I had a strange, strange dream last night.
Before I describe it, I want to throw in a little background. Dreams, for us, are a lot like dreams for everyone else... most of the time. Mine are usually jumbled images of things I've read or seen or done, sometimes with a coherent scenario, sometimes just nonsense. Crystal's tend to be more narrative (she says), but don't usually have any special significance. Billy's dreams fall somewhere between hers and mine, but every few months he has a true dream of the past or the future. Oh, nothing that you might use to win the lottery; usually the distant past or the far future, and sometimes it's hard to tell which.
I know this because we discussed it over a couple of beers at Billy and Crystal's house a few months back. (Mbata was there, too, but when we asked him he said, "I don't dream." And maybe he doesn't. I mean, that's not supposed to be possible, but I've seen a lot of things aren't supposed to be possible.)
So usually, my dreams aren't anything important. This one may not be important either, but it certainly was unusual.
I was drifting along a strange, grey landscape. I was in a sort of wide valley, which seemed to curve and narrow as it went on. The sky overhead was white, and if there was a sun or moon or anything like that, I couldn't see it. The light (if it was light) seemed to come from the entire sky.
The landscape seemed to be formed of hexagonal columns. The widths varied, but I don't know how much - and the thicker columns might have been a lot of thinner ones, side by side. It gave the strange impression that instead of having four compass points, this place had six. At a distance, the walls and floor of the valley seemed to show a gentle slope, but up close that curve was just the sum of angles. It was like an abstract, geometric model of a landscape. Even stranger, it seemed to be all of a piece: there were no fallen pillars, no broken chunks of rock, no evidence of sand or rubble.
Nor was it uninhabited. What I had initially taken for a drifting, irregular fog appeared to be some form of life - perhaps a whole ecosystem. As I focused on the difference in individual movements, I realized I was one of the denizens of this strange place - a drifting bit of fog myself. It was a pleasant sensation, kind of like like swimming underwater, but without the sense of weight. I had no trouble controlling my movement, and I drifted upward to get a better look at the landscape.
I had nearly reached the top of the valley when I realized that everything beneath me was moving. All the little individual wisps were flowing down the valley, making a sudden river of fog. I looked back, and realized that they weren't just flowing: they were fleeing.
Coming down the valley was a great, black cloud. It filled the valley, overlapped the sides, towered above. Suddenly, I was very afraid. I raced away, following the rest of the fog, but the cloud just kept coming.
I woke up suddenly, and in a cold sweat. My first thought was that I was glad I hadn't woken Claire. And really, I might not have thought much more about it. I mean, people have nightmares, and usually they don't mean anything. But when I was in the shower this morning, I noticed a stain on my ankle. It looked like someone had spilled India ink on my foot, and it didn't wash off. It seems to be fading now, though.
So... I don't know. My sleeping spirit found its way somewhere. Was it random? Did something, somehow, call me there? If so, for what purpose? Is it likely to happen again, and if so, should I be worried?
Time to consult the archives.