The ride to the cathedral was uneventful. I had dozed off and awoke only when the gentle rhythms of the freeway was replaced by the jerks of the unmaintained road. My friend’s face was very grim. His jaw set as tight as his fists on the leather wrapped steering wheel. It was bothering him that I was coming along. I remember he had spoken his concern before we set off.
“Can’t you just give me the items and I’ll use them? I don’t want to sacrifice you to save my brother.”
I shifted in the seat at the memory, sitting fully upright and unwrapping the scarf from around my neck. No, he couldn’t use the items. In his hands, they would be completely inert. If the cultists were to take them from him, both he and his brother would be in danger.
I could tell he wanted to drive faster, but the large potholes forced him to slow down and weave around the ruts. I looked out the window at the sullen winter sky. Completely overcast, but with no hint of rain. The trees slept in the depths of winter, not even a shadow of buds on the skeletal branches. The fields we were passing were equally morose. All of nature around us was shivering from the winter cold, trying to hope for spring, trying not to give up, trying not to let the oppressive sky give the illusion that winter was forever.
“He’s going to hate you at first, you know.” My words sting him and he tightens his grip on the wheel. “I can break the physical hold they have on him, but it will take work and time to wash away any mental bonds.” Gripping too stiffly, he is unable to maneuver around a rut and the car bottoms out on the crumbling road.
In the distance, I can see the spires over the leafless trees.
“Yes. I know.” Such a large man. Such a soft voice. “But you know who else is waiting for him at home. They all wanted to come, but I’m glad we were able to leave them behind.” He glances over at me. “I’m not too dense, perhaps you could…”
“It’s not a matter of mental fortitude, my friend. I can’t explain it in words. I made them, only I can use them.” I try not to let my voice betray my own concern about helping in the rescue. I reach up under my sweater, reach into my bra. The soft flat of triangle is warm from my body heat. The small stone knife feels strangely cold despite the fleshy sheath around it. I feel them with my mind, wondering if I could teach him. The two items resonate strongly with my will. No, I can’t teach him. It would be like trying to teach him how to menstruate. Either you can, or you can’t.
“Think you’ll recognize anyone here? It’s been several years after all.” He’s trying to be flippant, but the fear creeps at the edges of his voice. I remember meeting him after I, myself, was rescued from this cult by the few friends I had remaining. They had hired him to be my physical keeper and bodyguard until the mental and magical delusions I was under could be shattered. A club bouncer by trade, he thought keeping little petite me under physical control would be easy. It took several hours, but he finally physically exhausted me. Barely.
“You’re worried I’ll regress.” No answer from him. “Perhaps some mental conditioning, some Pavlovian response that you guys didn’t account for will snap me back into the cult.” Anxious gripping of the steering wheel. “Maybe this is all a setup from the beginning. Maybe I was supposed to be ‘rescued’ by you, so that I could trick you into walking into the cathedral defenseless and unarmed.” He slams the brakes and the car rotates as it skids to a stop. He glares at me, incensed and furious.
“Well? Sit there and lie to me. Tell me you didn’t consider it.” He grinds his jaw. “The cult is picky about who they allow into their inner circle. They don’t want the rich and stupid. They want puppets in key places. You would be quite a catch you know.” I size him up with detached emotion. “Don’t sit there and say you’re just some hired thug for a strip club. I know what goes on in that place, and that you are a Gatekeeper. You whisper in the ears of the truly important. Having a Gatekeeper, filled to the eye sockets with their power, would be a prize catch, a premium placement indeed.” I speak with my best Evil Villainess voice. “And to think, all it took was a sweet ass pussy and a dumb ass little brother.” I let the last words drawl out, let them hang in the air as his anger peaks.
I make the mistake of looking out the window for visual effect. I don’t see the strike coming until it was about to land. The slap deafens my left ear and leaves the left side of my face completely numb. I’m disoriented enough for him to grab my neck without complaint. He pulls me across the gear shift with his left hand. With his right hand, he grabs the pressure points on the back of my neck. I yelp in surprise and pain.
It is a few moments before he speaks. I soak in his anger, and make no attempt to hide that I am doing so. Finally, he pulls me even closer and whispers in my ear. “If I thought, for the briefest of time, that you were involved in any plot involving my brother, I would have slit your throat as soon as the thought had passed.” His hands tighten on my carotid arteries, I start to feel a pounding in my head. “You are here with me, for one reason, and one reason alone. I trust you.” He releases me without warning. I fall forward into his lap. Before I can sit up, he lays his thick arms on my back and keeps me prone.
