Once again I opened my eyes to absolute serenity. As before, the trees towered above, and foliage filled all the spaces between the shifting green ceiling and the earth, though it did not seem crowded as it would have done in a waking forest.
I found myself standing upon the rock that I had found my friend standing upon. She was a friend, that much I had decided last time, though I did not know her name, or anything about her.
I debated moving to find her, but thought I would stand a better chance this time if I stayed in one place and concentrated on what was close at hand. I glanced down at myself and knew my face had pulled into a grimace. I had on the white t-shirt and jeans that I had on last time. I remembered that she did not like that "clean slate."
I concentrated on who I wanted to be, but nothing changed. I even closed my eyes, but upon opening them there was no change. What did I have to do. I breathed out a big sigh. this was going to be harder than I thought.
"That was a mighty sigh, Janus."
I whirled at the voice. I hadn't heard a noise as she had come up behind me.
"Wow you are jumpy, aren't you." She smiled in that faintly mocking manner she had, but for some reason it did not seem to bother him. She was who she was.
"Who are you?" I asked before she could divert me like she had done on my previous encounter with her.
"My name is Jolene." She cocked her head at an angle and blinked at me for a few minutes. "You really can't sense anything about me can you?"
"No. Should I? What do you sense."
"Out of you? Not Much. I know you are a boy and you are slightly scared and exhilarated and frustrated all at the same time. Most people I can read many thoughts and emotions as they have them, but you are somehow muted, though I do not know how."
"You knew my name last time."
"Yes, most of us wear them as a tag on our thoughts and people. It often defines us in our own mind, and so it is the easiest thing for me to read."
"How come I don't remember anything when I am awake."
"It is because you have not yet learned how to hook your memories."
"Yes Janus, find something and focus on that image in your mind, and attach all of the memories to it that you can, then if you think of the image, or the hook, then you remember the rest. You need to pick an image that you will be more likely to remember, though."
"OK... I will try."
"for this time I want you only to remember one thing: my phone number."
I wasn't sure if she was being funny or not, but her face seemed frank so I took the bait. "Ok Jolene, what is your number? I think I have the image fixed in my mind."
As she told me her number I felt slightly giddy. As silly as it was, I was totally thrilled that this smart mouth young Texan had wanted to give me her number.
"Now," She began "I want you to concentrate on waking yourself up, and you will write my number down on a paper when you awake. Concentrate on the physical world and you will find yourself in it. Do it now! Think of the hook. think of your hoo-"
With that I started awake. I couldn't remember what I had been dreaming about, but as I tried to recall a face loomed into my thoughts...and for some reason a number. I stumbled out of bed over to my desk and scribbled a number on a sheet of paper before I fell back into bed and a dreamless sleep.