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Short Stories 365:160

Last night both my husband and I had bad dreams. He had a work dream, I had a family dream - and both were unwelcome and left us disturbed and cranky in the morning. It's funny how something that isn't even real (or at least, real only in a chemical/subconscious sense) can impact you so completely. Waking up angry from a dream always frustrates the heck out of me - I just wasted energy being angry on something that wasn't even real? Really?

Sometimes the brain is pretty strange.

"Engine of Repression," by Gavin Atlas

I love this story. Of all the tales in Riding the Rails, this story by Gavin Atlas is the one that by far takes the train metaphor and - forgive me the pun - rides it out as a metaphor. Set in an undisclosed near-future where much has changed - and much hasn't - we meet Christian. Christian has a dream that recurs and reinforces his own belief that there's something wrong with him, his desires, and everything he wants. After finally admitting the truth of what he wants - and what happened to him - to his boyfriend, Christian is now in therapy, and the doctor is putting him directly into the dream to begin healing.

No one does submissive stories with such fresh and unique angles like Gavin Atlas, and this tale is no exception. I love the setting here - with a society that is almost ours, but a bit further ahead (and still quite behind) in many ways. Even more, I love that Christian's desires are so muddled even to himself that he's not sure he even wants to change. There's a verisimilitude to the young man's psychology there that gives the story real weight.

I should also mention that Riding the Rails, should you click on the link, is on sale in epub format for a mere 99 cents, so y'all could be reading this story - and the whole anthology - for the cost of a cup of coffee.

All aboard!