change is coming

The leaves whispered restlessly outside his window, disturbing the peacefulness of his slumber, and he propped open an eye with an askance glare for their daring intrusion.  The dream had already slipped from his grasp except for the distinct impression that it had been good.  The hour was still too early to see the leaves or even the branches they hung from and he closed his eye again with a disappointed sigh.  Dawn would not arrive for at least two hours but he had little hope of reclaiming the interrupted dream, “What are you going on about now?”

Though they continued to converse in hushed tones, the trees did not answer.  He attempted to push their murmurings and his own curiosity about what had set them astir away by rolling away from the window and throwing an arm over his head.  It was futile and he knew it.  After a quick count of ten, he rose to a sitting position and turned back toward the window to see if his eyes could perceive anything of value from the darkness beyond.

No wind accompanied the rustling of the branches so either a creature was clambering about the giant oak or the tree was truly talking to its wooden brethren.  Either was possible but the level of noise made it more likely that he was eavesdropping on the forest.  There was more than one tree in motion.

Finding his feet, he stepped to the window and leaned against the sill.  Crisp air greeted him.  His eyes continued to adjust but weren’t yet of much use.  His ears remained attentive, and with his mind now fully awake, he confirmed it was more than one tree quivering.  The sound was haunting and beautiful at the same time.

Just as dawn hinted at its coming arrival by warming the eastern horizon, the conversation came to an abrupt halt.  The trees returned to their stoic silence and he was left wondering what was so important the forest had needed to spring into action in the middle of the night.  It didn’t take much thought to come to a likely conclusion.  “Change,” he spoke to the morning.  “Change is coming.”

He had felt a tingling itch in his mind for several days.  Something was amiss in his hidden world and soon the cause would reveal itself.  Unhurried by the threat, or promise, of the coming days, he stayed at the window to watch the day unfurl.  The light stretched from the mountains at the edge of his vision to the tops of the trees that had pulled him from his slumber.  The sky spoke its own salutations in vibrant blue hues.  He sighed with contentment at the wonder of it all.


A question from Matticus:  Having recently published The Erratic Sun, I was feeling some pressure (though that isn’t quite the right word) to write something new… something of my own to publish.  I sat down and this came out.  What do you think?  Is it done, as is?  Or, is this just the start that I should turn into a full novel and publish?


our unending duality

The stars were shining in defiance of the coming storm.  Though no clouds yet darkened the horizon, the storm was building out of sight.  The gunfire piercing the night and echoing still in his thoughts were proof of its inevitable march across the sky.  Rain and thunder had always accompanied, mirrored, the tempest on the ground before and he had long ago lost hope that their relationship would change.  When shots rent the night, the following day would be miserable with weather.

Hitching his coat around his neck, he stepped free of his porch and across the dusty driveway to stand at his property line.  His gaze was drawn east to catch the first of the morning’s warmth pressing against the heavens.  Soon the world would spin enough to pry the fiery orb from its nightly slumber, but it would only shine for a few hours before clouds overtook it.

The thunder would roll forward first, signaling its slow approach.  The crash and tremble would echo in his small valley and his thoughts would return to the previous night.  Then the sky would soften and the rain would patter and splatter turning his driveway into a river of mud.  The torrent would pound against everything in its path until it was satisfied its lesson had finally, and brutally, been imparted.

The students were never paying attention though and the violence would continue.  He understood the duality of his kind even as he pondered the same and watched night give way to dawn.  The edge of the world bruised and then blued.  The sun came into view and the light shimmered in the clear air and reflected off the ground, heavy with dew.  It was beautiful and hopeful but he could trust neither.

The gunfire echoed in his memory again and the first peel of thunder reached across the world as the clouds began to form.  Small at first, they stretched high into the atmosphere before spreading horizontally to blot out the sun.  The day crackled with energy.  The storm sizzled with retribution.

He stepped away from his property line and retreated to the partial safety of his porch.  The danger was real, no less than it had been the night before, but that didn’t mean he could shirk his responsibilities.  It was day and that meant work must be done, despite the risks and the coming downpour.  It wasn’t yet time to get started, though.  The sun was still shining.

So, he watched the storm build and he waited for it to arrive.  Once the first fat drops splashed into the dust he would step into the open again and begin.  He would track down those who had called down the storm and he would silence them forever.  One day, he hoped to keep the storms from raging at all.  One day, he knew someone would come looking for him.

