—Dream time again. Two of them actually. I didn’t have any conscious awareness of the first until I drove down Spruce Drive last week. Then it came back. Normally I would be anxious to get this down quickly – in case it fades – but there is some tangible property to this. It’s persistent. It wants to be alive.

Riding a bus route —I can see the vehicles —I can see the people —my purpose is clear.  The stops are known – the route is familiar, but I’m concerned with either exact change, stop selection or time; it’s never clear which but there is always an issue.

It seems that I’ve been having these dreams for my whole life – every couple of days – they are as familiar and comfortable as an old friend. There are remembrances of conversations with other passengers, moments waiting at stops, impatient minutes spent wondering about schedules, and even solid memories of driving and managing traffic. Sometimes my role is uncertain.

We climb the slope of Windermere Road and pause, then turn right on to Spruce Drive. It’s my stop! This first one, and it’s exciting. Every time. The curve at the bottom and the slow run past the elementary school always happens on the same day at the same time —there is a thick blue cloud off to the west, but for now the sun is shining brightly on the grass and on the grinning yellow faces of the dandelions.

These impressions are as clear as day to me at this instant, and I feel as if I could fall into a moment like this at my whim. There are so many of them – all contained in the same dream. But yesterday, I had no recollection whatsoever of any single part of this universe.

This is the second one. 

There are three locomotives – train engines – standing abreast on a platform spanning a huge deck that stands out into the roadway from the rails their entire collective girth, like a ship of engines being hauled impossibly forward, and lengths of great stretched orbs – black oil cars and rusted boxcars tethered backward forever from the driving of it.

All of this mass and gravity inching up-slope tenuous and horrific – I can sense the impossibility. Its very existence is a warning; I feel that it’s possible my apprehension or disbelief could be a trigger and I try to think around it.

Surely, the whole thing slides and shifts and begins its backward ride into calamity – upended, side-thrust screaming – jack-knifed hell coming toward me – carriers and wheels thrown up and appearing above the tree line and the tops of distant trees whipping and splitting in the tornado of whole train pieces and then the bridge wide span of that engine-deck with its three-across dead-weight locomotives ass-on and unstoppable plowing earth and trees and wind directly at the locus of my vision and through both sides peripheral.

It’s a four engine train wreck and there is nowhere to run.

Short Stories

  • Catalogue

    Catalogue

    This is Olivia — she is a student in her first year at UBC. Olivia is studying anthropology. She wants to be involved in digs in Belize. It’s hard for her, she has left her family for the first time and she’s very home-sick. Everyone is kind — the whole family is supportive, but she misses her dog and her family terribly.

  • Loop

    Loop

          Over by the entrance, with his back to me. I’m sure that’s him. The glasses, the gray, thinning hair. His posture, I remember the look of him. Oh, Christ. Even in the middle of the day, at the oddest time, some piece of regret will climb into his awareness and cause sweat […]

  • Caca de Luna

    Caca de Luna

      It’s been raining for a month – the eaves, the trees on the boulevard, the forest behind the house, the telephone poles and wires – the entire world is dripping. Even here on the leeward coast it’s been a month of relentless thick, wet air. Windward? Don’t even think about it. Breakfast is late […]

  • Good pig

    Good pig

        Dust and gravel, gravel and dust. Hot, dry air and nothing else. The road ahead is arrow-straight and tires rumble on the dirt surface. In the rear-view mirror a huge rooster-tail rises and hangs behind his car, a beacon of progress visible for miles for a solitary traveler on a forsaken back-road. The […]

  • Fingers

    Fingers

        John Jeffrey Allison is on his back in a field. He is looking up through tall alfalfa and pondering the play of a kaleidoscope of butterflies dancing in still air over his chest. They have been there since he opened his eyes five minutes ago. The sweet scent of the field reminds him […]

  • Kindness

    Kindness

                      The basketball isn’t ours. It wasn’t on our property until four this afternoon. Maybe a bit earlier. That’s when we both noticed it. We were parking the car on our return from a day out with the kids. It’s against the house now, but it started it’s journey across our yard […]

  • Vessel

    Vessel

          You left at eleven o’clock Saturday night. By eleven twenty I’d shaved off my beard and trimmed my mustache back to almost nothing. I remember being shocked at the result. I sent email at four the next morning, waiting for a cab to the airport…  “…my god I look goofy.” Now, I’m […]

  • Tendrils

    Tendrils

      Trigger warning. Dark. Normally I wouldn’t preface a piece with any comments, but this has severely disturbing content. Particularly the final paragraphs. However, those are invention – imagination, nothing of them comes from real-world experience.        There is a physicist – a man who dabbles at the edges of universal power. The […]

  • Mary's Garden

    Mary’s Garden

        He’s missing a garage door opener. He recalls only the idea to remove it from the van in order to prevent a break-in. The neighbors have reported a number of incidents of thieves rifling through vehicles and taking the remotes in order to gain access to garages in the middle of the night. […]

  • A Simple Mistake

    A Simple Mistake

            William Anderson is at the foot of the stairs, commanding the air in the den. The wife is standing almost at attention. His boy is by the stereo console, rapt. There is an air of secrecy – necromancy much beyond the capability of anyone contracted to install stereo speakers – bi-amping […]

  • Birthday Party

    Birthday Party

            He has chosen clean jeans, a pressed khaki shirt, and a sport coat. On his way out he grabs the package, notices there is already a rip in the wrapping and stops at the kitchen to repair it with another piece of tape. Completely baffled by the expectations of a five year […]

  • Dry Lightning

    Dry Lightning

            For a couple of days in early summer – just before they drop their seed, the prairie grass will celebrate by putting on a purple coat to sway in the breeze – and you’ll be reminded to return near sunset, the golden hour, when the air will be cool and the […]

  • A Boy, a Bird

    A Boy, a Bird

      On a perfect summer mid-afternoon, sunshine glinting through a canopy of leaves – still, humid air, deep greens and tall white birch, with the scent of silver brush, blue wildflowers and cool dirt, he descends the gully path behind his home with his birthday present – an air rifle and a pocket rich with […]

  • The Sound it Makes

    The Sound it Makes

            She found it under the floorboards in a barn 35 years ago. She was a sprite on a summer day in the fields behind a house at the edge of the town, sneaking about the building’s perimeter, looking in through cracks in the raw plank walls, and exploring into the danger […]

  • The Fair

    The Fair

          Jamie sits on a bench in front of the candy store, boots on the thick wood slats that make up the sidewalk, sucking a licorice-root confection, and realizes he is in love. There are green shingles siding the law office, a green that recalls the quality of foliage on fir trees but […]

  • Dinner Service with One Maid

    Dinner Service with One Maid

            Cecil Harder is not a presentable man. At first glance you will notice ear hair, a comb-over – a neglected sense of right or wrong as concerns the world of fashion. He also sports a certain odor, undefinable, not overpowering, yet unpleasant and immediately noticeable. His demeanor is a wall of sorts […]

  • Strength

    Strength

            There is an entity – a piece of artistry – a benevolent ghost that exists in order to heal the scars of solitude marked onto the souls of the creative in spirit – this goddess is the ghost of a woman, an artist driven by terrors – a gentle woman who […]

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