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I Dream of Home

I Dream of Home

A wayward supernatural creature finally returns home, having been away for a long time soul-searching

5

Horror


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Elias Moffat (Australia)


I'm going home.

The night air is thick with smog. When I wave goodbye into it, my hand cuts through it and leaves a vague trail. I search for the hint of a breeze until it finds me.

The wind pulls and scatters like snowflakes or the seeds of dandelions that blanket the hills just up the street from a house I once knew. When I first learned tangibility, it would make me uncomfortable – the way pieces of me would unwind, flecks of molecules floating perilously apart into a million-part jigsaw puzzle that I only had one shot at piecing back together.

Now it's nice, to be a billion pieces that alone are nothing, at the mercy of the breeze and my own will. The seas roar beneath me and maybe crests of waves will catch a part of me in my travel that will not return when I am whole again, but I have learned to take these losses in stride. I used to have such a steady hand, a wrist that could curve the tip of a pencil into most glorious shapes. Now anything I draw is flat, average.

It's a small price to pay to jump apart and be everywhere, anywhere. If I have lost a piece of myself that is important, I cannot remember how it was a part of me anymore than the trees I wend through or birds that fly through me.

I pull the trillions of flecks of existence back together and explore tangibility again and the wind pushes against my solid cheek like a caress before departing.

The concrete of the pavement is already scorching into the soles of my feet, slowly digging into the skin to draw blisters to the surface. I flick my lashes down to save my blinded eyes and step onto the relief of grass next to the sidewalk, shuffling forward until the bliss of shade wraps around me.

Tree bark scratches my soft hands. I love it. The gnarled bark is folded and wrinkled, easy to grip and find footholds. I could float up, but breaking apart to move twenty feet up hardly seems necessary, especially when I am only just regaining my faculties after my intangibility.

I doze as the light moves through the sky and attempts to pierce the shifting foliage.

At dusk the thrum vibrates in my stomach at the thought of seeing her again. Once night falls I will go home.

My favourite human isn’t expecting me. I've been away for years, and I wouldn't be surprised if she thought I was gone entirely – shifted apart and separated by the four winds to scatter across the globe for eternity. There was a time when I contemplated doing so. We discussed it. Rather, I presented my opinion on the subject and she shouted and wailed in opposition. In the end I decided I rather enjoyed our time together, so I postponed joining my ancestors.

We always scatter eventually. Most voluntarily drift away, join the wind and skies when they feel their time has come. A rare few stay, shifting between form and not until they are so ancient they simply cannot hold themselves together any longer. Their will – and in turn, they – dissipate. I suppose it's comparable to the way humans simply stop when age overtakes them.

I never used to have a favourite human. I wandered and dabbled and explored. But when I found her, there was something irresistible inside of her. It confused me; I had never been with anybody the way I was with her. I needed to examine myself, our connection. We are very different, her and I, and humans exist for such a brief time compared to us.

One morning I slipped away. As I brushed a parting hand over her brow, her sleeping features seemed to shift with displeasure, like she could feel me.

I left.

I explored with new eyes the world I'd once revelled in twisting and soaring through. I held many more conversations and held her at the back of my mind through each one.

Slowly, gradually, I learned the human concept of 'home', and it struck me that I had adopted the concept for myself.

I am going home.

The moon is a sliver tonight. I slip ungracefully down the tree and make my way there.

My fingers are quivering with excitement when I twist the door open, gliding through. That the walls have not changed and my steps are confident in bringing me to the bedroom magnifies the excitement. I know this place, it seems to welcome me. I am no stranger here.

She is near unchanged from the day I left her so long ago. I linger in the doorway for a moment to take her in, mouth slackened with sleep and her thick lashes nearly brushing her cheeks.

I move forward quietly, gently brushing her cheek. Her lashes flutter, awakening the light touch. She does not jerk awake, doesn't seem to be startled by my entrance. Perhaps she is still groggy with sleep.

I hold myself still so she can adjust to the dim light, and I can pinpoint the moment her eyes clear enough to recognise me. They widen, large pupils constricting.

“No,” she says as I mobilise.

When I reach forward, she is crawling backward across the large mattress, away from me, just as she used to all those years ago.

Her mind has not long dredged out of sleep. It is easy to pull the curtain of sleep back around it. I disperse and make my way through the wondrously familiar tunnels of her thoughts. The last thing I feel in the tangible world is the wetness clinging to her long lashes, dripping down her cheeks as her eyes close and she falls back to slumber.

Her dreams were peaceful, blue skies and happy people. I wave an arm and the skies crash down. We are alone in the expanse of her dream.

It is easy to weave the nightmare, to settle back into her mind like well-loved coat. Her dreamself looks upon me and that familiar scream is the most gorgeous welcome I have ever heard.

I am home.


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