I was suddenly aware of walking alone in a place I'd never been. The sky was cloudy; since I had no sense of temperature, I can only imagine that it was chilly. And in the middle of a field of stony ground, someone was building a large square structure.
I say "middle," but the field seemed to extend on infinitely. I think it gave way to grass, maybe even mountains, the memory is faded and hazy. But alone I walked, feeling angry about something. I get the impression that it was an old flame that was making my thoughts into a tumult, but again I am not sure; you must bear with me.
I heard a voice on top of the structure. No, halfway up the structure, a lone worker taking the time to shout something sneering at me. I'm not sure what he said, but whatever it was, it hurt my insides. This stranger, this buffoon, found words that bit right down through my lifethick skin and sunk needle teeth into some ancient fear, some lurking, latent insecurity. Rage tears anger, embarassment, foolishness. Hate. I knew, immediately, that I would show him.
I would /kill/ him.
I knew that if I concentrated hard enough, flight would come. I threw all my pain and exasperated rage into the one thought; up. Up, for my rising off the ground would give him a moment to contemplate the Power of the being he had scorned so. A moment of horrified realization for him to ponder just before I ripped him and his smug sneer right out of this pale version of reality.
I felt myself lighten. I faltered for a moment -- it doesn't always work -- but finally after a few seconds, I rose. The longer I float, the easier it gets; my attention soon returned to him, clad in gray coveralls, beard, and surprised fear.
Out of my periphial vision, I could see the landscape beneath me, its vastness compared to the finite structure on which he was perched. I did not notice any wonder or beauty in this unexplored world. Instead, my attention shifted from moving the ground away from my weight to the fiery death that would leap into my now-prey from my hands as I extended them. I put the effort of flight in the back of my mind, using all my concentration to see the bolts fly from my hands: if I believed them, they would be. There, I can do anything I believe. Nevermind that I'd never done this before. Never tried to kill anyone before, even there where all things Can Be. But I hated him, and he would die. Cold, I was. So cold.
No power sprouted forth. No onslaught flooded from my palms as I extended both hands in front of me as if to grope doom out of the air. No sound came from my closed lips -- perhaps here there was no air, only wind -- but I'm sure he saw the fustrated rage in my screaming eyes. I swooped down and picked him up effortlessly, hauling him off in a random direction. No thought passed through my mind now; I simply searched for an appropriately harrowing spot to dash him to pieces. Though we travelled for only a moment we must have gone some distance at such speeds. There. A tangled mass of poles and wires and lines, a cacophonic parody of structures one sees on the world in which I write this. Taught cables, going in every direction. Rip him to shreds, they would. I threw him down like a rag doll, with all my might. Cold, I was, and smug for finding him such an appropriate end.
In the next flashing instant, I was standing on the ground beside the structure. Time plays tricks like that there; though I imagine I landed there to survey the result of my work, that bit of awareness simply went by-- or rather, didn't. There were others, looking on with dismay at
a man-sized being with great, beautiful butterfly wings. A wounded, man-sized creature with wonderous orange and black wings. Ruined, tattered, shredded wings. A creature more beautiful than the thought of those one loves. A creature with injuries that would never heal. Oh the bruises, sure. But the wings--
the wings would never come back.
I took a piece, a shattered fragment of soaring joy, as a reminder. I don't know why I did. I think somewhere inside, I was actually
- - -
sad. As a child, here in the so-called real world, I found a gigantic moth in the flower garden. It was flapping with all its might, but for some reason it could only lie there, looking clumsy and awkward. Like I was, back then; perhaps it was out of empathy (though I did not know the word) that I clasped it in my small, soft hands and took it inside to ask Mother, who seemed to know the answers to everything, how I could make it fly again. She suggested that I press its wings in a book. Eager, I tried to do just that. I remember the horrified fascination I felt as the wings tore -- to have such power over a living creature! -- but that feeling passed in an instant, replaced by the realization that this awkward, beautiful creature would die. Die after who-knows-how-long of lying there, flapping two broken fragments that could once have been called wings. And mother could not help now, she told me chidingly. And I took the creature back to where I found it, tears in my eyes, feeling as if I had committed a sin that could never be forgiven. I had not only killed this beautiful thing, but I had stolen its joy as well.
I awoke this morning, and it was cloudy. And cold.
And I felt like a child. Sad. The dream has cast this day in a dim light, and I am deathly afraid of what it was trying to tell me.
-Omar, the tentmaker