I rarely remember my dreams. When I do it is of a world drenched in the hazy smoke of a fire long dead; decimated by dry heat, and drowning in the evaporated tears of so many who are no more.
I dream a luciferous being as the inhabitant of this world and provider of all things to enlighten the sky. It is this being that allows me to see the rotted land around me.
This place is shadowed and wilted but never black. Black is for those who are truly dead, and no matter all the dying that surrounds me, I see no death. We are a world forever suspended in the agony of the last cusp of living.
I dream of a garden, twisted and dark, with wilted white flowers decorating it like pinpricks of starlight amongst an expanding sky. Other flowers hang haggard and lifeless along the pathway. The grass gives way to dirt, and when I look back I realize I can not remember how I came to be here. I know not what path I took, or from where I’ve come, and I haven’t the faintest clue as to where I’m going. I know only that I must indeed go. If I do not, the thorns will get me.
In this garden that holds the world I know there will be a house, and yet I’ve never seen it. There will be a house, and inside it someone will be waiting for me. I know that the one who lives in this house is important, and I decide this is where I will go, but I am not certain as to who it is, nor am I sure if I am welcome.
But I go.
The being who brings enlightenment is ever still with its back to me, as if it dare not turn blind from its view of the sky before it. Still I step closer, sure that it will know the way to the house, for I am so very lost.
This being has tattered wrappings about its head and shoulders; vertebrae jutting from the path of its spine before vanishing behind the draped cloak it wears. the tattered cloth hangs from its elbows as if it is eternally in a state of undressing, baring its bandaged body to the world; shedding as much of the faint light it provides as possible on this dim and dank setting.
This figure is mottled in shadows of harsh greys and dirty whites, as if painted by dust and ash, but there is no black. Black is saved for those who are no longer dying, but truly dead.
In its hand there is a knife for some horrendous purpose I dare not imagine. In the other is a leash. The end of the leash disappears into the bushes, hidden by the chaotic undergrowth of snarling leaves and stems, as if it has claimed the dark twisted existence around us, the putrid dream, as its pet.
The silence of this place is interrupted only by a steady thrumming that fills my head with the pulse of this world. If I try to listen too hard, it overwhelms me, but if I ignore it, it only echoes louder, as if trying to gain my attention. No matter, the dream moves forward and if I stand still, the thorns will get me, so I must continuously move.
The air tastes like humidity and ozone; like the stormy scent that pushes ahead of thunder clouds thick with a flood. But rain never breaks through the dark tangled branches above me, and the dirt beneath my feet is cracked and dry. Jagged lines cut the earth with a surgeon’s precision, stitched together with twisting thorns that beg the ground to stay whole.
But it can not.
I move forward, infinitely moving, and every step makes my feet bleed, but it is not blood that escapes me; it is ink, dark and fluid but never black. Black is saved for those who are truly dead.
The figure does not move as I approach it, merely stands to its purpose, watching the horizon as if it dare not turn to see me come. Perhaps it is watching for something. Perhaps it does not notice me, or perhaps it is ignoring my presence. It does not turn to see me, as if I am something not to be looked upon. I desperately hope it does not decide to look at me.
Long and twisted fingers wrap around its belongings like vines, prepared to choke out the light it provides from whomever it deems fit. It has no fingernails, but I am certain its grip would feel like the sharpest of claws.
It’s only when I step within reach that the figure then throws back its head, its gaze piercing my own.
It sees me.
I awaken with a start, breath coming in harsh pants, sweat cooling tacky on my skin as I look in the darkness of my room. I am surrounded by the purest black; my vision blotted out. Black is saved for those who are truly dead. With that in mind and fear in heart, I scream.