ocean

Dream Theory

In the therapist's office, he sat on a couch. The therapist, expression of benighted concern and fake compassion on his face, tapped away on his tablet. The patient leaned forward, as if to reveal a conspiracy:

"Doc, lemme tell you about the dream I had last night."

"Of course."

"Me and everyone I know, we dangled on a rope hanging over an ocean. No land in sight." He paused. "We were scared see, but kept climbing.

“We were climbing, when I saw my feet were covered in ants."

At this the therapist looked up and responded. "Ants?"

"Yeah, but I didn't feel em at all."

I looked down, then up, my whole body was rife with 'em. I looked to the world, dangling by a thread. And they all started... screaming."

"The ants?"

"-on them too, yeah. They felt them while I did not. They, one by one, dropped into the ocean. I was alone... then I woke up." He didn’t speak for a while, watching the therapist carefully, chewing the inside of his cheek like there is more he would say but chose not to.

The therapist thought on this for a while, scratching his chin as he spoke: "Perhaps you fear commitment, you doubt your fidelity to those you love."

"No, that's not it."

"Well then the meaning could be something simple. Do you have a phobia of-"

"Ants? Not at all. This was something else. A message." He opened his mouth. It was then the therapist saw the swarm.

Black, writhing, legions of ants emerged from within. The man spoke as they marched, a living carpet of black quickly enveloped the room. "It means they name me God. I am to captain Earth's conquest. Bow before us. Despair!"

Before he could scream, move a muscle, they overwhelmed the therapist. Unlike the man, he felt them on his skin, a hundred thousand tiny scratching feet, crawling into every orifice.

"It means you're the one dreaming. It's time to wake up...

-wake up, Doc.

-wake up!"

The therapist blinked, pinched himself under the mass. He was too shocked to be afraid, stunned and disbelieving of how quickly one’s world can change.

This is a dream. This must be a dream. He told himself

Wakefulness never came, he drowned in the ant ocean, the insect tide. The world faded. In the black, he heard the man, calm in the swarm.

He could not tell if the man smiled, obscured by the trillions of ants spilling into the world. But he did hear his words, the last that he did hear. The first victim of the beginning of the end. The first victim of the new God.

"So Doc, you tell me... What does this all mean?"

The World, Made Sea

                The last words they spoke to each other, weeks in the past, ring in their ears every morning and every night as death fast approaches, as no reprieve seems nigh:

“I’m scared.”

“Well, there’s nothing we can do now.”

“I know, but still… I’m not ready to d-”

“And you think I am? What option do we have? There is no escape, my dear.”

Each day the sea creeps closer. The blue mass alternating between solid and liquid as it claims more of the shore. Once they could see fish in it, swimming scared through the frozen, yet navigable, waters, but now even these are gone. The Hungry Goddess claims all.

And soon she will claim them.

They do not comment on their fear anymore, nor their hunger, both feelings so obvious, so omnipresent, that they bear little remarking. They do not speak at all, in fact. Exchange nothing but sad glances, silent touches. Bit by bit the island, once large, grows smaller and the world becomes ever more the sea.

A shipwreck abandoned them on this isle, a year or two hence. First the solitude was manageable. They had each other, the only two survivors were blessed to be friends. In the night, seeking solace, they gradually grew to be more. They huddled together for warmth, and then… for more than warmth. There had been plenty of food, trees that bore mangos and coconuts, rivers brimming with fish, trees for lumber, which they worked into fire and into shelter. Even the occasional animal, a squirrel or mouse or rabbit, to provide a new kind of protein. They could persuade themselves they were happy, that they didn’t need to be rescued. Not yet.

But then… things changed. Something odd in the waters. Or about them. They swallowed up the beach, negligibly at first but soon larger swaths of the island began to disappear. The hungering ocean devoured the sands, then the trees; obviated the rivers, their currents joining its own. Soon the small creatures of the island grew silent, drawn into its ever expanding mass. The sea… somehow they sensed it was alive. Its susurrus laugh kept them awake in the dark, the ever-rising tide crept closer and closer.

After a while, what was an island becomes a meager patch adrift in a limitless ocean, and the two survivors wonder if the whole world had become naught but sea. If they are the only two survivors of a creature whose appetite was limitless. They can see in the slow swelling liquid the bones of its past meals. They hug each other, growling stomachs touching, in their fear not daring to speak or move for fear that they too would touch the living mass and disappear and succumb.

Soon they are forced to stand, day and night surrounded by ravenous waves.

Soon… they will be nothing. Nothing but bones in a world made sea.