Last night I was stoking the fire and the fire was burning bright green. An abnormal, unearthly, great disgusting fire it was, which fed on the flames of the bones of the horses which used to walk to and fro and prance in the field in the backyard. The night was great, and outside, the rain was falling as tears, and the clouds were upset, and disturbed, and perturbed, moving to and fro and quickly here and there. The white stars shone brightly and dimly, and the moon was merely new. I had made, somehow, shelter in my ersatz hut, consisting of a thatched roof with four stick poles at the four corners of the structure propping up the roof, and with only one side walled with a moldy piece of plywood. All of a sudden I heard a voice:

The sun is shining now, X. Your time is up.

I felt myself rising, and my field of vision became lighter and lighter until all was pearly white. I was deposited into a temple which resided in the heavens above, and the floor was of marble, and there were stained-glass and colorful windows far above me on the four walls of the cathedral, and polygonal and trapezoidal patterns on the ceilings and walls, which were of cherry wood, and there were gaudy chandeliers which sparkled seven colors every hundred feet hanging from the ceiling. I approached a podium at the far end of the hallway, traveling down a thick blue carpet, and began to prepare my sermon for the ghosts. Of course, I could not see them, and I knew that they were there, but the entire place had an aura of despair and of coldness and of emptiness, as if I had traveled far across sea and land and through air and space to find this place, and yet when I had finally arrived, there was nothing but deadness and death.

I pulled out a spiral notepad and a ballpoint pen and began to jot down some notes as I walked down this thick blue carpet, which was embroidered with golden thread at the edges. My steps were muffled, and the ballpoint pen was of superb quality, and I suppose it never could have run out of ink. I said to myself:

What is the square root of seventy-four? Oh, who cares.

When I reached the podium I recollected my notes and delivered the lesson to the ghosts, who were patiently waiting in the pews. When I had finished, one patted me on the back and I felt the coldness of his touch on my skin.

There was an assassin, of course, that I knew had been hunting me and attempting to assassinate me, through either the use of a dagger poisoned, or by applying snake venom to my meals, or through my strangling with a cord or through my drowning in a pool. I knew he was following me because I had seen him every now and then with my seven-thousandth eye. But as I made my way to the outside world, to the mountains outside through the gate at the opposite end of the blue carpet, the assassin, decked out all in black, came up to me and chatted with me as if with an old friend.

"X, how have you been? I've been trying to eat a meal with you all day. Do you like fish?"

"Pike and herring only. I don't eat swordfish."

"Of course. I could imagine what that would have felt like going down your throat."

"Please, let's discuss this at another time. What was your name again?"

"I'm just the assassin."

"What would happen, if we were to say, that I, in self-defense when you had attacked me, actually killed you?"

"My ghost would be impressed with you, in this hypothetical situation, but it will never happen."

"Why?"

My words were rudely interrupted, for I was about to say more, because the assassin had just pulled out a silvery cord from his pocket and wrapped it around my throat and was pulling from behind, attempting to choke me to death. I gargled and struggled for a moment and called out, and then managed to kick him with a backwards kick in the gut. He recoiled with an "Oof", and fell down on the floor. I massaged my throat and breathed and coughed, for he had let go of the silver cord, which shone dimly with a smile in the night, because all was turning to blackness, and the stars were coming out again, and I was rushing for the gate at the entrance to the cathedral -

"Stop! STOP! I have a ranged weapon!"

I didn't stop, and I was rushing for the gate, and I turned back in wildness, and he had a bow, of course, and several poisoned arrows. He pulled it back and shot, and an arrow whistled over my head.

"I'm all but certain you are out to kill me, you wretch," I said.

"You are not far wrong," he replied. "But I'll let you go this time."

I walked the remainder of the distance to the entrance gate, which was not far, and pushed on the great horizontal wooden bar, and exited the cathedral, and found myself on a mountaintop. At this elevation, the world's spherical shape could be seen, and the curvature of the earth was evident.

I saw forests, and green trees, and bushes, and desert lands, and sandy hills, and monkeys leaping from tree to tree, and no human beings and no people, and I saw deer, blue-tailed, and I saw purple bloodhounds, and I saw the sky -- the firmament -- a deep and serene dark blue, as if all the ocean had suddenly flown into the sky, and it shone and reflected light with a marvelous iridescence, as if it were the shiny ice cream of the world. There were the eight colors of the magical rainbow instilled inside the heavenly expanse, and I felt my home below.

