I keep saying I won’t post additional excerpts from the Dreamdarkers manuscript, but I keep lying—apparently.
When I posted the last segment, what I called the beginning of chapter 1, I immediately felt disgusted at the very idea. How tawdry! How cheap!
You see, it was my intention to provide a misleading non sequitur before the real story begins. Actually, it’s not so much that it was to be misleading; it was to offer a glimpse of what is to come before a great deal of depth takes shape in the narrative.
Looking back on it, I find it horribly crude.
Now I’m making up for that.
Dreamdarkers will now begin with a prologue and will end with an epilogue. The dream sequence revealed in the post linked to above will either change or will occur later in the tale.
No matter its fate, however, I want to give you a glimpse of the new beginning and the new end. The book will still be written as a first-person account. What you see below instills a new flavor, though, one given only to the rushed notations Dave Lloyd will add before and after his mental discharge takes form beginning with chapter 1 and ending with chapter whatever.
So—and perhaps for the last time—I’m offering you a glimpse of the novel that is to come. This instance changes the dynamics from cover to cover. I can’t tell you how excited I am to make this significant change to the story’s flow. . .
Just know I wrote both of these in the last half hour. Neither is polished or complete. In fact, both of these are small pieces of larger wholes I’m unwilling to share. Still, I think you’ll get the point.
The beginning of the prologue:
This is a test where I was wondering what I might want to type in this little letter. It’s really a letter to me. Or perhaps it’s a letter to no one in particular.
I wrote this thinking it important to share our experiences with you. Now I fear there is no one left with whom I might share our experiences. You’re trapped in this with us, aren’t you? All of you are here somewhere, just more pieces of meat suspended in this infernal cold, more carrion painted with dark so complete that nothing can be seen of you. Yes, you’re all here. I can feel you.
The abomination continues reaching around the door and further into the room. Something about it makes me think the negative pressure of the office somehow hinders it, yet each time I think that, I realize I’m wishing, imagining at best.
I’m sure everyone is gone by now. Carr Beholden has been vacuumed clean already and I see no reason to think differently about the rest of the world. The beast has arrived, the Dreamdarkers, and the end of the era of humankind is finally upon us. How often we pondered what might bring about our extinction. Would it be an asteroid strike that ends us like the dinosaurs? Or a plague, especially one milled on the stone of human advancement? Or even some cosmic gesture to prove our insignificance, like a wandering black hole or an unforeseen supernova in our galactic neighborhood?
But it will be none of those things. Rather, it is none of those things, for the end of we Homo sapiens has arrived. She’s a mistress dressed in black, a black so deep that no darker hue exists, and she wants to be with us only so that she might consume us. And consume us she will if what I’ve seen is any indication.
Nothing surprised me more than the overwhelming power of the darkness to penetrate into my soul without being in the same room as me. It powered a fire I was unable to quell with water from my own flesh. Had I cut a piece of it from me and used it to smother the flames, they would have lapped at it like fuel, like fresh gas thrown over a raging blaze. No matter how much I wanted to put out the inferno, it became more powerful with my every attempt. Its predatory essence overcame me and pierced my mental defenses. While I tried to find some hope in the hopeless, the Dreamdarkers came and helped me realize I was doing what was right. . .
The beginning of the epilogue:
How could we have known? I keep asking myself that question as though it provides an answer. I’ve always hated it when someone answers a question with a question. Still, I find myself using that same cheap exit strategy in an attempt to excuse the inexcusable. How could we have known?
The history of histories is replete with dreamers. Our particular species, Homo sapiens, once believed it was a holy and spiritual experience that no other creature shared. Nightmares were thought of as direct-dialed calls from the Devil himself, while most dreams were so overly magical and incomprehensible that they had to be nothing short of gentle touches from whatever god or gods we worshipped. It was by those primitive standards we found it sacrilegious to consider that any other beast could dream. We assumed in our simple way they didn’t have souls as we did. They didn’t pray. They didn’t know what we knew.
And yet they did dream. We all dreamed.
As we grew in our understanding of life, the simplest things proved our early assumptions incorrect. Our beloved family pet lying at our feet whispering and wiggling in its sleep showed us the experience was shared among many species right here on Earth. The most basic creatures demonstrated in sleep what had long been the purview of humanity: dreaming. We all did it.
We all did it because it was part of who we were. It was no more an intentional act than it was a violent one. So how could we have known? Honestly, we’d grown up doing it… I can’t see that we could have known. And as dream-Beth said, even had we known, the experience of dreaming had grown so overwhelmingly delightful so early in our development that it became part of a shared genetic heritage passed down as part of our collective being. We didn’t go to sleep at night and subconsciously decide we wanted to dream. We didn’t even decide consciously. It just happened. It was a part of who we were, so it just happened on its own.
Yet had we known what I’ve learned—what we’ve learned in the last 48 hours, could we have denied ourselves? I doubt it. In the lush forest or wide-open field that only he sees, chasing the prey that so enticed him, could the dog have denied its own nature in sleep and refused to dream? Offered the opportunity to lounge in never ending sunshine meant to warm it to just the right temperature while insects buzzed lazily about, could the lizard have denied itself the opportunity to dream? With prey aplenty and always willing to give just the right amount of chase before yielding the ultimate prize, the final catch, could the great predator felines have refused to slip into that world at every possible opportunity to enjoy flourishing savannas and always-comfortable trees where appetites could be satisfied as quickly or as slowly as one wanted? Given the opportunity to fly without wings, to be young when our bodies were old and feeble, to once again sit by the fire with a loved one long since dead, and to see the wonder and beauty of great mystery, would humans have denied themselves the opportunity to escape into that world? I don’t think any creature who’d experienced dreaming could so easily give it up even if they understood the repercussions that eventually would follow. It’s just not our nature; it’s just not like the living to deny what is so desperately desired and readily available.
But even these considerations fail to define where I now find myself. In two days on a single planet in an obscure corner of a single galaxy, we’ve discovered the hard way precisely how much such indulgences can cost. . .