The funny thing about prophecy is how boring and mundane it can be. Sure, seers have prophetic dreams about disasters, wars, famines, and fires, but the ones that tend to be more reliable are the ones who have dreams about traffic tickets, broken dishes, finding a quarter on the street, or walking into a room with a blown light bulb. You just don't hear about mailbox psychics, who can tell if they've received a bill or a check just by resting their hands on their mailbox. You don't hear about psychics who can look at an old man driving a Cadillac and can tell whether or not that turn signal means "left turn" or "left on." In fact, you could have a prophetic dream every night for a week and have all of them come true and not even notice, if they were about things like gas stations or what outfit a friend is going to wear. The ability to finish other people's sentences is normally considered more annoyance than clairvoyance, in the final analysis.
Just as the stripes of a tiger can look as mundane as overgrown underbrush to the untrained eye, the dreams of a seer can appear to be just normal dreams to the uninitiated. Those who have learned to cope with tiger attacks wear masks on the backs of their heads so tigers think they're being watched, and don't strike.
The Glass gleamed smugly, considering this. You can't wear a mask on the back of your mind.
Six concerned emails. Considering that Caroline was by no means e-popular, that was a lot. Sure, there was a bunch of irrelevant spam breaking it all up, but it was comforting to know so many complete strangers actually gave a damn about her well being.
As an Internet nerd, Caroline could only respond one way; she made a topic bragging about sex with Todd. None of these people would ever meet her or him, so she felt free to embellish as only a hardcore forum regular could. In the thread, she described her own body as hard and lean, with rippled abs and perfectly rounded hips. Instead of describing Todd as dorkishly emaciated and covered with stubbly once-shaved body hair, she described him as having the body of a middle weight prize fighter.
It was a boring weeknight. You can't expect one good weekend to turn someone into the life of the party.
It was strange, the way things she had cared about so much meant so little to her now. There was a time when she would have happily spent a weekend arguing that the only difference between Andrew Jackson and Hitler was that the Jews had more allies than the Native Americans did. These days, though, she was more concerned with art, wine, and food, all things that are best enjoyed with company.
Caroline had had such a great time over the past few days, she had difficulty believing she ever settled for whiling her hours away trying to explain to some 13 year old that no matter how big of an ass hat George W. Bush may be, he's not a fascist dictator because he hasn't abolished the House and Senate yet.
For once in her life, Caroline had felt wanted, smart, funny, and capable. Her acne and bad fashion sense had ruined any chance of her being a socialite in high school, but when she was at Todd's, she felt she was part of the in-crowd. The Internet had always reinforced her sense of alienation. Just being a female user in a male dominated medium had destroyed any real empathy she could have felt for her fellow posters.
Berry and Raz, though, made her feel like a real human being. There was nothing she could do or say that would make them reject her; they actually appreciated her quirks. She could suck the eyeballs out of a live rabbit, and not only would they not be disgusted, they'd be fascinated. She'd never thought of herself as half the extrovert they acted like she was, but the more she saw of the social scene around her, the more she realized how great of a time she'd been missing out on. The best part was the feeling that things were only getting started.
She still had to sleep sometime, though.
Tired, and with that boiled-eyeball feeling that only a boring night on the computer can give, Caroline trudged into bed. Slug-like with sleep, she oozed out of her clothes on the way to the bedroom, leaving her dirty laundry on the floor behind her like some sort of slime trail. She didn't so much as climb into bed as she did inject herself into it. Almost instinctually, her left hand crept out from beneath the depths of her quilts and sheets and laid her glinting glasses on the pile of books she used for a night stand next to her bed.
The Glass smiled, as much as a thing such as the Glass could be said to smile. In this place, even when it's ability to touch the world was weak; the Glass still had the power to command.
Soft green light shined off of two small reflective discs. In this world, there was always a crack, and it had been found. The left foot slid from its hiding place towards the floor, and the left hand pushed away from its soft support. The left eye opened, and led the foot to the place where the reunion could occur.
The hand found its tools there in a small, recessed alcove. The knife was found in a dark wooden block, and the blood revealed itself in a cold closet. Soon, more blood would be needed. Purer and more plentiful, yes, but for the purposes of this night and until the spiral came around again, this blood was sufficient.
