Sissy Pantelis

Dream Spiral



I have this dream again. I am an ice statue, in a garden of a palace made from ice. I feel the cold, but I cannot move a muscle. I want to shout, but my mouth won’t open and no sound would come out of it anyway. I cannot expect much help either; there is no living creature here. Only ice sculptures like me, shaped as weird animals, blue-eyed swans, and scary children that look like the dolls in the horror movies I watched when I was a little boy. They won’t harm me, but they cannot rescue me either. They are as motionless as I am. Then I see you…


God, you are beautiful! You make me forget all the frozen horror that surrounds me. As I watch you, my fear turns to sadness. I wish I could talk to you, but this is impossible. I am just an ice statue, I cannot talk. How frustrating! There are things worse than fear, in nightmares…


“You shouldn’t worry too much,” says a strange voice into my mind. “She is just made of ice. She doesn’t care about whatever you have to tell her.”


Where does the voice come from? Does it belong to one of the other sculptures or to a superior dream entity? Frankly, I don’t care. I should be scared, but as I watch you, ethereal, in your ballerina dress, I only have eyes for you. I don’t believe what that stupid voice said either. You look so lively, pirouetting as though gaining momentum to fly and your floating sleeves close to your elbows are like wings. If only I could talk to you, tell you how beautiful you are… I wish it could happen, even if the price to pay was that the frozen monsters around me came to life and swallowed me.


I am as desperate as one can be in a dream – and this is a lot. Despair, in dreams, is heavy like a mountain. Snowflakes start falling from the sky. In the beginning, I just watch them absent-mindedly. Snow is but one more freak in the ball of the monstrous ice creatures in the garden.


Then I look more closely. A thought flashes in my mind and fills me with hope. I am frozen in the dream. But this is still MY dream so there must be at least one small thing that I must be able to control.


I concentrate on the snowflakes. And as they dance gracefully, with my mind, I manage to change their shapes: they look like tiny fairies, winged dragons or superb butterflies. They shift shapes while they dance, at the rhythm of music only they can hear.


There is a subtle change in the landscape too. Maybe the snowflakes brought it with their gracious movements and their delirious shape shifting. Or is it the music that makes them dance, this magic melody audible only to them that causes the change? I don’t know. What I see is that it works. You see them; you feel the magic. You smile and your eyes glow with delight. And with your smile, the ice melts, the clouds vanish and the sun shines above the frozen garden.

The nightmare is about to end---




We are in a big room, on a decorative table, under a big mirror. We are just separated by a clock and a china vase, filled with a thick bunch of flowers.


I want to come to you and talk to you, but I am just a doll dressed in black, carrying a broom on my shoulder. I look like a chimney sweep, and I wish I were a real one. I don’t like the idea of climbing into narrow, dirty chimneys. But if I were not a doll, I would be able to walk and talk. As it is, I can just stupidly move my head up and down and the broom on my shoulder from right to left. There are other clockwork figures around. Roaring animals, moving their heads, but unable to run. Chirping birds flapping their wings, but unable to fly. And a few china dolls that look arrogant, as though they had a high opinion of themselves. They probably think that they are the most beautiful creatures in the world, but none is a match for you. You are in the outfit of a shepherdess, but you look like a queen as you perform a flowing ballet figure.


“Don’t look at her like an idiot! She doesn’t care about you; she doesn’t care about anything, actually. She is ice-born, and has a clock at the place of the heart.”  That damned voice again…Once more accusing you and your heart. But don’t worry. I will ignore it as I did before. Even as a doll, you look divine; even though automatic your moves have the grace of the autumn leaves dancing at the breeze. How could your heart be just a clock? If only I could talk to you… I would show them all how wrong they are!


As I look at the flowers in the vase, a thought glows into my mind. I am a chimney-sweep, thus I clean stuff. Following my idea, I wave the broom toward the flowers in the vase, and as they move, they fill the air with their scents.


The flower perfumes dance, in graceful, undulating moves, like Oriental dancers, as though they possess the magic power of the jinn. It works. The dancing fragrances reach you, and you turn your head toward them, enjoying the flower magic, opening your eyes wide, like a child filled with wonder at the sight of her favourite fairy tale brought to life.


The room slowly vanishes, and is replaced by a sunlit garden. Golden leaves and bright-colored flower petals dance at the music of the enchanting perfumes.


The nightmare is turning into a heavenly dream.


I will soon be beside you---


I wake up. I have to dress or I will be late for the performance.




The ballet is splendid. I never expected the dancers to be that good and the scenery … it is like a dream! But you outperform all other dancers. The ballet would lose most of its magic if you were not there. God, what a talent you have! You don’t just dance; you are the Snow Queen. I cannot blame that little boy for losing its mind to you. I would also follow you everywhere, even in the darkest corner of the frozen nightmare realms!


I cannot get my eyes off of you…You are like a fairy queen that came to life. Nothing could capture all of your charm. All I can do is to try and draw you. This is the only way to keep in my mind some of the dream you give with your dance. “Don’t put too much of your thoughts in her. She is beautiful and talented, about this there is no doubt. But she has a heart of ice. You shouldn’t expect too much of her. She is just a seducer, nothing more.”


