Title: Dreams
Author: Ramius
Finished: January 5, 2001
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: What subtle references you can infer, they refer to characters belonging to HBO, Viacom, Tom Fontana, et al. Not me. Damn.
Feedback: Need I even make a comment here? Of course!
Comments: This short story does not directly mention any Oz characters, or, well, anything, really. Consider it "Oz-inspired".
Warning: My brain is a very scary place. Just a warning.


I had a dream once that I was on death row. Bright lights and dark walls. Empty days bleeding into never-ending night.

I'm not sure why I'm there, or how I could have so spectacularly fucked up my life. But I stopped asking myself these questions long ago. Long ago when I realized that the answers didn't always matter. Answers didn't help anything for me, they only served to make things more confusing. They made the questions more complicated. They made - They made more questions. Eventually, it's just not worth the effort it takes to ask.

Days bleed into weeks, into months, into years, and the next thing I know, I don't even know how long I've been in. Every morning I stare into the mirror and every day I wonder exactly who the hell that is staring back.

The others, they come and they go. I watch, unnoticed, as they're paraded past my cell. Ghosts of prisoners past, condemned forever to haunt this place, their final incarceration. I see them walk by, muttering the same words to themselves over and over.

"No, no, Oh sweet Jesus," wails the pretty woman in the short white dress.

"I'm really not ready for this," is what the scruffy faced one says, wandering with a confused look on his face.

And then, sitting in the corner, is the man with the slight smile on his face. "My time on this earth has been far too short," he tells me.

I look in the mirror again, splash some cold water on my face to help clear my head. And that's when I hear the banging. I look over, it's a guard at the entrance to my cell. There's no big commotion. He just says "C'mon." And I do.

The guard and I walk down the hall, accompanied by my now familiar entourage. I thought perhaps that by this point I'd have gained some clarity, but I am no more knowledgeable than I was this morning. As we work our way down the hall, my head starts pounding, a heavy beat to match the footsteps of the guard. Such pain I'm sure I've never felt before. The guard finally stops, but the pounding in my head continues. He opens and door and ushers me into a glass chamber. On the table in the middle of the room there lays a skinny man, with long greasy hair. He's trying to say something to me, but I can't understand the words coming out of his mouth. Then he gives me a cryptic grin, hops off of the table, and invites me to lay down.

Silent tears streaming down my face, I lay down. They start to strap me in, and I take a look around the room. Behind the guard, I see *my* witnesses, those specters that have accompanied me so far. My heartbeat starts to pick up, a hard, staccato beat, far surpassing the pain in my head. I see a man in black, and hear him speaking, but all I can think is /Please, god, let me wake up. Let me wake up./

"Even though I walk through the valley of the..."

/It's only a dream, please let me wake up. It's only a dream. It's only a dream./

"...will fear no evil."

/It's only a dream, please, oh please, tell me it's only a -/

I wake up, and it's morning again in my cell. I look in the mirror and wonder just who the hell it is in there looking back at me. Perhaps I'll never know.

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