NaNoWriMo 2022, Fling Seventeen

Alissa dreamed, there in the enclosed place of Sonoraneldan, where the bold Glomorominith had brought her, through the dangers and humming buzzing stingers of the night. She slept, as people like her had to do when they became very tired, and the ragged edges of her mind knitted up, and the thin-rubbed places filled out again.

Out on the ledge outside the entrance to the enclosed place, Glomorominith slept also, as the encounter with the bad things, while enormous fun and a chance to show off for the good friend Sonoraneldan, had also been exhausting in various ways. Sleeping was good.

Sonoraneldan did not sleep, not being tired, but went further into the complex of enclosed places, and mixed and smelled and tasted various things, and put other things in careful piles.

In Alissa’s dream, she rested again at the top of that rise, and mammals came to the woods before her, down below in a green and humid dell. The ghosts of mammals, mammals like those in the stories and of a thousand other kinds, blowing around in the wind, streaming from here to there in wisps and shards.

She heard moaning in the dream, but also it was silent.

In the old stories the mammals are always the threats, the predators, the invaders, to be escaped or outwitted, to be fooled or tricked into falling from high cliffs into the torrent below.

No one knew, any more, what mammals had really looked like. Or even, in a way, if they had really existed. Everything in the stories might as well have existed, that was the point, there would be no purpose in stories if they weren’t true. But the mammals in the stories were never very well described, and when they were the accounts were not consistent.

There must have been a great number of different types of mammal.

In her dream, the mammals were strange deficient beings, with only a few arms and legs, most with just two of each, and they walked on their two legs awkwardly and on arms and legs slowly, because their legs could not bend like the legs of mud-walkers, and their arms were singly-jointed.

In Alissa’s dream, the mammals had no antennae or mandibles, and no visible eyes. They drifted through the air, on the breeze, as though they were searching for something, and Alissa, on the top of the rise in the dream, did not feel that they were searching for her.

Alissa went down, in the dream, into the humid dell, into the soggy lowland, among the ghosts of the eyeless mammals.

“What are you looking for?” she asked them.

But the mammals did not reply.

“Can you see me?” she asked them.

And the nearest mammals turned toward her, and she saw that they did have eyes, but only a few, two or three or four, and they were sunken into the fronts of their heads like stoned in pits, and she felt afraid.

“Who are you?” asked the voices of the mammal ghosts, voices that seemed to come from the other side of the world, “Who are you and where are you? Where, where, where?”

Then, in the dream, the ghosts of the mammals were long strips of fiber, vines or supple bark, and she had to pull them, with her arms and her front feet, in through the opening of the enclosure in the trunk of the tree, before they were pulled away and out into the darkness by a freshening breeze.

She pulled and pulled to keep up, but they continued slipping away, out into the darkness, where she knew there were humming buzzing stinging things.

And then she was pulled away by the breeze herself, and she was a long ribbon of something flowing in the wind, and the ghosts streamed along with her, and she was cold.

Fling Eighteen

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