Ruanna's Dreams
Part Two

By: Molly E. Hamilton

The Berringers continuously reinforced to their daughter that Maverick was not real—just like Nana. They consoled her with the promise of drugs when she turned 18. Ruanna's glow began to die away. Her giggles ceased. Her songs ended. The joy she had felt was diminishing as she was forced to focus on reality. Her time in her dream world was shortened and tainted by the nagging voice that said, "He isn't real." Soon, Ruanna tried not to sleep. It was too painful.

The depression was beginning to disturb the Berringers more and more. Therapists suggested getting her involved in activities. So they volunteered her to serve at the library. A respectable pastime, as long as she obeyed the rule of not entering the fantasy section. Although, with Ruanna's dismay over the ruin of her dreams, the fantasy section was not a fanged threat. The library was also good because the Berringers didn't want her to have a job yet, because they believed money "gave too much power." Ruanna had to be controlled. So after school, she went to the library for three hours. Then she would go home to eat and study and knit sometimes. Only then would she have some fleeting hours to herself. She took to the Internet to stay awake; she talked to strange peers online. She started sketching. Anything she could do to avoid falling asleep. Soon she became an avid reader. As she volunteered at the library, strange books began coming home with her from a strange librarian called George. George was certainly and tragically real.

George was a tall, thin man. He had masses of curly red locks piled on his great egg–shaped head and cynical blue eyes. His nose was long and skinny, and his lips rested in a straight line. He had taken an interest in Ruanna, who was steadily looking worse and worse by the day. From her depression she lost more weight. Her big, purple eyes were dull and neglected from view by the dark bags hanging below. Her hair was knotted, covered in flecks of dandruff. She was always nodding off behind the non–fiction shelves, and she would awaken with her face tight with terror. George wanted to know why the young girl was the way she was. So he asked. George was never a shy person. He never had regards to social norms. When he asked, Ruanna told. She told about her love for a figment of her dream world. And how no matter what she did, what she read, what she thought, or what she watched—she dreamt of him every night.

"Always dream about the same world. Every night. And time passes? And he tells you he's real? You have conversations?"

Ruanna nodded, "And it's hard because I love him. I want to believe him, but I just can't."

George cricked his neck and slipped into his thinking posture. He slumped down in his chair from behind the research desk. His lower lip slipped forward and his brow sunk down. His eyes looked up at Ruanna. "Well what if it is real?" he asked quickly. His voice was a mix between a mutter and a growl, which was slightly nasally.

Ruanna stiffened, "What?" she asked in shock. She had never encountered anyone who made such an absurd suggestion.

"This Maverick kid—what if he's real? What if he's been trying to tell you the truth? You love him, don't you?" he asked, agitated by the idea.

"Well yes—"

"—And love is life's greatest lie," George said.

"George, please," Ruanna said. For she had heard many a time about George's philosophies.

"What I was saying," he said, "Before we get into the abstract manipulation of human emotion, have you ever considered that there's more to the Earth than what we can see?"

Ruanna shook her head. She was taught to keep her "lunacy" to herself. She was a good little pretender. She was afraid George would end the conversation, but he made a speech to her delight. He talked about his firm belief in the paranormal, the spiritual, and other invisible forces. He complained about Karma earmarking him. He talked about scales of the universe constantly tipping and teetering, which brought him to the hidden function of a hero—to balance the scales. Then he went back to the unseen that shape every last human's life. Then back to the haunting in his friend's cellar. George finally began to end his rantings with, "So it stands to reason, if there are other plains with the dead, then there very well could be other plains that we simply do not know about. Dreams could be our subconscious picking up on it. Might I add, energy cannot be created nor destroyed?"

"Energy?" Ruanna echoed in a small voice. She was afraid someone else would overhear.

"There's something happening in these dreams. They aren't normal. You wouldn't understand it."

"I want to understand."

George, the great philosopher and physicist—the greatest dreamer of all time (who owned a genuine dragon scale key–chain) —smirked with satisfaction. "Then you need to read," he said. George prided himself for his research skills. He believed that the library held every answer in the universe. He, being so great, could find the truth of anything.

