dream interpreter – Part 1: 82-85

82.

“Who are you?” “I am Dream-eater.”
“What is your fantasy?” “Finding myself”
What is your boast? “Growing in spirit”
“How will you see it come to pass?”

“Have a rotten fruit. Eat these perfumed
lies you have spouted. In this labyrinth
you will see illusions. Perhaps you will
live to see another maze, foolish daughter.”

83.

“Who are you?” “I am Bee-stinger.”
“What is your fantasy?” “Finding a clover”
What is your boast? “To be enlightened”
“How will you see it come to pass?”

“Have a rotten fruit. Eat these perfumed
lies you have spouted. In this labyrinth
you will see illusions. Perhaps you will
live to see another maze, foolish sister.”

84.

“Who are you?” “I am Key-holder.”
“What is your fantasy?” “Finding a lover”
What is your boast? “Rescuing a damsel”
“How will you see it come to pass?”

“Have a rotten fruit. Eat these perfumed
lies you have spouted. In this labyrinth
you will see illusions. Perhaps you will
live to see another maze, foolish brother.”

85.

“Who are you?” “I am Marco Querini.”
“What is your fantasy?” “Getting rich”
What is your boast? “Confronting my father”
“How will you see it come to pass?”

“Have a rotten fruit. Eat these perfumed
lies you have spouted. In this labyrinth
you will see illusions. Perhaps you will
live to see another maze, foolish son.”

dream interpreter – Part 1: 80-81

80.

“In these tunnels, each one of you
Has told a fine lie. In this underworld,
Each of you boasted a fantasy feat.
But I am a prophet, I am an oracle.”

“These wilted flowers are for you,
Sister, brother, daughter, son. You
carry the weight of that malicious lie.
I offer you these twice-rotten fruits.”

81.

“I have tagged every wall of this city
with my broken poetry. From alley to
mountain, my words have danced
with half-rhyme and inane reason.”

“Time must be held back. Each one of
you will turn the wheel and reel in
these worst instincts. I give you this
chance to make amends with God.”

humming spheres

one: ‘old on.

too: Let me speak.

one: carry on, then.

too: Let me first begin with a list of things that you ought to consider.

one: ‘ang on. why should you speak first? […] are you some sort of wizard?

too: This is how it begins. You’re alone by the brook listening to a skylark.

one: a wo’…?

too: A sky-lark.

one: you’re balmy. goin’ on about a wo’…?

too: I am not a wizard. But I want you […] to listen carefully. See it – in your inner mind – you’re not listening.

one: i’m cross, that’s what i am. I — am annoyed. I’m furious. And you’re going on […]

too: That is forbidden. You can be cross, but no ennui, s’il te plait.

one: what’s that thing you said about a skylark? What’s a skylark?

too: That’s a bird. Singing soothing tunes into your seeping brains. Now.

one: I honestly think you should stop talking. My head ‘urts. And the frog-speak??

too: Hello? Are you there at all? If you’re hurting, look up at the skies.

one: I am hurting. Hang on, are you really a wizard? Can you help me? Why didn’t you let me speak?

too: Too late now, your time is up.

one: I’m cold. I thought you’d help me.

too: Then again, you are not cold anymore, are you?

one: Yes, I bloody am.

too: Always quibbling, always were, always will.

dream interpreter – Part 1 : 78-79

78.

They all followed her, mesmerised,
to the sooty innards of the kasbah
slanting up the side of the hill
as if fleeing an ancestral tsunami.

Confronting the steppe, its echo,
towering above it, the city was
doubly castled, with slit avenues
breaking free of the older town.

79.

Apple-tree covers along the walls,
mountains holding on the roots
of the seemingly endless steppe,
it was a shape-shifting, eerie place.

Then the voice of the beggar called.
Now soft, now commandeering, with
chanted words and many tones, it
drew them underground to a catacomb.

dream interpreter – Part 1 : 75-77

75.

The city of snow leopards welcomed them,
its huge door grinning wide as they were
robbed at the gates by friendly guards
who were quick to recognize foreigners

and suggest that there might be a way
to skip ahead of the queue. Marco’s
small jewels were taken, and so their
weapons, as well as their good humour.

76.

At night, thanks to the charity of a
clear sky, they found refuge in a moon
illuminated cemetery. Setting their
fears aside, they slept on hard stone.

Twice robbed, they lost clarity at dawn,
once finding out that all that they had owned
had been taken from them while they rested.
Looking at the mountains, they stood alone.

77.

As they felt a great sadness, they were
approached by a street beggar. Her eyes
were sharp with lunacy, a mirror where
one might find measure to one’s misery.

She spoke with guttural tones, a series of
half-digested words, in a strange idiom.
Even if they could not always tell if she
was talking to them, they froze gorgonized.

dream interpreter – Part 1 : 71-74

71.

