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Shadow Caster

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As if awakening from a deep and dreamless sleep, my eyelids split at the sound of rain.

The field is dark, yet pulsing and alive. I feel on my skin the pinpricks of a mild static showering from the vapor blanket stretched across the sky, but I see no evidence of it before me. No droplets flying sideways by moonlight, no congregation of dribbles making their crowded commute from leaf to root, nothing is wet, yet it’s utterly natural. I must be alive, but the thought alone would cease my being. The broadcast must not be interrupted by the incessant nagging of a conscious mind constantly questioning the nature of reality.

My mind moves on, and my feet do the same. Like sitting on an innertube being pulled by a lazy current, I float across the grass without feeling a single blade. Odd, I also don’t feel the cushion of rubber soles, but then again, I couldn’t say I feel the normal leg-flailing of a man on the move either. After this too slips into the backseat of my forethought, I clear the air of clouded ideas and allow myself to be pulled through this new landscape as if being magnetized by the atoms of purpose.

The muffled fuzz of a faraway storm still fills my ears. I can hear it like a lost stream of revival hiding somewhere amidst the stick-thicket of a crowded forest. Its source must be uncovered. I scan the circle of trees closing in on me and rise above them seamlessly before being overwhelmed by pine needles. Airborne and docile, I look down upon the field of my birth to see it swallowed whole. No proof of my origin and no souvenir of nostalgia to pocket on my way out. I float on. No landing now.

Higher.

Over the grey haze shrouding the field of play. Light sprinkles the horizon as if God spilled her glitter. Stars of every cosmic distance and variety blend into the candlelit flickers of sleepy-eyed windows stretching into the distance. I see no difference between them as my presence hovers over the houses of dead dreamers and astral allies. I can’t help but wonder where everyone else is, but the thought burns up at the sight of flames.

A pillar of orange, blazing and inspired, encases a single spot nearby. It rises like a palm tree whose roots reach so low they tickle the whiskers of Hades while the archangels sip on coconut cocktails and awaiting further instructions.

My holy desire fires itself towards the burning glory. Like the enraptured eyes of a fly in the light, I must reach providence.

Faster.

The static sound of the ground and skybound surroundings blur into the past like a forgotten legacy as I speed onward, closer to salvation in the form of a fire trial.

I can feel the heat as my hair stands on end and begs for mercy. My face so close to the glowing waterfall of flames I can almost see my future, meaningless and divine. If I was aware of my breath in this place I probably would have sighed in relief. Alas, I stepped forward without the signifier.

Ready and willing to be dismantled by the molecule, I instead find myself in the dead silence of an empty bedroom. The surrounding walls undulating like the ocean and holding back the deep burning glow of the volcanic cyclone on the other side.

A quiet square. A single bed.

One pillow. One silhouette.

Absolute fear and the power of pure acceptance split my mind in two as I slowly approach the sleeping shadow-caster.

I know what I’m looking at, but I can’t quite remember. The oblivious face of a drooling fool snores into my eye and I feel myself die a little inside.

Then I die a little outside as well.

As if awakening from a deep and dreamless sleep, my eyelids unzip like a barn door with rusted teeth — slow, and with great difficulty.

It feels like something’s missing, but I can’t quite remember. Any other thought of it is immediately torched at the sight of the sun weaseling its way through the cracks in the curtains and into my unsuspecting eyes.

I stretch and yawn.

I thank the blanket for being such a good buddy and part ways with a memorable squeeze.

I put sock to foot and feet to floor.

I stare at the void in between atoms and play with a pen.

I try to think about where we go when we sleep.
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