I wake up
by Denis Bushlatov
is dreaming. The dream is vivid and at the same time it is grey like the
endless sea which surrounds her.
it usually happens, while dreaming, she does not feel the need to understand what
is going on. There is just Here and Now - all other constants have been
finds herself in an old boat. Once painted sky-blue, but now blotchy-grey, it
is creaking like old bones. There are a short paddle and a wineglass on a
wooden stem. This wineglass evokes a feeling of aversion, even disgust with a
bit of terror. She does not understand her feelings, but she is trying to keep
she looks, she is seeing a shoreless green sea in grey hues. Here and there,
the crests of waves are curling up with dirty-yellow foam. Looking into the
water for a long time makes nausea creep up her throat, because it seems like
the boat is moving, dragged by the waves, and at the same time standing still,
rocking on the dunes of the watery desert. When she squints, she understands,
that the sea is liquid.....what else could it, surely, be? But when she unfocuses her eyes, the picture changes—now it seems she is
stuck in a wide openness of slow-cooking tar-thick lard.
she dreamed, she saw a sea-gull. She would take interest, if it was real. The
sea-gulls nest on land, don't they? But it was a dream, just a dream. She
followed the flight of the fat awkward
bird indifferently. Who cares about sea-gulls, besides, this one was obviously
ill. It was flying erratically, now gliding over blubbery waves, now almost
touching them with absurdly short wings. Once the bird cried out and its cry
was also ill, miserable. Then everything got hidden by thick swabs of a humid
fog, and for a while Alice was floating alone in yellowing darkness. There was an
acidic, chemical smell which was rising off the water. She kept looking over to
the other side of the boat. There, semi-visible in the deep fog, was a rolling
wineglass on a wooden stem. It was wetly tapping the rotten wood.
the fog dispersed.
is almost no wind now. Heavy clouds, painted gray, hang low over the weakly
rising boundless sea, so low, that if she lifts up her hand she will touch its
muculent pregnant belly.
dream is becoming more realistic. Now Alice is feeling a persistent itch in the
palm of her left hand. Without looking, she opens up her palm and reaches it
with the fingers of her right hand. Her nails barely feel any resistance of
something soft like long-decayed suet and then they slip into a cold, gooey
any interest, Alice is looking at her hand and for a moment she is sure that
her palm has bitten off her fingers. She even wiggles her fingers to convince
herself otherwise and with slipping curiosity and with just the same slipping
revulsion she understands, that her fingers are in place. They have stuck up to
the middle phalanges in the huge, bloodless wound in the center of her palm.
pulls her fingers out and stares at them, looking them over carefully,
studying... They are covered in pus-yellow slime, which smells of the same
strong chemical odour. Not giving it another thought, she lifts her fingers up
to her mouth and licks off a wad of springy substance.
is the wound again. She sees it framed with petals of purple, swollen flesh, it
looks like a crater of a dormant volcano. Inside the hole, the meat has almost lost its colour. The skin edge of the wound is
speckled with light-blue shades of dead water lilies.
is distracted for a moment, she is shivering - her skin is crawling over with
goose bumps and for the first time in her dreams she is feeling the cold,
chilling to the bone and at the same time stifling, suffocating coldness. She
hugs herself, but remembering her wound,
she lets her left hand drop down to her knees. This movement was enough to
nudge the boat and that damn wineglass on a wooden stem begins to knock about
again. Tap, tip-tap. Splash. Wet, viscous sound.
wineglass should go overboard. She is glancing at the water by the boat and is
seeing some marine inhabitants through a translucent, rainbow film. Not large -
no more than half a meter in size, they look like thick, slick torpedoes -
can't make out heads or tails. They are swimming quickly, not like snakes, but
more like pieces of plastic, gently touching the boat from time to time,
squishing as they do so. Alice is watching their weird, clumsy dance. Now, one
of the creatures stops and its fat body is shaking with a spasm. It is starting
to inflate - now Alice can see a twisted network of purple capillaries in
unexpectedly delicate skin. It is
continuing to balloon... and now there is a sphere in front of her, inside of
which, she swears, are tiny fish scurrying around, looking almost like goldfish,
except instead of tails they have...
groans and forces herself to close her eyes, hard. Now she is seeing darkness,
speckled by twinkling stars.
old irritating itch in her hand.
is looking down at her palm carefully, scrupulously and she realizes with
fading disgust, that the wound is harbouring inside a translucent writhing
worm. Without any hesitation, she grabs it and pulls. The worm does not give,
it stretches and eventually slips out.
a newfound fury, Alice lifts her hand up to her mouth and sinks her teeth into
the slippery flesh of the worm. Rips it out and... leaves the writhing half in
her mouth. She spits it out automatically. Puts her fingers in the wound again,
but the worm is too short now and she can't grasp it. Alice is just observing,
stupefied, as it voraciously gnaws the colorless meat at the depth of the
wound. She does not feel any pain, only an insatiable itch. With difficulty,
she does not allow herself to sink her nails into rotten raw flesh and scratch,
worm is almost out of sight. If it doesn't stop, it will chew through the hand
and fall out onto the bottom of the boat and crawl to the wineglass with the
wooden stem and then.... No, no, it mustn't happen!
Alice is not afraid, but much to her surprise, she discovers that she is surprised.
Strange, paralyzing stupor is receding, much like a local anesthetic and with
each passing second Alice is feeling more and more persistent involvement of
the surrounding reality. Cold air is covering her naked body with wet flakes.
Occasional waves are crashing on the sideboard and are splashing her with
droplets, which stick to her skin like an instant glue. Fat, plastic creatures
under the water are showing much more interest in her—they are hitting the boat
on all sides, making the wineglass roll from one side to another, from board to
is looking to her damaged hand leveling it at her eyes. Now, in the center of
an endless fatty disturbed vale, there appears a stinging hole. Seems like the
worm is almost finished and, in a moment, she will see right through her palm.
is she still unafraid? Surely, it can get scary in a dream, can't it? There
could be nightmares, stifling like a pillow over face. There could be visions
so horrible, that even memory of them could torment the dreamer, making the
heart beat amiss.
could even happen to die in your sleep for no reason.
puts down her hand and stares into the unending, unstable expanse. There,
beyond horizon, the sky taps the sea, forming a single black and broken line.
Maybe, she is being carried onto far and unknown rocks?
is touching her leg softly, passively. Alice looks down and barely stops from
is the wineglass on the wooden stem at her feet. Its tapping is soft, but
thinking, as it often happens in dreams, Alice reaches out and grabs the
wineglass hard. She leans down and scoops up some gelatinous water - eyeless
creatures are staring back from below.
is sipping it. The liquid is spreading over her mouth cavity like petroleum and
is leaving a coating on mucous membrane.
is taking another sip.
is looking at the ever-distant broken line, a scar which is holding together
the sky and the sea.
is drinking the rigid flesh of the ocean and is awaiting.
for the dream to be over.