Green Man Red Woman
Part 5. A Story in 14 parts, based on Pacific Northwest Mythology
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Once again, Cherise wakens mid-morning feeling unusually groggy, thinking about her crazy dreams. The recurring dream—or whatever it is—seems more substantial, more vivid, than the previous night’s, but it ended in the same place, the whiskey bottle to her lips. So, it was a dream, wasn’t it? No other explanation comes to mind. What does it mean? Cherise believes that dreams always mean something. The old woman, Lou, had called her ‘daughter’ and indicated that she was also the Englishman’s child. That’s probably not hard to explain if you are a psychoanalyst or something—the missing parents, the lost inner child, all of that psychobabble. But what does it really mean? And what about the deer that led her to the homeless couple — had perhaps even transformed into them, which is what Cherise believes. It makes the most sense in some inexplicably strange dream-world way.
She’s missed her morning English Lit class, so she heads directly to The Nethers, where she will be sharing a lunch stint with Rhee today. She should be happy about it, but she’s listless and forgetful during work, leaving Rhee to make up for her ineptitude. Finally, near the end of the shift, Rhee takes her aside.
“What’s going on, Cherise? I’m worried about you?”
“I don’t know. It happened again last night.”
“The dream. The same dream. The deer came and I followed it and found the same homeless couple on the bench. They kept calling me, ‘Daughter.’ Then the blackout.”
Rhee looks at Cherise, worry furrows on her forehead. “The blackout? You blacked out again?”
“Yeah. Or I imagined I did. Maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s just a weird dream and the blackout is part of it. It’s just that it scares me, Rhee. I've had no real sleep for weeks, and now this.”
“You want me to stay over with you tonight? Would that help?”
Cherise thinks about it. It might help. At least, if it happens again, she’ll have Rhee to verify what part of the night was a dream. “If you’re sure. I guess I could use someone to hold my hand for the night.”
“It’ll be fun,” Rhee says. “I’ll bring some chips and dip, and a couple of videos. We’ll have a sleepover. I’ll come by around eight.”
“Thanks, Rhee. This is so great of you.”
Rhee squeezes Cherise’s hand. “What are friends for?”
For the next episode of our novelette, when it’s available, go to Part Six.