His chuckling rises up his chest like a geyser. After it passes, my friend is in good spirits. “Why didn’t you tell me, that you needed an emotional rush from me? Fucking Empaths! Always starting shit!” He pulls me off his lap and idly tosses me back into my seat. The chuckling turns to soft sobs. Tear framed eyes turn to me. “Yea, I had considered it. Others had considered it as well. I do trust you, for some strange reason. And those I have confided in also vouch for you. So, no, that sweet ass pussy that you continually deny me access to didn’t sway me in one direction nor the other.” He smiles as he speaks. “However, yes, my little brother is a dumb ass and after this is over, I hope you’ll join me in kicking his ass.”
He takes a deep breath as he starts the car again. “I didn’t realize how wound up I was. If I went in like that, things would not have gone well. My head is a lot clearer now, thank you.” He begins to proceed down the last twists and turns in the road. I straighten my clothes, check my items, rebuckle myself in the seat. I don’t reveal I am worried about being exposed to the cultists again. They had used more than physical conditioning to brainwash me. Would I be susceptible to them again?
The left side of my face is regaining sensation, too bad it’s all painful and prickly from the slap. My left ear is ringing, or is that from the church bells pealing in front of us?
We have been spotted, and the compound is being warned. At the sound, my friend and I just nod towards each other. We settle into the roles we had practiced for each other. I was the former cultist still thinking fondly of the cult, bringing the new member’s brother around to show him how well the new member is treated. Neither one of us liked the idea. But, here we were.
We pull up to the very doors of the cathedral and stop. The building is still magnificent despite the decay of time. I look over the building and feel a warm twinge of memory, and a sharp pain of emotional betrayal. I look down, and shudder. When I look up again, my friend is standing before me. “You don’t have to do this.” Such a large man, such a soft voice.
“If I don’t, how will you get your brother out? I’ll be okay.” A horrid thought screams in my head, and is quickly silenced. “Listen, if things go south, leave me.” He starts to protest. “You remember what it took to free me, you don’t want to be around if I lose it. Once you have your brother physically in your hands, get out. I’ll be right behind you, unless I’m not. Don’t wait for me.” I see the conflict in his face. I kiss away his confusion, and relish in the taste of his lips and the empathic taste of his conflicting desires. As I start for the door, I hear him mutter, “Fucking empaths!” under his breath.
The door opens before I reach it. A cult member steps out. Her head is shaved clean, as are all magic wielders in the cult. “Sister, we thought we had lost you. You have returned to us.” Her voice is devoid of inflection. Monotone. A giveaway her mind is not her own. She is being used as a puppet by the masters.
I swallow my own inflection, and assume an air of penitence. “I have been away too long. I can not stay. The Apostate keep watch over me.” The cult views all outsiders as apostate. To them, all men were born with true knowledge, but as they grow and mature, are led away by the apostate of the world. The phrase I uttered meant that if I were to disappear back into the cult, the compound would be raided with the excuse I was being kidnapped. A valid excuse.
“Then why come back at all, Sister?”
“My friend,” I gesture towards him. “His brother has found enlightenment with the Masters and he does not understand. I hope to show him how well his brother is. I may not number among the Faithful anymore, but I have not forgotten the love shown to me.” I nod slightly, a sign of submission.
Her eyes are vacant, her face is slack. There is a long moment of silence. No one moves. My friend is able to hide his anxiousness under a veneer of curiosity. Sensing no hostility, the woman moves to open the door completely.
“Your friend’s brother is being fetched. He will be able to meet with him in the Outer Court. Your presence is requested in the Inner Court, Sister.” I knew then, I was lost. If I entered the cathedral, I would never be allowed to leave. The realization put me at ease. I lost all fear. I wondered briefly, if the cult was pressuring me. A quick self-examination revealed I was free of influence.
I turn to my friend, and smile warmly. “Let’s go visit your brother.” The woman holds the door open, as I and my friend enter the cathedral.
Once upon a time, this was not only the religious seat of the country, but the royal seat as well. As we were led to the grand hall, I recognized various luminaries represented in the cold reliefs that lined the walls. We arrived quickly at the grand hall of the Outer Court. My friend and I looked at each other with unspoken communication. The way out was uncluttered and free. If necessary, we could make a run for it.
