinking, and he nodded, then sprang out the door, returning quickly with a horn cup. He gently held it to my lips and helped me sip. So much better. “Thank you.” He smiled, though I could tell he didn’t know what I was saying. I smiled and leaned back against the pillows, closing my eyes. I just breathed for a few minutes then apparently I fell asleep in the dream. Do you dream while dreaming?