“There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth; for when as children we learn and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts, and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life. But some of us awake in the night with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens, of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas, of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze and stone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests; and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy.”
― H.P. Lovecraft
* * *
I lay quietly, welcoming sleep. The worn fabric of the bed sheets rough against my skin. The scratchy familiarity lulled me into a sense of security. Times were tough, and I sure don’t account for enough to rank quality fabric for a well broken in mattress, or much else for that matter. My gaze was captured by the hypnotic motion of shadows. A breeze ruffled the curtain that hung over the open window, darkness and light played across its thin surface, reflecting the luminance of the moon.
My thoughts raced, as I twirled the crow feather back and forth between my fingers. My hand, palm up on the coverlet, worried the frayed talisman. It had been waiting for me on my pillow, a calling card, letting me know it was once again time for us to cross paths. After the last meeting there had been many dreams, all of them simply mindless events that consisted of endless searching and wandering on the fringes of the dream plane, the place I called Sanctum, for it held a sacred lure that endlessly called to my thoughts.
It was there, that I created a world that challenged my senses, and nothing was restricted. It was a limitless playground to my imagination, and I reveled in it. That is, until recently when my path there crossed that of another who could control that place. Immediately, even before the tale of the rabbit and the cat, I knew he was one to be feared, and that the personage of a crow was just that, a trickery and illusion, masking evil intent.
Sanctum had always been my private realm, interactions with others were controlled by my own perspectives, and after all, they were my dreams. My experience with the crow was a first, his ability to control the dream left me with a deep sense of fear, especially since the physical warning of his talon slash had crossed over the plane to my waking world. I had never considered the possibility of Sanctum being a reality, and not just a concept of my subconscious.
Since that dream, the world around me had soured, tempers seemed to flare easily, and patience was a forgotten virtue as my old man lashed out at the world more often. Ma was fading into herself; more and more of her time was spent locked away in her sewing room, the rattled whir of the old Singer fighting the fabric she endlessly fed into it. I was losing them both slowly, as I contemplated what to do.
I knew it was because of him, his influence was leaching through the thin walls that separated Sanctum from this existence. As the feather twirled madly between my fingers, I knew I had to go back and find him, I had to discover his purpose. Yet, I was still trying to wrap my thoughts around the reality of Sanctum. I can feel him waiting patiently. He knows I am coming.
Once again, it is time to dream.
* * *
The tale unfolds, as the Hunter remembers his past. I created this image from three royalty free stock images. I think it really captures the darkness of this moment. I hope the New Year is bringing a lot of creative possibilities your way, and I look forward to hearing from you. I am really enjoying writing and photorealistically illustrating this tale. It certainly has been challenging.
Until next time,
Mary Michelle Scott