And the cycle would continue for someone else, to wake to the ringing shots and wait for the resultant storm.

desert kings

Greasy lights, casting dully from hanging oil lamps, smudged the sparkling fog while glints of teeth and flashes of eyes marked the coyotes’ path.  The time for calling to the heavens had come and gone and the pack slunk to their den to shelter from the heat of the coming day.  It had been a hard night, as most were when the moon was hiding in the sky, and their songs had been low and passive, more from a sense of obligation than of celebration.  They didn’t worry, though, because they knew there would be nights again when they could raise their voices in a beautiful cacophony and boldly remind the world of their presence.

It was only a matter of time and, despite the ever encroaching advances of men, the pack knew they had plenty of time.  They had ruled the deserts and hills long before the apes had learned to use tools and the coyotes instinctively knew they would regain their crowns once man had built tools they couldn’t control. The fools would wipe themselves out.  They had forgotten their place in the world and the coyotes laughed in the fog, the snarls and grunts bouncing awkwardly against the pre-dawn.  Oh yes, they would rule again.

The comforts of their dens welcomed them in and cradled them together in snuggled and nuzzled slumber.  They dreamed of skies filled with the fire stars their ancestors had known.  They dreamed of the giant moon beaming with returned joy.  They dreamed of running through scrub brush dotted deserts reclaiming ghost towns faded to dust.  Their invisible crowns rattled but the earth swallowed the sound.

One by one the oil lamps were extinguished as the sun stretched over the horizon and the lights were no longer needed to battle the dark.  A slight morning breeze running down from the creases in the high plateaus sent them creaking on their stands but their minders didn’t care.  Tools had blunted their senses.  Neglect had dulled their instincts.  They could no longer feel their doom squeaking from the wrought-iron chains.  Even if they could, as the coyotes already knew, it was far too late.  Man might hang on for a few more generations but the tools of their destruction had already been created and unleashed.

what does it mean?

I was awake, and headed towards the shower because I knew I needed to be off to work early today.  But, the alarm hadn’t gone off and I wasn’t in my house…  I knew I was dreaming, I’d had that same dream at least once before.  There was nothing to do though but carry on.

The house was a mess, clutter, boxes, debris clogging the long dark hallway to the bathroom.  It was still dark outside and that attributed to the hallway only being dimly lit, but it wouldn’t have mattered if it had been noon on a sunny summer day, the hallway would still have only been half visible.  I could sense it liked it that way.  It liked being hidden, mysterious, making those who dared the trek down it’s length wonder about what may be hiding behind the towers of grime and filth choking the pathway.

Because I knew it was a dream I navigated the passage with zero trepidation, unlike the first time.  I had a destination.  I knew the bathroom lay at the end.  And while I was still dreaming I still needed to take a shower and be on my way.  It simply wouldn’t do to be late to work.

The light flickered on when I flipped the switch.  The bathroom was in just as bad shaped as the hall.  There was no shower curtain, a drapery of sorts had been hung by a string to shield the water from escaping the tub area.  It always failed to do the job though as evidenced by the pools of water accumulating here and there among the broken tiles of the bathroom floor.  Glancing up, the single light bulb dangled from its socket, unshielded, precarious at best.  Every inch of counter space was covered by cast off clothing, toiletries, towels, and a layer of grime that begged for me to switch off the light so it could be hidden away in darkness again.

I quickly disrobed, stacking my clothes neatly in a pile with my jeans on the bottom so only they would be affected by any water or filth that wanted to attack the pile.  I knew it all did want to attack the pile.  It had happened before.

I start the water and watch, helpless to stem the tide, as water pours over the edge of the tub and rushes along the floor, the rivulets tracking along the cracked surface before overcoming the narrow ravines and spilling across the tile top.  I step into the tub, bracing myself for the bitter sting of the cold water…

My alarm, the one in the real world, goes off and I wake up in relief…  My own shower, just a minute away will be warm, in a clean bathroom and well-kept bathroom.

What does the dream mean?  That I didn’t want to be late for work and having to deal with a disgusting bathroom would have been the ultimate obstacle to my morning.  That’s what I’m going with.  What do you think it meant?