I had an intriguing dream last night. Frustrating also in that the most important bits are lost to me, drifting away like so much effluvium. If you will allow me, I will share with you the bits I do remember, the vivid parts that, at the time, seemed more than a nighttime fancy, but as real as the wakeful world around us now.
I was standing at the kitchen island. My son, Connor sat at the dining table, and my wife was across the room, sitting on the couch watching the television.
Connor was typing furiously on an old Underwood No. 5, ripping out finished pages from the carriage and adding them to a mountainous manuscript pile beside him. A raven acted as a paperweight and would fly up to allow him to place each new page with the others. Connor never acknowledged Kim or me. He was solely intent on the words he was hammering onto blank pages.
Kim was watching a show in black & white. There was a woman on screen in Victorian dress, maneuvering through a seemingly derelict mansion, heavily cobwebbed. She was searching for something, meticulously examining the mansion room by room, all the while being followed by a thin mist. Periodically there would be a scene cut and I would catch glimpses of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Anita Louise’s Titania shimmering like glitter come to life.
At the island I noticed a couple of pieces of mail addressed to me. One was a Red Wheel/Weiser book catalogue, the other was a 4×4 inch envelope with my full name in cursive but with no further markings.
I asked Kim why she didn’t tell me I had mail, but she shushed me. She explained that the show she was watching was ‘live’, could not be recorded, and would never be aired again. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I needed to be quiet.
I set the catalogue aside and opened the envelope and removed a card inside.
The card opened up like a pop-up book revealing a tiny claw foot bathtub, letters floating in steaming water. Lying across the edges of the tub was a small scroll held closed by a copper ring decorated with a green leaf. There was copious amounts of glitter on it.
I slid the ring off and placed it on the island, unfurling the scroll.
It was an acceptance letter from Neil Gaiman. He was, it seems, shepherding an anthology of occult stories and had selected my tale for inclusion. I wish I could remember the note verbatim. It was writ as a poem, essentially acknowledging my story’s worth, but with a slight change that required attention.
The next part of the poem/note was like a riddle, and there were tiny gems attached to the parchment. The solution to the riddle was that I needed to change the spell in the story from a water based element, to one of fire.
As soon as I solved the riddle, the note was consumed in a burst of flame, dissolving into ash. Those ashes floated down and into the bathwater causing the letters floating there to swirl about.
The letters formed a final message. Something quite profound, as I recall, although upon waking I could not remember them.
And there you have it, last night’s dream, for what it’s worth. I can’t recall a more magical dream I’ve had. It really seemed to be trying to tell me something. I can only trust that my subconscious got the message.