Wednesday, June 18, 2014

You think you have strange dreams...

I'm on a scooter racing down a cold city street, busses and cars abound, my tiny vehicle somehow navigating the paved streets with precision and riveting nimbleness; for some reason a small café is on time to stop.  I traverse a pack of bicyclists as the road turns to cobblestone; it's night time with the only light coming from overhead street lamps.  After a few blocks, my speed slows, the aggressive maneuvers discontinue, and I come to a stop in the middle of a square.  Wiping the sweat from my brow I know I am in pursuit of something or someone, but I have no idea in which direction to continue.  As I dismount the scooter my foot touches sand. 

The warmth from the sand isn't immediately apparent to my senses as I am still standing in what appears to be a combination of London and San Francisco on a cold night, but my body is telling me that I’m standing in sand with a warm breeze blowing slightly at my cheek.  I blink hard, closing my eyes on the final blink, 1…2…3…

I’m on a beach in the Caribbean.  It’s blinding sunshine and the heat is immense.  The cars that were once in the dark town square are now old and weathered, half buried in sand around me.  The configuration of the cars is identical to my previous location, but it looks as if there has been a shift in scenery, but only in certain broad conditions.  I walk to one of the rusting vehicles and lay my hand upon the roof; it’s still cold.  There’s an explosion behind me and quickly I spin to see smoke coming from a burning café.

The commotion which shakes the ground doesn’t seem to have the effect on anyone but myself.  Come to think of it, there’s no one around.  I become scared at the thought that I’m alone and there is danger present in the form of an anonymous explosion; but in my dream state I’m limited in my control of the body I inhabit.  I break into a sprint towards the smoke, someone might be in danger; there might be someone I can talk to about this place.  My mind says ‘stay’, as my body continues to run.  I have no limitation on stamina; at a full sprint for 200 yards I don’t become winded or strained.  I see the flames now, coming over the combination of tropical trees and city buildings.  As I turn the corner I see the white café, burning from the inside with flames emerging from the front windows like orange eye lashes of a harlequin in the wind.  As I approach, I see a woman sitting in front of the café at one of the wrought iron tables, nary a care in the world.  Her toes dig in and out of the sand as she sips her drink and writes something on a small piece of paper.  She has blonde hair and pouted lips.  She can’t be older than 20 years old.  Shorter than I, with a round face encompassing two large blue eyes, the bangs fall even across her brow, framing her expression as whimsical yet attentive to what she is writing.  She smiles slightly at her own wit or intelligence, never breaking eyes with the page to view the myriad of flames bellowing only feet behind her.  Her yellow and blue dress is scorched at the bottom ruffle as if the heat is beginning to singe her clothing but not affecting her temperament.   I catch her eye and she looks up from her writing; we make contact.  As I open my mouth to speak, I can’t find the words to tell her anything; I’m blank.  The obvious threat to her safety is apparent to me but I cannot seem to vocalize my concerns as she simply stares.  The twenty five feet between us becomes inches, as I see her hair begin to smoke and her skin begin to redden.  I cannot move closer to her to help and my voice will not protrude.  I am no longer a body but only an onlooker as she turns to dust in a moment, the fire consuming her.  I awake in a house.

The panic from the café is still with me as I thrash awake violently.  There is an overwhelming sadness for the girl.  Though I had not known her previously, and hadn’t said so much as a life-saving word to her, I couldn’t help but feel my heart peel away a layer of love for the loss of such a beauty.  A Victorian home with furniture and décor from an era past confuses me as I sit up.  I’m on a couch, or a settee of some kind.  I am able to see my body again, dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt with a jacket draped over the back of the couch.  I stand to see immensely tall lacunar ceilings with chandeliers above and white pillars edging the room.  The house is more of a mansion, and through the sprawling windows across the room I see encompassing fields and tall trees, not another house in sight.  “Hello?”  I am reminded of my recent inability to speak and the poor woman I was unable to save.  I’ll deal with that in time, I need to find my way home from this craziness.  I stand and notice I’m barefoot upon a cool hardwood floor, however, my feet aren’t mine.  The shape is familiar and the length of my toes seems congruent with what I know to be mine, however the size is reduced by nearly half.  My next observation is that my legs don’t seem to be out of proportion with my small feet.  My pants fit fine, and my shirt, though crudely out of style and obviously weathered, is in proper proportion to my body.  How could that be unless…

