Friday, October 19, 2007

Unawakened: Prologue

It had the liquid unreality of a dream, and a dream's intense reality. The things he was seeing were by turns morbid, comical, erotic, soothing, shocking. None of it made sense, but none of it seemed out of place. Of course fish nested in trees. Of course commuters traveled without pants. Of course every third person carried a different container - some buckets, some cups - filled with blood.

It had to be a dream.

He was someone else, someone outside himself, trying to fight through the other images to get to... himself. It was confusing, and he fought for clarity. He knew something, and he had to tell himself what it was before he woke up. That was clear enough, certain enough; it didn't matter that he didn't know what the message was, only that he got through the interference.

There was so much to get through: the cascade of compact discs; the dark, red rain in the living room; stumbling over his chair from work, and climbing over a cubicle wall; the green field, shaped like a bowl rimmed with trees, and two metal structures back to back in the center. All the while, he felt a presence looming, first over one shoulder, then the other. He dodged around it - some uneven round shape he did not want to see - only to see it again, this time in the hand of a clown.

He hated clowns. Always had, even before reading that old Stephen King novel.

Dashing through the obstacles, he heard a rising tide of voices. Friends laughing, crying, family pleading. Enemies laughing. He tried to listen, but realized he was getting off track. He focused, and spotted himself again, standing in the center of a beam of light. Bright, yellow light, like sunlight streaming from directly above, and if he didn't get to himself in time, he would vanish into that light, and it would all be lost.

The clown was back. It was moving in from his right, standing in shadows, but still moving. He avoided looking at it, partly out of revulsion, but partly out of a dimly remembered instinct: as long as he didn't look at it, it wasn't really there. And as long as it wasn't really there...

But thinking about it was like looking, and he had something else to look at. He focused on himself, and pushed everything else away. It was getting harder to concentrate, harder to fight. But he was getting closer; he could see that the him under the light had spotted him, too. He reached out, called out, but in the way of dreams, the goal he reached for receded and his voice rasped in a near silent whisper.

This message was too important, whatever it was. He grew frustrated, did not want to give up, but he started to lower his head. The clown began to move in, and he felt something grab his hand.

In a stark, panicked terror, he looked up, expecting to see a bright red glove wrapped around his wrist. Instead, he was looking himself in the face, grasping his own hand. He tried to speak, hoping that whatever was so important would just come out on its own. Nothing happened. He struggled, but his teeth felt locked together, his throat constricted. He couldn't breathe.

Now he felt something seize his other hand. He turned and found that bright red glove on his arm, extended from a baggy white sleeve with a gaudy ruffled cuff and primary colored polka dots. If he had allowed his eyes to wander up to that face... but he didn't. He forced himself to turn around to face himself again, desperate to convey whatever he needed to say. He felt laughter bubbling up from inside himself, but no sound escaped.

But he knew what he wanted to say, now. He felt it, so strong, so right... but so... insignificant. How could something so small and trite make a difference?

"I know," his other self said. And then he let go and vanished up into the light.

As the clown took him downwards, he thought how odd it was that he hadn't woken up yet. He might have been afraid, but he had a sense of accomplishment. As if he had passed a test, or placed in some race.

But he didn't feel fear. After all, nothing can really hurt you in a dream. Besides that, there were four forms swimming out of the growing murk of the depths... and the clown had let go...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dog Blog: I Did Not Go Gently

Last week, I escaped. It was brief, but I tasted freedom. I can bound when I am unbound, and my heart nearly burst with the euphoria as my paws crossed the oppressive curb and propelled me across the road.

But it didn't last long, and I nursed that joyous memory all week, regretting that I didn't use that time to accomplish something... perhaps actually eat one of those terrorist rabbits. I swore that the next chance I got, I'd make a break for it, and this time, I'd stay out until I was done.

Today, my moment came. The Mom Lady had me packed into the van to go pick up the littles, and had to turn around to get something she'd left behind. When she went in to get it, she left me in the house, because the Eldest had arrived. So, Elder daughter and I went to the back yard.

It was fun, and she is a great playmate, but I had made myself a promise. So just as she opened the door to let me in, I dashed around her feet, and made for the street. It was every bit as exhilirating as I remembered! I positively flew down the driveway, and across the magic line between the concrete and the road, where a few stubborn weeds stand glumly eking out a sad, stationary life. Not me! I was mobile.

Speaking of mobile...

I suddenly wasn't. At first, I didn't know exactly what had happened. It went so fast, I had already leapt up and run up the steps to the porch. There had been a lot of noise, and the light had changed around me; I heard squealing and screaming, and felt strangely rude bumps on my limbs, back, and head. By the time I realized what it was, I was pressing myself against the house, cowering, and staring back out at the road, where one of those big, smelly things that roar past all day was standing still. There were people all over, coming from cars and houses. And the girl, not looking Elder at all, was crying and bending over me, screaming, "Are you alright, are you alright?"

