Chapter 3
Dreamless - Chapter Three
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Portrait of Kata by James Neff. Graphics by Tobin James Mueller.
The following is a collaborative story in progress.
If you would like to participate, contact ArtsForge.
For a discussion of plot and characters, see D-Plot.

For a list of authors, illustrators and planned illustrations, see Dreamless Team.
Chapter Three appears below. Click here to read Chapter One , Two or Four.

Illustrated Novel Project:
CHAPTER THREE - Kata's Dream
The skyscrapers of Chicago slip over the event horizon of her former life. Fighting against the g-forces of the road, the sleeping girl curls up tighter in the backseat.

Her face is silent. The innocence of sleep smooths out the hard beauty of her emerging womanhood. Swiveling on her long neck, as if to find the right angle of deflection, as if listening to a voice either too soft to hear or too loud to understand, her head registers each pot hole, each turn.

Images flash, lighting up the mind-shadows only she can see. A sense of motion, like the snap of lights through a train window; yet she senses being trapped, that she is the only one standing still.

A nightmare. Standing naked on a frigid stage, beneath a transforming spotlight. Blinded. Unable to act. Not knowing what to do next. Too exhausted to run.

Tobin James Mueller
James Walker
"Called" (detail)
click here toview
unedited image

The images begin to unblur. Now it is everything else that is motionless. She is free, weightless. Her eyes clear, blinking against the brightness, blinking away a fading image of a chamber, of past confinement.

Tobin James Mueller
Final Bath
James Walker
"Final Bath" (detail)
click here toview
unedited image

She sits up from a narrow, padded table, warm liquid dripping from her cascading hair. All around are faces, watching. There, on the other side of darkness, reaching through the wall of light, is a waiting hand.

Tobin James Mueller
James Walker
"Fetus" (detail)
click here toview
unedited image

The face is masked, she thinks, and this frightens her. Until she peers into the eyes. The eyes of a child. No, a young man, filled with the sacred Yes of childhood.

She reaches back, thinking he has come to help her sit up. But, no, he climbs onto the table with her, where, inexplicably, there is now room for them both.

Without looking away, he touches her cheek, her bare shoulder, her gently curved belly, and slides inside, past her skin, past her watching consciousness, entering every pore, her every thought. Until he is no longer visible. Until he is everything.

Until there is no difference between them.
Tobin James Mueller
James Walker
click here toview
higher res image

Suddenly the light disappears. And her blindness. She remembers running. Following a maze. Corners. Walls. Like a dream.

She remembers a chamber. Tubes. Cold hands. Rows of cots. Other girls. Breathing.

She remembers the taste of food. Heavenly food. The sound of humming fans and the smell of the workout rooms. She remembers the sense of freedom exploding from her working arms and legs.

Then the blood pouring between her thighs. Again and again. Until one day, one night, when the man-child turned inside her and spoke.


And the Word was made flesh.

Tobin James Mueller

Kata's head turns slightly, again, burrowing into the nest of hair and tattered cushions, leaving a silvery cord of saliva. Her breath catches; a deep sigh releases into the dry car air.

The faces along the fringe, the watching eyes, remain, even after the memories fade. Even after sleep accepts her.

She lets them hold her. She is no longer alone.

Tobin James Mueller

CHAPTER FOUR - The Border Lands
To read Chapter Four, click here.
To submit additions, edits, or plot twists to this collaborative writing project, please send your text as an email to ArtsForge, identifying your subject as Novella Project/Dreamless. Please say if you do not want your name or email address posted. Also, feel free to exchange ideas on the story line, characters, plot, etc., with the participating authors. Click on their names to reach them.

If you are interested in illustrating any of these story panels, please submit art to us as well as any textual additions or plot ideas.

All text edited by Chris & Tobin Mueller.

All words and images on this site are the properties of the creating artists.
All rights reserved.