The Ones Who Remember
by Robert J. Krog
At night, I dream. I walk the wide world in the trail of the Old One.
In the day, I eat, and drive, and work, and smile the fake smile.
At night, I live the real.
In the day, I pretend.
His name means nothing to me, but he is the Old One, the one who is dead but dreaming, the one who will return. I was meant to walk in his shadow with the multitude of others chanting the words I cannot quite grasp. He is great. He is huge. He destroys. We are nothing compared to him, but we dance safely in his wake, praising him.
I wake. I shower. I dress. I put on my tie. I put on my smile, the fake one that has to be worn among those who do not remember what they dream and who think that what they do in the daytime has meaning. I eat my breakfast. I wish it were their flesh. I drink from my jug of blood. It satisfies. I brush my teeth. I pick up my briefcase. I go out to my car and wave to my neighbors. They wave back. We exchange smiles; theirs are vacuous; mine is a broad grin, fake. They bid me a good morning. I say something similar.
I get in my car. I drive. I navigate the ridiculously constructed world of solid appearing things that are actually all solid. I stop at red lights. I go at green lights. I cannot slip through the sidewalk or walk through walls. The other cars do not dissolve when they collide. There are not enough dimensions. Idiocy.
I arrive at work and look up at the skyscraper that He could level with his breath. I want to see it leveled. I park in the garage in my reserved spot. I walk inside and enter the elevator. I ride up to the thirtieth floor.
She is there. In the waking world, she is the receptionist. At night, I have seen her dancing in the wake of the Old One, drinking blood and laughing for the joy of Him, as she ought.
Her name in the day is Jessica. She is blond and beautiful in a daytime kind of way. At night, she is better: nude, dark, full of His joy. In the day, she is prim, proper, reserved, dull, stupid, and ignorant, playing card games or surfing social media on the computer when she thinks the partners can’t see the screen. She does not remember her dreams. I remember her dreams. I remember the tom-tom beat to which she dances and the way she steps surely from skull to skull on the pavement of the processional way amid sky-flung monoliths down the sides of which drip green ooze. It is almost too beautiful to contemplate. In the day, walking past her desk, I am angry that she does not remember herself. She is a vacuous drone like all the others. I hate her for that.
I work. I sit at my computer and type away on forms and emails, pretending to care about regulations and clients. I don’t care. I search. I search for someone who remembers. I sit in restaurants at lunchtime, smiling a tight, fake smile at the mindless hulks who lumber past or sit at other tables stuffing their faces with food that cannot satisfy me. I eat lightly of rare meat, wishing I could wash it down with a cup of blood. I smile at the waitress and tip her well. I think on my dreams, wishing the chants were clear to me. The words. I cannot make out the words in the dream. I cannot pronounce them. It bothers me. I try and fail. I have a pencil and a pad of paper beside my bed. The dream is vivid, and I remember the sights and smells so well, but the sounds, other than the tom-tom drumming, elude me. The words are hard. I cannot produce them myself.
I work. The afternoon slowly unwinds as it always does. I do my work. My clients think I care. I miss nothing. I do not care. I want to remember the words of the chant. I cannot. The tom-toms, which I adore, drown out the words.
I close down my computer. I take my briefcase and my hat and walk out past the receptionist. I look at her and smile as I pass. It is a fake smile, but I always give it with a secret wish that we would exchange the wild, real smiles of the dream. We could love then. She wishes me a good night with no recollection of the dream. I pass on, disappointed, hating her.
I go out to my car. I drive on through the crazy traffic, over streets that do not have giant stones for pavement nor skulls on which to dance, nor anything less than solid, nor angles that defy solidity. I long for the real. I come home. I go in. I eat. I have my jug of blood in the refrigerator. I drink it with my meal and feel satisfied. I savor the taste. I sleep.
I dream the real. She is there, dancing. They are there, chanting. I follow. I fall through the ground, through a space that is elegant in the incongruity of its placement, a space I could not have known was there, yet for which my heart longed. I fall into a chamber and see His face. It is a stone face. I run to it. I kiss it. I lose all sense of solidity.
The world, no, the universe, is beyond vast. In it, I am of no consequence, yet He is there, and I am content. He calls me. He calls us. He calls her. On the processional way, she dances from skull to skull amid the towering monoliths that shake with His passing but do not fall as skyscrapers of the day would.
He will return.
She dances in the wake of his passing, yet she does not see him. She is unfit. It is right to hate her, and I do, though I love her when she dances.
He calls. I follow. They follow. She dances on from skull to skull, but she does not truly follow.
I have a
mission. I hear the tom-tom
drumming. There is a place in the world
of the day where, at night, we will meet.
I see it clearly. I see the
swamps, the islet, the pedestal, the scaffolds from which the bodies of those
who do not remember have been hanged head down, and the image of Him that has
been returned to the pedestal. I will go there.
I will go there with her.
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