A Dream Beneath A Tree

Dubreiel slouched in the shade of a roadside tree, his despair and pain intolerable.

The wound in his foot ached horribly, and for a moment he regretted casting his pistol into the pond the previous night. I could have at least shot myself, he thought.

But the warm May breezes were heavy with the scent of apple blossoms. They combined with melodious birdsong to soothe him, and soon the young deserter was fast asleep, softly snoring with his chin against his tunic.

For years afterward, he would try to recapture his dream beneath the tree that day, the phenomenal sense of hope and curiosity it contained.

Even half-remembered, the force of it was such that when he awoke some hours later he was, for the first time in his life, certain of what he needed to do next.

He stood and dusted off his uniform, then set out limping up the road.

What Pegman Saw: Brittany



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  1. Lynn Love

    Oh, fabulous. Of course, now I want to know what the dream was about too, what it was he did with the rest of his life. What was it he needed to do?
    We’ve all had that kind of dream, one that leaves an impression but that we can’t quite keep hold of once we awake. I remember having a very vivid dream, a fabulous idea for a novel, a sure fire winner that would get me published. I thought at the time, no need to write it down, I’ll remember that… You can guess the rest. Now I’m just left with the knowledge I had the perfect idea but never knowing what it was.
    Brilliant story, Josh

  2. Joy Pixley

    Interesting character study there, Josh. There are hints that he’s made what should be important decisions already — deserting the military for one, and I’m assuming shooting himself in the foot to do it, not to mention throwing away his weapon in an unknown and possibly dangerous situation — perhaps all of them decisions he didn’t think through carefully and then regretted. And yet only when he has this dream, one he only half-remembers, does he actually feel sure of what to do next. Talk about a character driven by unseen forces he doesn’t understand! Seems like he’s likely to get into even more trouble in the next chapters: I’d definitely keep reading if I could.

Don't just stand there.