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 Lucidity [18+], for Plathology
Lar
 Posted: Dec 15 2016, 09:28 AM
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Micah dozes. Sleep carries him through woolly darkness that clings at his face like spiderwebs. The sea blooms before him. He becomes aware of the pebbled beach below his feet, but the texture feels at a distance—as if felt through pins and needles. The air tastes of salt.

Move, he thinks to himself, you're only dreaming.

His eyes move first, readjusting to the gray pre-dawn light over the waves, the steely-blue teeth of the ocean chewing at the sky. He sees his own hands outstretched before him, creamy pale.

Move.

He clenches his fists, feels the edge of his nails bite into his palms, watches his hands flex and tense, takes a deep breath and watches his breath steam away.

There is only one flat expanse, infinite on both sides: pebbled beach, lapping sea frothing up through the stones. It has the vagueness of a dream, the edges fading off into an unintelligible smoke, but when he really focuses there is a certain sharpness to the world. His body aches with cold, all too real.

"So," Micah breathes, sending another plume of steam to be tugged away by the wind. The sound of his own voice almost startles him. It occurs to him that there is no other sound here, and as he realises it the crash of waves fades in to his left as if it had been there all along. Tentatively, he turns to face the water.

He wraps his arms around himself—he notices now that he's still wearing his pajamas, threadbare tshirt and fleecy sleep pants—and stares into the waves, silently studying them until they seem tangible. Now what? he thinks. Some instinct in him knows.

Micah crouches and shoves aside the upper crust of pebbles, clawing for the rich gray clay beneath. His hands embrace it like an old friend, pulling damp clumps from the ground and shaping them. In his waking, he might be a sculptor—in this moment he struggles away from thoughts of the waking, knowing it will drag him right out of the dream.

He creates in his own image. It takes him hours, days, months. Time flows slowly here, and the world narrows to a pinpoint wherever he focuses. Here are toes, lovingly formed. Here are forearms, not unlike Micah's own, but flawless. Here are cheekbones and lips and an aquiline nose, and eyes restfully closed. When at last he takes a step back, it feels as though he's been holding his breath the whole time. Recollecting creation myths, he leans forward then, on hands and knees, and his mouth grazes clay lips. A plume of steam flows between him and the scuplture—and the thing beneath him heaves to life.

Micah falls back, clutching at the dream, clutching at the pebbles beneath his hands.

"Please," he whispers then. "Please."
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plathology
 Posted: Dec 16 2016, 04:16 PM
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Air crashes into his lungs in time with the waves beside him. It is an acute sensation, but this is perhaps the product of having so few sensations to memory with which to compare. He becomes aware of his chest rising and falling. He becomes.

Blood rushes in his ears, loud and persistent, then resolves itself to only be more waves crashing along the shore. Maybe he imagined it? He does not, he thinks, imagine the word please floating among the roar of the world around him, still dark and unknown with his eyes shut.

He is too new. All of him is too new: his lungs have only had a few breaths. He isn’t ready for seeing yet.

There’s a moment of panic, the uncertainty of how to make blood move through veins or will a heart to beat, but these things seem to happen without him. He does not suffocate, nor stop being. As it seems like the next step, he gives himself a name: Arden. This is mostly on impulse, but then he is the product of some artistic impulse. To him, impulse doesn’t sound like such a terrible way to make decision.

He tries for new actions, more complicated ones. Stretching out his fingers in the sand is easier than he thought it’d be; he makes a fist. There is the dimmest awareness that the sand pressed into his palm was home not long ago. His toes point and flex, leaving Arden to wonder at how muscles stretch in his newly made calves, how his ankles roll.

Finally, he opens his eyes. He takes in the cloudy sky of a day at the beach and it feels nearly like a memory. The world is so bright, it makes something in his chest ache. Arden’s gaze turns to the figure beside him, a figure who is immediately familiar even from the odd angle. Sitting up is a puzzle of limbs, but he manages to pull his knees up, bend at the waist, and straighten his spine. He rests his hands on his still sandy knees, watches keenly for approval.

Arden licks his lips. He tastes salt and sand. When he reaches up, there’s sand in his curls, too. He shakes it out and lets the wind pull it away from him.

“Please?,” he echoes back, late and uncertain. Arden is not ambitious enough to try for new words until he’s sure he’s gotten this one right. They sit there, though, stacking up neatly in his head and waiting to form sentences, paragraphs, conversations.
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Lar
 Posted: Dec 20 2016, 02:57 PM
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There have been dreams before this one, wanderings of an uneasy subconscious. Some of them have been nearly as vivid; none have been so easily guided. Micah is surprised to find the world reacting as he wills it to. He is surprised, too, that his creation comes alive.

