In this sneak peek of my YA novel Everdream, Kynan learns a little more about the mechanics of the dream world. As always, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.
They made camp in a shallow cave under a massive overhanging boulder. It was warm enough in Everdream, he’d noticed, never to need a fire for warmth, though it never grew hot enough to be unpleasant. It would have been a perfect place, if not for the constant threat of monsters.
Grigor produced more bread and cheese for them, as well as a handful of berries.
“Where did you find berries at this time of year?” Kynan marvelled at the modest bounty. “And come to think of it, where do your provisions come from? Your pack is small, and there is nowhere to make bread.”
Grigor smirked, evidently enjoying Kynan’s confusion. “Have you forgotten where we are?”
“No. Everdream, of course. How could anyone forget?” He swept a gauntleted hand across the endless horizon, now rimmed in delicate pink against a bowl of brilliant azure. Stars were coming out now—strange stars in patterns Kynan had never seen.
“Exactly. Everdream.” Grigor’s smile broadened. “We’re dreaming, Mylir.” There was the slightest pause before the name, as Grigor acknowledged the obvious ruse.
Kynan began to understand. They were dreaming, and as in any dream, the Dreamers had power to change their surroundings. Reality was not fixed, but fluid. The statue he’d created with his mind was proof enough of that. “I see. So you dreamed the food?”
Grigor gave a pert nod. “With a little practice you can make Everdream what you want it to be.”
“And the beasts—are those the fancy of a Dreamer?”
A shadow crossed the boy’s face. “They are something quite different.”
Grigor pulled a blanket from his pack and wrapped up in it, lying down with his back to Kynan and effectively ending the conversation.
Kynan gave up questioning and had his cloak’s clasp halfway undone when he realized something. “Wait, what are you doing?”
“I’m getting some sleep. You should, too.”
“But how can we sleep? Aren’t we already dreaming? You just said so.”
Grigor rolled over with a sigh. “Yes. That’s true. But haven’t you ever slept and wakened within a dream?”
Kynan widened his eyes. “Oh.” He was only beginning to realize the implications of Everdream’s magic.
Grigor was just about to lie back down when another question occurred to Kynan. “But do we have to sleep? I’m not even remotely tired.”
“No. You don’t have to sleep. But it does make the morning come more quickly.”
He had a point. Kynan accepted the wisdom in hiding for the night, if there were more beasts about. But he hadn’t been relishing the idea of sitting awake until dawn. Not with his quest itching in his bones.
This time when Grigor lay down, Kynan did not disturb him. Instead, he took off the less comfortable parts of his armour and stacked them carefully in the corner of the cave, then wrapped himself in his cloak and lay down beside Grigor, his head pillowed on a flat, mossy stone.
With a second thought, he reached over and pulled his sword near, within easy reach, in case they were attacked by a beast in the night. He scanned the sky from where he lay, watching the stars come out in great cloudy clusters of light, wary in case a shadow should cross them. But the skies were clear and bright, and the forest quiet around their refuge.
He was not tired, just as he’d said. But now that he lay here in the cave, listening to Grigor’s slow breathing, he felt he just might be able to sleep, even so.
He sighed. Then, his fingers loosely curled around the grip of the sword, he drifted into a dream within a dream.
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