Thus came the books. The tireless amount of books that George could find relating to the quest of opening Ruanna's dream world seemed to have no end. Ruanna read them all. George did too. The Berringers began finding all types of physics books lying around their daughter's bedroom, and some science fiction. Books on various, non–taught theories began to appear and so did books on dreams. Ruanna was becoming happier again. She was eating food once more and sneaking naps. She wrote notes based on books that Maverick had in her dream world. A hidden stash of books: The Dream Realm, Reality of Dreams, Dimension Physics Theories, Alternative Universes, and Energy Essence in Thought were found in the back of Ruanna's closet. An outstanding library fine for The Britannicus Veil came for her in the mail. Apparently someone (George) couldn't wait his turn to read it and placed a reserve on it to force Ruanna to hurry up. Angrily the Berringers paid the fine. They waited for their daughter to come home. They demanded to know what she was doing. Also a report was mailed in from Ruanna's school to reveal that she had been skipping school. There was more to discuss.

This time Ruanna denied nothing. She beamed at her parents, her dancing, purple eyes forced them to smile. "I'm going to bring Maverick home!" she said.

She gushed about the late 1800s, before the fairies were forced into exile for the revenge of the witch trials. She explained how in 1901 the Witch and Fairy Wars ended with the fairies' surrender and decision to leave mankind. She talked about Sir John Rhys, Sabine Baring–Gould, Joseph Jacobs, and Andrew Lang and their studies and archeological evidence. She read to her parents the testimonies of Fiona Macleod and her fairy hunts. She brought down the Britannicus Veil. She opened it and linked it all to the "Dream Theory," founded by the William Butler Yeats Association.

"It is believed," she read, "that the fairies still secretly help mankind through intervening in their dreams. It is the only contact the fairies can have to avoid the witches, who still actively attack man today with curses." She glowed more and more. A bulge was developing between her shoulders.

"Call an ambulance!" Mrs. Berringer cried. "Our daughter is mad!"

Mr. Berringer stood hardly showing emotion. The anger was making his face quiver. "You can't possibly believe in that," he said.

Ruanna slammed her book shut. She smiled and stared into her father's eyes. "I believe in fairies!" she shouted, and wings slipped up from behind her. Gorgeous, silvery translucent wings that were delicately decorated with swirling and curling designs like the petals of flowers. She screamed joyously. She spun round and round trying to peek at them. "Oh look!" she cried.

But her parents did nothing. They stood and stared at her, for they could not see her wings, her glory.

"Oh, I must show George!" she cried out again. Tears of happiness streamed down her face from her jubilant eyes. "I must find a mirror!"

"Watch her!" Mrs. Berringer wailed to her husband. She rushed off to the phone. Mr. Berringer stood numb.

Ruanna began flying up the stairs. She went to her mirror and saw her wings. Her father quietly followed behind. "My wings!" she said in awe. "They're just as beautiful as Nana said they'd be. Oh, Nana!" she said, "How I wish you could see them!"

"Ruanna," her father croaked out in a voice that he never heard himself use before.

Ruanna was mesmerized by her wings. She stared into the mirror continuously.

"Ruanna," her father said in an even deeper voice. In the far distance an ambulance was proclaiming its presence.

Ruanna glanced up and lost her breath when she looked at her father in the mirror. Something was different about him. He looked more angular. He looked darker. His face was ashen. He had great shears in his hands. She spun around covering her mouth with her hand to look at him fully.

When she did, he looked normal. He held no wing–cutting shears. "Ruanna, you do not have wings," he said.

Hurriedly, she looked back into the mirror. Her wings were there. Her father stepped closer with the blades.

"Get back!" she cried. She couldn't watch. She turned back around and looked at her father again, stopping the vision.

"Ruanna, you need help," he said in his guttural voice.

Ruanna stepped towards her window. "Get back or I'll fly out!" she yelled.

"You cannot fly," he said. He took a step.

Ruanna put her sweaty hands on the windowsill. "Come no closer!" she warned.

Her father halted. The ambulance was parking into the driveway. "Ruanna, please," he said. Mrs. Berringer was sobbing downstairs. "Ruanna, I don't believe in fa—"

"—Stop it!" she cried. Her wings were burning. They ached. "Don't say it!" she screamed. "Or I will jump from this window and fly away! You're killing me!"

Paramedics pounded up the stairs and burst into the room. Ruanna tried to pull the window open, but her hands slipped. She tried again, but she was tackled. They gave her a shot of morphine, and she calmed down. Regardless, they bound her in a strait jacket, crushing her wings. The Berringers did nothing to comfort their daughter as they took her away. There were no promises of visiting, no following the ambulance, or words spoken to the medics. Mrs. Berringer only stood with quiet tears; Mr. Berringer stared straight ahead.

