In a dream forgotten, I found myself climbing the inside of a bell tower, proud and old the blackness of its interior above me beckoned me to follow higher, and higher up its dark towering tunnel.
Or was it, simply.
A memory lost and not at all a wayward dream.
A vivid moment surreal and clear at the same time, as real as if all this really was happening right now in the flesh, part of me surely was convinced that this was, in fact, real. Real and happening to me in this very moment, although another part of me still did not know, if this strange moment came from a life already lived.
Or, a life, yet to be seen and felt.
[ and the bell tower, and the ravens call.]
High up above me, a raven’s black feathered wings could be seen.
Flapping in the air before they came to rest and the bird’s eyes eerily twitching.
Sharply, sudden movement.
And a gaze of awareness.
And suddenly, the raven was focusing on me and nothing else.
Curiosity and familiarity I swear could be seen in the eyes of the bird as we locked our gaze.
Like a taste, and a smile, upon the back of my tongue. Something came to mind and then, life and time seemed to slow with the beat of my heart.
The scent was gone and the memory replaced with a face to face.
A loud thundering thump inside my skull and ears, like a breath of words, once washed away in the rain and stormy winds that snatched the syllabus and harmonies from my lips. It was as if I was still talking, but no longer able to make any meaningful sounds at all.
The world faded.
All around me, darkness rose up and tore the daylight away, or was that burning torches that vaguely cascaded down the insides of the tower.
I could not tell and either way, the light came to fade from my eyes and in a lingering touch against my skin I could feel it physically vanishing in mere seconds as if the light was sucked away from the physical world.
Why I wondered, ‘what am I doing here’. ‘how can this be real’. Words that bounced soundlessly inside my skull.
Like fire in my mind, something burned, like a stream of white waters rushing ahead to crush the river bed and all the sand castles that little children had been building, my skin burned and prickled, pierced and scrubbed.
And then.. I thought ‘Why was I thinking about sand castles, I need to climb this tower’.
I waited for the familiar sound of anything to play against my eardrums, but nothing.
Silence and stillness
was all that lay all around me.
And out of that silence before my eyes and beneath the raven that towered us all.
A magnificent elephant bull charged out of the hallway of darkness and dust flung across the tower as it breached the air between us, and suddenly it convulsed in a sharp spasm before collapsing like a heap of clothes towards the ground.
Soundless I watched it tusks seemingly and defiantly hold on to the frozen air as if to force its body back up from the ground, but then, they too hit the mud and dirt. Forcing a gust of dust exploding in another silent cloud.
I tried to move my head, or at least I think I tried?
Did my throat itch? What was happening?
Did I even think that, or is this not even me?.
The thought echoed inside my skull as fingers separated from the soil itself beneath the animal carcass.
Wrapping around its dead body I watched how the earthly limbs pulled it down into the eager earth and out of sight.
As the last of the elephant carcass vanished from my view, my world seemed to twist around itself and heavy fog came galloping, swallowing everything and me.
And I knew.
I knew that the air should suddenly be hard to breathe, it was as if I knew that my skin was actually burning from the putrefied air and smog that now poisoned me by the second. Oil and coal, toxic fumes as the world cried out loud, shaking the foundation of the tower I was climbing.
“Detached”, the words forming in my mind.
‘I am detached from my body’ is this is a dream I thought. Or was it real?
My own fingers and hand suddenly stretching out in front of me, carving in the vapid air, as if to create an opening to once again see.
To see the raven above me. And there it was. It sat motionless, calm and collected as if all this was perfectly normal.
It blinked. And perhaps, it even smiled with its cold dark beak.
“Why was there ravens here” … Burning, thudding, thumping the thoughts kept racing, pounding against the skin and bones inside me. “Who am I”.
My eyes searching, my mind burning, I carved and carved, faster and with growing urgency before my blood froze to a million shards of ice inside of my veins.
Things were moving.
Around me, moving towards me, away from me?.
“Why are you moving, stop, stop, stand still”, someone screamed and howled.
Shadows in the fog, moving shapes without form that multiplied, collapsed and resurfaced as one.
Moving silently I thought, but another thought echoed immediately inside my mind, ‘no you just can’t hear it anymore’.
Who am I? Who are you?.
I tried to remember as a clump of fever raged up from deep inside, burning my thoughts the way a black hole would consume you from the inside out and outside in, caught inside the confines of my own gray matter, my bones, and flesh, but soon that black hole would tear me to pieces, rupturing my skin and body into endless atoms to float across the universe.
Where are we. And then I knew, long before I could see it.
Amongst the moving shapes of shadow, there was a woman, a woman behind a mask that helped her breathe in this air that was killing me.
The world began to twist and warp and the raven cried out my name.
“My name? how do you know my name”, my name? what was it, I had already forgotten what it said..
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