Dreamed 2000/10/4 by Chris Wayan
I'm riding in a car with my sisters up a winding road into hills. Looks like California, but not quite our world. A parallel Earth, I think. And a parallel me, for whom this is familiar land. I feel like me, but now and then odd memories pop up, not quite my own.
Farms and ranches form a quilt of green, gold and... black? The black is still smoking--recently burned fields. We pass so many, they must have been set. Through a charred patch of woods--black dead groping limbs. This is no controlled burn! Accident--or arson.
From a small pass, we see smoke rising on the plain ahead, and pink kitten-tongues of flame.
My neck prickles as we near the fire. A sound on the edge of hearing grows to a hum, then a clang, like gargantuan chimes. Music rising from the fire! Why? But this otherworld-me takes it for granted. Here, all fires sound like this. Not a treble crackle and bass-line roar. Music!
Eerie and beautiful music, surging in time to the flame-dance. The high notes of the smaller flames sing and sustain like Tibetan rubbed bowl-bells. The bass notes as trees explode are loud as church bells! They ring right through me, shake my bones.
I love it so much much it frightens me. The lure of fire's so strong here! My otherworld brain takes that for granted too--most of the burns we saw were arson, it's an everyday addiction here, more common than drinking. Upset? Go out and burn something!
With fire-music like this, it's a miracle they're not all arsonists dancing to the bells of their burning world.
NOTES ON WAKING UP
Funny, that dream-me saw their arson problem as a moral failing--not the fault of their natural law. I had no idea other worlds might lack their great temptation, and I'm not sure, raised as I was, that I would have considered that important. Adults hold their tempers... and don't let the music tempt them into fire.
So what are we blind to? Does our world make other evils extra tempting, terribly easy? I'm starting to wonder if we too have been subtly set up to burn.
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