The Heathen and the Wayward Child

I had two dreams last night, both of which involved living the lives of other people (right after I stated that I rarely have these kind of dreams!) Both of these stories seemed to be snippets of two very different lives; the have little beginning and no conclusion. Both were different ages in different settings with different problems, but both were outcasts. These are their stories.

Dream 1: The Heathen

In a small southern town there was a single, large hill that ran through it. People had homes on the top and bottom of this hill, no one lived on the slope between the two. Except for one home, situated near the top of the hill on the steepest part of the incline. Everyone ignored this strange structure, as it belonged to the Heathen.

As in many small, southern towns. Everyone knew each other, everyone went to the same stores, same parties, and every Sunday they went to the singular church at the bottom of the hill. Everyone except the Heathen.

I was the Heathen. I actually embraced this name the community gave me when I moved into the small town. I was in my thirties, unmarried, and had lived a busy life in the north for my entire adult life. I had strawberry blonde hair that I kept in a bandana, coke bottle glasses, and wore bohemian clothing. A year ago, I had enough of the life I was living; I packed up my things, moved to the middle of nowhere, and started a new life as blog writer.  From my massive savings, I was able to build a tiny house in the small town on the slope of the hill. The house was tiny; it had one bedroom, a bathroom, and an open living space that only covered about a total of  500 square feet. I was more than happy with this.

I was okay with being the outsider of the community with my “backwards ways” and “heathen lifestyle.”  I didn’t have a family or children, so I never attended community or PTA meetings. I also never attended church, because I did not believe in God. Upon discovering that I did not and would not attend church, the small town ostracized me, claiming that I was a sinning monster, a dirty spinster, and worse — a pagan-loving Heathen. All of these things were true; my house was decorated with a large pentagram in the main room; I enjoyed the myths and traditions of old. Despite the social suicide and potential risk of being attacked by my God-fearing neighbors, I was happy. This religion-crazy town was quaint and serene, which is what I wanted.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning and I could hear the families of the top of the hill head towards the church, their children laughing and playing in their Sunday best.  I had my door open to let in the lovely breeze, my screen door allowed me direct sight to road, and the road direct sight to me.  Adults adamantly ignored me, leading their smaller children as far away as they could from my home. As the last of the families passed my door, I smiled. For an hour and a half, I would have the entire town to myself; I could go for a walk around the northern shops without hassle or enjoy a picnic brunch in my front yard. Just as I was about to make a decision, I heard footsteps come up to my front door. I rushed over with my frying pan in hand, hoping to defend my home from being pelted with  rotten eggs, which was a fairly common occurrence. I approached the screen carefully. Instead of some stupid teenagers, I saw two young boys, roughly between the ages of eight and ten. I recognized the blond pair as the children of my closest neighbors. They lived at the top of the hill, the last home before the road descends down the hill; their backyard faced my side window where I worked at my desk, I often saw them playing in their yard. They did not have rotten eggs, in fact they stood on my porch in their church clothes, staring up at me with a level of fear.

I lowered my frying pan.

“Why aren’t you two at church with your family?”

“We’ll sneak in before they notice we’re missing,” The oldest of the two said shakily.

“Miss,” the youngest boy asked in the sweetest, heart-melting voice of innocence I had ever heard. “Why don’t you ever go to church?”

Not wanting to “corrupt” the child with my heathen ways, I gave them a very simple answer.

“Because I am an adult, I can choose to go or to not go to church.”

“But what about praying for your sins?” he asked, looking confused. He seemed to wonder why anyone wouldn’t want to attend church.

Again, not wanting to go into my lack of beliefs, I gave them a plausible answer.

“Doesn’t God see all?” I asked back. The boys nodded. “Then he can see me pray from home just as easily as he could from a church.” Both boys seemed to muse this over for a minute, but after they did, they smiled with surprisingly mature understanding, then they said goodbye and continued down the road. I smiled; I was going to slowly teach acceptance to this town one person at a time…

Score: 6/10. A good story with a good message all wrapped up in the gray area of religion. Neat.