I’m approximately 10 years old, standing in a house to which I’ve never visited, let alone entered, or even seen for that matter. The fact that I am utterly aware of my retracted age doesn’t cause me alarm as this dystopian transformation from one location and state of affairs to the next has now trumped the concern of my age or circumstance.  My feet make a sticking sound as I walk towards an open door.  I must wonder if the room is really as prolific as I originally conceived, or if my small stature has amplified the opulence of my surroundings.  I peek through the door and around a corner to see a man sitting in a chair in front of a fire place.  No visible fire burns, which brings me a sigh of relief after my recent run-in with the café on the beach.  Even sitting, the man is tall, to which I accredit the comparison to my menial physique.  He has on a brown suit with a blue tie while a moderate and maintained beard covers a stoic and imposing jaw and features.  I slowly present myself to the room and brace for whatever reception is to be expected in this current scenario.  Little would surprise me at this point.  The man turns his head to look in my direction and then looks back to the vacant hearth.  I present myself more notably and enter the room without hesitation; surely we will engage in conversation should I appoint myself more firmly.  A hand grabs my arm and spins me aggressively, pulling me away from my original room and down a hall.  The man remains at the seat, pondering whatever internal queries he may have; while I am trying to endure the force of whatever person or creature has me in tow.  My head reels around to face forward, only to see hair blowing viciously in the wind as the walls begin to move faster and faster.  We are flying through the house, which must be over a mile long by now.  The tapestries on the walls are only blurs of color and light; but I am concerned little with the surroundings at this point, only focused on the hair in front of me and the hand around my arm.  We slam to a halt in a library room with a single chair in the center.  The ceiling and walls in this room must be three, maybe four times the height of the windowed room from earlier.  Massive bookshelves surround me, not a vacant spot amongst the hundreds of thousands of publications comprising a spiraling sea of literature.  My enthrallment subsides long enough to see the face of the person who had brought me here in such an abrupt fashion.  It’s her.

Not unlike our last meeting, I open my mouth to speak words of adoration and joy that she isn’t the pile of ash as I had previously left her, yet nothing comes.  My mouth remains open so long it becomes dry; my lips cracking like a man dying of thirst.  She stares on, looking into my eyes for an eternity beyond an eternity.  My tongue has dried and my eyes pour tears of regret over my inability to articulate my emotions as time continues to carry on.  Around us, books begin to wither and fall, the ceiling cracks and the shelves become brittle and splinter under the weight of the books.  The vines and flora from outside the mansion take hold of the structure and begin to crack floors and shatter windows.  We stare on, into each other’s eyes, never a blink or digression in intensity; never a word spoken.  We age.  

A decade passes in this manner, with her evolving into the woman I remember from the café.  Her eyes blink, breaking us free from the trance that had consumed us for almost a dozen years.  She moves past me, our adaptation abstractly appearing seamless in transition from children to adults.  Her hand touches mine as she moves to a pile of books on the floor, once high and out of reach, now crumbling to dust in a swell of lost knowledge.  Reaching down, she pulls a single, deliberate, piece of paper from the pile, carefully folding it and putting it into my hand.  She turns and walks away, never looking back as she exits the room, leaving me alone with the scrap of paper.  Everything in the world tells me to follow her, no matter where it may lead, but again, my body does not comply with the wishes of my mind.  I stand there, watching her turn the corner and vanish.  I look down to my open palm where there rests the single slip of paper; I slowly unfold the note to reveal its message

“Wake Up”

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