But there was a waterfall which gushed not blood but water vapor close by. I walked down the sunset path, from which on both sides grew green herbs, plants of great beauty and healing power, as well as nightshade, pokeweed, and autumn olive berry plants. I made my way down to the vaporfall, as I suppose it could be called, and found unfortunately that it was gushing no water or vapor, but nothing at all. The water source had long since dried up.

I turned back and sighed, for I had been expecting a drink of water, but I jumped, startled, and my heartbeat increased in pace, because I suddenly saw before me, unless my eyes and heart deceived me, a woman of most tremendous and exotic beauty.

There she stood. Long black hair, white skin like milk, intense brown eyes, the perfect form. She had always glowed with the utmost radiance, and all would fall into silence when she walked into a room full of chatting people, gazing at her beauty of the greatest and purest and most unique quality -- indeed, she was like a goddess herself -- , until she left. I had never known or before laid eyes on a woman of such impeccable and eternal beauty, nor have I since, nor will I ever. Her eyes were like embers of fire, her lips were provocatively full and colored in just the right way, and her air and spirit was of the greatest and purest freshness, and she never grew old.

"Who are you?" I gasped.

She said nothing.

"What are you doing here?" I gasped.

She said nothing. She stared at me.

"Will you not respond to me?" I said.

She said nothing, looking at me in the eyes. There was the merest hint of a smile playing about her lips, but I knew she was toying with me.

I turned my back to her and observed once again the dead fountain. "How do you make this once again flow?" I said.

She finally spoke. "You idiot, I knew you were always there the whole time."

__



Then I found myself in a cave, and I had nothing but a dim fire to stoke and to tend. I was running out of fuel, so I had to venture out of the cave and collect some firewood, but I was missing my axe. So I decided to break some dead branches off of dead trees outside.

I made my way out of the cave, and it was a waxing crescent moon, and I saw them -- werewolves. Because I live in this dead forest, where no trees grow but where all dead trees are found, and the werewolves like to prey upon the living and eat them. But I had weapons, and I could kill them.

I had a crossbow, which somehow I had carried with me my entire life. It was almost as if my entire existence had been summed up in me living in this cave and fueling this fire for as long as I could remember, and that was all that there had been. Yet I knew that there was something else, something before. Before all of this had happened. Hidden in the darkness.

"You! Dwarf! Take this knife and go kill a werewolf for me. We need some food tonight and there is no other meat besides that which comes from them. I'll cook it after you kill it. Go!"

I did as I was bidden, and I climbed into a dead tree and attempted to blend in with the darkness. Soon enough, I heard a lusty howl coming from about three thousand feet away east, as I estimated, and I knew it was, undoubtedly, werewolves.

And I knew that they smelled me, of course, even though I had dressed myself with the perfume of the dead mosquito. But nevertheless, in order to kill a werewolf, I had to be lightning fast, otherwise I knew that I would have its teeth at my throat.

__



What are you doing?

Who, me?

Yes, you!

Doing what?

Doing that!

Oh, this?

Yes, that!

Oh, of course. I had simply been dreaming.

Dreaming?

Dreaming.

Well, then, wake up.



__



As usual, I found that I had entirely fabricated the scenario, and I woke up once more. It was just about to break into beautiful dawn, and my soul and existence were no longer there. I felt myself falling into myriads of apoplectic proletariat workers, who told me that I needed to increase the hourly minimum wage to negative three degrees Celsius.

I complied, and they finally let me go, but not before attempting to stone me to death, which I survived, all because I hid myself in the bathroom clothes dryer, and the glass on these clothes dryers are nearly impenetrable, unless you have made for yourself a concoction of arsenic mixed with liquid tungsten, raised to about three thousand degrees Fahrenheit, and you have drunk some of it yourself.

But in any case, I found myself in a boat, and far out at sea, alone, and a storm was brewing, as if all the ink in the world had spilled across the pages of this book, and all was lost to humanity's history.

The call of an eagle -
The sigh of the sound -
The whispering cackle -
The flying blood fount.

Well, well, well -- what have we here?
What have we today?
I'm flying in the ocean - I'm lost in the spray.
I tickled my girl -
I kissed her rainbow soul -
I loved her to death -
I blissed her so whole.

__

I walked upon the stars and I saw the beautiful girl of my dreams.
She said: Keep it clean... keep it clean... keep it clean.

__

You know... when the sun sets... I can feel it in your dreams.
When you find comfort in discomfort... and rest in suspense...
And you can even find joy in grief... and grief in joy...
It becomes funny and ridiculous and laughable...
It's okay. Like, I can do this. And I'm not giving up anything...
And there's still hope... and I can do this.