R e v e r i e
by Politic X
 
 
6: the fiery dream

 

I've come to dread reaching the field.  Everything would be so easy if I just sank down into nothingness, the swell of earth enclosing me.  Maybe I could if it weren't for the music.  I reach for the knife quicker this time.  (we can be like they are don't fear the reaper)

Blood pours from my arms and I begin to soar away from here, away from this nightmare of cloying cedars and haunting music.  The field rushes up to me like a dream.  Monica's here, but she's walking away, and although I'm running, fast, hard, breathless, I can't catch her.  I scream her name.

My legs.  Have I freed them yet?  No.

I bring the knife down, and suddenly she's here, looking at me, saying my name.  "It's okay," she murmurs, pulling me close to her. 

"You wouldn't wait."

"What?" she asks before recognition lights her face.  "But I am; I am waiting, Dana."  She wraps her arms around me and pulls me close to her, so close I can hardly breathe.  "It's going to be okay.  I'm here with you; I'm not leaving."

A tremble of desire races through me.  I wrap my right leg around her left.  "We can be like they are," I whisper.

She bends her head to hear me.  "What?"

I tilt my head up, lips close to her ear.  "We'll be able to fly."  I want to bite her neck, feel the blood pour from her body, free her.

Her mouth rests on my cheek, but she doesn't say anything.

"Don't you want to be with me?" I ask.

She pulls back and looks at me.  "I am with you." 

I need her so badly.  I need to free her, get us out of here.  I stretch my arms above my head, letting the wind course through them; I arch backwards, my pelvis hard against her leg.  

"God, Dana."  She crushes me to her.

"Take my hand, we'll be able to fly."

"I don't know what you're talking about," she says hoarsely, her lips on my head, on my cheek.

"I did it for you," I confess, reaching for the knife.

Her mouth opens on my neck.  "What did you do for me?"

"Don't you see?"  I hold my arms out.  They flutter like ribbons on a breeze.

She looks at them and tenses.  "What did you do to your arms?"

I hold up the knife to show her.  "We can be like they are."  Surely she hears the music.

She shakes her head.  "Like who are?"

"Romeo and Juliet."

She lifts a hand from my back and touches my face.  Her fingers warm me.  Her eyes tell me I'm an angel.

"Together in eternity," I breathe.  I look into her eyes.  "Don't fear the reaper."

Realization tracks across her face and freezes there.

"We'll be able to fly."  I flail my arms about.  "We'll be able to fly!"

"Stop it, Dana."  She grabs my shoulders.  "Wake up."  She shakes me.  "Dammit, wake up, Dana."

Oh, she thinks this is a dream.  I know what happens next - she's going to walk away now; she's going to continue without me like she always does.  The thought of her leaving again hits me hard, and I double over in pain.

Her hands lift me up.  I push her.  "Go away!"  I stand as tall as I can and look into her eyes.  "Go on," I say firmly.  "You don't see me anyway."

She bites her lip and cups my face with her hands.  "You're all that I see, Dana." 

The intensity of her stare burns me.  I turn my head and rub her palm with my lips, with my tongue.

"Oh God.  Oh God."  She moves her fingers over my lips and shudders when I lick them.  "Oh God."

"Take my hand," I whisper.  The music is inside me; it pours from my mouth.  "We'll be able to fly."

"Don't fear the reaper," she says quietly.

I nod, yes.  She hears the music too.

Monica looks at me for a long moment before dropping her hands to her sides and shaking her head sadly.  "This is a dream, Dana.  This is a beautiful, frightening dream.  I want you to wake up."

"No!" I jerk away from her, disentangling arms and legs.  I turn and run, flying on the breeze.

"Dana!" 

But I'm gone, running for the forest; it's safer there.  The woods embrace me like a wayward child and I run willingly into their deep darkness.  She's close behind; I hear her.  Trees bend toward us, black and rustling. 

