Author's Name: Audrey Maldonado
Category: Fantasy/Magic Realism
Stage of Completion: Work in Progress
Preferred Critique Style: Straight to the Point
Cat Person or Dog Person: Both…Goats and Rabbits too!
Tea or Coffee: Coffee
Astrid begins dreaming of Freyman’s Falls nearly a year after her mother’s dissapearance. Each night, the place becomes more vivid, more a reflection of the real place that exists just a mile from her home. Soon she is aware that she’s not the only dreamer at Freyman’s Falls. Why is she sharing a dream with three of the most disagreeable people in town? And why does it feel like this has something to do with the cryptic note her mother left on the morning she went missing?
Lootie is the kind of guy that jangles when he walks. It’s not just that his keys bounce at his hip, but his entire body has a loose quality in motion. It’s like he’s got a blown suspension system. So, I see him leaving the arcade out of my peripheral vision. I’ve been sitting up the street on a saggy library bench and I’ve been trying not to look like I’m scoping out the Oddball Arcade. He’s my uncle, but I’ve got no real reason to talk to him. In fact, dad’s gone as far as to tell me to keep my distance from all the local relatives. But I’ve got questions. So, I catch up to him just as he’s hopping into a mud encrusted Chevy truck. He must see me out of his peripheral vision, too. Because without so much as a sideways glance he orders “Hop in, kid! I’ve got answers.”
I manage the heavy swing of the door and an awkward leap that lands me in a brittle patch of sun scorched bench seat as the truck roars to life. Lootie starts down Main street and takes a quick left down Hamilton. I know some folks wouldn’t be pleased to see him with me, either. We’re headed toward the interstate. Which would make no good sense, except the long stretch to the Janesville exit has little traffic and no pedestrians. It’s perfect for a Q&A session.
I look over at him and, for the first time, I see that he could be my mother’s twin. Smiling eyes, just like hers, are shaded by the brim of a dusty ball cap. They share a sharp jawline although his is obscured by chin-scruff. Then there’s the unmistakable tilt of a Malloy nose. Sitting right next to me. He’s the baby of the family, five years younger than my mom and I had conveniently put all that information aside in my quest for answers about the night-travels, but now that I really see him, I really miss her. I miss her so much.
We’ve been coasting at 65 for a few minutes before he breaks the silence.
“OK, so how do I explain this? You want to know more about that dream thing, right?”