Perchance to Dream

Ann Stolfa

 

I may be disturbed…but won’t you concede

Even Heroes have the right to dream

                                                                                                                                        - Five for Fighting, “Superman”

 

Heyes struggled through thick underbrush, the sound of startled tropical birds causing him to look up sharply.  He pulled off his hat to wipe his hand across his forehead, the steamy jungle making him sweat.  He looked puzzled at the brown hat in his hands.  It wasn’t familiar to him, along with the brown leather jacket he was wearing, and the whip coiled at his waist.  And where was Kid?  He felt something heavy bumping against his leg and he reached into the pouch and pulled out a small golden statue.

 

“What the?”  He exclaimed to no one in particular, seeing how he was alone, or so he thought.  Before he got a chance to process any information, an arrow slammed into the tree next to him.  The jungle seemed to explode with natives screaming at him in a foreign language.  He reacted by plunging through the dense plant growth, running for his life, until he came to a bluff above a river. 

 

“Oh boy, what a choice.”  Heyes looked back to see the natives gaining on him.  “Oh well, here goes nothing…”  He leapt into the river, falling, falling…

 

Heyes eyes snapped open.  He looked across the campfire at Kid, who was sleeping fitfully, arms and legs jerking as he snored softly.

 

“Just a dream.”  Heyes wiped the lingering sweat from his brow and rolled back into his blanket, trying to shake off the odd dream.

 

Kid also found himself fighting through a jungle.  He was trying to figure out where he was when he heard a loud rustling noise.

 

“Heyes?”  Kid reached for the gun at his side, surprised to find he wasn’t wearing a gun or holster.  His clothes were odd; everything just felt wrong somehow.  The stillness around him made the hairs stand up on the back of his neck.  He put both hands up and pushed aside the branches in front of him.

 

Kid nearly fell backwards at what he saw in the clearing on the other side of the bushes.  It was a massive lizard with a big body and a long neck.  It didn’t seem to notice him though, it just kept on eating.  Kid stood and stared, awestruck.  It was the biggest thing he’d ever seen, even bigger than the elephant that he’d seen a circus once.  He started backing away slowly, trying not to make any noise that might attract its attention.  When he felt he was far enough away he sat down on a rock, his legs shaky. 

 

“Where in the heck am I?”  Kid said out loud, his voice sounding small in the silence.  He thought about the beast he had seen.  He seemed to remember Heyes showing him a book with pictures of animals that looked like that once.  Dinosaurs he called them.  They didn’t seem that big in the book though.  And didn’t some of them eat meat?  Kid sat up straight at that thought.  To a dinosaur, he would just look like dinner.  His gun hand twitched as he subconsciously reached for the gun that wasn’t there.  “Oh boy, I better get out of here, and fast!”  Kid stood up and quickly went the opposite way from where he had seen the dinosaur.

 

After fighting his way through what seemed like miles of jungle, he came to a road.  Relieved at this sign of civilization, he started walking, happy for the reprieve of pushing through the dense undergrowth.  Around a bend sat a strange-looking wagon.  It had big black wheels, and Kid couldn’t figure out for the life of him where they hitched up the horses, but what drew his attention was the rifle leaning against the seat in the back. 

 

“Hello?”  Kid yelled out, hoping to find people that went with this wagon.  Getting no response, he decided to ‘borrow’ the rifle, just in case.  He could always return it if he found the owner.

 

Boom!  Boom!  Kid was startled to feel large vibrations coming up through the ground.

 

“Oh what now?”  Kid sighed and turned to face the latest danger.  Nothing prepared him for the sight of the large, fierce-looking dinosaur emerging out of the jungle, walking upright on its back feet.  It had little arms with wicked looking claws, and even wickeder looking teeth in its huge mouth.  It saw Kid about the same time Kid saw it and they seemed to stare each other down for a moment.  Kid knew in that instant he’d never be able to outrun it, so he knew he had to make his stand here.

 

“Well c’mon big guy, let’s see what you’ve got.” Kid mumbled under his breath as he brought the rifle up and aimed it at the beast’s head.

