Book #2-Other Dreams

I wrote Other Dreams during my senior year in high school. Quite literally-I started it in September and finished it in May. This book was the first time I'd revised something I'd written many, many times and I'd like to think it taught me about editing and such. Other Dreams is a fantasy novel that today would probably be considered a young adult fantasy novel, though I did not consider it such at the time. It follows a twelve year old boy in the early 1990's who has contracted the HIV virus through a blood transfusion years before, after a motorcycle accident that has also killed his father. Wesley Vaughn, as the virus blooms into full-blown AIDS and he battles the disease, experiences a series of vivid, fantastic dreams in which he's being chased by a nameless ogre, and as he gets sicker the dreams grow more intense. For many of my "in-house" readers over the years, which there may have been about seven or eight, this is still a much-beloved novel and possesses that naive belief in magic and hope only a very young writer brings to the table, especially after reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

From Other Dreams:

The closet was as big as a small bedroom. Cherry red wood lined the room, its carpet was thick and green. Many coats, dusty with neglect, hung on brass hooks. Hats, raincoats, boots, and mismatched gloves littered the floor. A few of Chris Vaughn’s old dress coats hung in the rather spacious room, waiting for Wesley to grow into them.

“This is where we can hide, Bishop.”


Wesley had long ago discovered a small white door along the ground in the rear of the closet, hidden by coats and boots. He had been playing hide-and-go-seek with imaginary playmates. It had instantly become his secret spot.

Wesley now drew away the coats, found the door, and turned its knob. With a dusty screech the door popped open. Wesley crawled through the door on his hands and knees without hesitation. Cobwebs coated his face immediately, causing him to scrambled back outside. He returned to the sub-closet with a broom and swept it out. The room’s dwarfish dimensions were four by six feet, its ceiling was barely five feet high. On the room’s walls were barely legible messages were scrawled, the jottings and drawings and daydreams left behind by the children of the previous owners. Happy poems and scribbles of dinosaurs decorated the room in wax crayon magnificence; the small room was a miniature Sistine Chapel without the hubris.

Wesley tossed his blanket and pillows through the miniature doorway and threw Bishop after them. The cat pawed at flashlight-cast shadows as Wesley crawled into the room on his hands and knees. Wesley set his pillows up against the rear of the room and reached forward to shut the small door. Although faint thunder could still be heard outside Wesley felt much safer in his own cozy, personal bomb/hail shelter.

Bishop purred as Wesley covered them both with the blanket. Wesley listened to the radio for a few minutes; the storm seemed to be relenting a little. He turned off the radio and stared at the shadows created by his flashlight, imagining their shapes to be kings and wizards and such.

Bishop, nestled against him warmly, rumbled happily. The storm spent itself violently as the night deepened, knocking over trees and power lines and old wooden mailboxes. Wesley Vaughn, safe in his secret room, switched off his flashlight and dreamed away the storm.


starshrine said...

I love this safe little closet hideout.

Blogagaard said...

yes, it was based on an actual sub-closet, tiny door and everything, we had in a house I grew up in.

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