Fan Fiction

4 May 2004, 8:22 AM

Part II - Two Dreams by Dustin Geeraert []

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Fire falling, a black burning spectre off a bridge.

A fiery shadow, outlined against the gray sky, a blazing darkness falling forever.

Falling impossibly far, descending quickly, clearly, necessarily, into the plunging abyss.

The end, oblivion, stands in wait, like one of the great Eastern deaths the comet brought.

The crack of ice as the body hits. Fire and ice, the way life began. And the dark woods thunder and the black winds howl indifferently, and the red flame dies in the freezing shadows beneath the bridge as my life ends.

I awaken, and in that half-sleep realize that I have been dreaming. I always dream that, the fiery death. The truth of it I do not know. Perhaps the dream is just a product of the many defeats I have seen. I have not slept long. The sun is down most of the time in this region, but the minute hints of dawn, the small pale glow to the east, are inching their way across the ragged terrain and graying the window's panes from their former blackness. Restless like always, I stand up and stagger my way outside into the chilly night-morning, a sort of in-between time. Strange things are rumoured to happen at times and places that escape definition.

It is then that I look across the ruinous ramparts of the barbican and see the same movement in the same window as before. This time I catch glimpse of a human form before the curtain is shoved back over the window. This makes me wonder what sort of people inhabit this place - did they request it, as I did? Are they hiding from something or someone? Or were they just placed here and eventually succumbed to the melancholy and atmosphere of resignation? Cowards, those who despair, or those who simply don't care?

I walk down the rough wooden steps and onto the muddy ground. I wander to the fortress doors, push one open, and step outside, looking out of the broken stone archway onto the stagnant pools and withered trees of the watery brown-gray landscape. The woods wind their way around the boulders and ponds, as if the rows of individual trees are only the seeking roots of a larger, more ambitious tree.

The graying dawn becomes almost white at the horizon's tip, and first light reaches the fortress (if it is fair to call it that). There is a soft breeze up, which sways slightly the less-dense areas of tree and bush, but it is a stronger movement than this one amongst the trees that draws my attention.

Someone appears to be winding their way through the wounded trees, sliding with the deliberation of fever. The air is sound-starved, and I can distinctly hear a series of continuous, liquid footsteps.

A particular pair of trees ahead parts and stepping between them, willowy, is an extraordinary creature. A girl who at the same time seems completely out of place and yet shares the despairing, rain-drowned look of the gateman; who looks ethereal in the gray light. I judge her to be two or three years my junior, though what connection she has with the fortress or why she should be in the woods at this hour, I have no idea.

Peering through the feeble light, I try to catch more of her specifics. Her hair is long and black, and coils around her like the roots of a tree. She is pale like a spectre, but at the same time, seemingly full of strange life. Her movements are careful but graceful; she seems completely in her environment. Unaware yet of me, she continues to wind her way through the mud-choked plain in front of the fortress, hair stirring in the slight breeze.

I cannot help but continue to stare at her. This girl is a singularly beautiful creature. No sooner has this thought entered my mind than I notice a strange sound, a quiet sound, almost like sobbing. But the morning's stillness hangs heavily in the air, and I cannot be sure. By the time I realize she is crying she is very near the gates. She does not look up. She still hasn't seen me, it seems.

I don't wish to startle her, but that is exactly what happens. I try to speak in a voice not too loud, without an edge, and say "Are you alright?"

This does not work as she is already quite close by and she looks up quickly and violently, her eyes stained, and sucks in air deeply. She stares for a second, and before I can say anything the wooden door behind me creaks open loudly and the gateman appears. He puts his arm on her back and moves her inside, where she seems to disappear, and the gateman reappears beside me. He looks at me.

Before I can even say anything, he says "Never mind her."

I open my mouth as if to speak, but I say nothing, and after a moment I only wander back up to my quarters in the hopes of sleeping some before the sun comes fully up...

~ You have reached your journey's end ~