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21 July 2010 @ 11:59 am
Dreams - Silt City  
So, I decided to keep better track of my dreams.
I want to learn to remember them,
And I have been told the trick is to write them down,
To keep them alive as long as possible.

I had a dream last night and it lingered a bit,
Enough for me to go over it over and again in the shower,
And keep the images in place even when I made it to work.
I had to write it down, and so I did.

I fleshed it out a bit to fill in the gaps, but not too much.
All dialog was emergent, but not the characters.
Some details and a bit of the plot were emergent too,
But the majority were present in the dream.

The dream, which reads as the first chapter of a story:

Silt City

I left the meeting perturbed, but unphased. Nothing was going as planned, but we would make it work, as we always have. As I closed the door behind me, I looked out into the deserted library, absent of people and paper alike. Dust and silt clogged the surprisingly clean shelves, as if the meticulous winds had used them to scrape each surface raw. I shrugged. The minds and hearts of my compatriots were in the right place, but even as they tried to help, they stumbled over one another. The process would be slow, but we would win. If only... if only it didn't feel like every step forward was followed by an argument, a murder, and a nap.

I walked as I thought through ghostly rows of absent knowledge still laden with the memory of secrets stolen long ago. What happened to the books, I wondered. Were they used as tinder? Toilet-paper? Food? I doubted they were read, not in this age of subsistence. Yet, the world was not entirely devoid of literature - a flier lay upon the ground near the exit advertising the princess's event. I smiled bitterly as I recalled what the others said about her in the meeting. Like them, her heart is in the right place. If only... No, that line of thought is pointless. Council and Castle would never work together, blinded as they were by the dust of their shared history.

I left through the double doors, shielding my face against the violent burst of scathing wind that welcomed me home. Like a jealous lover, resentful that I would leave her even for that brief respite to dally indoors, the gusts of the City reminded me where I belonged. I checked my mask, making sure it was secure, and stumbled through the dust storm toward where I left my car. The walk was not a short one, but it gave me time to think, to mull over the possibilities in my head. My surroundings disinterested me, but I remained alert for danger. No one should know what was coming, but if anyone caught wind, well, my walks would suddenly become far more interesting affairs.

My head snapped up at the scent of dog, uncommon these days outside of the food markets. I scanned the street - my street, where I had parked against the wire fence amidst of a herd of other wrecks, both the restored and the abandoned. I knew that scent; I knew that dog. A long time ago, in another place, in another life, we had played as the world died outside. The dog - her dog - waited by my car, watching with his nose for those who would bring her harm. He grinned at me and did not bark. The dog had no name; she wasn't big on names. They confine a person by defining them, she'd say.

The trunk of my hatchback was open to the sky and I was thankful that I had parked in a dead zone where the buildings broke the wind. Our relationship was far from healthy, the sky and I, but I am used to unhealthy relationships. I approached without a word, and stopped beside the dog but paces from her back.

She was there, she was right there, sitting upon the tail of my car, moving my stash every which way with her calloused, burned hands.

"There's gotta be something here I can use," she said to no one in particular. She picked up the large scissors I had used to make my clothing and stuck out her tongue. "They may be sheep, but I don't think shearing 'em'll help anything, yeah?" She put them down beside my stack of magazines and shook her head. "Sheep." She looked right at me. "Baa." She went back to rummaging, though the memory of her flaming yellow eyes staring into mine stayed with me for days. "We can do this, we can fix all'a it, if people'll just listen fer once instead'a talking whatever they gotta say."

I pet the dog, but said nothing. There was nothing to say.

"We just need food," she continued while dragging my toolkit out of her way. "Lots'a food, enough ta feed City, or at least make 'em think we can." She finally found the rations I had hid behind everything - the backup supply, not my good stuff, not the vegetables. I had hidden those better somewhere safer. She took what she could, stuffing it all in her pack, and leaped to her feet. She slung the pack over her shoulder and, with her free hand, brushed her khakis clean of the dirt she had stirred up when sifting through my supplies. Standing on her toes to get a better hold on the door, she slammed the trunk shut. "We'll do this, Dog, don't care none what others think 'n say, 'cause we gotta. Ain't no other reason needed, yeah?"

She locked the trunk with her key and left the line of cars, giving a whistle as she passed. Her dog bounded to her side and followed, happy to be moving again.

Except for that once, that brief moment, in all that time, she never looked my way. But me, I never stopped staring, transfixed by her unexpected visit, if visit it was.

I followed her with my eyes all the way to the river of silt across the way. Her boat waited there, a royal guard standing tall at the controls. He glowered at her as she boarded and said something I could not make out. It appeared he had reprimanded her by his posture and her laugh. The still air, always her most faithful of servants, carried her distant words to me. "'course it was safe, ya silly old fool. Any danger an' Dog'd tell me - he's good like that. I ain't a blasted idiot. And you, you tell him that!" She was angry now. I smiled. "My father's sure as sand I'm gonna wilt 'neath the sun if I visit City myself. I am the Princess of Dust, morons, I know how ta handle myself! You tell that king I said I don't need no bodyguards an' I don't need no help. You tell him so he listens. I just need my boat an' my dog, nothin' more'n that."

The bodyguard's face beneath his mask was a livid shade of anger. He did not like being spoken to this way, not by anyone, much less by a nineteen year old girl who stood no taller than his chest and yet stared down at him all the same. His sais were in his hands, but it seemed like he didn't even realize he had drawn them. "Are you gonna steer 'r what?" she asked as she put down her pack. "Can't sit here all day, ya know." He put his weapons away then, glaring at her one final time, and took up the wheel. She sat in the shade and the dog flopped beside her.

I stepped into my car as they pulled away. I chuckled to myself, shaking my head at the absurdity of it all. If only she and the Council could work together, but it would never happen. I put my car in gear, turning on the filtration and cooling systems that kept the plasteel safe from dust and heat. I drove off into the tundra, thinking of the princess, and hoping to see her dog again before the next phase began. If only... But no, thoughts like that were suicide. The plan must continue, for better or (more like) for worse. The princess didn't raise me to turn my back on my dreams or duties, and I wasn't about to start now.

It was only after I pulled into the cave where I slept that I realized she named her dog after I left. In her way, she had named him Dog. Or, I thought with a sinking feeling, was that the name she decided to give to me?