"Oh," is Micah's whispered response. The sculpture is not a sculpture anymore, not now that its (his) chest rises and falls, now that the clay and sand have turned to flesh and blood. Micah is distantly aware of the lapping waves growing rougher, capped now with white. He is too busy to look, enraptured by the sculpture—the man—before him.

When at last the man opens his eyes, Micah recoils, arms close to his chest, hands still dark with clay. Then their eyes meet and chills roll down his back. There is no approval to be found in Micah's eyes—only foggy bewilderment, a cousin of fear.

"Oh," he says at last, and then to remind himself, "I'm dreaming."

He doesn't wake up.

The next moment stretches, long and uncertain. Micah knows he is gaping. His hands fidget with each other, his hair ruffles in the wind. At last he reaches out to touch the other man, and then stops an inch away. Micah pulls his hand back.

"I didn't mean to—" he begins, and the words die on his lips. Of course he meant to. And then, clumsily, "Hi. I'm Micah."
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plathology
 Posted: Dec 21 2016, 12:49 PM
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Arden does not know what exactly to make of the expression he is greeted with. It certainly isn’t pride, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Arden has done wrong. Arden is not convinced the words the other man says are really directed at him just yet. He waits for his -- is it fair to call him a creator? Arden doesn’t know what other title to give him yet, so yes, he thinks so -- to address him.

He remains perfectly still, an echo of his previous state, as a hand reaches for him, but it pulls back at the very last moment. Arden considers his sculptor, his apology, and his introduction. Michah. Perhaps he doesn’t need to worry so much about approval. Micah doesn’t seem like he’s looking for something to reshape in Arden.

His features break into a grin and he can already tell this will be the first of many. Smiling feels wonderful.

“Hi, I’m Arden,” he says, daring to trying out more words even if they are only an echo. His hand lifts up and grasps at the clay covered palm Micah had pulled back a moment ago. He’s warm, Arden thinks, but maybe still colder than he should be. It’s a little too complicated to understand how that is possible, but that’s the sense Arden gets.

“It's okay. I don’t mind,” he adds, nodding to their interlocking fingers.

Arden, still clutching Micah’s hand with a light, learning grip, turns his head to the faster moving waves. The wind rushes out from the sea to greet them, fast and sure. “I’m not dreaming."
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Lar
 Posted: Dec 21 2016, 04:53 PM
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"Arden," Micah echoes. It feels as if he's said the name before, like his tongue is remembering the taste of it. Micah has never been good at names; his senior exhibition had been a string of untitled works, as it always seemed to him that names pushed an agenda. Arden, though—he says his own name with such confidence that denying it would be robbery. Who is he to break the new man's blooming grin?

He doesn't remember sculpting teeth, but he notices now how flawless those are, straight and white. He notices, too, how well Arden's hand fits in his own. There is the lingering chill of clay beneath the other man's skin and it uneases Micah, but he dares not pull his hand back.

"You're... sure?" he says, voice small under the roar of wind in his ears. Everything around him is vague—the beach goes soft at the edges, blurred and warped by the wind and waves. Arden, though, has this inexplicable vitality. He is fully in focus, every little detail so perfect that Micah yearns for a camera, for some way to save the moment.

And yet the moment passes as Arden turns away, and Micah finds himself squeezing the other man's hand.

"Wait," he says before he can catch himself. "I've been... looking for you." It's the closest he can get to explaining himself without uncomfortable depth of self-reflection. He wrests his eyes away from Arden and ducks his head, swallowing hard at his heart leaping in his throat.

"You're not dreaming," he agrees then. "I am, but I don't know for how long so—" Micah clambers to his feet at pulls at Arden's hand— "we should go down to the water."
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plathology
 Posted: Dec 22 2016, 04:33 PM
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When asked if he is sure, Arden nods with confidence. Whether this question is about his name or the physical contact, it doesn’t matter. Both these things feel right.

“Yes.” Arden offers a smile and squeezes Micah’s hand back. He is hoping if he keeps smiling, perhaps he can coax one out of Micah as well. There is something scattered and frantic about the other man, unfocused in a way that is different than the world around them. Is he hurt? Arden nearly asks, but then Micah is talking again.

“And now you’ve found me.” It seems like this news would be a thing to celebrate, but Micah still has that worry woven into his features. He won’t even look at his creation for a moment, leaving Arden to tilt his head and try to peer at his face from a different angle.

Arden stands when he is directed to, though not with the swift ease that Micah seems to have with his limbs. Arden’s are still too newly minted for graceful use, but he stands and takes a step forward, eyes fixed on his sand covered feet. It’s not as difficult as he worried it would be, though his hand remaining clutched in Micah’s helps for balance.

“Lead the way,” he says as he turns his eyes back to Micah.

“What’s in the water?”
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