Ruanna was cold to her parents. It was either unforgiveness or the heavy amount of drugs they had her on. For two years she lived in the Behavioral Health Center. She was still and docile. She rarely spoke and never looked in the mirror. The institution was cold. There were alarms and thick locks on the doors. Kleenexes were on every flat surface. People were crying every time the Berringers were there to visit, which was never often. Ruanna said that tears were shed at least three times a day. Some of the patients would cycle in and out of the institution. Others lived there, like the lady who never spoke and only made sounds. Or the man with burns on his face. He told Ruanna that there was just enough water in the toilet to drown in. Five times a day would be "group time." Various doctors of the mind would sit down among the volunteering patients. They would talk. Different individuals would cry as they talked about their wrongs. Others would yell. Some were ashamed of what bothered them. They would laugh embarrassingly.

The counselors were never disturbed. The counselors were understanding, but the counselors never changed the rules. Ruanna could never have a pencil longer than three inches. They were always dull. Ruanna also couldn't have string. Not even the drawstring on her favorite sweatpants. No one could have anything sharp, for someone could kill themselves with it. Many patients came by ambulance.

Ruanna would frequently ask the nurses for paper. She would hide stubby pencils. She wrote letters to George. She wrote letters to Maverick. A few times a janitor snuck the letters to George to the mailbox. Maverick's letters had to be destroyed after they were written. The counselor insisted that Maverick was a delusion.

"Do you want a boyfriend?"

"I want Maverick," Ruanna would say quietly.

"Have you ever thought about meeting other people?"

Ruanna would only sigh. For now she couldn't meet many others, not that she wanted to. For the drugs administered every morning stole away Ruanna's dreams. Every morning every patient would gather around the desk. In little paper cups would be pills passed out accordingly. Every patient would take their cups. They would take their water. Not one could leave till the bitter pills were swallowed.

The Berringers decided to have her come home on her 18th birthday, a way to celebrate. She came home, reserved and agreeable. They administered her drugs accordingly, the same medication that took her dreams. At first, all was as the Berringers would have dreamed. She was polite, quiet, and logical. She made no reference to fantasy or the unknown. She was finally perfected. She did not rush to sleep. She was becoming like them. Deep down, the Berringers could feel a hollowness about her; they chose not to pay it any heed.

But as the days went on she started to change. She would eerily linger around her parents. She talked to them in short bursts. Other times she would creep into the corner and stand and watch until her parents noticed. She behaved as a ghost. Her gaze was always unsettling. Sometimes she would have a smirk on her lips. The days went on. The Berringers felt that their daughter needed social stimulation. However, she declined. The Berringers suggested getting a G.E.D. and applying for college, but she instead began to reside in the finished basement below. Mrs. Berringer was grateful for the sliding door in the basement—that way she got some sun. Ruanna wouldn't leave the house. At night Mrs. Berringer swore he heard her talking to herself down in the basement. Her soft, sweet voice—tainted by depression—would leak up through the vents. A few nights Mrs. Berringer swore she heard the basement sliding door and a masculine voice speaking as well, but whenever Mr. Berringer went to check, Ruanna was standing by the bottom of the stairs, looking up at the door frame alone. She waited for her father to check on her. Sometimes he would see a lost, vacant stare in her eyes. Other times it was a crooked little smile. She silently mocked him. Mr. and Mrs. Berringer whispered about her in their room late into the night. Each secretly began to fear her. Ruanna became increasingly quieter. She spoke only to herself at night in the basement.

Then one night she snuck out. While the Berringers frantically searched her basement for evidence for where she might be—they found an abundant amount of her medication and empty placebo bottles stored in prescription bottles that bore the name "George Giles" on the pharmacy sticker. The Berringers called the hospital. She replaced her medicine with a placebo. They called the police.

The next morning Ruanna came home with a young man whose name was Maverick. Mrs. Berringer grabbed her husband's arm and squeezed it as she caught herself from falling. "Won't you come in?" she asked. She was trying to look just above Maverick's head, trying to see what shimmering thing was catching the light behind him. Mr. Berringer only scowled at the young man with his daughter. He stepped aside and watched them come in as defeated men do.

The End

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Part Two

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