 

The Tyrannosaurus acted like it understood Kid’s words and it let out a mighty roar that shook the nearby trees.  It started toward Kid with a speed that was amazing for an animal that size.  Kid started firing round after round as fast as he could.   The bullets either bounced off the thick hide, or didn’t seem to faze the dinosaur.  Kid could almost feel its hot breath as it got closer and closer.

 

Kid didn’t even realize he was yelling as he was firing the rifle, a yell of anger mixed with fear “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa………”

 

“……..aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”  Kid sat upright.  He was breathing hard and his hands were still making the motion of firing the rifle.  It took him a minute to realize he was safe, lying next to the fire with Heyes sleeping just on the other side.  He took a swig of water out of his canteen and laid back down, telling himself that it was only a dream.  He went back to sleep with the sound of Heyes mumbling incoherently in his sleep.

 

“Han, Han, are you listening to me?”  Heyes turned to face the person talking to him.

 

“What…what the heck?”  Heyes looked around at the lights blinking on the walls all around him.  He focused on the blond-haired man sitting at a table next him, but it wasn’t who he was expecting.

 

Heyes stood up warily, putting his back to the wall.  Everything was so strange.  “Who are you and how do you know my name?”

 

The other man shook his head.  “Did you get hit in the head?  You’re Han Solo and we’re going to rescue a princess.  Don’t you remember?  The reward?”

 

Heyes just stared at him, then surveyed the other people in the room, if you could call them all people.  There was a strange man that looked like he had been dipped in gold talking to what looked to Heyes like a barrel on wheels.  Strange thing was, the barrel seemed to be answering back.  An older man in a brown robe walked up to him and looked him deep in the eyes. 

 

“You are not Han Solo, are you?”  The man spoke softly to Heyes.

 

“Uh no, I’m Hannibal…I mean Joshua Smith.” Heyes didn’t know who this weird bunch was,  but he wasn’t taking any chances.  “What exactly is going on here?”  Strangely, he wasn’t really afraid of the man, sensing that he wouldn’t cause him any harm.

 

“I’m not sure either.”  The young blonde man walked up.

 

“What’s wrong with him, Obi-Wan?”  The three men sized each other up and Heyes was getting a bit annoyed that they thought something was wrong with him!

 

Just then, a loud roar made Heyes jump.  A huge hairy creature walked in and headed straight for Heyes.  He backed up as far as he could, frantically grasping for his gun, which of course wasn’t there.  The creature walked right up, dwarfing Heyes and reaching out for him.

 

Heyes looked at him for a moment and then did the only thing he could do in the situation.  For the first time in his life, Hannibal Heyes fainted!

 

Heyes woke up with a start and tried to orient himself.  The dying fire dimly illuminated the familiar campsite.  Heyes got up to put more wood on the fire, shaking his head to clear it of the strange dream.  He watched Kid sleeping for a moment before he crawled back into his blankets, envying him his peaceful sleep.

 

Kid stood in the middle of a huge arena.  There were thousands of people sitting around the edges, yelling and screaming.  He was holding a sword and a shield and wearing some sort of strange outfit. 

 

“What am I doing in a skirt???  Well, at least I have a weapon.”  Kid shook his head and looked around, surveying the scene.  He was wondering what he had gotten himself into now when another heavily armed man came out of a door in the wall.  The crowd went wild as the man slowly approached Kid, his intent clear.

 

“Now wait just a minute, I don’t have any gripe with you mister.”  Kid ducked as the man swung his sword at his head.  Kid brought his shield up instinctively to counter the man’s next move.  The crowd booed, wanting a better fight.  Kid could feel his temper rising at being put in this position.  The man backed him up, swinging his sword wildly, until Kid saw an opening.  He swung his shield at the man, knocking the sword out of his hand and he swung at him, fist connecting with the man’s chin, knocking him to the ground.  Kid brought his sword up and held it at the man’s throat.

