And the dreams grew longer and stranger and stronger, adventure dreams, story dreams, so vivid that she came up out of them exhausted and drained and somehow completely exhilarated, as though she’d had a long swim in icy-cold water. She began to feel that her life was really nothing more than a shadow, a pale and wan reflection of the truths and the friendships that she returned to nightly.
“Oh, sure,” said Matthew, when she told him about it. “Everybody gets that sometimes.” He smiled into his moustache. “When I was, oh, I suppose about twenty or so, I had such inescapable dreams for months on end that I nearly flunked out of school.”
“What were they about?” she wanted to know.
“Oh, hell, I can’t remember. That was years and years ago. Nothing that really exciting though, I remember that much, being kind of worried because I just didn’t want to leave this other life behind, and it not being so exciting as my actual life. I think I was a stockbroker or something like that. Utterly unexciting except for how much I loved doing it.”
And so she went away unsatisfied. At night she talked about it with her demon, a lion-tailed thing with several rows of teeth like a shark and a low, mellow voice like a French horn. “Yes,” xie said. “That is how it is.”