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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Blog 93: A Fleeting Dream

He was staring down the barrel of an assault rifle, lamenting that he had just moments to live, moments to compose his final work. The commanding officer was giving the order to fire; he’d started to say it. The prisoner disappeared into his mind, escaping into the vast region of time that stretched between his executioner pulling the trigger and the death that would follow when the high calibre, high velocity projectile spread his brains across the wall behind. The world that would end him disappeared as he entered a world of his creation. He dreamt of what might have been:

The warrior stared out across the city, intact and safe as it was he could see the smoke of distant battlefields. He winced, feeling the pain of his near fatal wound, it was healing well. The executioner had been killed whilst carrying out the sentence. He’d been saved by a sniper squad, the leader of whom owed him one for similar reasons. The war was on-going but he’d been granted leave to see his lover and their child Immersion. The boy looked like him; pale white skin and long purple hair. He had his mother’s eyes though; crimson, omni-focal. As long as Immersion had treatments before puberty his eyesight would forever be perfect. He could see the stars just as the gods who made them.

Shimmer beamed with joy as she watched her son with his father. It was her brother who’d saved him from certain death, her kind were born snipers. She saw them on the city’s far border, keeping watch for the enemy forces. The city would fall soon, they both knew it. Immersion would have to say goodbye to the blue cats of the city he loved so much. She wouldn’t weep for the city, she’d lost her town of birth to the invasion years ago and she worried about the grief it would cause her son. Immersion had only known the city of towers. Its sandstone skyscrapers reached the heavens, from those heights the snipers would inflict heavy casualties upon the enemy before they retreated.

Her son might still know the war when he came of age to fight; it had been raging since before her time. She feared only that it would be lost before he lived to see the end, while there was fighting there was hope against the genocide. Her race had spanned nations once, now there were hundreds, maybe a few thousand at most.

If it were not for the likes of Arcane her people would be long gone, just dusty memories beneath the feet of the ravenous empire. Their warriors were weak but infinite; they came in waves, washing over all defences as they wore down the resistance. Her people had pleaded every empire, every nation each town beyond for help but none had answered but Arcane’s, his people were mercenaries hardened by centuries of battle, they alone pushed back the invaders into old territory. That had been years ago, for their loyalty and bravery their numbers were as diminished as those of her own people.

Arcane held his son tightly in his arms, Immersion wriggled in his grip. While his son struggled to free himself Arcane held close the boy he’d thought of as the executioner took the order he smiled at his lover, a tear rolled down his cheek onto their son’s head.

“Can I go now,” Immersion asked, “I want to see the cats,” he ran to the window, “they’re by the red fountain can I go?” Arcane squinted but couldn’t see the distant landmark his son was staring at.
“If it’s safe?” Arcane asked, looking to Immersion’s mother. She walked to the window and stared out at the border guard, they were relaxed.
“Yes you can go but no further south than the market and if you hear any explosions you run back here as fast as you can, understand?” Immersion nodded his purple hair jumping as he did. He disappeared through the doorway and they heard him throwing himself down the steps three at a time.

She looked out the window again at the guards; they were staring at something all of a sudden. She shouted to call Immersion back but he was already out of earshot. She was about to tell Arcane to run after the boy when she saw a border guard jump for joy. Plumes of smoke, far bigger than normal, rose on the southern horizon.

“What  is it,” Arcane asked, “you look worried, are they here? Should I run after Immersion?”
“No, we have to go higher, come up the stairs with me, to the roof.”
“The roof’s seventy three stories up! I barely made it this far.” He said, looking exasperated.
“Come on!” She shouted as she ran up the flights of stairs at full speed. Her long brown hair wiped behind her as her sandaled feet clopped up the stone steps. He followed close behind her, consoling himself that at least he could enjoy the view on the way up as she ran ahead.

His lungs gave out on him halfway up; they were on fire as was his dry throat. She stopped for him and walked down a corridor between the flats on that level, she traced a line along the sandstone to the window that looked southwest and leaned out to look south.
“What are you looking at?” Arcane asked, “what can you see?” She looked at Immersion.
“I see our son with the cats at the river, picking his nose.” Arcane sighed. “I see the guards at their post.” She turned to see Arcane still waiting for a reason to run up so many stairs. “I see high altitude bombers flattening the enemy that would have been here by tomorrow morning.”
“What!” He shouted. “We don’t have bombers, we don’t even have aircraft.”
“Exactly, they’ve joined us; we’re not in this alone anymore.” She turned and hugged him. “This will end the war we can win this and stop worrying about Immersion.”
“What will we worry about then?” He laughed and kissed her as she leant in to his ear and whispered.
“You promised me a big wedding if we won the war.” He was more afraid in that moment than he’d been during the war. No death was more terrifying than the fury of his fiancĂ©e should he fail to give her the wedding she wanted. He smiled and kissed her, thinking of the reward if he got it right. That was the way to look at it, look on the bright side.

The bullet struck the dreamers head, freeing his thoughts as he fell. Immersion, his mother and father all lived happily ever after, because the dreamer hadn’t had the time to think further about them, their story was over, like his life.

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