 

“I told you I didn’t want to fight you mister.”  Kid became aware of the crowd yelling for the man’s death.  The crowd seemed to focus on one man, obviously someone very important, waiting for his reaction.  He brought his hand up and slowly pointed his thumb down.  The crowd went wild.

 

Kid looked around, puzzled.  “I’m not sure what that means, but I think I’d better get out of here.”  He pulled back his sword and offered the man a hand to help him up.  “No hard feelings?”  Kid gave him a half-hearted smile.

 

“You mean you’re not going to kill me?”  The man looked puzzled.

 

“Kill you?  Mister, I don’t even know you.”  He pulled the man up out of the dirt. 

 

“You know Caesar will have you killed for disobeying his order, but I thank you for sparing my life.”  He offered his hand to Kid in friendship.  As Kid took it, they both looked over at where several guards were rushing into the arena.

 

“Uh oh, I think it’s time to go.”  Kid started running in the opposite direction, looking for a way out.  Unfortunately he didn’t see the chariot wheel half-buried in the dirt and he tripped, tumbling down to the ground….

 

Kid was jolted awake, his heart racing like he had been running.  “What is going on with these crazy dreams?” he mumbled to himself.  He rearranged his blankets, almost afraid to go to sleep.

 

Kid found himself this time hiding in a tree overlooking a road.  He was almost starting to get used to this. 

 

Psst, Kid, is that you?”  He looked across to another tree where Heyes was barely visible in the branches.

 

“Heyes!  Boy am I glad to see you!  What’s going on here?”

 

“I’m not sure, I’ve been thinking on it.  I’ll tell you what I’ve come up with later.  I think something is getting ready to happen right now though.”  As if on cue, a finely appointed carriage came down the road.  As it got close to the trees where Kid and Heyes were hiding, several men swung out of the trees on ropes and stopped the carriage.  Heyes looked at Kid, shrugged his shoulders and swung down.

 

“Well,” Kid said to himself. “At least this is something I know about.”  He swung down too, landing not too gracefully next to Heyes.

 

“Stand and deeeliver!” Heyes said to the driver.  Kid rolled his eyes.  The driver dropped the reins and put his hands in the air.

 

“Robin Hood.”  The man said with a gasp.

 

“Robin who?”  Kid whispered to Heyes.

 

“Just go with it Kid.”  Heyes whispered back.  “Let’s see what you’re carrying mister.”  He and Kid walked up and opened the door of the carriage, the other men keeping an eye on the driver.  Inside was a beautiful woman, dripping with jewels.  She acted scared, but Heyes could see the interest in her eyes.

 

“You know, I’m liking this more and more Heyes.”  Kid tried to push past him.

 

“Hey, Kid, this one’s mine.”  They looked like two little boys fighting over a toy.

 

“Ahem,  excuse me, but aren’t you going to rob me?  I mean, isn’t that what Robin Hood is supposed to do?”  She had an amused look on her face.

 

They both stared at her, embarrassed.  “Uh yeah, I guess we are.  Let me help you down ma’am.”  Heyes turned his charming grin on her.

 

Kid flashed an equally charming grin.  “Oh no, let me help you down.”  They both grabbed an arm and helped the woman out of her carriage. 

 

“You are very gentlemanly for outlaws.”  She flashed them a look that was both coy and seductive at the same time.   “I suppose you want these.”  She held out a handful of coins and jewels.

 

“Well, now, it doesn’t seem quite right taking a lady’s things.” 

 

“Oh no, I insist. I have many more at home.”  She gave them each part of the loot, along with a long kiss, leaving them both stunned.  “Am I free to go now?”

 

“Uh, yeah, sure.” Heyes wasn’t sure how to react.  This had never happened when they had robbed someone before.  Kid stood there just as dumbfounded as Heyes.

 

“It’s been a pleasure being robbed by you.”  She flashed them a wink and climbed back into her carriage and drove away, leaving them standing in the road.

 

“Heyes, what just happened here?” 

 

“Kid, I’m just not sure.”  Heyes shook his head to clear it.  “But this jewelry ought to be worth a pretty penny.”  They grinned at each other, then they realized that the other men were staring at them.

