Broken from Reality

I always wondered what it would be like to experience a dream on the same scale that we lived our tedious lives: Now however, I wish I never had the thought as I'm now trapped within, broken free of my Earth bound body and stuck in this 'other' world that mere humans should never want to be in. I am broken in mind, body and soul... I am...broken from reality...

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7. Out of Rhythm

   I felt myself transcending the barriers of my subconscious as I awoke but then suddenly, the trip seemed cut short a slight bit more than usual. At first, I thought nothing of it as I awoke in the bed of the residence in London to which I immediately sighed in displeasure in knowing where I was. As I stirred a feeling of displacement or irregularity began to creep into my mind as I noticed that Callum hadn't come to wake me though it was clearly morning; that's when I noticed the sky had changed.

   "What in the name of...?" I left off as I climbed out of bed and strode to the window, tossing aside the partially drawn shades to view the world outside to which I immediately became gripped in fear and terror. Instead of the normal suburbs of London that normally surrounded our small and private properties were either not there... or they appeared to be burn-out as if a great fire had ripped through them and somehow missed the home. "My god, what has happened while I slept!?"

   Quickly I searched for my shoes and a pair of socks or leggings as either would work for now as I just wanted to examine what had happened and more importantly... find Callum. I found the shoes but, not any socks so I said to hell with it and put them on as I snatched an overcoat from the hall and threw open the front door. Stepping outdoors I immediately gagged on the acrid air and stuffed my mouth with the sleeve of the overcoat to calm the coughing fit that had now started. Looking around I was horrified to see our fence and walls smashed, the yard filled with craters and the smell of burning city and corpses filled the air. A haunting siren rang out eerily in the distance, it's noise fading out only to be replaced by low moans of pain and suffering as the clang of fire sirens' bells now began to crescendo into a symphony of agony and nightmare.

   "What the Hell happened here?" I thought nervously as I pushed aside some collapsed fencing and moved out into the cobblestone street. Buildings lay collapsed into rubble in the streets with others burned out beside them, some still smoldering. As I walked along I felt a deep sense of dread for what could've happened here and then, I saw a sight that made me wretch violently; the broken and bludgeoned arm of a small child, no more than maybe six lay poking out of some rubble, a teddy bear hanging limp in the hand of the corpse which ran the stones below red in blood. 

   "Wha-What the bloody Hell happened here!?" I sputtered in an elevated voice which cracked as I looked wide-eyed in terror around me at the carnage. The smell and the sight had gotten to me as I again wretched onto the ground until my stomach had nothing left to vomit up. What..happened..? I stammered incoherently as shock began to set in. I stumbled around in a stupor as the world began to spin around me as choruses of screaming, moaning and explosions sounded off in my head and then... there was nothing but an icy feeling and silence.

   ***************

   He awoke upon hearing these low moans rumbling through the house, quiet at first but progressively they got louder and more distressed until Callum was roused from his bed by what he identified as his young master's pained cries of terror. As he dressed quickly he heard them grow more and more disturbed and troubled as he hurriedly put on his coat and strode through the house to his master's room.

   "It sounds like he is in immense pain," he thought to himself as he opened the door and to his displeasure he found Mason thrashing about his bed with sweat running down his body along with his eyes being squeezed shut suggesting he was not awake truly. "A nightmare? He's not had one this terror fraught since when his mother first passed."

   As he looked upon his young and unconscious master, Callum couldn't help but grin a bit as he began to reminisce about caring for a younger Mason and how, on a couple of occasions, he had braved the house's confines and crawled into his bed. He would then awaken and be surprised but also impressed that the little boy had managed not to wake him as Callum was truthfully, a very light sleeper. Separating himself from those pleasant days past, he walked calmly over to his master and sat on the edge of the bed as he gently clutched him and pulled him into his lap where he began to fix his hair and whisper to his unconscious body to calm him as he'd always done.

   "Young master," his soft vice carried into Mason's ear, "tis only a nightmare, please calm yourself and think of something pleasant instead. Come now, I know you can here me in there."

   "Callum...." Mason's body responded in unconscious thought, "I can't... I can't find...you..."

   "He's talking in his sleep in response to me," the butler thought in his mind as he held his shivering master. "This is quite interesting; perhaps a result or side effect of the Annex?" His continued whispers seemed to soothe his master as he placed his hand lightly on his chest to which Mason seemed to respond with a small smile and the softening of the closure around his eyes as his body relaxed.

   "Come now, Mason," Callum spoke with soft comfort, "I know you're smart enough to recognize a dream from reality; awaken now and let us be together in the same plain of existence." That seemed to do the trick as his body began to stir from slumber's grasp. One eye fluttered open slowly and looked around drowsily as he began to gather his surroundings. Upon laying sight on Callum's face, the other eye opened and a smile of relief played upon Mason's face as he cuddled into Callum.

   "Thank god," he sighed as he collected himself, "That world was a most out of order sight. So much destruction and terror... It was horrible, Callum."

   "I can imagine," he soothed as he held onto his young master with care. "Definitely out of rhythm considering how you've normally been dreaming, I must say." Carefully he propped Mason up so he could sit up on his own as how they currently were wasn't appropriate for a master and servant to be in. "That's the most movement and struggling I've seen you go through in terms of night-terrors since your mother's passing... Mason, what were you dreaming about?"

   "My dreams are my own, Callum," he answered briskly. "I won't confide my dreams to someone who won't lend enough trust to confide their dreams to me."

   "Still hung up on that notion I see," Callum answered with a sigh and a small Cheshire grin. "All's well in time young master, all in time."

