Monday, 8 June 2015

Contest Entry: Dreams That Don't Let Go

This was written for Sharath Komarajju's monthly writing contests on the prompt: 'Dreams that don't let go.'


They say, in the olden days, when the sky still changed colours with the dark never being truly dark, people used to see even when they were sleeping. ‘A load of crap.’ My grandfather used to say. ‘When ye sleep, ye sleep. I’ll have none o’ this old nut-job nonsense in my house. Ye hear?’ But he’s gone now. Cryo-freezed. So it doesn’t make a difference.
I knock on the door, barely registering it’s peeling paint and rust-eaten hinges. A woman clad in red opens it. A long hood droops over her eyes but I have a feeling they are red too.
“Ah. A kid at the door of a soothsayer. Why is he here she wonders?” She says and her lips curl up in a smile.
“I’m not a kid. I’m here because of the visions.” I reply crossing my arms across my chest, defiantly.
“The kid says he has visions. Maybe he should see the men in white cloaks. Maybe he should drink the juice of veera. The kid has no business here.”
She steps back.
“No, wait! It’s not those visions. It’s the…other visions.”
The soothsayer opens the door wider.
“The kid talks in riddles. The kid shall speak freely.”
She leaves the door open and strides inside. I follow her meekly, all my gathered strength disintegrating as I cross the threshold.
The room she leads me into is bare. A wooden table stands in the middle, along with two chairs. There are no windows, no paint on the walls, no magical glowing balls, no fluff. I can’t help but wonder if I am at the right place.
“The kid shall speak.” She says, sitting on one of the chairs.
“It’s when I…when I sleep.” There. I said it. Ordinarily even the mention of this would send me straight to a mental asylum. Normal people don’t see with their eyes closed. But the soothsayer fixes me with a piercing stare. She folds her hands in front of her. I spy the edge of a tattoo that disappears up her sleeve. A dragon maybe.
“The kid must not lie. The kid is not aware of the severity of his words.” She says.
“I am! And I’m not a kid! I read the lore okay. People in the ancient days had these visions and then and after the war, the survivors, all of them stopped having them. But I know what I am saying. I dream.” I shout. She rises suddenly and her hand flies across the table to cover my mouth.
“The walls have ears. The kid must know that. The regime has eyes everywhere. The kid says he sees with his eyes closed. Yet the regime makes sure that no one is able to do that. The kid claims something that the regime has made impossible. The kid is in danger.”
I look at her wide-eyed. Everyone knew the regime was a bit too strict. But they wouldn’t harm anyone surely.
“The kid must leave.” She slips a piece of paper in my hand and pushes me out of the room.
Back outside, I open it. It’s an ancient scroll and I can’t understand most of it. But at the bottom, I see a scribble in New English.
“When the people see again, the darkness will turn to light and the light to darkness. The strong will fall and the weak will rise. The new will fall apart and the old will reign supreme.”
I shudder as I walk back. Whatever shall I do?
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