In an earlier time, the Outer Court was the Royal Court. I look towards the dais where the Queen would have taken her throne. Instead of a throne, the dais how hosts several shrines dedicated to the Masters, human and other, of the cult. Looking at them, I felt strangely at peace. Having already committed myself to dying, I had begun to plan how to cause the greatest disruption to the cult while I had the chance.
“Brother!” My friend races past me and embraces a weakened small man that has just entered the hall. The smaller man looks up at my friend in confusion. I watch with no reaction as I notice two more shaven brethren are standing quietly behind me.
“It is good a family member has come.” The hairless man behind me speaks with the same monotone as the woman that allowed us entry. I turn to face the new speaker.
“My friend will not be staying.” I say firmly.
The speaker turns his attention to me. “But, will you, Sister?”
I shake my head. “No, I will not be staying. Nor shall I enter the Inner Court. I am here to place my friend’s fears at ease.”
I feel several eyes staring at me in cold apprehension. After what felt like an eternity of silence, he speaks again. “The young man’s faith is wavering. We do not feel he would be happy here.” A cold seed of fear turns in my stomach. The boy was bait. Now that their target is in reach, the bait is being set free. But who was their target? My friend, the Gatekeeper? Or me?
“You have brought with you tools to test his faith, Sister.” Eep. “Use them, please. Do not allow him to suffer in Confusion. He must be tested by the Faithful and by the Apostate.”
“I am Apostate.” I do not attempt to hide my individuality anymore. Behind me, my friend tightens his grip on his brother.
Again, the sensation of many eyes, much more than were present in the hall, staring at me, staring into me. Prying to purchase, scrying for any hint of weakness.
“Yes. Sister. You are Apostate. But you recovered from your error once before, you can recover from it again. But for right now, you must remain Apostate, that the young man may be tested properly.” This is a new thing. I do not remember such a ‘test’ when I was subservient to the cult.
I stare at him, this hollow shell of a man, this puppet. I stare into his eyes, and knowing his mental state, into the eyes of the cult Masters. They know what I came here for, and they are allowing me to carry out my intention.
“Hold him securely.”, I tell my friend as I turn towards him. Reaching up into my sweater, I pull out the two items I have carried in my bra. A small triangle of compressed charcoal, it is as thick as three dimes and as large as a quarter. It was warm from my body heat. To this, no one reacted.
Retrieving the flint athame made many of the cult members in the room take a few steps backwards. The cult viewed flint as an unholy material. For some reason, it disrupts the magic used by the cult. Even though the flint was held securely between my breasts, the stone felt as cold as ice in my hand.
I step to the now struggling man my friend is holding with an iron grip. I whispered to my friend, “My scenario was wrong. Your brother is bait, but I think I’m the target. As soon as he is free, take him away. Do not look back. I’m as good as dead already. Abandon me.” My friend starts to argue, but my stare silences him. He nods in understanding.
I remember my time in the cult very well. There is a set of affirmations each cult member recites upon waking. I stare the struggling man in his eyes, and delight to see he has not been “embraced”. “I was conceived by holy command, and born in…”, I let the phrase trail off.
The man stops struggling and his face becomes vacant. My friend is able to hold him upright with ease. “Innocence. Born in innocence with an uncorrupted mind.”
I place the triangle of charcoal in his hand, fold his other hand over it, and hold his clasped hands in my left hand.
“The Apostate of this world have rejected…” As I begin the second Affirmation, he looks in my face with confusion. I hold his stare so he doesn’t see me raise the flint athame with my right hand, holding it over his head.
“The Truth.”, he blurts out. “The Apostate have rejected the Truth they were born with, and have turned aside to falsehoods.” To mundane eyes, I held an inert object over his head. To my eyes, and I’m sure, to the eyes of the Masters, the flint athame glowed with ethereal light.
“The Truth can be recovered, if when all distractions are cut away…” The light fell over his head and shoulders like a soft rain, soaking into him, purging the magic bindings of the cult. I saw their bindings as twisting entrails of shadows. Once released from him, they were quickly drawn into the charcoal he was holding. The flint cut away the shadows, the charcoal absorbed it.
