The dream disturbed me. Rassmussen was not himself, and yet, he was.
In appearance, he was no longer a gargoyle, rather a stocky man in his middle-aged prime. His dark hair, full of body and reminiscent of a romance novel hero, hung to his shoulders. I don’t normally like men with long hair. It often looks like a wig, but I couldn’t picture him otherwise.
His face showed lines of sadness and hard living. His bare upper body echoed the tale with old scars and new ones crisscrossing his arms and contoured torso.
Ah, his chest, miraculously sculpted from muscle beneath tanned skin and a soft pelting of hair. I have always been fond of a nice hairy chest. Nothing obscene or so overly done as to resemble a kickback to Neanderthal man. Just a short nap, slightly curled and stiff enough to caress my fingers as I run warm hands over exposed skin.
Had I not been dressed in a gown so sheer as to leave little to the imagination, I might have been tempted to leave my bed. I might have sampled for myself what my eyes told me was the man’s invitation to be wrapped in his arms, safe and secure for all eternity. But, even in my dream, modest and decorum prevailed, and all I could do was breathlessly stare at this Rassmussen.
In turn, all he could do was smile and look at me with sad eyes, begging me—for what, I do not know.
I awoke slowly, at peace, to find Rassmussen, my Rassmussen, the slightly hideous version with his brownish gray skin, resembling neither animal nor man, sitting on the edge of my bed, watching me sleep.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing.” His voice soft, breathy. “I thought I heard you call out in your sleep is all.”
His eyes would not meet mine as he spoke, but I chose not to notice.
“I’ll be gone now, if you are fine.”
I nodded, but he did not move. It was then that I noticed his malformed hand on mine, grotesque yet familiar.
Had it been a dream or a fantasy shared with my friend? Since reality is what it is, I don’t think I really want to know. Rassmussen and I are comfortable as things go. To add something more, something so fruitless to the mix, might be our undoing.
It is futile, isn’t it? I mean a changeling and a woman, learning to love one another as men and women do. It must be, else Rassmussen in all his wisdom would have mentioned it.
I blink, thinking to clear my mind, instead I recall the dream Rassmussen and the tingling allure his presence aroused as no other ever had. I knew it would haunt me, become my measuring stick to which all men would be measured, and I had a sudden urge to weep . . . for what could not be.