 

Dream 2: The Wayward Child

I am a young girl of about seven; I have dark hair and eyes and am wearing a pale pink dress that I distinctly hated. I am on a small, private plane with my mother, father, and little brother. We are in the air when the pilot says we will make an emergency landing because the engine was failing.  He headed us towards a small airport, unfortunately, he couldn’t land the plane safely and we crashed into the ground. My mother grabbed me just as we hit the ground. Then blackness.

I am now fifteen or sixteen years old. I’m looking at myself in the girl’s bathroom mirror. I am tall and lanky with the same dark hair and eyes and sickly pale skin. I am not a pretty girl; I am a replica of my father, so much so that my angular jaw and large nose would have been more fitting if I had been a boy. I scowl at myself. I hated school and I hated the fact that I couldn’t leave. I hobbled out of the bathroom, my right leg had been permanently injured in the plane crash, so I walked a little funny.

I attended a prestigious boarding school, and my father was the Headmaster. We had been the only survivors of the plane crash. I grew up alone without my mother or brother, and with little interaction with my strict father.  I had essentially been raised by private tutors during the summer and attended my father’s boarding school the rest of the year.

For years, I had strived to be perfect, to do well in school and anything else I attempted. I wanted my father to be proud of me, to show that he still loved me. He had always been a strict parent, but before the crash he showed kindness and smiled. Since the accident, he had been completely withdrawn from me and I often feared that he resented me for living when his wife and son had perished. That was why I aimed to be the perfect child, I aced all of my classes, presented myself well, and would keep an eye on my fellow students and report them to my father for misdeeds. Anything that would put me in his good graces.

Because of my familial connection to the Dean and my occasional snitching, I was an outcast amongst my peers. I had no friends or bullies, everyone feared and avoided me. I was always alone, but I had always been okay with that…until now.

I had recently gotten a 92% on a huge research paper, with some markdowns for a few punctuation errors. I had been having an insane year with the amount of classes I was taking, so I was happy despite the silly mistakes and I had enough extra credit in the class to still achieve a 4.0.  My father, however, was not pleased with my A-, he said there was no pride in achieving anything lower than an A, and that I should be ashamed for being pleased with my sub-par performance. I had slinked out of his office in shame and with tears stinging my eyes.

Standing in the bathroom, I had decided that I was done living in a constant hell trying to achieve something I could not accomplish. I was done. I was ready to turn the tables — I would continue to play the part of a perfect child, but I was going to secretly make his life a living hell.

Just as I was debating what I should do to accomplish my new task, I heard a yelp from down the hall, one of the more problematic students had accidentally set the garbage can on fire (probably from smoking.) She was a pretty girl with bright red-dyed hair (the only “exotic” color she was allowed to dye it) and striking blue eyes. The girl looked up to see me and went as white as a sheet; she believed I would turn her in for what she had done. I gave her a sly smile and broke the glass of the nearby fire alarm and pulled it. Paralyzed, the rebellious girl did not run when I approached her. I grabbed her arm and pulled her into the utility closet, where I knew there was a hidden corridor used by the janitorial staff. I pulled her into the passageway and down the stairs. We snuck to the bottom floor, making sure that no one saw us come out of the passage, and merged into the crowd of students exiting the building.

We were all filed in rows outside and waited for the the all-clear to return inside. My father came outside and confronted the entire student body, claiming that they would figure out who lit the trashcan on fire and that that person would be severely punished unless they confessed now.  He towered over all of us; he had to be close to seven feet tall. No one moved, and the girl glanced sideways at me with fear, waiting for me to rat on her.  My father paused a moment in front of me, waiting to see if I saw or heard anything about the incident. I looked up at him blankly and he moved on, believing that I knew nothing.

“Why did you cover for me?” the girl asked suspiciously after we were reluctantly let back in the school.

“My father is an ass and I’m sick of it,” I deadpanned. “Honestly, I don’t care what any of you guys do from now on. Go nuts; I won’t be reporting another thing to him.”

“Huh,” she snorted,  running her fingers through her short hair style. “I guess you’re alright…”

I smirked. I knew this would mark the beginning of non-stop chaos for dear old dad.

Dream Score: 7/10. I could develop this dream further into a story if I wanted. I love when my dreams have complex layers that make the world seem so realistic.

 

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