Tales From The Town #48: The Door In The Wall, or The Worth Of Dreams

The first time Yulia saw the door was on her walk to work one morning, in the middle of the old Roman wall that ran through the centre of the town. It had never been there before. But there it was, locked and closed and as solid and real as the wall itself. She couldn’t stop thinking about it all day, this out of place door in the middle of that wall. When she came home that evening, it was gone.

The second time she saw it, it was down near the abandoned pub, in the wall circling the beer garden. A different wall, but the same door. It was unmistakeable. She was on the bus this time, and caught only a glimpse of it, but she was sure it was open now, not fully, but slightly ajar at least, a shaft of light shining though the gap and illuminating the pavement with an ethereal glow.

Then the bus rattled on towards its destination, and all Yulia was left with was the memory of it on her retinas, a patch of shimmering blue superimposed over the dismal and the dull of the town in winter.

The third time the door was on the other side of the street, opposite the shop, in the ruins of the old gallery, directly in her line of sight for the whole of the day. It was wide open, and Yulia could see through to what lay beyond. And what she was a world of wonders, a shifting infinity of possibilities, each one more enticing than the last, more beautiful than any heaven.

Only the queue of her customers, which stretched twice round the shop and back down the street, kept her from getting up from her chair and crossing the street and stepping through that door and never coming back.

Yulia knew it was all a dream, but that hardly mattered. She’d seen it now. Seen through and beyond to something else, something other than this. All she had to do was was wait. Wait for the door to return, for her to take her chance. There were other worlds than these.

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Notes:

1. Written between June 7th and June 14th, 2021
2. The title is taken from an HG Wells short story
3. And the last line is taken from The Gunslinger by Stephen King
4. But the bits in between are my own

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Tales From The Town #35: Five Dreams Of Space

1. Selene puts on her blindfold and dives into the pool. Floating there in the dark is as close again to space as she will ever get. It’s so comforting she could cry.

2. Someone once told Patricia that Venus was so hot the fillings would melt in your mouth. She wonders often how this would taste.

3. Ted would blow up a planet if he could. He would blow up the stars. He’d blow up the sun. But he would never harm the moon.

4. Every summer Anna dreams of winter. Every winter she dreams of Pluto.

5. The whale has no knowledge of space. It remembers oceans in the night. Galactic blooms of luminescent algae. Constellations of jellyfish pulsing in the dark like the neurons of some vast distributed brain. Volcanic vents glimpsed through crushing depths beyond the understanding of human hearts. All as beautiful as any comet’s tails or rocket’s trails carved across the impossible skies of our dreams.

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Notes:

1. Written on May 21st, 2021

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(untitled)

i woke from a vaguely disconcerting dream
into another

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Tales From The Town #10: The Speed Of Dreams

Daytime

Yulia didn’t count how many dreams she had in any particularly day. If she did, she would have discovered that today, for example, between the hours of 8am and 5.30pm, not including an hour for lunch (1pm-2pm) and two breaks for tea (10.15am-10.30am; 3.45pm-4pm), she had 23 distinct dreams, plus 3 subdreams, one of which also contained a single subsubdream, for a total of 27 dreams, occurring at a rate 3.375 dreams per hour.

That was the speed at which the day passed her by.

Nightshift

Yulia’s nights were somewhat slowe. Yesterday evening, for example, between the hours of 11pm and 6.30am, not including two toilet breaks (2.13am-2.17am; 3.49am-3.57am), an hour of acute anxiety (11.01pm-12.01am) and a short period of moongazing (12.02am-12.45am), she had only one dream, albeit experienced across three distinct (but linked) periods of sleep (12.46am-2.12am; 2.18am-3.49am; 3.58am-6.30am), at a rate of 0.18237082066 or 0.547112462 dreams per hour, depending on how exactly you wanted to count them.

In this dream, she dreamt of the shop, and everyone in it, in a detail so exact and complete it could have come direct from the shop’s CCTV. In some ways, the only difference between Yulia’s nights and days was that at night she no longer had her dreams to distract her from the monotony of the day.

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Notes:

1. Written between the 1st and the 4th of May, 2021

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Tales From The Town #4: The Classification Of Animals

Of all the dreams Yulia dreamed, her favourite dreams were dreams of animals.

Today, around noon, as she served a customer some cigarettes from the display behind the till, she saw, out of the corner of her eye, on the street outside the shop, a turtle. And on the turtle’s back she could see a tortoise. And on the tortoise’s back she could see a terrapin. And on the terrapin’s back she could see a fourth creature that was exactly the same as the first three creatures, except this one was even smaller again than all the others below.

She didn’t know what this one was called, but she was certain its name started with a T. It had to. Yet no matter how many names she tried – tartaran? tiralpoise? tintle? turlesque? – none of them seemed to fit.

She was so distracted by all this she was late for lunch.

***

A week from now, when Yulia tells Jeanette all about it in the cafe, she will no longer remember whether it was all a dream or a sight she had actually seen. Not that it matters. That’s not the point of the story now.

The point of the story now is whether on the back of the fourth creature there had been a fifth, too small for her to see, but there all the same. And on the back of the fifth, perhaps a sixth, a seventh, an eighth, a ninth… For all of them Yulia tries searching for a name.

Jeanette eats her cake in silence and smiles wider with every bite.

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Notes:

1. Written between the 1st and the 3rd of May, 2021
2. There’ll be a new episode of this every Saturday morning now
3. Until the end of time
4. Or I run out of things to say
5. And they run out of things to do

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