I take my mom on a train to a popular French meeting place. For years, people didn’t realize how two particular villages were physically linked. They seemed distant, but they are, in fact, side by side.
Now, once a week, coachloads go to a nearby park or cafe to meet semi-formally near this fabled spot.
On the way, we see two forests of giant sunflowers. One forest looms over an entire village at the bottom of a hill. The flowers are bowed like ancient trees, heavy with foreboding.
The village exists as if completely unaware of the sunflowers’ doleful heads, bobbing in the breeze. They seem close to sleep. A terrible, nightmarish sleep.
The train rolls on.
There is little more to see and mom seems okay, so I decide to take thirty minutes writing time on my laptop.
I’m sharing the screen remotely with a friend. Depending on how I focus my eyes, I can either see my words in a text editor, or I can see her face and whatever she is working on from her remote location. She’s using a drawing and photo manipulation program.
The train doesn’t stop where I thought it would. I get off at a stop called “Lion.” My mom will go another stop or two to get to the true destination.
At Lion, all is grey and flat. Aside from the train, pulling away and then gone, it is devoid of vehicles.
I’m at a gigantic crossroads. One direction stretches as far as the eye can see.
Someone has made or shaped hedges and they run the length of the main road.
I am alone aside from about ten men nearby. They are wearing huge helmets like something out of Alice in Wonderland. The helmets are painted red and yellow and white, with gaudy images, like playing cards or children's toys. The headwear makes them well over 6 foot in height.
The helmets are made of wood and completely cover the sides of their heads, but not their faces. When I do see glimpses of their faces, they are looking down from that great height with disapproving looks. There is something horse-like about their wide, rolling eyes and their fixed facial expressions.
I try to talk to them, but they just shuffle and stamp their feet, coming to attention sharply but out of sync.
I ask them if I can go through the gate they appear to be guarding. No sooner have I spoken than they march me through it. I have to move with them to avoid being stomped, noting as I go that they march very effectively, but backwards.
Inside the gate, I’m inside the grounds of a house the size of a village.
“Thank you,” I tell the men.
They stamp and clomp into some kind of formation.
I look ahead to my destination. A house in grounds the size of a village and no more light than the world beyond the gate.
It’s getting dark. The greens are becoming grey. The grey is darkening; lengthening.
I take a deep breath and … my alarm is going off.
Dean's Dream Journal
As a dark fiction author, I like to take some inspiration from my dreams.
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