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Fiction: Somniopath (the dystopian WIP)


posted by Lucy V Morgan on ,

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I'm feeling very blog-frisky this evening, so I thought I'd share the opening scene from the dystopian WIP I mentioned a little while ago. It has a working title of Somniopath (will probably change) and here's the rough blurb:

Leontine Avery dreams beautiful dreams...and she is terrified.

In a world where most are afflicted with horrific nightmares, good dreams are few and far between. Since Leontine's mother set up the Somnium auction house and patented the fatal method of dream extraction, they're also a valuable commodity: a cure for somniopaths. One good dream and no more will they find themselves at public sleep clubs, clinging to strange bodies. No more opiate hangovers to slow the world.

Koji Valo was a brilliant student until his brother's black market extraction ripped his world apart. Eight years after he was sent to Japan to recuperate, he returns to England a gifted scientist. Koji thinks he's finally cured the illness that led to his brother's death, but the auction house, his sponsors, have other plans for his synthetic dreams. Koji fears that nobody will ever love the man he has become; the one who does terrible things in the name of science. And when he spies Leontine, he vows to give her something to remember him by before she finds out...

****

“The brave man walks into his nightmare; the wise man does not close his eyes.”
                                                                  Hiroshi Nakamura, somniologist


Chapter One

He was a stranger, but that was not unsettling to me.

The tall frame broadened by boxy shoulders; hair tugged in a dozen shadow’s directions; white skin licked by the moon; I knew them. Knew the shape they made. He had the east and the west in him -- his eyes were dirty sapphires, barely lidded -- and beneath the flesh, he was nameless and waiting.

The wind teased the scent of him past my nose: marzipan. Nothing new there; everyone smelled like the Zippy these days. But there was a rough air of sea salt too, as if he’d been launched on the shore by the tide -- and like a shell, when I pressed my ear to his torso, I heard the hoarse whisper of the ocean.

The boat rocked gently as I relaxed against him. Above us, the sky was black and blistered with stars; below, the lake refracted the light like an old, polished mirror. We were far away from the world, it seemed. My pulse -- my wrist, so silky on his -- was the noisiest thing there of all.

“Mine is faster than yours.” I turned my palm up beside his and compared our messes of veins. His were bluer, thicker. I loved to look inside him like this.

“It’s just the drugs, Leo-chan. Don‘t worry about me.”

I was used to a somniopath bed-mate. I had held another man as the nightmares roared through him, though he never woke to look them in the face. Still, the thought of the Stranger in the grip of a terror -- his brow twisted with the pain -- made me want to weep. My eyes prickled with it.

“Do you remember them? Or do they hide when you wake up?” I drew a fingertip along his collarbone. “My brother always remembers. When he was younger, we called his diary the monster box.”

The Stranger laughed and it was ragged around the edges.

“Sometimes I do. Other times…I just escape. And here we are.”

“Here we are, huh.” I put my chin on his shoulder and peered up at him. “Do I know you?”

Before he leant down, he smiled. The way his eyes shone, it was bewitching; that smile cost him more than any mouthful of words. He kissed me with the slow, forceful grace one puts behind a knife to slice an apple, and I came apart beneath him, all sweetness and seed. His hands splayed to catch me, one across my hip, the other at my thigh. Heat flushed through and settled in the mash of our swollen lips and tongues.

Then his hand moved up my thigh and I went hot somewhere lower.

“What’s your name?” I was mumbling into his cheek. He scraped his teeth along my throat now, pausing to suckle little welts of kisses. “You know mine, but --”

“It’s just a word.”

But it wasn’t. I had to know his name, had to taste and swallow and assimilate. It was everything.

And the slow glaze of his eyes said he would not give it to me.

“When?” I whispered.

“Soon.” He found my mouth again and tasted me. “I promise.”

“…Ok.”

“We don’t need names to be perfect, you know. Sometimes, the most perfect things…they’re silent. See?” He sat back and breathed in the sky. “When did you last see anything so beautiful?”

I smiled.

“I don’t even know where we are.”

“I like it. I come to think up perfect things.” He paused, wound a fist into my hair. “Which must be why you’re here.”

“Oh.” My cheeks warmed. “Thank you.”

He picked my hand up and laid my wrist against his again. Pop, pop, flicker-pop.

“I’ve caught up with you, I think,” he said. “Do you want to go faster?”

Our pulse points were throbbing in their hard kiss.

“How will you do it?”

The wind lifted my hair as if it was in his service, and then his voice was breath rushing over my collarbone.

“Blood magic, Leo-chan.”

Oh.

The heat set its tongue to my belly. It licked his palms as they wandered, caught the hairs on his arms and coaxed the static which jarred my skin. I panted against his mouth; choked on the taste of him, all cinnamon syrup and bitter coffee. Couldn’t suck the air in fast enough between his teases. Couldn’t…ah….--

“Leo!”

I sprang up in the bed and smacked against Max’s forehead. He groaned through his teeth, clutched at his temple.

“Leo, what the fuck--?”

“Why…why can’t I breathe…?” The sheets were sodden; I had to peel my pillow from my bare back. Around me, lamps and wardrobes and random shoes hovered in a blurry room. “Max…?”

“You were dreaming.” The words were heavy. He couldn’t quite fathom that he said them.

“Of course I wasn’t…” Oh. No, no.

“You were talking. Thrashing about.” His upper lip twitched. “Moaning. Leo…why didn’t you tell me you were having nightmares? I can call down for something to help--”

“No.”

I couldn’t look at him. The dark cloaks faces, but not lies. Instead, I rose into cool air  and then wobbled towards the en-suite bathroom. The door rattled softly as it shut.

In the florescent light, I held a hand up and studied the little map of veins at my wrist. My arms were trembling.

It wasn’t a nightmare.

The girl staring back from the mirror had flushed cheeks that clashed with the pink tips of her blonde hair. Her nipples were stiff and her chest heaved, heaved, heaved. It wasn’t a nightmare at all.

“Leo? Are you ok?” Max drummed his fingers against the door.

“I’m -- I’m…”

I’m going to vomit.


It poured out of my hands, pooled on the tiles, and streaky orange dribbled into the cracked skin of my world.

****


I know, I know -- it starts with a dream. But it's a novel about dreams, so I can stretch the cliche, right?! [Grasps straws] It's Leontine's first ever dream and the moment everything changes for her, so it seems right that it should come first.

New note: so I have a proper title! Yay! SHE DREAMS LIKE CALLIOPE. 

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