“When all distractions are cut away, the Truth will shine in holy glory, and the Apostate can be made holy again.” He completes the third Affirmation and looks deeply in my eyes. I see the clarity of a freed man. Before I can speak, the Masters call on him.
“Brother. All your distractions have been cut away. Now is the time to choose.” Shit. They had a counter plan. I use the athame to envelop us in a cult-free zone. He looks at them, I watch his face cloud over. He looks back at me, the clouds lift but he is still confused. He looks above him, and the tight face of my friend.
“Brother!” He sounds suddenly weak and tired. “Get me out of here. To hell with their cult, they want to destroy my mind! Please. I don’t want to stay.” He tries to turn around, but he stumbles. His legs buckle and my friend catch him and picks him up like a small child.
I pour more power into the athame, and place it in the carried man’s hand. “Do not let go of this. It can not be taken from you by a cultist. Do not let go of this, until one who CAN takes it from you.” He nods at me.
My friend turned to leave, only to find the exit to the passageway blocked by other cult members. I turn to face the puppets the Masters have chosen to speak to us, and addressed them.
“He made his choice. He has chosen to remain Apostate. Why do you bar his way?”
“He has made his choice. We do not bar him. Sister. You have yet to make your choice. The test, continues.” The monotone voice now carries an undercurrent, a discordant echo. The bastards, they are trying to mesmerize me.
“I made my choice.”
“You were stolen from us. You were not given the same moment of clarity you have extended to him.” The puppet now stands a few inches from me. I did not notice he had moved. I did not hear my friend calling me. I realize now, how much danger I am in.
I’m suddenly so tired. So sleepy. I want all this kerfuffle to go away. I want to lay down and sleep. They would have a place for me to sleep, wouldn’t they?
“How tight is your pussy, after all?” The inappropriate question snaps me from the cloying spell. I back away from the puppet and into my friend. Looking up at him, he manages a weak smile. “I figured that would get your attention. Don’t leave me again, or I’ll get really dirty.”
“Such vulgarity from the weak and common. Sister. Leave them. You belong here. What does the world do with your talents? Seek to exploit you. But here, here you can open so many to the Truth. Do not fear for them, we will not stop them from leaving.” The men barring the door stand to the side and hold the chamber door open. My friend and I see down the chamber to the main doors. The main doors are also being held open. The car is visible, just beyond it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see an Audi.
I grab my friend’s sweater, unknowingly placing myself under the protection of the flint athame. My mind suddenly clears, and I realize how I walked into their trap. Every single cult member around us is a puppet of the Masters. Each one used to add another layer of mental sedation. If not for the flint athame, my friend and I would be lost.
“Walk forward, my friend. I do not know if they will hold to their promise of safety for you and your brother. I feel… a hunger… from them. If I fall…”
“You won’t.” He is walking slowly and steadily. His brother clutches the athame tightly with both hands. “You’re staying with me, dammit.”
The further we went along the passageway, the faster we moved. Halfway through, we are almost running. Behind us, more puppets have moved into the hallway. I can feel them calling me, pleading for me. But the memories I have of being here are clear of their lies. I am almost to the point of terror.
No longer gripping his sweater, my hand is barely brushing against his back. I don’t want to risk a tight grip and pulling him off balance, making him fall. My hand loses contact for a moment too long and I lose my own balance. Sudden vertigo seizes me, causing me to retch in mid stride. My knees buckle and I fall.
I hear my friend yelling, but he doesn’t stop. He knows I have fallen, but he continues forward. I hear him berating me for making him abide by his promise. As he clears the main doors, I hear the heavy doors slam behind him. A few more odd noises follow. The doors are locked and barred.
The puppets surround me, but none touch me. I finish retching on the floor of the old cathedral and try to struggle to my feet. I feel drugged, yet I know it is not of any physical cause. It is what the cult offers empaths and telepaths. Narcotic bliss.
If I surrender to the Masters, I will lose my mind, completely. What little remains of my free will and thought will be suffocated in feelings of bliss and false contentment. There is no physical drug that can induce the high the cult offers to empaths. I was caught in it for years, before I was rescued. Cut away from the overmind of the cult, I attempted suicide many times. I did not think I could ever live without the mindless magical soma.
More cult members come into the hall. Each one radiates an aura of waking sleep. The cumulative effects begin to overwhelm me. I struggle to move. I struggle to remain awake. I struggle to remain free.