I've spent so many evenings in the embrace of these same smothering cedars that I've grown almost accustomed to their particular dampness.  Always before the earth has clung to me in bits of wetness, sucking me downward in a numbing sensation of coldness and fear.  But it's warmer here now, humid, hot. 

I stop.  Damp earth hisses beneath my feet, sending up clouds of steam like hidden hot springs .  The forest ahead is still wet, but I'm standing in a place that's rapidly drying. 

Scorching heat is on my back.  When I turn to face it, I see Monica just inside the forest, ten yards away from me, running in slow motion.  Pine needles rise in flame all around her, swirling like fiery tornadoes.  Her eyes are glowing embers.   

The ground below my feet begins to crackle and shift.  I stand transfixed.

Smoke wafts from her body.  Her left foot lands on a branch which bursts into flames.  Her right foot causes a small anthill to explode.  My chest grows warm.  Monica is bringing the heat with her; I feel it spiraling toward me in a five foot, eight inch wave. 

She's a few feet from me when something over my sternum suddenly becomes red hot.  My cross.

I grab it and experience a pain so blinding that I drop it instinctively, only to feel the necklace melting on my skin.  I scream at Monica, but I can't see through the smoke, now a heavy cloud around her.

I turn and run.  The forest is ablaze; it heaves around me, hacking up dry, putrid air in my face.  Bent tree limbs drip cinders on me, sparking my blouse and skirt.  "Drop and roll!  Drop and roll," I think.  But the ground beneath me is doing its own rolling, sending wave after wave of fiery dirt against my legs.  If I drop, I drown. 

The cross, my talisman, is melting.  I feel a hole in my chest beginning to open beneath the molten metal.  Flesh is smoldering away from blood; I'm burning.

I do something that I've never wished to do: I grab at the necklace and yank.  The chain flies away from me, but the cross doesn't.  It's embedded, carving a cavity that goes deeper as I run.    

I can feel it burning its way into my esophagus.  It travels down like swallowed lava to my stomach.  My chest is a gaping wound.  Air hits hard against my ribcage, coaxing little fires away from my blouse and into the hollow space beneath.  I press my hands against the hole, dodging a fireball from above.

"Monica!"  I feel her behind me, fire igniting the backs of my legs, burning my skirt.  Familiar music hits my ears.

I slow my gait enough to glance back at her, and she's so close I can feel her breath on my skin.  Her lips move, but no sound comes from her mouth.  It comes, instead, from her entire body.  The song envelopes her in a white rush, seeping from her pores, growing and fading with each breath she takes.

Screaming one long wail, I run.  My skin is charred, my hair is smoldering and my shoes are melting away.  Sparks fly from within the hole in my chest.  I'm burning from the inside out.  Only the knife in my hand remains cool.  I press it to my face, remembering.

Blood is liquid. 

I slice my left arm as quickly as I can and the blood streams, cooling my skin instantly.  But I've slowed down too much, and Monica tackles me.  Heat, red and blinding, sears me. 

The forest continues to blaze around us.  I twist beneath her, pushing and struggling.  "It's okay," she whispers. 

I have to get away from here.  "Monica."  I shove her hard, but she's too strong for me. 

She crouches over me, her hand white hot against my face.  "God, you're burning up."  She moves away quickly, before I realize she's leaving.  I watch her run to the edge of the forest.  She was the one who was supposed to save me, and she's abandoning me instead.  The heat is smothering, but I'm cold suddenly, and I begin shivering uncontrollably.  Cold.  Not having the strength to move, I huddle on the ground. 

I doze in never-never land, somewhere between fear and numbness, until something large falls on me.  It mats the blood to my stripped flesh, enveloping me further in this icy stillness.  I cry out and push the object away, but it presses closer.  I open my eyes to it.  Monica. 

She's wrapping her coat around me, staring at me with eyes that are frightened and aware. 

"You're too late," I accuse her.  The words fall from me in a slur as my body lifts away from here, soaring skyward.

 

 
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 Posted 10/31/03