Mark Ethridge’s Picture Choice: Two
Title: If It’s Just A Dream, Let Me Dream
There’s a reason for everything. You may not understand it, but there is a reason. I know. I know. You look at my back yard, and there’s an old phone booth. Hell, it ain’t even hooked to a phone. It don’t work. Just sits there.
I said there’s a reason for everything and there’s a reason I have that phone booth. It’s where dreams live. Where the rules of life are gone. The politically correct behavior we have to follow all day, every day. In my phone booth, I’m free from that. I can say what I want. Think what I want. Write what I want. Draw what I want.
In my phone booth I can dream.
It’s like Dr. Who’s TARDIS. Bigger on the inside. Bigger, because of the worlds it lets me reach, not because it’s physically bigger. But because inside, I’m free to wander, to dream, to visit worlds other than this one. Is what happens in my phone booth real, or just a dream? I don't know. I don't care. Either way, I'm free from a world I never made. A world which to me is insane. If it is just a dream, let me dream.
Like I did last night.
The sky was black, filled with stars. I could see the Milky Way. I mean, it looked like the Milky Way. From pictures and stuff. But I don’t know if that’s what it was. I don’t know what galaxy I was in.
Funny thing about the black sky. It was daylight. No, there wasn’t an eclipse, there just wasn’t a sun. At least not a sun like I’d known all my life. Where the sun should have been was a small red star. I stared at it a while, and figured it was probably a red dwarf star.
Wherever I was, I wasn’t on Earth.
Next to me was a four-foot tall, pale blue person, or being, or animal, or something. “Jason, we should get inside soon, you can watch the flare from there. Where it’s safe.”
Whoever, whatever, it was knew my name. “Flare?”
“Yes. The sun flares every 24 hours, like clockwork. It has been that way for centuries, you know that.”
I didn’t really know that. I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know where I was, why I was outside, what getting inside meant. I knew nothing. But, for some reason, the being with me spoke as if it knew me, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to go with the flow, and get inside. “Lead on, McDuff.”
The blue being shifted. I guess it was shaking its head, but I wasn’t sure it even had a head. Or arms and legs for that matter. It looked more like a four-foot tall blue sky colored blob. “You don’t remember anything, do you?”
“Let’s talk after we get inside. Whatever that means.”
A blue tendril extended from the blob, wrapping around my hand, and between my fingers. The blob started toward a nearby hill and tugged me after it. “We must hurry or you will get the worst sunburn you’ve ever experienced.”
I figured why not, and we kinda jogged to the hill. Only it wasn’t a hill. It was a house. Well, I mean, it was a hill with windows, and a door. Another tendril reached out from the blob, fit into a hole in the door, and the door opened. I had to duck to get inside, the door was only five feet tall. All the rooms were only six feet tall, so I couldn’t stand up straight inside.
“Welcome home, Jason.” The blob pulled me toward the windows. “It won’t be long now.”
We stood by the windows and watched the sun. Like I said, it wasn’t the sun as I knew it. It was a small, dark red ball. The sky was black, not blue. It was like the sky wasn’t there, but it was there, ‘cause I was still breathing.
After a minute, there was a bulge on the front of the sun. A bright red bulge. The bulge grew quickly, in another couple of minutes, it was a long loop of gas and dust that stuck out from the star. I tried to figure out how big it was. Figured it was a star, so it was tens of thousands of miles across. So that loop was tens of thousands of miles across too.
While the loop grew, the sky turned white. All the stars faded. The Milky Way too. All I could see was the sun, and that loop. The loop got brighter, turned orange, then yellow, then white. “You weren’t kidding about that sunburn, were you.”
“No. It's mostly infrared energy from the flare. It would give you a sunburn in a minute, and you'd blister after a few minutes.”
“Glad I’m not out there.” I looked at my blue companion. “Who are you?”
“Later. For now, watch the sun with me.
The loop of gas and dust came detached from the star. It shot away from the star, and rapidly faded into the black sky. From start to finish the flare took maybe 15 minutes, 20 tops.
“In another hour it will be safe for you to go outside. The gas and dust will arrive in a few days. Thankfully, it does not seem to bother you.”
I waved at the sun. “It does that ever day?”
The blob didn’t say anything. It just kinda shook. I took that to mean yes.
“So, let me ask again. Who are you?”
[To be continued.]
Like what you just read? Have a question or concern? Leave a note for the author! We appreciate your feedback!
Mark woke up in 2010, and has been exploring life since then. All his doctors agree. He needs to write.