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Fermius Firefly

A Dream Log, whenever I remember the dreams I've had.

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Location: San Marcos, United States

Fermius is a pen name drawn from a series of short fiction I wrote when I published the small press magazine Stellanova (on paper.) I play RPG games to escape from my daily grind as a technology wage slave for the state of California. I eat out a lot in order to do my part in supporting our increasingly service level economy. I am butler to 2 feline masters. If you ask them they will tell you I'm not very good at it, late with dinner, don't have enough hands with brushes in them, and sometimes I even lock them out of their office.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Night Sea

              In this morning's dream I found myself at a school much like the Middle School and High Schools I both attended and worked at, the blend of the two places was uncomfortable, and I had some difficulty knowing where I was. Our assembly had been called, and words of modern wisdom had been dispensed and were in the process of being forgotten as quickly as the teen-filled room emptied. It was then that I noticed the sky had darkened and the shores of the night sea (night – mare?) had risen up to cover the valley below the school and breakers, low and oily in their blackness rippled across the long flat parking lot. I warned the students away, but in the reflection of the parking lot lights on the oily surface I could see the un-dead students rise and join the population. One disruptive boy was all ready in my custody, waiting to be taken to the office, when another, freckle faced and plastic cheery strolled by, ax in hand.
              “Pardon, but you need to turn over the ax, there is a zero tolerance policy,” I told the permanent teen as he shook off the black oily water of the night sea, prepared to take his place at the table of learning with the living.
              “You should take me to the office then.”
              “You could be expelled.”
              “I have been in the eighth grade for a decade now, that would sure be nice.”
              “Then where would you go?”
              “Not back to the sea, it is cold and I can't keep my dress in place,” a new voice joined the conversation. This was a girl, young woman really, her hair red, but faded as though the life were drained from it, she too had freckles, each one paled as its own life had fled long ago. I thought perhaps kin of the ax boy. “Two decades, or even more, we should be expelled, but to where, to where?” Her face was pulled into an expression of worry that triggered everything paternal in my soul.
              Her eyes, though, were as dead as she, and a coldness flowed from them that made the hair on my back stand at attention.
              She saw me looking deep into her eyes. “I'm still here, I am, take us somewhere warm. He's used to being sent to the principal.”
              “Yes, but the paddle is gone, so there is no warmth there, now.”
              The living student was silent as the freckled brother and sister's wet steps joined our own.
              “Pardon me for wandering, the school is not laid out the same since its renovations.”
              “You see all of them, the different schools here, like one of us.”
              “H-how many of you are there?” the living student, a spit wad shooter, asked, obviously frightened.
              “A lot.”
              “All of the school, some day. I'm Lucy,” she smiled at Spit-wad.
              Spit-wad tried to smile back and crossed to my other side, placing me between them.
              “Hello, Lucy,” I smiled at her, and felt her absorb that small warmth like a dry sponge. “Is this fellow your brother?”
              “Yes, that's just Billy.”
              Billy, ax boy, stuck his tongue out at her.
              “Real mature. You never change.”
              “Neither do you, your underwear!”
              “Hush a moment, let me think.” I was at the fire lane and trying to remember which way lead to the office at the front of the school. I thought I had figured it out and went in that direction.
              I asked the night students to wait a bit, and turned over the live student and the ax, telling them I had found it in the parking lot.
              I returned to the students, but Billy was gone.
              “What are you going to do with me?”
              “Where's Billy?”
              “He's dead. The ax is safe, so he can rest now.”
              “Do you need to rest?”
              “I need to find something first.”
              “It's out there,” she turned and pointed a slender pale arm out into the night sea.
              “Let's get a boat, then.”
              And we were on a boat, heading out onto the night sea. It was cold in the boat, but warm over the slick and oddly quiet waves of the night sea. Lucy moved close to me, I could feel the heat being pulled out of my body. I rowed harder to keep the warmth flowing.