 

Kid gave Heyes a funny look.  “Uh Heyes, you realize you’re wearing green tights?”

 

“You looked at yourself lately Kid?”  Kid looked down and groaned. “Not another skirt!”

 

“Let’s get somewhere we can talk.”  Heyes turned and addressed the other men.  “We’ll meet up with you boys later, at the hideout.”  They gave him a funny look, but disappeared silently into the trees.

 

“So what do you think is going on Heyes?”  They found a fallen log they could sit down on.

 

“Well, do you remember the stories that Grandpa Curry told us about the outlaw Robin Hood?”

 

Kid thought for a moment.  “Oh yeah, he had a gang too, and they lived somewhere called Sherwood Forest. You think that’s where we are, Heyes?”

 

“Seems to fit Kid.  I guess I’m Robin Hood, so that must make you Little John.”  Heyes grinned at him.

 

“Who you callin’ little?”  Kid looked indignant. 

 

“Let’s just go with this a while Kid and in the meantime, I’ll come up with a plan to get us out of here.”  Heyes got up as he heard someone calling him.

 

“Robin Hood.  Oh Robin Hood, you out here somewheres?”   The voice sounded strangely familiar.

 

“Yeah, over here.”  They could hear someone tramping through the bushes.  As he appeared, they both spoke at the same time.

 

“Kyle!”  It was nice to see someone they knew.

 

“Kyle, who’s Kyle?  You know me Robin, I’m Will Scarlet.”  He scratched his head, puzzled as Kid and Heyes both tried not to laugh at the sight of his scrawny legs in the green tights. 

 

“Ok, whatever you say ‘Will.’  What did you need?”

 

“The other merry men sent me to find you.  They’re fixin’ up a big feast.” 

 

“Alright, we’ll head back with you.  Lead the way.”  They slipped through the forest to a large clearing where the group of men were sitting and standing around a fire where meat was roasting.  As Heyes and Kid approached, they recognized several members of the Devil’s Hole gang, but after the reaction they got from Kyle, they didn’t say anything.  Of course, they were hard-pressed not to laugh out loud at the sight of Wheat in monk’s robes.

 

Kid looked at Heyes. “Wasn’t there a character called Friar Tuck in Grandpa’s stories?”

 

Heyes choked back his laughter.  “Yeah, Wheat as a man of the cloth.  Would you ever believe it??”  They managed to get through the surprisingly good dinner and then bedded down under the trees.

 

“This has been a weird day Heyes.”

 

“You said it Kid.  I’m hoping everything will be normal when I wake up.” 

 

Heyes got his wish.  The next morning, they packed up the camp and headed off to the next town, neither one mentioning the strange dreams they had the night before.  They rode awhile in silence until they saw something odd in the road. 

 

“What do you think that is?”  Kid peered into the distance.

 

“I don’t have the slightest idea Kid.  Let’s get a little closer.”  They rode cautiously up to the small structure that spanned the width of the road, blocking it off with a red and white striped gate.  Heyes leaned forward to read the words across the top.

 

“Governor William J. Le Petomane Thruway. Toll 10 cents."

 

Both Kid and Heyes sat up at the same time.  They looked at each other across the fire. 

 

“You awake Kid?”

 

“I think so Heyes.  See anything strange?”

 

They both looked around cautiously.  “Nope, don’t think so.  What’re you doin’?”

 

Kid had gotten up and was scraping the leftover beans from their dinner onto the ground.  “That is the last time I let you cook, Heyes.  I don’t know what you did to the beans, but I’ve had strange dreams all night long.”

 

“You’ve had strange dreams?!  Boy, you don’t know the half of it.” Heyes mumbled to himself.

 

“You say somethin’ Heyes?”

 

“Yeah, you wanna’ play some hands of poker?  Suddenly I don’t feel so sleepy.”  Heyes pulled a deck of cards out of his saddlebags.

 

“Sounds good, I’m not very tired myself.”

 

Neither one of them noticed the man with red eyes and fangs watching them from the shadows…