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Tovah Connelly would rather be asleep than awake. Since her accident, she's become a shaper in the dream world, the Ephemeros, where she can manipulate places and people with just a thought. Tovah's friends there, Ben and Spider, encourage Tovah to develop her skills, but the one ability she doesn't want is to control the dreams of others?it's a power she's wary of, and a responsibility she's not ready for.
Nobody can sleep all the time, though?not if they want a waking life ...
Tovah Connelly would rather be asleep than awake. Since her accident, she's become a shaper in the dream world, the Ephemeros, where she can manipulate places and people with just a thought. Tovah's friends there, Ben and Spider, encourage Tovah to develop her skills, but the one ability she doesn't want is to control the dreams of others—it's a power she's wary of, and a responsibility she's not ready for.
Nobody can sleep all the time, though—not if they want a waking life that bears a semblance of normalcy. And Tovah's waking life is vastly different from her dream life: she's rebuilding and regaining her sanity after nearly losing it in the accident's aftermath.
But when nightmares begin rocking the Ephemeros, Tovah's two worlds begin to collide. As those she cares about are threatened, Tovah may discover that the one responsibility she doesn't want is the only defense she has.
A crowd ripples just like the ocean, if it's got a force pushing against it. Tonight, here and now, Tovah Connelly intended to be that force. She concentrated, drawing strength from the myriad individual consciousnesses surrounding her. From one she plucked the beat of a song while another provided the taste of a tropical drink, sharp in the back of her throat. From yet another she drew the feeling of silk, a dress, hanging short upon her thighs.
Around her, the club grew brick by brick, created from the mingled desires of many but woven together from the force of her will. That was the way things worked here in the Ephemeros, the land of dreams. The landscape bent to the individual will of those who knew how to shape it. Some were skilled with it. Others, like Tovah, had only just discovered their abilities to move and shape the world they entered when they slept. And still others, less fortunate, would never know how to shift their bodies or mold the terrain to suit them. They would never know that in dreams, they could control the world.
Now she pushed outward with her will, seeking what she needed from the sleepers around her who wanted, needed, but couldn't shape this for themselves. The walls formed, and the floor. A bar. A DJ, spinning tunes she didn't need to know to enjoy. Tovah opened herself to the ever-constant push and pull of desire and, like a conductor, took the jumbled mass of notes and made them into a symphony.
It would be easy to lose herself in it. Even now she felt the tug of another's will upon her, urging her body to shift and change to fit someone else's vision. She shielded herself from it, turning the tug into a push of her own and using it to create another slew of small details to bring realism to this scene.
"Hey, hey." The voice pricked her ears even above the writhing, pounding music surrounding her, and Tovah turned.
She didn't see him at first, shrouded as he was in shadow. The darkness rippled the same way the crowd had when she teased it with her will. Spider, the size of a large cat and striped with bands of crimson and gold, flicked his mandibles at her. He pulled the darkness back around him, his will stronger than hers, and she moved forward so as not to lose sight of him.
"Spider, how do you expect me to learn if you keep balking me?"
"How do you expect to learn if you're never pushed?" Spider's feet clicked on the tile floor. The crowd parted around them as he backed up, and Tovah followed.
Posted June 2, 2010
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