   "Callum speaks in riddles most divine," Mason answered with a grin of sarcasm, "However do be careful, or lest they wither on this, our tired old vine." He eyed Callum with a strange look of whimsy that seemed to puzzle him for a moment before with sudden change as the breeze he asked Callum to leave him to change in peace.

 ***************

   It was madness to think that I, could feel some connection to him but, now that I think about it, Callum has been there as long as I can remember and for most butlers, he is considerably young for his position and age. Even more confounding was how their moment of sportful play had caused the thought to emerge when many times before have we had that kind of a moment. As Callum left I laid back on my bed and clasped my hand over my heart with the ring on it and looked at it. 

   "Mother, I miss you something awful," I sighed as I closed my eyes and covered them with my other arm; a laugh escaped my lips as I seemed to go mad for a second before recomposing myself. "Theses dreams are messing with me, I need to perhaps have a visit with father when I return."

   Finally done with my little private moment I slid off the bed and meandered over to the dresser and pulled open the drawers to gather a decent attire for the day. Grey pants, a crimson colored undershirt with striped grey vest and a black ribbon tie, not too bad for myself I thought as I put each of them on, quickly running a bar of ivory soap dry under my arms to inhibit any odor I might have created; Callum showed me that trick.

   "Callum, you may come in now, as I know you're out there," as I finished he came in with a mild smile on his face as he saw how I looked.

   "You didn't have to do all that," he mused as he took a brush to my hair, "I'm the servant, so it's my job to take care of you and make sure you're ready for the day." Finished with the brush he moved to the dresser and with drew some leggings and found my pair of shoes from beneath the bed and sat on the bedside, waiting for me to come over.  

   "Callum, I'm not a mere child anymore," I smiled as he finished up with his half of dressing me. "But, I thank you anyway, Callum." He just grinned as he left the bed to the doorway where he leaned against the frame and smiled.

   "Well what shall you want for breakfast?" he smiled. "Today we have scones with strawberry jam and tea. That, or a nice Chocolate crepe if you're feeling like a sweet tooth." He paused as examined the perplexed look on my face before asking what I knew he would; "Is something out of place, Mason? May I ask why you stare?"

   "Callum, how long have we known each other?"

   "Quite a while, I remember the day you were born, put it that way dear master," he answered as he got off the door frame. "Like I said, even back then when you were so exposed and fragile, you were strong willed energetic."

   "You must've been real young back then, how old are you exactly Callum," I asked with a strange suspicion in my voice. "How did you come into the employment of my father Callum?" I looked into his eyes and searched for any signs of erratic attitude but I found none; damn him as for as log as I could remember he had kept a fairly stoic face save for his smiles.

   "I was young indeed Mason," Callum sighed, "To be honest, I came into servitude to your father after my mother, a friend to him, died and left me with no one to turn to. Your father being the caring man he always has been decided to take me in." 

   "Your mother... she's dead too?" I sighed and hugged him as I felt terrible now for having suspected him of some ungracious deed. "I'm so sorry, Callum, please forgive my prying as I don't know what came over me." I felt really horrid for doing that to him as he did not deserve that kind of interrogation but something inside me had pried as it felt unsure about him; something....am I going mad, maybe but, maybe I just felt insecure.... I'm not really sure.

   "It's all right master," I heard his soft voice answer me after the brief period of silence which had pursued the moment. "I shall leave you in peace to collect yourself whilst I fetch us some breakfast, today feels like a chocolate and raspberry crepe day."

   "That... sounds wonderful," I smiled as I began to recompose myself. "I'll be down in about ten minutes or so." He just smiled and closed the door, leaving me there in quiet solitary to collect myself and bestill my now aching heart of guilt. "Definitely out of rhythm... I hope this doesn't become a regular occurrence."

***************

   Walking away from his master's room down to the small kitchen of the residential townhouse, Callum lost his pleasant grin and instead adapted a minor worry as he bit his lower lip only for a second but still, he bit it showing he was now unsettled and nervous.

   "He really is getting sharp as he gets older," He mumbled to himself as he lit the stove and gathered the necessary ingredients. "Though still, I have been careful for so long to avoid any suspicion... what brought up such a query in his head?"

   The sounds of light but discernible footsteps could be heard above him drawing near as he began to pour the batter and cook up the first crepe. Mason was drawing nearer to him and he wasn't yet done with the first crepe now the sauce to accompany it; he'd have to be a little quicker on the matter then.

   "How much longer will I be able to uphold this charade then?" he mumbled further as he poured the first crepe onto a plate and began to layer the inside and dribble the sauce atop it. Bringing it out to the dinning room he set before Mason who sat cordially at the table and smiled at him.

   "Oh it smells wonderful Callum," His smile played on the butler's mind as he withdrew to the kitchen to prepare himself one. That boy to which he had been there for since birth was growing doubtful of him, it was disconcerting as he soon knew he'd have to make a very difficult choice.

   "Hmm," He thought to himself quietly under his breath in the kitchen. "I shall have to confer with Master Crawford when we return to the manor... this is most troubling for me."

   "Are you alright in there Callum?" Mason's concerned voice played into his ears and struck at his heart. The pain of guilt was now nestling itself into him and he'd have to trudge on through the day without showing how weak he was becoming; an apt enough challenge for him.

   "Yes, I'm fine, just a little off this morning I might say," He added a chuckle to his voice to disperse worry from Mason as he put out the stove and dressed his own crepe and went to join his young master at the table. Taking his place at the table he smiled and began to cordially indulge in the sweetness of the creation he had concocted for the both of them. "How long..." his voice rang in his head, "How long can I keep this up? How long long can I hide the truth from him... this day has definitely been knocked completely out of rhythm..."

 

    

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