              “You are not afraid of me?”
              “Just a little, but you seem to need help.”
              “Thank you, there are a lot of us.” Lucy hugged me, and I couldn't help hugging her back, and holding her, warming her.
              “Then we need to find a way to help them all.”
              Lucy poured out of my arms over the side of the boat into the dark waters of the night sea.
              “Don't look at my underwear, I haven't changed it in twenty years.”
              Not that she would have had to worry, as the water below the surface was pitch black. I reached after her, stopping my hand just above the surface of the water. I rowed along our previous course, looking for something, I just didn't know what.
              I must have rowed and hour before seeing the top of a spire sticking out of the water. There were people all over it, I rowed to them. Even though I knew they wouldn't all fit in the boat. I offered to take them back to shore.
              “I may have to make several trips,”
              “Yes this is just the top of the building.” One teen said.
              The building's spire was made of a material like hematite, polished smooth with the look of hundreds of window carved in deep relief. Like a miniature empire state building.
              “Oh, it's not miniature, Lucy's building is 750 feet tall,” a young girl said as she climbed into the boat.
              “Where is Lucy?”
              “She's lost, she went to get help and never came back.”
              “She brought me here tonight.”
              I turned to look at the young girl, she smiled a bright smile at me but said nothing. She was the only one in the boat with me.
              I turned to look back at the spire, and it was empty.
              “We're all aboard, you can go now.”
              “What about Lucy?”
              “She's waiting for us back at school.”
              “Okay then.”
              I turned the boat around, using the unfamiliar pattern in the sky to try to align myself up with the school. I started rowing.
              Again I rowed for at least an hour, easing off from time to time as I was growing tired. Voices sounded encouragement and more than once I felt someone lean against me, taking away my heat, just a little, then moving away.
              As I neared the shore the sky back in the direction we had come from lit up with lightning, I could see it strike Lucy's tower. The voices grew anxious.
              “Lucy is in trouble, you have to get to her!”
              I started rowing with everything I had left. I knew, from the time I'd been rowing that we must be fairly close to shore, or we were hopelessly lost.
              “There, we're at the breakers!” I heard splashes around the boat. The people were leaping out, wading the last little bit to shore.
              The young girl appeared again, looking a lot like Lucy, only paler, younger, and more worried. “Lucy is in trouble, you have to fly to her.”
              “Fly to her.”
              “Yes, you can fly here, you're like us, only from somewhere else, fly to her, or she will be lost forever.”
              I stopped rowing and stood, turned around to face the shore, the parking lot. I could see what looked like dozens of students wading towards the school. And at the school, there was some sort of ruckus outside the gym.
              “Fly to her, please.”
              I stepped up and swam my way up into the air, gaining altitude.
              “Thank you!” the little girl shouted, and then there were cheers from the students wading through the receding night sea.
              I climbed high enough to catch some of the morning sun, and then I dove towards the gym, gathering sunlight in each hand. I threw the sunlight, all hot and bright in front of me, aiming it at Lucy, who seemed to be in the center of a circle of dark menacing shapes.
              The light hit her and splashed around her, turning the grey lawn into green, and her torn dress into a brilliant red and white patterned dress, only I realized the patterns of red were blood.
              “Lucy, hang on.” I shouted as I turned into bright sunlight and landed in a protective ring around her.
              “You came for me.”
              “Yes, your students said you needed help.”
              “Someone came for me. No one ever comes for me.”
              Lucy vanished, gone with the slightest trace of relief on her face.
              Some – things, many of them, were caught in light, I struggled to hold them until the true dawn could spread sunlight over the campus. The dead students walked up out of the night sea as it receded. Soon there was nothing left but a dewy lawn, a ring of burnt grass, and two dozen waterlogged bodies, students, who'd gone missing on the night sea over the course of two or more decades.
              I didn't want to have to explain that to anyone, so climbed into the sky, looking back to make sure everything was peaceful before quiting that realm.

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