By John Ogden
In the cold void of hypersleep, my dreams are always full of meat.
Muscles flayed of skin, surging, bleeding– the meat that pulses through my dreams is alive, spreads through the darkness like a cancer. Hungry, driven only to grow, it slithers across the cold hull of the ship, pushes through vents, forces open bulkheads, moves and moves until the whole ship is like a heart, throbbing, thrumming, echoing with the rhythm, the movement of meat.
In my dreams, I am alone. My crew, the twenty-seven men and women who keep the ship flying, who run the scans and plot the jump-courses– they are already gone. They are the seeds from which the meat has sprung. The meat of their bodies twists through corridors, rises and breathes with huge, vacuous lungs. Their mouths are open, yawning, stretched into silent screams full of spreading teeth, slick and serpentine tongues hanging, curling and uncurling. Their eyes are white, seem to see nothing and everything at once, seem to see me– even through the frosted glass of my hypersleep coffin. The dream is so real– so real. I can hear them, smell them. As if I were awake, I find myself among them, walking, crawling, sliding naked across the mucus-slick meat that bends into corridors, into vessels and veins, into throats, hungry and full of humid darkness. Everything I touch, everything I see is meat. Meat. Meat.
And then I wake, truly wake, half expecting to find the dream has come true. The hypersleep coffin buzzes and whirrs, cracks open as the ice inside breaks from the seals, and as I rise, my eyes search the flat, gray walls, the half-darkness, the long corridors of stainless steel and plastic that crisscross the ship, find nothing. The meat is gone. My crew is still asleep.
And yet the dreams– always the dreams. Always, I'm left wondering, wondering if I've ever really woken up, if the meat dreams might be something more than dreams, if this sterile ship I call my home might be merely some memory, some mad semblance of a dream breathed into existence by the moments I spend asleep.
The moments I spend asleep in the womb-like pulse of the meat.
- - -
John Ogden was conceived of a government form and a passing mailbox. He lives somewhere out in the woods of a rural land more akin to the fantasy realms of literature than real life, and his favorite dirt bikes will always be the broken ones.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
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