I’ve had this dream before. And each time that it repeats, it feels all the more disjointed and uneasy. For all its familiarity, each iteration makes me scrutinize the sequence for any changes, and run irrational circles in my head on what it means.
I find myself in a forest, frosted over with ice and snow. Everywhere that the eye can see, there are evergreens, crowding together like nervous guards, so that their needled branches fasten upon each other in a sudden crisp wind. The chill doesn’t bother me. My breath puffs out in a cloud, its shapes more reminiscent of jagged leaves than balls of cotton. For some reason, I am sharply amused by this activity.
An almost human-like murmur followed by a bark sounded at my heel. Two she-wolves, of proud, silver shoulders, greet me amicably. They stride about as to demand my attention. I suddenly feel chilled, then warmed, as though my senses have just woken into a different climate than the one that I have expected. My skin prickled as though with an extra layer of winter pelt.
The lighter-coloured of the two wolves raised her paw as though to strike me severely. The entirety of the she-wolf’s muscular arm swiftly metamorphosed into a crimson, gelatin mass of tubular veins as her spurs touched the crook of my arm. The coils of blood pulsated merrily in the brisk air. It seems to me as if it is working out its own patterns. And as the she-wolf tilted her head, it was as if she was humming a melody an accompaniment to the rhythm of those breathing, cellular bodies. So focused was I on the lupine beast that I only just noticed the raised bumps of my own circulatory maze in response to the visceral display.
But it was more than just a display, for a wet, pleasurable slice rioted through my veins. My own set of blood ribbons rose out and immersed themselves with the wolf’s, abject and magnificent. Immeasurable seconds brought the feeling of extra life transfusing into me, cycling and sniffing with its sidelong presence. I feel a giddy rush that made me throw my head back and see bright, coral-red networks behind closed eyelids. When my nose twitched, I am met with the scents of a feast of living things. Throughout these proceedings, the other wolf companion was sitting on her haunches, watching keenly. A momentary lolling of the tongue indicated her anticipation for the same biochemical unity.
As the blood ribbons halted in their coursing, the lighter wolf gave a wuft of breath. She has become more dimunitive, as like a newly sheered sheep. Her expression is one of sleepy satisfaction. Deep within her settlement, she will now and then flash a human-like eye within her irises. Both wolves rearrange themselves about me, folding their legs and bundled close against me. A bastion against the brisk winter and enduring solitude.
When I next awoke, I was still in the dream-world of the forest. I knew right away that there is supposed to be a third wolf, an old sire, who has not arrived. His missing presence is hangs like an omen. The two she-wolves paced wretched marks into the snow with trembling agitation. The darker-coloured wolf paused on a low hill, momentarily rendered into a gray silhouette. She looked back at me. I didn’t know what she was thinking beyond the glaze of worry. Then the world shifted.
The earth concentrated, held its breath, and FLEXED. Those trees with their roots exposed suddenly developed a metallic gleam to their undersides. The chirping of insects and small scavengers abruptly silenced, then wound up again in a synthetic, scratchy parody. The repetitious loop made the wolves flatten their ears to their skull. Gobs of spit leaked past their incisors. Where there were once peepholes and knobs in old trees, hosting a home for bees, robins, or rodents, these hideaways have been infested with gears, leaking batteries, switchboards. In a tree split along its length by lightning, wires and coiling junk froth forth. This garbage twitched in the dirt like centipedes. The ground moved as though on the back of some frustrated golem, of which myself and the other noble creatures are but fleas. Steam rose uninhibited from century-old trees. Rather than the sound of yawning foliage, mechanical rust shrieked when one of these sentinels felled.
My dear companions suddenly seem very far away. I was left looking at their backs and low, cautious tails as they ran. I chased after them, heart at my throat, with fearful anticipation making wintry distance seem all the more unapproachable.