Compendium:Dream 2072

A fragment of the Garden of Remembering

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You dream of fish, slimy and old, toadlike, lumpy, primordial. They feel clammy in your hands, as they wriggle and flop, twist, and slither and still.

There were more. You know this, as you hold the strange, still form of the fish in your hands, but now there's just the one, heavy and firm, the size of your arm. It glistens. It gleams. It's utterly still. It doesn't seem strange to you now, but it has no scales.

You drop the fish. You have no use for a scaleless fish.

Around you, the world turns. It spins. It blurs. Objects shift twist and change. The land reshapes itself, no more the vague and undefined, now stark and lumpy. Glistening. Muddy. Hills and sheered off bluffs rise from a stagnant plain, all dirt and mud and nothing to it, only wet and more wet gleaming dully under an empty sky.

There are no fish, no signs of fish, where fish should be. There are no fish to eat, and no one things for fish to eat.

Only mud, and more mud. Low rising mounds forming a joke of a landscape, all same, same, same, no different.

What are you doing here?

You look down. Maybe you could ask the fish.

You are standing in fish, a sea of writhing fish, all fish, no water, lumpy, glistening, scaleless fish. The cover your ankles, bury your calves, press against your knees, all muscley insistence. You kick back at them, push them away, but more take their places, all fish and no room for no fish.

The levels are rising. More fish and more fish pouring into this sea of fish, drowning out the jokes of hills and bluffs and low flat mud, all dirt, no erosion patterns, now just fish.

For that matter, what are the fish doing here? They don't seem to be enjoying this any more than you are. Possibly less, and you're not enjoying it at all.

The fish are up to your thighs, now. Up to your hips.

"Oi, fish," you ask them, "what are you doing here? Why are you all pouring into a sea of your own?"

The fish don't answer. They seem to be considering.

"I only ask," you go on, "because I'm really not sure what I'm doing here either."

The fish seem surprised by this. Taken aback. This is an angle they simply hadn't considered.

Little wonder, really. There are hardly any angles left in this landscape of hardly any land and almost only fish.

But they still don't really have an answer. They are, after all, only fish. And strange ones at that.

You ponder it a moment. You look up. You ask the fish, "Have you considered going up there? Have you considered flying?"

The fish, too, look up. They do more than look. They swim. They drift.

They fly.

The sea moves slowly, driftingly, dispersing upwards in flicks of fins and flaps of tails. The fish blot out the sky as they fill the air, the space, as finally they have the space to move. Upward and outward and upward they continue, forming patches and clouds, groups, schools, swimming by, around, past each other. Past you. Over you.

At last you are alone. The mud is clear, the fish moved on, overhead, out of sight as you look back down, and out of your mind.

Only one fish remains at your feet. The dead fish.

You pick it up. It hangs, a strange still weight, in your hands. It's just the size of your arm.

You make out the shapes of scales amidst the dully gleaming lumps of its toadlike skin.