Fuel

“In my dream, I was outside, walking around the neighborhood as the sun was setting,” she tells me. “The streets and houses looked much like as they normally do. At some point, I stopped at an intersection waiting for traffic to clear so I could cross the street. A man driving a van slowed to a stop, kindly letting me cross the street. I waved to thank him as I hurried across to the next block. He drove off as soon as I reached the sidewalk, and then I smelled a familiar, smoky but sweet aroma in the air. It took me a while to place the scent, but then as I continued on my way, I realized it was the fragrance of burning dreams.

“Ah, I thought to myself. He has to burn dreams as fuel to translocate. That’s what it’s come to for him. It saddened me to find such wondrous material full of potential expended on such things.”

“Yes, I can understand,” I say, nodding.

“Then, as I moved further away from the busy downtown streets, I began to see this strange darkness ahead, a sort of vague gloom looming about the scene before me. I was somehow more curious than scared, so I drew closer to it. There were no people in sight, no perceptible sounds except my footsteps and the occasional rustling of leaves. As I got a closer look at it, I found that the darkness wasn’t looming over the things there – the houses, the trees, the cars, they had dissolved or were dissolving into the blackness. The distinction between the inky void and these objects wasn’t clear where they met. When I saw that, I felt what I should have from the start. Deep dread. I was utterly afraid that if I got any closer, I would share the same fate as the objects there, the distinction between myself and this void disintegrating. As I slowly backed away, I began to see that the darkness was not the featureless void I had observed it to be. It had structure, a vague, almost indiscernible composition. Though I had no basis for such a conclusion, I couldn’t help but feel like it was that of another world entirely.”

I imagine this scene, she moving away from the meeting of two worlds, perhaps of one dream and another, one dream and one reality, one reality and another, depending on one’s perspective.

“Does it end there?” I ask.

“Not quite. Then a car drove past me, towards the darkness. I was stunned that something, someone was actually approaching it and watched it anxiously.”

She becomes quiet and drinks some water from her glass. I wait for her to continue, but she says nothing.

“So what happened?” I ask.

“I don’t remember exactly. I can only recall being filled with this awful feeling,” she says, shaking her head. “Something dreadful must have happened.”

I place a hand on her shoulder, knowing all too well what kind of thing must have seen, that of great potential willingly destroyed.

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