I hear pounding on the door. I am only about 15 feet away, but it sounds like I’m several hundred yards. So distant. But now I know where the door is. I force my mind to become blind. To see only using my eyes. To ignore the precense of the Masters and the overmind. An arm reaches towards the door, followed by the other arm. I pull myself an inch. Then another inch.
They have refrained from actually touching me. Good. I may just make it through this after all. I feel buoyant and light. Hope rekindles in my heart. I will live. I will. I will!
“Your Sister feels now the contentment she once felt before. But she is still deluded. Let us leave her, that she may contemplate the reality of the Apostate.” Without further words, all the cult members withdraw from me. They turn and leave the hallways, retreating past the limits of my Sight.
As they leave, my hope leaves with them. I realize what I thought was hope was really the morphine-like effect of the overmind’s numbing bliss. I had just been exposed to a heavy mind altering field. Just as I got used to it, the field was removed.
Screaming. I don’t remember when I started, only that I was. Withdrawals. Oh God, not again. I lost control of my body and started thrashing wildly on the granite floor. After the fit passed, I started clawing at myself viciously. I had to make myself feel pain. True pain. Not the phantom pain left in their wake. Real, bleeding, gonna-leave-a-mark pain. I had to find reality again.
The taste of blood in my mouth gave me a mental ledge to rest on. The gash in my tongue was a brutal one. It would take months for it to heal. Good. I could make it bleed merely by rubbing it against a tooth. They couldn’t mask blood. The Masters hated blood. All women would be given drugs to stop menstruation, that is how much blood revolted the Masters. Every steak I ate, I had medium rare just to defy the Masters a little more every day.
I looked ahead of me. The main door was there. I had no idea if my friend was still on the other side of it, but I was determined I wasn’t going to die inside the cathedral. Another inch. Another inch. Another…
Sandaled feet before me. I hear movement. The cult members are coming back into the hall. The soma effect creeps over me again. I curl into the fetal position on the floor and start shivering uncontrollably. I lost count at 14 cultists. I sucked furiously on my tongue.
“Master, blood. She has defiled herself.”
“Our Sister is delusional with the lies of the Apostate. She will continue to harm herself to empower the lies. We must protect her, from herself.” I feel one of the Masters’ puppets walk to my head. I look up, and see a man’s hand reach down. He stops inches from my face, but he is already close enough to affect me. The seizure is vicious. My eyes turn upward in sharp movement. My face twists into a deathgrin as my hands and feet rotate and push the joints to near dislocation. My tongue fills my mouth and curls outward even as my diaphragm locks in place. I am unable to breathe, and soon pass out from the lack of air.
Water. I smell water. I feel rough wetness on my face. I try to grab at the cloth, but my arms are restrained. I try to turn my face away, but my head is also restrained. A quick check tells me, I’m tied to a flat surface, but not necessarily horizontal.
The rough wetness on my face again. I open my eyes and see a cultist wiping my face as gently as she could with the rough rag. My mouth is a delicate flower of pain. I try to ask her a question, but only coarse vowels come from my mouth. She looks at me, very sad. I try to ask her why, and realize a new horror has been visited upon me.
I have no tongue.
A moment of panic overwhelms me and I thrash violently against my restraints. She drops the bowl and rag and dashes from the room. I continue thrashing in panic and anger, not noticing when a Master and several other cultists come into the room. It is only when he holds his hand, his puppet’s hand, actually, before my face that I calm down. The implied threat is clear. Continue to act out, and I will be made to seize again.
I try to speak again, but the bloom of pain shows thorns and all I can do is pant harshly. I try to relish in the pain, but the Master envelops me in an aura of soma, and all pain and discomfort fades. This angers me and I yell harsh guttural sounds at him.
“Sister.” That damn monotone. “You are a telepath. You need not your tongue. Speak to me.”
I do. Viciously. He listens to the barrage of insults and waits for my anger to spend itself.
You cut out my tongue! My first cognitive communication.
“You were harming yourself, forcing yourself to bleed. You did not need your tongue, so, the source of harm was removed.”
I chose Apostasy. Why do you keep me here? I tried to glare with the heat of a thousand suns. The soma aura relaxed my body so I could only look with disdain.
“You did. We accept that choice. But we can not allow you to continue to lead assaults against us, against the Truth.”
