Here is my offering to the Finish That Thought prompt challenge. This week, the opening sentence is “Sleep is a marvellous thing”, and the Special Challenge from the Judge is ‘ducks’.
“Sleep is a marvellous thing,” said the duck, sidling up beside me.
I steered my gaze away from the emerald lake for a second, to look at my new friend.
“It sure is,” I said, “That’s how I’m talking to you.”
The duck blinked up at me, his head as smooth and as green as the water in that glistening pool before us.
“Just think. You’re curled up in bed now, with the sheets pulled over your head. But then you’re here, talking to me on the bank of a big green lake, where the sky is a rainbow of colour and the air as sweet as honey.”
“You’re very poetic, for a duck.”
“Well, it was your subconscious that made me.”
“True…” I said, more than a little smugly.
We both fell silent for a few minutes, taking in the honey-scented air and embracing how real it all felt. I didn’t want to wake up. I wanted to stay here forever.
I glanced down at my legs. I could move them here, I could walk around and dance in the meadows. I could climb and run and skip.
The duck nudged me with his bill.
“I can hear your thoughts, you know,” he said, winking at me.
I smiled at him. I’d never seen a duck wink before.
“I’m just thinking about all the things I can do here. All the things I can do without the need of a wheelchair. It’s amazing.”
I climbed to my feet, standing up straight. It felt so real, so right.
“I can move all by myself!”
As if to prove this, I ran around the duck a few times, before whirling around and throwing myself onto the soft grass, laughter tumbling from my mouth.
“You’re dreaming, girl,” the duck said simply. His words stung, and I turned my head away from him.
“I know I am,” I replied bitterly, suddenly finding the air considerably less sweet.
“No, no, you misunderstand! I mean it. You’re dreaming. Running, walking, skipping? So what? My dear, where you are now, you can fly!”
I rolled over and locked eyes with the duck, who cocked his head to one side cheekily.
“Follow me!” he said, and stretching out his great wings, he took off and soared across the lake.
I gulped, hesitated, then stood up again. I stared at the lake, and told myself that it was a dream. If anything went wrong, surely I’d just wake up?
Throwing caution to the wind, I ran forwards, ran and ran and ran, and just before I reached the edge of the bank, I threw open my arms and jumped. And I flew.
I flew high over the water, catching my gliding reflection on it’s smooth surface. A warm breeze rushed through my hair, and in front of me I saw the duck, swooping and diving and rising again.
Sleep is a marvellous thing.