Dreams are something amazing. We’ve all had some fairly spectacular ones… strange ones.. some highly sexual… and then some that provide the source for inspiration. How many people have done something great and when asked where they got the idea, they say: it came to me in a dream? Perhaps dreams tap into hidden intelligence, even genius that for the most part, none of us believe we have. Some feel dreams are so important they keep a notebook beside their beds and when they wake from dreaming immediately write it down so they don’t forget it. I had one such experience that was so vivid, so indescribably intriguing that when I woke up from it I ran to my desk for pen and paper and began chronicling every detail of it. It was a dream that would possess me enough for eight years that I decided to take its premise and turn it into a novel. It eventually became my Sci-Fi Novel, XPERIMENT… the story of a shy young man wanting to become something better and taking part in a study on a new type of “vitamin” that would “make him into the person he always wanted to be. From there comes a modern spin on some classic tales, Dr. Jekyll, Frankenstein, The Island of Dr. Moreau and Beauty and the Beast. I included a chapter with my dream included in it…. I share it with you here. Where do your dreams take you?
EXCERPT: XPERIMENT a Novel By Dan Skinner
(available at Amazon.com)
He retired to the sofa with a tall drink to play Ghost with the hopes that more liquor would dull the ache in his bones and knock him out. He lay naked beneath the sheets trying to get as comfortable as possible. An hour later, he could no longer concentrate on the game because of the pain. He was getting claustrophobic again. Not wanting to wake Chris, he took the bottle of liquor to the bathroom and sat on the cool floor in his underwear. He didn’t want to give in to self-medicating with booze like his mother had, but his anxiety, if it could be called that, was worsening. His chest began to hurt like his bones were too big for his skin. Every nerve from his neck to his waist was sending shock waves through him. As he raised the bottle to drink, he could see his hand visibly shaking. He was too young to be having a heart attack. He began pacing the small room. He was beginning to understand how wild animals in the zoo felt being confined.
Mind splintering agony ripped from his sternum to his backbone doubling him over. He grasped the edge of the sink to hold himself steady. It began spreading down his torso to his legs and feet. He ground his teeth suppressing the scream that boiled in his throat. He stood hoping it would subside but it didn’t. He closed his eyes and when he opened them again they focused on his reflection in the mirror. Mercurial eyes stared back. His head seemed larger, sleeker, the flesh covered in shiny, gray scales. Nostrils were where his nose should have been. A sibilant sound was coming from the openings. His arms were covered in the same gray leathery skin. They looked reptilian, curved claws curled from his fingers over the rim of the sink.
Pain whipped through him again. He crashed back against the wall, skull quaking like it would split. He covered his mouth with his hands, burying his moan. His hands were changing again. As he pulled them away long, coarse, dark hair sprouted and began growing like weeds in fast motion. His spine pulled him down as if a bow had been tightened until he found himself kneeling on the floor. His jaw unhinged with a splitting sound that exploded in his ears. Bones grew outward and forward into an elongated muzzle. His mouth began filling with teeth. Each one ripped from his gums, pushing upward. He found he could no longer speak. His tongue wagged long and strange in the foreign orifice. His elbows tightened, moved higher. His hands had become… paws.
What was happening?
Every molecule in him was going haywire. Smells from everywhere overwhelmed him. His vision went monochromatic. Everything was happening so fast.
Before he could get a handle on the confusion, another seizure took him. The flesh beneath the dark coat began to stretch. Falling to his side; his vertebrae cracked with the noise loud as thunder. He stifled a scream as his backbone seemed to straighten itself. With a burst of light he could see colors again. His tongue felt normal in his mouth but he still couldn’t speak. He was looking at real skin on his arm when it began to burn like someone had sprayed it with gasoline and set it afire. His limbs were growing. He was growing – wider and thicker in stature. He stifled his groans. Chris was asleep just beyond the door. He couldn’t wake him. The bones of his shins were still lengthening. He tried to stand, but couldn’t. His insides twisted, sending him crawling toward the toilet. The hands that sprawled in front of him were massive; hair gnarled itself over the wrists and knuckles. He pulled himself up leaning against the wall.
A voice whispered in his ear. “Greatness comes from the ability to change without fear; to embrace the unknown as an adventure and know that no pleasure has been enjoyed without the presence of pain.” Seuthers.
It was a struggle to grasp the sink and pull to a standing position. He was broader and thicker. He didn’t have to see it to know it. He felt it. It made him reluctant to look at his reflection.
He slowly lifted his head, forcing his vision forward. It was like staring at a portrait of something else – something incomprehensible. His skull was larger and appeared deformed, forehead jutting out and crossed horizontally with a thick, broad brow. His eyes sank beneath the shelf of bone, glowing like white lights. His cheekbones rose in steep angular planes and sloped down to a roughly squared jaw. Teeth crammed a thin-lipped mouth with sharp, yellowed tombstones. He knew this face even though it was not his own. He’d seen it in school books. The man he was looking at had existed millions of years ago. His mind blinked, staggered; trying to comprehend. Glancing down he looked at the crude body covered in ragged bits of dark hair.
“We aren’t here to move backward, cling to arcane ideas, or hold onto superstitions. We become greater by learning from everything we’ve gone through and growing from that knowledge. We must strive to integrate our wisdom, not segregate ourselves from progress by trusting, having faith or believing in what cannot be proven. Everything that we are comes from everything we’ve been, and contributes to what we’ll eventually become. We must embrace what’s inside us, and use it to search for greatness. If you stare down your fear, you’ll find your true face!”
This could be controlled. That was something he knew. All of his changes could be controlled.
“Geoff, are you okay? I heard a noise.” Chris rapped lightly on the bathroom door. The noise shook him.
He tried to say something, but found only a grunt where words should be. Another glance in the mirror explained the reason for that very clearly. He hadn’t the vocal chords for human speech.
He just had to will the change to happen. Like claws retracting. He stared at the face. He knew Chris couldn’t see him, but Chris sensed things.
“Are you okay?” Chris repeated from the other side of the door.
He could do nothing else: he grunted loudly.
Shutting his eyes, he tried to concentrate on changing back. He tried to picture the metamorphosis in reverse.
“You sick? You sound sick.”
He opened his eyes looking quickly in the mirror. He was the same hideous creature from the past. Nothing had happened.
Chris twisted the door handle. Jumping backward, he leaned against the door. His heart was banging against his breastbone. He wanted to say…
“I’m fine,” the words came out thinly, tremulously. But they came out. He threw his hands up in front of him. They were back to the hands he recognized. A quick check of his naked body showed everything was back to as it should be. It had happened in a split second without pain; without him even being aware of it taking place. He repeated himself. “I’m fine. Go back to sleep.”
The pain was gone; completely gone. He felt stronger; better. He felt fucking invincible; like all his endorphins had kicked in, that he could bounce bullets off his chest, take on the whole world. It was a full-fledged rush. It almost gave him a hard-on realizing that he was something the world had never known or seen. He knew that because he’d never seen anything like it.
Once he heard Chris return to his bed he stood staring in the mirror. His once amber eyes… that were once blue… were now iridescent silver.