I tried to think of another question to ask, but I felt so relaxed, so comforted by the Master’s presence. He lept into the silence I was wallowing in. “You were shown the Truth. And you walked away. Even after we were willing to embrace you despite your apostasy, you showed your dedication to Destruction by the defilement by blood. Know this, Sister. You will never be allowed to leave here again. We shall come to you, pray for you, but you will be left to suffer the fate of all Apostate. The Truth will devour you from within.”
I knew what the words meant, but I did not comprehend the total meaning behind him. I struggled to keep my will and thought away from the numbing aura. My body no longer felt pain. My mouth felt no pain. The restraints caused no pain. I felt drugged as if by morphine and opium. No physical discomfort. It felt… good. Very, very good. It felt like the afterglow of an intense orgasm.
The Master had been distracting me with his words. When he saw I realized how numbing his aura was on me, he stood and left the room, taking the aura with him. It was then, I understood how I was to be tortured. The pain came trickling back. First in my mouth, where my phantom tongue twisted in all sorts of painful knots. Then the overly tight restraints. After the pain, came the withdrawals again. As the shivering started, I understood why I was so thoroughly restrained. The shivering gave way to trembling. The trembling gave way to an uncontrolled fit. I shook the table and rattled the room with my screams and jerks.
Once the withdrawals faded away, hunger crept in its place. To my embarrassment, I lost control of my bladder and made a mess of myself, the table, and the floor beneath. My room must have been monitored, as a cultist immediately came in and cleaned up the floor and table. Exchanging restraints, my legs were parted and I was cleaned with medical detachment, then placed back in position I awoke in.
I started to fall asleep from the exhaustion, when I felt the Master return. This time, he had a contingent of embraced cultists with him. They surrounded me, and enveloped me in an unusually thick blanket of numbing aura. Again, my mind and will was untouched. As they “prayed”, my hunger turned into satiation, my cold turned into warmth, my discomfort turned into pleasantness, my irritation turned into orgasmic bliss. I cursed them and tried to disrupt their auras, but it was too much. I could not alter the effect they had on my body.
“Sister.” The Master addressed me. “We give you one last chance. Embrace us, as we have embraced you. Never more will you feel the pain of the Apostate. You will be freed in the Truth.” He meant, surrender my mind and will to them, and I will be drugged up for the rest of my body’s existence. I’ll become another puppet for the Masters to use. Just too drugged up to care.
I chose already. Abide by my choice. Release me and allow me to rejoin the Apostate. My eyes are too relaxed to focus. I can’t stare at him for effect. He feels the heat of my will, and chuckles.
“Death will release you.” The Master resumes the prayers and the aura intensifies. The sensations are no longer pleasurable. Like a forced orgasm, I am physically overwhelmed and the bliss is harsh and disrupting. I scream in agony and ecstasy and start seizing on the table.
Suddenly, the Master ceases and leaves me. His contingent following behind him. The sudden withdraw of sensory activation leaves me in horrible pain. I am overwhelmed by a different set of sensory inputs.
The Masters continue to do the cycles of excess, over and over. They come into the room, and overstimulate my physical senses. Then leave, allowing hunger, thirst, and the pain of disjointed limbs to eat at my will. The agony of ecstasy. The ecstasy of agony. Somewhere, I forget who I am, what I was. There is only the delight of pain. The pain of delight.
Finally, the cycle changes. During a vicious seizure, so severe I snap a bone in my arm by twisting against the restraints, my heart stops. The rest of my flesh follow my heart’s lead quickly, and I die on the table.
My lips tingle darkly. Blood in my mouth but I can’t breathe through my mouth. My tongue is in the way, filling it up and curling outward. My arms are stretched behind me and my legs are contorted beneath me. My face is pulled into a horrid shape and I can’t open my eyes. My breathing is erratic and comes in jerks and sharp sucks.
Finally, the fit breaks and I collapse against my bed. I lay there, twitching for a while, feeling the hole in my tongue where I bit it. Delighting in the taste of fresh blood. After a few minutes, I feel strong enough to turn on the light.
Yup, it’s my room. Same as it always was. Just another dream, Keri. Just another dream.
I stretched contorted limbs, and went back to sleep. An uneventful dream later, I finally got up for the day. But this dream wouldn’t leave me. I had to write it down. So, here it is.
Make of it, what you may.