The Dreaming Spires
by Peter Lorge

To be honest, it was really my dislike of sherry more than anything else that saved me. I would really prefer to claim that it was an indominable will or a firm grip on reality that explains my present survival. Would that it were true, for I have come to know reality as a deeper thing and sanity as less than I could want.

It was a Tuesday evening when I went to Dr. Isling's sherry party for his seminar students. I went because I had missed the previous one and because I wanted to sleep with Teresa Seli. I drank a little of the sherry to be polite. It tasted very bitter. Everybody else drank a great deal. I was not surprised. I had seen how sick everyone except Dr. Isling had been the day after the last party. I went home with Teresa.

When I got up later on to answer nature's call I could still feel the bitter taste of the sherry in my mouth. My eyes felt raw and everything seemed to have a grainy texture.

I knew that I stood in the midst of a dream. I heard footsteps and went back to the room. I arrived in time to hear a wet, tearing noise and see Dr. Isling standing before the bed holding a brain over his head. As I watched, he wrung the brain like a washcloth and caught the neon hued liquid that came out in his mouth. I stepped into the room. He turned, revealing Teresa's head, torn open and empty. I punched him square in the jaw. He fell back onto the bed and I followed him down swinging. My anger made me solid, but I still felt that I was only dreaming. Isling got hold of my wrist and easily tore my left arm off as if I were made of tissue paper. Little neon sparks ran along the tattered flesh that hung down. I jumped back and Isling dove out the door. I looked down at my missing arm and remembered the pain. I passed out and woke up.

It took two weeks for me to both understand and believe what had happened. Isling was, without question, getting younger after every sherry party as his students were getting older.

I did some research and some chemical experimentation. It is frightening how common the necessary ingredients are. I walked in dream and tore down the barriers of sanity that blocked true belief. It is in true belief that real power lies. If you accept the insane it will accept you and make you real.

In the end, it was really very simple. I met Teresa after she had gone to the sherry party and went with her back to her room. I had already taken the appropriate drugs, but without the additive that Isling put in to make one sleep in dream. I woke while asleep and waited behind the open bedroom door. Isling came in and I shot him twice. I dreamed myself a beautiful pair of seventeenth century wheellock dueling pistols. The first shot hit him in the head and the second in the back. He died in dream and also in body. A man cannot live without dreams for they are the vitality of the spirit. I will explore on. I have seen others walking among the spires.