On the darkening forest floor, rising,
falling, a path emerged from lichen,
rock and moss. Dusk caught them by
surprise, as the tree canopy shielded

them from the hard rain coming down
on the forest trench. Mountains were
straight ahead, a sheer wall bringing
the run of the steppe to a sudden halt.

72.

Their forest fears projected ill feeling
onto the gaps in light and shade among
the trees. Bright rapid-fire lightning
clawed its way through the foliage.

In the empty space, each of the four seekers
found known patterns, a shape of shadows,
voices rising from their forgotten traumas;
the adventures of the mind are never still.

73.

The sky was low, thundering with gloom.
In their desperation, they all started to
talk loudly about every sort of nonsense,
they forged a lasting bond on shared fears.

The sister pronounced herself an artist,
the warrior told his companions about his
father’s sexual exploits. Dream-eater told a
dull joke, Marco remembered his best friend.

74.

The next day, a vast sea of poppies and tulips
greeted them ahead of the city. Apple-tree orchards
lay in neat array before the huge gates. As they
approached, Marco marvelled at the beauty

of a city with snow-capped mountains as
back-drop, with apple-tree orchards slanting
down the side of tame hills, an ocean of
scarlet flower waves lapping at their feet.

dream interpreter – Part 1 : 65-70

65.

Suddenly a small white leopard appeared
looking directly at them with curiousity.
Dream-eater took her sister’s hand;
they all just stood there for a while.

Marco resolved to do the right thing,
and his response to the stand-off was
to walk directly towards the creature
shouting and screaming, waving his arms.

66.

Then a second leopard joined in on the
right, a fierce roar came from behind.
They were almost surrounded. Marco
continued to intimidate the small white

big cat, and the second leopard moved in
with circumspection, yet his eyes were
hunters, and his paws had claws as ends.
A third large leopard rose up behind them.

67.

She was white as snow, furious at the threat
levelled at her younglings, hissing, roaring,
circling the four adventurers in the forest.
Marco was frightened, what else was in store?

What monsters did the night hold for them?
Dream-eater was not afraid, and she spoke up.
With level voice she let Marco know he was
overstepping, and she would take care of it.

68.

And she did. She struck the leopard-mother
with a retracting blow; then wounded her
with her dagger. A small trickle of blood
stained her snowy fur, and she withdrew.

The young warrior just stood there in awe.
That was her leader, and she was amazing.
The sister was looking elsewhere, up above
toward the woodland canopy, seeking light.

69.

It was getting dark in the forest, as a storm
was approaching. The leopards were still about,
around them, yet slowly moving off. A yellow light
was bathing them with fear, a sunset gone wrong.

Dream-eater stood there staring at the leopards,
angry with herself about her failings as a leader.
She was reminded of the people she had abandoned.
A whole tribe was now under the command of fools.

70.

She was furious at her dead father, furious at
Marco, furious at her sister, angry with the
foolish young man following her… why so much
anger? Why the sudden burst of feeling? Stop.

Her heart was racing, and her mind was gone,
the whole world was spinning, and yet every
other muscle in her body was completely still.
Had it been a mistake to leave? Was she doomed?

dream interpreter – Part 1 : 60-64

60.

The young Saka warrior was on the alert,
he had the impression that they were being
followed. The trees were completely still,
and somewhere not far, the sky thundered.

The sister walked ahead, barefoot. She
was a creature of crystal-clear pools,
of steep mountain-side ravines: a heart
of marble, and eyes of an eagle, piercing.

61.

Marco was massively intimidated by her,
and yet, she seemed to be completely
indifferent to him now. The young man was
instead mildly competitive, while there was

no progress in winning Dream-eater’s true
favour, which was what he was after, mostly.
His dreams in the expanse of the grey steppe
were confused, and he was tormented by guilt.

62.

The sister seemed to be all-seeing, and yet
somehow all-forgiving, much like a cloud
that comes from afar, hovers about, and
moves on, pushed by nothing but a puff of wind.

Her eyes were chrysoprase butterfly wings,
never resting on anything, always quick
and condescending, climbing on higher,
and higher, and down to the depths of his soul.

63.

Through the thick forest paved with green-blue
light, monumental formations of lichens seemed
to rise stalagmite-like, which was very apt,
for the wood-land seemed like the interior of

a cave. Dream-eater was feeling as she was
suspended in time, and everything leading to
that moment, every wish, every pain she ever
experienced seemed to somehow make sense.

64.

And she felt that she was due something good,
the favour of the gods will soon descend upon
her, and her fingers would brush the bright sky,
like the quivering wind, and her soul would soar,

for she was free now, and her dead father would
not haunt her, and the world was at her command,
and she had companions she loved, and they loved
her, even the strange Venetian was a trusted friend.

dream interpreter – Part 1 : 51-59

51.

