Dear Emeline,

I am a long term lucid dreamer.

I’ve been training since age 19, always with caution: I know that if I enter into sleep paralysis, I may never wake. But over the last few years, I have found that the need to sleep, to dream—to lucid dream—has become increasingly primary. I wake in my sleep, and in my lucid dreams I live a second life… a strange, liberating mirror of my waking life. Dream-life, as I call it, has been a haven for me. I have profound social anxiety and spend most of my days training as a synchronized swimmer with my tyrannical Aunt Nancy and her insufferable protégé Clarissa—in short, I’m not happy in my Wake-life.

However, over the last few months, an inexplicable new presence has accompanied me in my Dream-life. An orange squid has entered my Dream-pool as I practice my swimming, uninvited. He lingers, watching me practice my ascending spin and barrel sculls with languid disinterest. I cannot banish him.

At first I found him to be merely strange, but last week he shot black ink into the pool, obscuring everything, and in my rush to exit the water I felt his slick tentacle wrap around my throat, and the suckle of a sucker in the center of my palm. I know this being means to do me harm.

Am I descending into insanity?

I will try to refrain from “dreaming” (nay, sleeping—for in sleep I dream) or as I refer to it now, “True-Living” until I get a response from you.

With warmth from your most faithful reader,

Mariel


Dear Emeline,

Last night I succumbed to temptation. Try as I might, I can’t quit my squid. I woke up in sleep, and my body moved towards the deep end of my Dream-pool as if drawn by an invisible tether. I undulated sweetly and slowly, honey-like in the water, and he watched—My Squid. And He, raising a tentacle with unnerving indolence, squirted.

Yes, I fled. Still I flee, Emeline. But I know that my initial understanding of his actions was nothing more than an aversion to the profound darkness of his ink.

Harm? What is harm, if I am nothing but a sucker on the great tentacle of life and illusion? I am the daughter of the very insanity that caused me to keep my Wake-eyes painfully open for days, until I fell into my other world, as exhausted as a human. Now I feel myself ache to return to my Dream-life, and my eyelids seem to freeze in a half-open position: my Wake-eyes begging me to release them to their sleep.

I cry out to the Squid during these daytime fantasies (ever more frequent): “Squid, open thy beak. Bestow thy blessing!”

I come to rigid and clutching my writing desk. The paralysis entwines itself with my every moment. My pen trembles as I write this. I fear your response—perhaps I fear dismissal of all that my Sleep-life offers.

You always write “folly is a fearful friend” and “forget the femme fatale of fondness”—but what of my fickle Squid? I admit it, I have fallen for him, in every sense. When someone writes in with a quibble about a friend, you respond with cutting indifference to the concept of friendship. You dismiss love out of hand, with a wit I did not find so acerbic until I knew the soft tentacle of longing myself. And let’s not even speak of zoophilia—you’ve made your views on that issue stingingly clear time and time again.

Clarissa became hysterical in the pool the other day, accusing me wildly of aggression and blank stares. Aunt Nancy, agitated, pulled her out of the water to receive a sharp slap. I did not feel the slightest triumph over Clarissa. No, now I understand what she is: a beastly, thrashing mammal, in and out of the water. She doesn’t understand the blue blood that runs through my veins and makes my teeth chatter. She knows nothing of the orange squid and His pull over my body and mind. She has no concept of the Divine Languor of the Dream-Squid.

I exist on the tip of the needle, Emeline. Talk me off, Emeline, or I shall thread myself soon, and weave with abandon into the tapestry of Dreams. It’s more than love and (yes, I’ll say it) desire that binds me to My Squid. I want to understand why. I want to be the why.

Please refrain from publishing my letter (for now). I fear upsetting my Squid. Even as my desire grows, I remain conscious of his beak: splendid, sharp, and poised to snap in retribution.

Yours, and increasingly, His,

Mariel


Dear Emeline,

Eight tentacles, one path. I have chosen mine, and your silence has been my greatest advisor.

Tempt me not with words, now—let your pen stay as rigid as my Wake-body soon shall be. I have chosen, or have been chosen—I am to exist solely in the fancy of one of My Squid’s nine brains, in gentle grasp of His tentacle, in the perpetual darkness of His ink.

Please, forward my letters to Aunt Nancy. Squid bless her. She’ll never understand why (unless perhaps, someday, my same Squid appear to her). I hope she finds a proper replacement for Nationals, and that Clarissa pays heed and doubles down on her deck work and cadence actions. She is not so bad when it’s all said and done. She only wants to be the best.

Oh, to speak of such things! It almost shakes me from my choice. And yet, I know that the Bard was wrong when he penned his immortal question. Not to be: that is the only answer. My sea of troubles is yet over, and in the ultimate sleep I will, finally, live what dreams may come.

Oh, crested folly! Oh, tender fondness. Emeline, your advice—or lack thereof—has brought me here. Your silence has been the answer. In a sense, “Dear Emeline” is the cause of all these changes. The irony of an advice column leading me to my invertebrate end. Do not remember me, Emeline. Do not hold me to this world in any way. Here I have only slept… now it is time to finally become lucid.

Farewell, Emeline, and may the Squid hold you and keep you,

Mariel

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