Don’t worry, I don’t believe a word of what that fool said. He must be jealous of you. You incite a lot of envy; you are so much above those poor ordinary people! They fear your talent and speak ill of you. They cannot understand you either. How could their narrow little minds seize the beauty that you represent? Of course they will envy you! Some must even hate you. I don’t care, you know this by now. My heart flutters in my chest as I see you in your splendid white dress. No, your heart is not made from ice; definitely not. You just need some color to make those fools shut up.


I color your shoes in red instead of the satin white ones you wear. With red shoes, you would fly in heaven and enslave the angels. Why, even the demons would bow to you, unable to resist your charm…


I would love to meet you, to let you know that your dance left me spellbound. But at the end of the performance, I realize that I cannot talk to you. It is beyond my forces, I cannot say why. I fold the drawing I did, of you in red shoes, and put it in an envelope. I don’t sign it; I just approach discreetly and push it under the door of your dressing room. I leave like a thief, fearing that someone will notice my presence, and at the same time, hoping that you will know, somehow, that I came to see you.


My hope will probably remain just a dream forever---




A few days later, my paintings are exposed in a big gallery. I am surprised that so many people came to admire the monsters featured on my paintings: grotesque creatures that look like a caricature of legendary beasts: unicorns or dragons, looking menacing and funny at the same time, building up speed  to fly, but remaining immobile like statues, with comical expressions on their faces. Chimeras, griffins, thunderbirds and other nameless, eerie creatures that came from my imagination with clocks for eyes. Sometimes, part of their body is a machine or they have mechanical wings. All my creations are frozen in time. It seems that they all took birth in my nightmare, in the snow realms where I am a statue among other ice sculptures.


People apparently love my freaks. Many want to buy my paintings. I cannot understand how they can bear the presence of those monsters in their living rooms or in their offices, but I will not start complaining for getting money. Art critics are impressed too. One of them uses complicated words, and speaks about “frozen fantasies of existential nihilism”. I don’t understand what this means but let him think whatever he likes. This kind of complicated stuff is good for artwork when it appears in newspapers or art magazines.


In spite of the obvious success, I don’t feel good. My stomach aches. The critics are boring and I have never been comfortable with crowds.


I am about to leave – I’ll find a corner and take a moment of rest when you enter.


God, it is not a dream or a hallucination: it is really you! I want to come to you, welcome you, say how happy I am to see you, how honored I am that you came to see my art. Instead, I stay motionless on the spot, frozen, like the creatures on my drawings. My stupid attitude does not seem to bother you. You advance toward me, ethereal like a celestial vision, and your smile illuminates your beautiful face like the sun on a beautiful summer day.


I observe you, as if in a dream, while you reach into your purse, take out a piece of paper and hand it to me. “This is very beautiful. You should have given it to me in person, though. I wish I had the opportunity to thank you for making such a beautiful sketch of me.”


I look at what you show me. The drawing I did when I saw you dancing; the one where you dance in red shoes. “How… how did you know it was me?” This is all I find to say, and my voice comes out dry, without the least emotion.


“I know your work. I recognized your style. Thank you for drawing me. Thank you for making me so beautiful. And…thank you for the red shoes too. I love red shoes. When I started dancing, I would always wear a pair of red shoes. I would not dance without them. I still keep them as a lucky charm…"


You recognized my style, you said. How did you do that? My frozen freaks are motionless in their frames. You are the only beautiful thing I ever drew- the most beautiful creature I have ever seen in dreams or in reality. And you are all but motionless; you are moving with the grace of the wind, you are flying…


You take my hand in yours, and lock your eyes into mine. I stop thinking; I even feel that my heart will stop beating. “Your creatures are beautiful,” you whisper and your voice sounds at my ears as the most beautiful music. “They are neither motionless nor frozen. They are dancing shadows that brighten the deep darkness. Dream guardians. Warriors fighting nightmares. You are a wonderful artist.”


I cannot believe that you say such beautiful things about my art. Are my ears playing tricks on me? No. You just praised my work. Of a sudden, all around me disappears; my whole being is ablaze.


The flame reaches my mind, and I finally understand. It is not your heart that is made of ice. You don’t have a clock at the place of your heart either. It is me. My mind is frozen; my heart works like a machine. I fear my own emotions as if they were monsters that I always try to keep far from me. I despise my feelings, and try to find rational explanations for them as if to excuse their wretched weakness. In my mind, my feelings become mechanical freaks and my emotions are alike to the frozen monstrosities that I paint.


Why is that so? In a fairy tale, they would say that a wizard cast a spell to take revenge against me for having offended him. Or was I a dark angel among the Fallen Ones, punished for my rebellious mind? The reason is not important. I don’t want to be like the frozen monsters that I paint. What should I do? Like in my nightmares, I am filled with despair – no answer comes into my mind. I am probably damned to remain as cold as an ice sculpture forever…


You approach, take my face into your hands and kiss my forehead. And then the answer comes, clear as the cloudless summer sky. You are my healing.


Your burning kisses will melt the ice.


The fire of your heart will take me out of the frozen realms and bring me to freedom.