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Issue number eleven




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Out of a Dream by Michel Sauret

Salvador Dali closes his eyes, and so I come into existence.  I don't know what I am today.  Maybe a man, maybe a woman.  I've been everything in the past, from a small child with a schoolboy outfit to a floating lion head, surveying the dreamscape from overhead.  I have two muscular legs and two arms right now, for how much longer I don't know, so I think I'm a man today, but I'd have to look at my reflection in the water to be sure.

I've been on a journey for a long time now, each time taking rest whenever Dali awakens.  I can't travel as much as I'd like because at times he awakes abruptly, excited and inspired by what he's seen in these images and goes right to his canvas to work, often for hours.  I don't know what I'm in search of, really.  Something new, I guess.  Something exciting, adventurous, maybe the pinnacle of abnormality.

Tonight I've already been walking for years, centuries, perhaps minutes in regular time.  It's hard to say how far I've traveled, though.  Each time that I come into existence again, the landscape is different, the sky a color dissimilar from the previous one.  I've encountered different creatures along the way.  There have been women of all sorts that have kept me company, some of which I've made love to without even realizing that I was doing it.  But then they left me with a wink and a smile, and I was more than content with that.  I've even met swans, always glad to share stories of their past as they swim along the water's surface.  They were good company too, even though they'd never admit that they were swans because their reflections showed that they were elephants.  Would've fooled me too if I hadn't been able to compare the two images, one above the other. We nearly got in an argument over that, but in the end I let it go.

As I keep on walking a few minutes go by, more centuries passing, and I know now that my feet are growing tired.  Conveniently enough, I think I've reached something.  I extend my arm, and I find it to be incredibly heavy.  A wooden stilt grows from the ground like an upright root and supports my arm's weight.  With my fingers I caress the fabric that drapes before my eyes.  It's soft, smooth, like a mother's pregnant belly.

I tear a hole in the fabric with my fingernail, and then with my beak (for now I have grown one) I make the hole larger.  Then, as I'm pushing through the fabric, my body morphs like it has so many times before.  My beak is my elbow now, and what was my neck just moments ago has turned into my right arm.  The fabric becomes thicker, resisting my efforts to push through.  But then, as my arm leads me forward, my torso escapes through the fabric.  As I wiggle out, saliva strings of yolk wrap around me like ropes, trying to pull me back in, but now I'm almost all the way out and I'm not ready to give up.  Just my foot remains.

I dangle from my ankle for a moment as I observe that I've just come out of an egg the size of a boulder, not much bigger than my body.  Finally the egg lets go of my foot and I plummet to the ground some few hundred feet below.  I'm in a desert now, and the heat is suffocating.  On the ground I see a large piece of flesh, so big that it could be a blanket.  Not far from it, hanging from the dead limb of a tree, is a melted watch.

This is all new to me, yes, but not what I'm looking for.  After witnessing the legion of God declaring the coming of the end of time (this was a few years back), a couple melted clocks don't leave a lasting impression.  But then I look over my shoulder, and there it is!  I see it!  I've found what I'm looking for.

A large window, the size of a mural, stands not too far away.  I walk toward it, and with each step I take the window becomes smaller and smaller.  Finally it's in front of my face, and now it's no larger than a checkerboard folded in half.  Through the window, a woman's face is watching me closely.  Her expression is of curiosity, reflecting my own.  I move slightly to the side, and she steps back, eyes widening, bringing a hand to cover her parted lips.

Sticking my fingers through the floating window, I grab hold of the edges and I pull myself through.  I fall to the ground, hitting it hard.  My body is covered in paint, my skin swirl-stricken in colorful patterns.  I look up and the woman runs away whimpering, then farther down a hall I hear her shrieking.

I'm in a strange building, with pictures framed on each wall.  At my side is a glass door.  I'm guessing that it's the entrance to this building.  Through the glass I see a pigeon poking at the ground, eating bits of food without much expression.  I observe the pigeon for a minute, waiting for it to give birth to a horse with toothpick legs or for a tiger to leap out of its mouth, but it does not happen.

So this is reality.  How strange a place this is.

Michel Sauret was born in Rome, Italy, where he lived for the first ten years of his life. He moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1995. In his senior year of high school he joined the US Army Reserves. Other than this story, his fiction is unpublished; his poetry has been displayed in Poetry.com anthologies and two Noble House editions. He is currently studying studio art and creative writing at The University of Pittsburgh.

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