Then the summer came, and time went by,
carelessly they drifted across the steppe
riding past large assemblies of flamingos,
toward the mountains and the rising sun.

Marco found the time to soothe his pain,
his guilt was gnawing at him: he could
relate to Dream-eater, and he became her
friend. The sister kept a watchful eye.

52.

They left the horde – and for the young
horseback riders that was a rite of passage.
Dream-eater had no interest in power,
since she had killed her father – well –

for other reasons. Leaving the tribe
was the easiest thing in the world,
as the age had dared them to leap,
so the three Saka youngsters leapt.

53.

They flew off as a young sparrow
finally leaving the nest after having
been nursed by an unwilling and sour
old man, yet somehow loving of the

small bird. Off, into the summer air,
off – presumably to finding love,
and death, and casualty, leaving
dead and broken siblings behind.

54.

Animals get one chance to fly away,
just at the cusp of meaningful age,
that one opportunity often fails to
reveal itself, and the moment passes,

the small creature in the cage is never
freed, its soul dies at last on a winter
day, no longer pining for dreams that
never existed, accepting a dead life.

55.

The young warrior followed the two
sisters on their journey, and Marco
could not believe his luck, the power
dynamic having changed, and him assuming

the role of guide in this wide world away
from the horse riding tribes, and into
the unknown, where was wont to find fortune
and favour, for a demon was on his side.

56.

Or so he thought. As a child in Venice
he had met a fortune-teller, and she had
been shocked and horrified by his demeanor,
she said: “How can you be so carelessly calm

walking around with a demon on your back,
how can you be so innocent, and so sweet,
yet having a monster whispering in your
ear? One day you might fall prey to sin.”

57.

That distant memory was a long-lost bourdon
note, and Venice felt as if it never existed; now
the mountains were rising ahead, snow capped,
a large forest loomed in between, and Marco

felt an emotion he had forgotten, though
he could not place it. He badly wanted to
share his story with these his fellow
adventurers, and yet he hated himself.

58.

He could not bear to change their favourable
opinion, though clearly the witch sister
was ever watching him; he felt her magic
touching ever tendril of his soul, and the

song that defined who he was kept beating
the drum in his head, and his head hurt from
too much lyric-munching, the same words
kept spinning inside his soul, surely that

59.

was the demon’s work. On occasion he remembered
everything; he could almost touch Dream-eater’s
own pain, and the sister’s heavenly mind, or
the young warrior’s purity: he felt great shame.

As they entered the forest ahead, they went in on
foot, leading the horses into a strange darkness,
a great all-encompassing stillness. It felt like time
had inched on; a tiny, imperceptible tick forward.

dream interpreter – Part 1 : 45-50

45.

Then the next dream sequence popped in:
a wedding was taking place. Dream-eater
scoffed, there were more crafty half-men
trying and failing to catch her on horseback.

But they were on foot, while the assembly
was burdened by the knowledge of a plague
that had been known to spread in the land,
and yet the festivities continued unheeding.

46.

The next thing she knew, she was carrying
her sister who had taken ill down a country
lane, the time of the apocalypse had come,
the gods had been angered and they had sent

a deadly malady throughout the world, now
all pretence of human life had been wiped,
survivors sought random escape, Dream-eater
anxiously inching on toward the last pier.

47.

Her sister pleaded, then cursed, then pleaded
again. What makes vampires of us all, we
wonder. Dream-eater tried to avoid her bite,
all bitterness instilled in the madly burning

red eyes, hallmark of spiritual possession,
the much-loved sister no longer herself but
now a sub-human growling creature, scarred
over her body with pustules, bleeding wounds.

48.

Dream-eater abandoned her family, she left her
friend. She ran for her life toward the harbour,
wondering whether she had been infected, if
she would see the light of another day, at last

reaching the final bend along the road,
high oak-trees hiding the ship leaving west.
As she boarded the vessel fearing the sea,
for she had never sailed, the waves roared.

49.

Then the ship groaned and cracked in half,
and the curse of her loved one once again
echoed in the maddening dusk, and the waters
rushed in; one half of the ship floated away

to liberation and such. But Dream-eater was
on the half that sunk, hopelessly watching
all the sins of her existence that had led to
that cursed moment. A huge mouth of water

50.

yawned, soared high, then closed. Drowning,
the last thing she saw was her sister’s face,
eyes glowing, sore with hatred. She woke up.
Dream-eater had now been lying, her eyes

close for quite some time, dreading
that this might not have been a dream,
her sister’s eyes might still burn on,
aching, wondering if the curse was on.