What Once Was Lost:  Questions Without Answers


          Craig walked me back to my dorm and I retreated to the room I shared with Jude Thompson, a freshman.  I still couldn’t figure out why I’d been paired with a freshman as a roommate – probably because I’d originally said I’d room with a foreign exchange student and instead of having a lot of those, we had a lot of new freshman this year.  Jude wasn’t so bad, though, as roommates went.
          The writing major glanced up from her keyboard at me as I entered.  “Nice forehead, Shai.  Run into a tree branch on that bike of yours or something?”
          “Shut up, Jude,” I mumbled, dropping into my desk chair and taking off my shoes.
          “Dude, what crawled into your shorts and died?”  She was frowning at me across the room from her own desk.
          “The last person I wanted to see on this campus is here, and apparently a student,” I grumbled, my second shoe thumping onto the floor and probably annoying my neighbors downstairs.  I got up and climbed up the ladder into my lofted bed, proceeding to bury my face in my pillow.
          By that time, she’d turned back to her keyboard.  I could hear her typing as she spoke.  “So, are you going to the meeting tonight?”
          “What meeting?”
          She sounded exasperated.  “What meeting do you think, Shai?  GVRen, that’s what meeting.”
          “It’s Tuesday, isn’t it?”
          “Rats.”  I sat up and rubbed my face, wincing at the welt rising on my forehead.  “Yeah, I’m coming.  Hey, Jude?  Remember how you were telling me about those weird dreams you sometimes have?”
          She nodded.  “Yeah, why?”
          “Do you ever have them when you’re awake?”
          She abruptly stopped typing and looked up at me.  The shock and astonishment on her face was evident.  “Shai, why are you asking?”
          How do I put this without making her think that I’m as into that paranormal junk as she is?  “I’m just curious.”
          Jude eyed me warily.  “To be honest, no, I’ve never had one while I was awake.  At least, not within the past eight or nine years.  If I have, I can’t remember it.”
          So what does that mean for me?  That I’m having waking dreams of something I don’t understand?  I tried to think back to my psychology class and whether or not we’d talked about dreams and what they might mean, but I kept drawing a blank.  I nodded.  “Thanks, Jude.”
          She continued to stare at me.  “Sure thing, Shai.”  Her turn away was slow, deliberate, almost as if she was forcing herself to turn away.
          I lay back down and closed my eyes, still wondering.  What the heck is going on with me?  Why am I dreaming about something that’s obviously not real, and never has been?  Why was I out in the woods with a staff, dressed like I should be in a fantasy novel or something?  And why was Craig out there with me?  Who are the Dan’ling?
          Questions without answers raged in my head as I dropped off into sleep.


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