Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Seer's Story 02

short story continued:

Taliesin woke from his dream. He looked at his phone. The blue screen flickered and flashed the time—1:20 am. He had barely been asleep, and the dream had come again. This was the third time the dream had invaded his sleep in a week. And it was an invasion. Instead of the deep blackness of his other dreams, this one burned itself into his senses. The smell of old books, the buzz of something electric in the background, and the voice. It was a voice that was deep and resonant, echoing in his mind, even as he sat bolt upright transitioning to consciousness.

He looked around his room and watched as the dark shapes came into soft focus. He could see the shadows of his many creations, paper models that he had built from his imagination. A dragon, a plane, a sea creature. He thought about the dream, tried to remember it. Why did the dream scare him? It wasn't the words. It was something else. He laid back in bed and stared at the ceiling. Magic was imagination. Stories were gateways—of course they were. He had heard that since he had learned to read. But that was always a figure of speech. People didn't actually get transported to another world. They stayed firmly in place. People reading words on paper. They weren't anywhere else, they couldn't be.

He heard a creaking. His little brother Daniel came into the room. “Tally? Tally?” Daniel shook Tally's foot over the covers.

Daniel groaned to himself, “what?”

“I had a nightmare. Can I sleep in your bed?” Daniel pleaded softly.

“No, go to mom and dad's room. I don't want you in here.” Tally turned over in bed, pulling the covers over his head.

“Mom and dad aren't there,” Daniel said, “can I sleep here?”

Tally sat up in bed, “what do you mean mom and dad aren't here?”
“They aren't here.”

Tally wasn't in the mood. His homework had been taking over his evenings and this 'seer' nightmare had kept him from sleeping three nights now. He thrust off the covers and walked to the door, grabbing Daniel's hand as he went. “They're here, I'll show you.”

The two walked down the hallway to their parents' bedroom. Tally opened the door, and looked in. His parents were both there, asleep in the bed. He looked at Daniel triumphantly, “here, now go to bed!”

Tally went back to his room and closed the door. He drifted off into sleep easily; dreamless and restful.

The next morning was crisp. The fall was setting in and the leaves were just starting to turn. It was supposed to be warm, part of the back and forth that was early October. He wore a light sweatshirt and happily dawdled on his way to school. His thin lanky frame was accentuated by his big backpack and long straight-leg jeans. He thought about everything on his walks. At this moment he had lost himself in a system of roads that had pedestrian tracks in them. The tracks would have a device that hooked into any skateboard, bike, or roller skate wheel and zoom off. It would be useful for going up hills, but most people needed exercise so it wouldn't be used for most other types of terrain.

He passed a large tree, one side got significantly more sun than the other. He could tell because the leaves were red and some had already fallen off on one side, whereas the other was still mostly green. As he pondered this thought, he saw a white rabbit appear and scurry into a hole in the roots.

“Whatcha starin' at?” It was a girl's voice. Tally nearly jumped when he heard the voice; instead he jerked his body toward the sound and found himself nearly nose to nose with his neighbor Lily. Her large green eyes nearly popped out of her head. Tally jumped back and stuttered.

“The—I was—where'd you—” he stammered.

“What were ya lookin' at?” Lily tried to prompt his jumbled speech; she tilted her head to the side a little and started walking. Her nearly porcelain skin shone brightly in the early morning sun.

Tally composed himself a little and took a couple quick steps to catch up with her, “I was looking at a rabbit,” he said annoyed. The swell of emotion from being startled was fading slowly. He caught himself and changed the subject, “where'd you come from?”

Lily turned and looked at him slightly perplexed, “where I always come from. My house. We meet here everyday and walk to school. Are you ok?” She noticed Tally trying to think; the answer was obvious, so why had he asked it? Tally felt sheepish.

“I'm sorry, I just—it's just—I didn't sleep well last night,” he started to explain to Lily as well as himself, “and something about today has felt so beautiful. I had a nightmare—not a nightmare. It doesn't make me feel good though, this dream. And it was so dark last night. But it's bright and orange today. I feel different,” he paused and looked at Lily. She was pinning her hair back with a pin, trying to wrangle the loose strands of hair that kept falling over her face. “I'm sorry, it's stupid.”

Lily paused in her work and turned to Tally, “no. It's not. But we have to get to school; we'll be late.” She picked up the pace, “did you study for the test?”

“Yeah, didn't get to bed until after one in the morning,” he said it with a bit of pride; his studying was sure to pay-off.

“That's late. Do you think you are ready?”

Tally thought about it for a moment. No, he didn't really feel ready. But that was more due to his preoccupation with the seers. What an odd dream. It seemed so coherent; it was constant; it never fluctuated like the few dreams he could ever remember. And it stayed in his head. Most dreams faded or turned into chunks of images and blurs. This one seemed clearer than a memory. So there.

Lily was crying. He looked up and saw her holding her face, tears streaming down it. He snapped out of his thought and took a step toward her. “What's wrong?”

Her whole body shook, it was the violent emotional vulnerability of a helpless child. “We're—we—we're lost,” she sobbed.

Tally gently put his arm around her, unsure how to touch her and comfort her. “We're not lost. We're going to school.” The sky seemed suddenly dark. He noticed goosebumps on his arm, “we're--” he trailed off as he looked around. How long had they been walking? Where was the school? Where were they? The sky was a uniform dark grey. It held no happiness. It was an empty abyss and sucked at the fall air. A wind kicked up, blowing the dead leaves toward the storm. The air became heavy. And Tally felt small against the darkness.