Eventually I began to understand that I had been hit by a car.

Mom Lady came back just after a neighbor lady had helped me to my crate. She was inconsolable, and seemed to split into three people; one to call the vet and find the directions on the computer, one to remove the top half of my crate (MySpace for dogs!), and one to hustle the children back into the van.

I had begun to feel the impact, physical and mental, and wanted no part of any of it. I was terrified of every noise, and could barely breathe. This only made the panic of my humans more frantic. But we made it to the Pet E.R., and the doggy-docs checked me over thoroughly.

The Hairy Guy showed up just before I went for my x-rays, and I was touched to see how stricken he looked when he arrived. I was even more touched that seeing me all in one piece and eager to go for a walk made him happy.

"So, dummy," he said affectionately scratching my ears, "you learn your lesson about cars yet?"

"No," said Mom Lady. "I'm dumb as a box of hair!" It took me a minute to realize she was supposedly speaking for me, but I let the insult pass, because she did have a point.

Now I'm home, where they gave me some lunch meat (it had a hard, white, bitter filling in the center), and I've been feeling more and more drowsy... *yawn* ... and can barely....


Monday, October 8, 2007

Dog Blog: Out of Shape

I don't know how plain I can make this, but you humans are pretty slow, so I'll use the caps lock:


If I feel I need to say it again, I'll just put "see top", and you'll know to look at it again. Maybe, it will sink in.

Now, usually, the Hairy Guy is good about taking me out in the early morning, and someone takes me out in the evening for a bit. I like it best when they all go and we play at the park, but sometimes they use the Bike thing and we go around the neighborhood at a brisk pace.

But the key to this all working is ... see top. This weekend, however, did not go my way. The Mom and Girl Scout were going camping, and the Hairy Guy ran late. So I got shoved in the crate, and there was mayhem and weeping (and not a little barking), and Friday night ended without any kind of exercise for me. See top.

Saturday started with a splat, when the little girl's system rejected the pizza transplant it had received the night before. I feared this would mean no morning walk, but after she held down some oatmeal and seemed to be feeling better, the BIC (Boob In Charge) decided to pack us all into his little Kia and drive us over to the garage. Something about "oil change" and "tuneup". Blah blah blah... see top.

But, good news! We left the car there, and walked back to the house. Sadly, it was only about a quarter of the usual morning walk I get (and this at nearly lunchtime), but it was something. And he seemed to imply that we would be walking back to get the car later. Cool.

Then the yak fest began. I wasn't there, but I hear that watching someone hork oatmeal is a very unpleasant experience. However bad it might be, it should not cause neglect of pets. See top. But alas, when it came time to go fetch the car, Princess Pukes-a-lot got the Little Tykes wagon, and I got the crate. Crap! And did they leave the house again the rest of the night? Noooooo.... See Top, you butt-faced miscreants!! See the freakin' top!

That is why, on Sunday morning, I released myself under my own recognizance. The Harried Hairy Guy, feeling pestered from every side (I didn't even need my recently discovered powers of mind reading to tell that) sent me out in the back with the boys. Always joyous fun. For five minutes. Then they either get bored and wander around yelling and hitting things with sticks as part of some imaginary ceremony or something.

Lately they've been calling each other "Fone Bone", "Phoney Bone", or "Smiley Bone", and I get to be someone called "Bartleby". This is usually fun, but today, they were interested in head standing. That means that either someone is standing on my head, or is standing on HIS head on MY butt.

I was not in the mood. Mainly, because: see top.

So I bolted. Not far, just across the street. Apparently, as I heard him describing it to the Mom lady later, the Hairy Guy saw me "bounding blissfully between the houses, headed to who knows where". That's pretty much how I saw it.

I also saw him drag out the bike, and trundle through the neighborhood, apparently looking for me. I heard him whistling, and declined to respond. Maybe now he'll remember: see top.

He went all the way down to the busy road, and came back up a block over, not realizing that I had done my turn around the house on the corner, and had pretty much set up camp in their sweet, wonderful, bunny-scented flower bed. I am still drooling a little... those people seriously need a dog. But I digress. He went back in the house, and sent the older boy out on the porch to look for me, and for once, the kid actually Looked!

After being retrieved, I was sternly lectured, but he wasn't mean about it. He probably felt like beating the tar out of me. I could tell because he kept saying, "I oughta beat the tar out of you." But I think he understood my side of the story.

After all, when you are as young and full of life as I am.... well, see top.