Sunday, December 11, 2011

Notes From A Dream - Foxflesh

Notes From A Dream

He woke with a start, scribbled a few notes from his dream. He had been sitting on a hillside, the climb to which had been through steep woodland, at the bottom of which he had left his children in the park, playing on the witch's hat, in the care of someone he could recall neither in the dream nor now. He watched the gliders taking off and landing on a raised airstrip across the valley. Each soared into the sky like an angel in splints, crested the thermals, as it dropped the winch line and circled above the model town in the valley.

His note. did not attempt to cover the precise nature of the town below him nor the whys and wherefores of the before/after of the precise moment in dream time. But, in writing the notes at all (which he often did after dreams he at least recalled having, if not their actual content), new visions came, ideas for future dreams and undercurrents of old ones that would otherwise have never seen the light of the day.

The sky soon filled with the gliders, the sunlight sparkling off their wings like stars on a clear night. He was horrified to see that two had collided and cartwheeled down.

That's when he woke, or so the notes said, when he read them that night before retiring. He was worried about the children he had apparently left unattended in the park. His own children were too old to be concerned about them in such a way. But he had a sneaking feeling that those in his dream were much younger.

He looked across at his wife who was knitting in front of the gas fire. He was horrified. It was not his wife at all. He looked down at his notes for clarification - for comfort - for some clue as to whether he was now embroiled in a new dream without the prior warning of going to bed and falling asleep.

The woman seemed to be knitting her own brain as it coiled from her revolving ear as if from a spindle. The white glistening wormthread was still clotted with her headblood. The finished product flowed over her lap and became the white grid of the gas fire which glowed ever upward nearer to its source. She smiled and said: "Time for bed, George."

His name, was it George? He could not even remember. The notes he had just been writing were now just marks on the paper in a language too unwieldy for translation.

A paper aeroplane flew past his nose, obviously constructed and launched by the creature with the brain knitting who was now staring imbecilically with a smile on quivering lips.

It flew into the next dream, where he was still sitting on the familiar hillside. He picked it up and read its message: "Your children have broken backs - unless you hurry down." Some gliders still hung in the sky, hovering like humming dragons. They were so close, he could actually see the dream aviators, smiling, waving - at him.

The distant airstrip bore the glistening groundling craft, and men as small as insects darted hither and thither, busy rewinding the various winches. An arc of a new moon rose early above this scene of activity.

George felt he must really hurry down to the park - he had ignored the message on the paper dart for at least half an hour.

But he woke before he could start off on the wooded slope - which he was suddenly desperate to scale down; for he feared that those he most loved in the real world were in the direst danger.

The utter frustration of waking from a dream too early...

The sky was below, the ground was above and he soared speedily towards two small children being weighed on a see-saw by a strange woman in a red felt hat.

Published 'Skeleton Crew' 1988



I must tell you of the time that I first came to the Clockhouse Mount - a year last Spring, I think it was, friend. Do you know the place? Yes, it's in the outer South London suberbs, in Surrey really, but you have to climb along a very long hill out of Cullesdon and when you get there, you see the Green, fronting a run-down parade of shops and, further over, the "Pail of Water". Mrs. Dobb, the landlady of the Pail, she knows all the gossip of the Mount. About the Sawdusts of Number 4 Rich Land: Jackie Sawdust once blew his nose, you know, in public view, he blew it so hard that he just stared into his handkerchief not knowing it was his brain wriggling there, he stared just a few moments, yep, before he dropped down dead. About the Clerkes of Long Land: their younger son was levanted by the Surrey press gangs for labour in far off spice fields. About the losers and the winners of the terrible family feuds. About this and about that...

There is a golf-course on one side, some other cul-de-sacs leading to small-holdings and desolate fields of staring horses, tangled woods and deadfalls, overgrown bomb-holes and the rusty discards of shortly forgotten squabbles. You know, they say that the clouds swag and belly heavier over the council roofs of Clockhouse Mount... and, as I plodded up, that day, in the hope of my first homely tankard at the Pail, large drops spattered from a previously clear sky. Even at noon, dusk was gathering itself and some laggard golfers were standing along the side of the road holding their clubs like spears, making funny faces beneath their tartan berets and wriggling their chequered trousers as if in some crazy fashion show. They would soon be off, no doubt, before the light had finally disappeared.

I looked across at the downbeat parade and saw that the shops had shut, not for lunch as I had thought, but because I, a stranger, had loomed up from Cullesdon and they feared what they considered to be my unwholesome custom. I shivered for had the Pail, too, locked its lounge and saloon doors? The locals were inside, apparently persuading Mrs. Dobb to let them have further illicit flagons of the home-made brew, as I forced an entry through an unoiled latch-door. The bobbled heads looked up, scowls muttering across their faces, and one signalled for me to sheer off.

"Dear Sackalive!" cried Mrs. Dobb, from behind the bar, a friendlier aspect indeed appearing to fleet across her countenance. "I didn't think you'd make it".

"By Cock!" I replied, banging my feet on the floor, "That was a long walk up from the town."

Meantime the locals gathered closer to me and one even fingered my turn-ups in some strange rite of inspection. I looked at the posters and the customary wall-scrawl, to see if this was indeed the day of the darts match that I had been promised. But, no - imagine my despondency, when I saw incomprehensible messages pertaining to a Wicca Meet, destined for that very night ... and further bills bearing such things I cannot now spell - Cuthloo, Shib-Shubbing in the snug, Yogger-Nogging in the saloon and, what was it, an outing at the weekend to the Goat of a Thousand Young for a turdle-eating competition.

I skipped pretty niftily from the pub, for, as they say, you shouldn't turn a heavy stone if something's moving it from underneath.

I ran ... but it was difficult, for what I had thought originally to be rain was in fact now great bulbs of bursting liquid cascading from, not clouds, but shifting, floating monsters in the sky. They extended and retracted, in turn, long arms of blackness, from several interlocked central bodies and, if I were religious, the nearest I could get to describing them would be a hell's brood, an overnourished confluxion of sky and foxflesh betokening the fall of old disgraced gods ... and several smaller versions were creeping over the brims of council roofs...

I ran ... but golfers and pub locals surrounded me. One, of the name Tokkmaster Clerke, as he later told me, wielded a massive rutted file, its frightful crenellations glinting in the flashing of the wings in the sky. I was held fast by one whose nose dripped as Tokkmaster moved the file across my skull. At first, my hair fell away in lumps and dropped to the ground, followed by my skin. He grated it up and down, scratched, sawed, and ground. I could feel the hideous vibrations, reverberations stunning and splitting my head. My skull scrunched. My teeth were on edge, as the grating continued, as he honed my bone. The file stropped and serrated my pure white skull. It ground and rasped. Against the grain. Gashed and scored. Etched and furrowed. Rutted. Fretted and chafed. Scrubbed and gnawed. Eroded and Kneaded.......

* * * *

I ill recall must of that but I live now with the Sawdusts of Clockhouse Mount, and they call me Jackie... They make me worship the great old gods of the Surrey Badlands and the Southern Mysteries... The top of my head is like the skin of cold stew, so I now always have to wear a hat: Mrs. Dobb made it, kindly, out of vinegar & brown paper... and the filing Clerke, he says he's my pal now.

Published 'Dagon' 1987

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