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A Science Fiction and Fantasy tale:

The Dreamer, A synopsis and an excerpt

Copyright 1988

by Dan Brady

The Dreamer, A synopsis

This is a story about a young person whose unusual dreams and powers go unnoticed by those closest to them. It is a short tale that sketches a whole society using brief descriptions of a scant few of its members.

The dreamer senses in ways that are not fully understood and therefore can be only described obliquely. In this story the dreamer senses the approach of something as it nears their home world. This thing is strange and hard to describe, but its attitude and purpose becomes clear.

It is inimical to the dreamer's world, and we, the readers, see how it operates to feed its unusual hunger.


The Dreamer

Copyright 1983

by Dan Brady

Part 1

The mystery, of course, lay in what it was. The Dreamer would never be sure, never be able to have the right terms and would wind up leaving this essential question unanswered. Not long after he found his dreaming mind could travel far away from his world into the vast dark regions of night, some half cycle ago, he’d been exploring going out as far as he possibly could.

He had discovered the mysterious thing while scrying out at some incredibly distant point beyond the many star fields. He’d gone farther and farther until, in the expanse of his perspective, the ether was sweet scented and musical intuitions ran along the warp and woof of the very fabric of the universe. He could swoop and slide riding the contours of the vast invisible surface of reality, switching between sides of the plane. It was glorious fun until he detected something he first read as a smell earthy, musty, redolent.

Closer on, there was a localized point of disharmony, sharp wrinkles, turbulence, and a cold static that either comprised or disguised it. Soon, however, he had no doubt about its dissonant malevolence and pain, which was what the Dreamer came to feel when in its proximity. At least since then, however, he very much sensed and so worried, that it was approaching his planet with incredible speed. There was more than a hint of vague, acrid enmity, or an astringent chilling hunger, about the thing. For these reasons, the Dreamer had become more than just curious.

Of course, he observed it during his scrying, in the manner he thought best, sagely, keeping either a very great distance or by hiding when and where possible. Although he thought it might well be dangerous, he was far more curious than he was disturbed by it. In terms of the Dreamer’s ordinary senses, he might have described it as something like a volatile storm, a roaring chaos. Emotionally, he read it as an area of disturbance, of anguish and inchoate, violent anger, something that had suffered greatly.

No matter how the Dreamer tried, he could not account for the nature of the thing. It was so alien as to be beyond any concept of life he’d ever come across; he had no comprehension of its motivation or physical nature. In this regard, it was like studying the wake patterns left in water to determine the nature of a boat. The Dreamer was forced to wait and see what developed.

Had the Dreamer known of the term nebula, he might have had some concept of its physical appearance or dimensions. As it was, to the Dreamer, quite young and unknowing, it was all vagueness as it approached. He did make some determinations, however. First, distance, it seemed, would be his only defense. This was worrying. Although he could get away from his home, if he had to, his body could never leave his world. Second, even if he might be safe, he knew no one else would be.

 The Dreamer knew there was no way he could describe its location or size to anyone without telling them about his scrying or other dreams. This he would not do. He hadn‚Äôt told anyone of those kinds of dreams, assuming quite falsely, his talent as well as his silence about it, were the norm for his kind. After all, there were other aspects of life, important ones, couched in a near universal silence, things everyone knew about yet never spoke of.

The Dreamer heard others talk in their sleep, even walk about or do much more—still could not bring himself to break what he believed was a social silence. Taboos dictated many things in life, some held with such zealotry that asking about them could bring shame, or worse. Breaching social silences could bring a visit from counselors-with consequences for entire families. Even if the Dreamer knew enough to ascertain the nature of what approached, and could communicate it accurately to those who’d need to know about the threat, he also knew there would be little or nothing anyone could do, practically speaking. Reasonably enough, the Dreamer kept his own council regarding the discovery.

On successive nights he grew increasingly uncomfortable, even nervously apprehensive, whenever his family sat out on the open porch to star gaze and the enjoy cooling summer breezes as was the habit for most everyone he knew. He worried not only about its advent but because the matter had become such a distraction that he tended toward a quietude that his parents had noticed and talked about it. He simply did not like having nothing between him and it, save distance.

For a time, the Dreamer cast up to the Moon and planets to investigate but found nothing unusual nor any hint of the thing or anything like it. Yet, still it came on. Still he found himself seeking it out to observe its approach whenever he dreamt and then scried.

Those were the notions of the Dreamer, a youth of 11 cycles, still quite young. As with most children, the Dreamer’s daytime concerns were with play, schooling, moral development, adult control, and the chores any child was expected to perform.

Swiftly it came on. Then, one night, of a sudden, the Dreamer knew it was arriving to rest on the Moon. Scrying in a dream, he approached the moon’s dark side. There he saw it appearing like quicksilver, something the Dreamer had seen at a county fair some years ago, as it poured into a great round cup in the rocks, called craters according to the Dreamer’s father.

When its motion stopped, it appeared to be a solid, absolutely still, pool of silvery brightness. The Dreamer was certain now it had to be something like a living thing and that it planned to come onto the world he and his family inhabited. Still, the mystery held, despite his proximity, he could not determine what it was, nor did it seem aware of him.

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