Sunday, March 23, 2014
Here is a truth: the dreams continue for each of them. They repeat themselves, some quiet and certain infinity. They come to have a familiarity and flavor and an insistence. They feel like old – no, not friends. There must be something strange about them, yes? The flotsam of their unconscious minds organizing itself with such repetitive precision. Erich, here is the bed and the room and the awareness of place, of a place you have always been and will always wake to be. He can imagine the curtains in his hands, parting them to look down at –

- at what? Something outside, waiting for him. Someone, maybe. Something he does not know and has never remembered.

And on, and on. Melantha at the edge of the woods, something ritual, something funereal in the air. She can read the circuit of dark birds against the dawning sky. She can read the patterns in the smoke and the change in the wind. She can read the loss at the back of her throat; which is familiar, familiar, and strange, strange.

Tamsin always expects salt when she comes here. Salt in the air and salt on her skin and there is no salt anywhere, just the road that hugs the curve of the mountain, which is not merely a mountain but a Mountain and has the shape and the shadow of a thing that has not erupted and then eroded over the course of millennia, but has Always Been. There is no salt, she knows that before she breathes. There is no salt, just a sort of sweetness on against her skin.

Thomas, through that door. Dawn behind and the shadows of an as-yet unlit room in front of him. And he knows it will be a simple place, made of plain, planed boards, hand-hewn and handworked and handfitted. Bows of long use in the sturdy stairs, and there is work to be done but it is good work, solid work, true work. Not this madness of war. Work that can be done, you see, all day and every day for fifty years or more without ever tiring of it, because there are places where work is a prayer and prayer is an exercise in meditative understanding that this is where we were meant to be. And yet: just that door, just that ceiling. He wakes every morning and remembers that door and that ceiling and he imagines he must have something in hand,

But he never, never once remembers what it might be.

The blood is soaked into the wood. The wood is shorn. It is solid and it is splinted and it is shorn; here is where the axe hits. Here is where the head falls. Here, Keisha, is where something is severed. And that insistence, that space between spaces, that ruminative certainty of the thing itself, is all she has and all she knows. For days and days and days, and she wakes up, night after night, morning after morning, with a keen awareness of blood and iron, though a memory, only, of wood.
But my heart is wild and my bones are steel
And I could kill you with my bare hands if I was free.

- Phosphorescent, Song for Zula
Monday, March 24, 2014

One way or another, Melantha gets in touch with Tamsin. It's not hard to get a hold of Erich: he sleeps a couple of yards away from her and there's just a tiny ceiling fan between their lofts. She can whisper across to him that she tried making him show up in her dream and it didn't work.

A text then, maybe, or voicemail, or something:

No change. Let's try the breakfast thing next week, see if anything changes for any of us. Okay?
my whole life is thunder.
Monday, March 24, 2014

wakes up
a little after Melantha

and sits bolt upright in bed and almost bangs his head on the ceiling and then scrambles to the edge of his loft and doesn't lower himself, doesn't climb down, doesn't anything-safe-or-sane: just leaps down and lands with a bonejarring thud.

"I THINK THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE IN MY DREAM." His eyes are wide. "I mean, there was a kid in my dream and in my dream he was my brother, but I don't have brothers? BUT I THINK HE'S REAL. I mean, in real life. I think he's out there somewhere. I couldn't find you, but -- I think I somehow found that kid. Or he found me. And we're both real. DUDE WE HAVE TO TELL TAMSIN."
Melantha, about three words in, presses her hands over her ears. It is her very subtle way of reminding Erich that she is not a morning person and she is having dreams about opening her mouth to let ash fall in it every night. When he stops talking or pantomimes successfully that he will slow down and be more quiet, she lowers her hands, looking groggy and -- yes -- a bit miserable.

She just shakes her head at the end, though. "Nothing changed in my dream," she says flatly, the way that yesterday most of what came out of her mouth was flat, flattened, pressed down. And if she sounds sort of resentful, or annoyed, or anything of the sort, well:

she had a dream about someone in a mirror whose face wasn't hers. She has unchanging, unchangeable dreams of endless woods and curling smoke and lone crows and ash falling like snow onto her tongue.

So they tell Tamsin. And for a few mornings after, Melantha just reports: I tried _______. It didn't change anything. It just became another part of the dream.
my whole life is thunder.
They tell Tamsin. They tell her over breakfast one morning and-or they tell her over the phone or they tell her over the phone one morning and then the next morning breakfast and anyway communication happens and that's the important thing.

Tamsin tells them something, too, at some point. This is what she tells them:

"Thomas is having the dreams too. His dreams are of thresholds and a room he knows and going across the threshold and looking up, knowing there's a knot of constellations: and there's wood. And he's buying matches, once. And the light -- there's light in his dream, too, guys: Dawning light. We think maybe Thomas and Erich are dreaming the same time, or are near each other. The rooms, you know? Where Melanatha, you and me, we're -- we're somewhere else. Maybe we're after, you know? After whatever Erich and Thomas are doing. If it is Thomas. If there aren't other people, too. He also dreamed a mirror, Melantha, once. I'm going to bring him to breakfast. It's - "

- and so on.

Their dream-talk breakfast: either the next one or whenever it occurs.
On Thursday morning, whether breakfast has occurred or not, whether further conversations have happened, Melantha wakes -- not for the first time -- with tears on her cheeks. She doesn't move from bed for a while. It's a few hours -- and food, and a shower, and calling in sick to work -- before she is even willing to talk about it.
my whole life is thunder.
In less than an hour after Tamsin posts about the dreams on the White Board at Cold Crescent, she gets a phone call from Keisha. The Theurge, when she isn't taking her few sociology and mythology classes at school, spends almost all her time at the building these days so it's not surprising that she finds it quickly.

"Hey, it's Keisha," the message goes. "I've been getting similar dreams since right then as well. I had chalked it up to some kind of prophetic visions by Themis and had been trying to figure out the symbolism. Clearly that's not the case though."

"The first one for me was when I just doing dishes at my place, like when I was actually awake. Suddenly I had a vision that I was washing blood off my hands. The rest of them have been outside, in the woods in front of a chopping block. Smell of blood. Then someone, a guy, says, 'The first death follows another. Everyone who says differently is a liar –'"

"I think someone's getting beheaded on that chopping block."


She also texts Erich, since she knows he's getting the dreams too.

Just saw note from Tamsin. Looks like we're dream buddies. Chopping block in woods. Someone beheaded, I think.
"The anger of a good man is not a problem. Good men have too many rules."
"Good men don't need rules. And today's not the day to find out why I have so many."

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