The Hand thought about all of this very carefully. It was only alive during the convocation, after all, and besides, thinking on its own was still a novel experience for it...
Caroline's dreams were myriad over the next few days, but all were equally and thankfully mundane. This time, she was a tiny hamster in an exercise wheel. At first, walking in the wheel seemed futile to her logical mind, but she noticed with each revolution of the cage the bars grew thicker and stronger.
With the compulsion only a dream can carry, she continued running in the track. Soon, she began to notice her body lengthen and strengthen along with the bars of the cage. Her tiny hamster ears rounded and dropped as she ran, her little forepaws became more articulate as her rear legs lengthened, and her gait began to change from quadrapedal to bipedal as she passed through an ape-like proto human form.
The cage continued to expand as she ran, her fur receding and being replaced by pale sweating skin. The spokes of the wheel flattened to a solid floor and slowed down to more of a walking pace. On the left edge, however, the spokes sprang upright into chest high tripods, each topped with a block of dry, familiar Styrofoam.
On the right edge white and yellow roses appeared, pre cut and resting in trays. The wheel slowed to a strolling pace, and Caroline began plucking the flowers with her right hand and arranging them into the floral stands that had formed on her left.
She placed a single yellow rose into each block as it passed. Each tray held three yellow roses, three white roses, and a single five petaled violet. The wheel was made of twenty-eight flat panels, each three feet wide and four feet long, each panel with a tray on the right and a floral arrangement stand on the left.
After she'd placed a single yellow rose in each of the twenty-eight blocks, she placed another six inches to it's right. Another cycle completed, she placed the third yellow rose below the first two to create a perfect inverted equilateral triangle.
She didn't know why, but the numbers seemed very clear and important to her. She looked at the floor and knew the panel was three feet by four feet. Deep in her gut, she could feel where each flower belonged, like a Cajun chef who sprinkles in spices with his bare hands, measuring by feel and by tradition as opposed to some hard, cold, stainless steel measuring cup.
Three cycles complete, she began again with the white rose, assembly line fashion, inserting them in another equilateral triangle, this one sharing the same center point with the original yellow trio. The combination of roses re-created the Star of David, with six points.
The wheel slowed again, with only the five petaled violets left to place. On this, the seventh revolution, she placed each violet in the center of the star. As she placed the final one, the wheel crawled to a stop. Fully human, now, Caroline was finally free to leave the wheel.
As she stepped outside, she noticed a fat black bee crawl out of the final violet. She followed it with her eyes as it flew to catch up with her. Ignoring it, she strolled in a random direction away from the wheel, only to be confronted by a very solid looking set of bars.
As she stared into the blank limbo that is the edge of the world of dreams, the bee sussurated directly in her ear. When her head turned towards the right, the black bee flew a few feet away, and then circled. With nothing better to do, she followed it.
The wood chips that had made up the floor hitherto began to transition towards compost along the bars between her and the abyss. The ground she walked became harder packed and drier, forming a kind of forest trail through the softening soil.
The bee continued to lead the way as the rich black soil gave way to luscious flower bearing vines, like one would find in the shade of a large oak tree. These became interspersed with low azalea bushes, bordering a tall hedge, more than a foot taller than Caroline's head.
The hedge, however, continued on through the bars and out the other side, blocking all view of what lay beyond. The path cut through the hedge by means of a leafy green portcullis, almost like a doorway arch made of living plants. As she spied through the portal, she saw a small, cottage-like church in the distance. On it's porch sat a tall, thin woman drinking tea from an antique teapot.
The bee flew away into the garden surrounding the church and the woman, dressed in a modest black ankle length dress and tight, silvery white bun, smiled and waved, like a lonely old grandmother running across a grown grandchild in a supermarket. In the first human voice Caroline had heard since leaving Jaleesa that afternoon, the old woman spoke.
"See you Sunday!" her brittle voice called. Above her head, the address on the doorway read "646"...
6:46 AM, the alarm clock read, just inches away from Caroline's bleary-eyed face. Fourteen whole minutes before her first alarm was even supposed to go off, and she was already awake.
"Well," she thought as she rolled over, "at least I didn't have one of those crazy blood dreams."
In the dish drainer, the soft pre-light of the dawn sun glinted off of the still wet plate and knife.