Chapter 40Unbalanced

I dreamed...

A lake, no not a lake, an ocean. Water from horizon to horizon, completely smooth and undisturbed. I could see the light reaching into the depths, the vision fading to the darkest of blues and greens as the sun tried it's hardest, no seafloor in sight. It wasn't really warm or cold, just a pleasurable temperature. No wind or really any sounds besides those I made myself.

I wasn't swimming though, my feet were easily supported by the water as I walked on top of it. Each footstep causing a ripple or two that slowly faded away beyond what my eyes could see. It was fun, actually. I watched in rapture, leaning on my left foot, then my right, to see how the water would respond. I even knelt down and touched the water with my fingers, feeling the cool, but not unpleasant, water. Fascinated, I let some water run through my hands. Everything was as it should, it's just that I was, for some reason, able to walk on top of it.

I started walking, not sure what I was meant to do in this dream. There was no real direction here, which reminded me of the desert. Then I started thinking, was this a dream like those, was I supposed to meet someone and... die again? A cold shiver ran past my spine. I still carried on, for some reason these dreams felt important. As if they were pieces of a puzzle which I wasn't even aware of yet.

Suddenly there was a small island not too far away, consisting of rocks and pebbles of various sizes, with a girl in a red-brown summers dress, sitting on her knees and playing with them. I wasn't really sure, but from here it looked like she was trying to stack them on top of each other. Time passed, real or not, before I reached the island and stepped from the water onto the gravel.

It felt as if gravity had finally found me again.

The girl looked... poor for some reason. Though her dress had red in it, her face was quite grubby, her hair dishevelled. But she didn't look unhappy as such. Just very unkempt. She looked different too, her skin darker than usual and her hair black and slightly frizzy. She was pretty though, all her details appeared to make her playful rather than dirty.

"Hello there." I smiled at her as I walked towards her.

She looked up, looking surprised at my tone. "Hello dreamer."

"I'm Taran, what's your name?"

She smiled. "I'm called Ila." She continued trying to stack up her rocks and pebbles. She found it funny to start with smaller ones and stacking larger rocks on top of it.

I knelt down. "Do you have any sisters?"

She shrugged. "Only two, but I'd be surprised if you met both of them."

For some reason I couldn't quite remember the names of the other girls. Three sisters... Did it have any meaning?

"So, Ila, what are you making?"

She smiled. "A mountain. But it's not easy, a mountain needs a lot of rocks and pebbles."

"Why?"

She shrugged again. "Why not? What else is there to do for a pebble?"

I laughed a little, she had a point. "I don't know."

She giggled and went back to her stacking and balancing. When I looked around, the water level had dropped significantly, without any sound. Instead of the small island I thought we were on, this was the top of a large mountain, still surrounded by water. There were a few more mountains in the distance but I didn't have much time to look at them. As soon as I realized we were on a mountain I felt it shift.

"Oops." The girl spoke as her little tower of rocks and pebbles collapsed...

As did the ones beneath me. Her stones mixed with the ones beneath my feet as I was suddenly rolling along the mountain-side. From pebbles and rocks to boulders bounced besides me, nothing to hold on to, nothing to stop. There was nothing I could do as my body slid down unhindered, guided by thousands of stones, rocks and pebbles. I was surprised how I had so far remained fairly unscathed. No damage save for a few small bruises on my arms and legs. The girl, still safe on the top of the mountain, giggled in the distance. I looked up.

And noticed he shadow of a large boulder.

Time slowed down.

The boulder, three times my size and uncompromisingly solid, blocked the light of the sun above me and was heading straight for me. Even though I was still sliding down at a decent speed, the boulder appeared to be going just a little bit faster, fast enough for me to end up directly beneath it when it would bounce.

And it did.

I felt my bones crush beneath the weight, my skin rupturing as organs and muscles were pressurised outwards. Just a flash of such intense pain and weight, it was unbearable. The last thing crushed was actually my head, somehow I still felt it's sensations as the boulder finally pressed my head together and caused it to burst like an egg. It was much more intense than the two other dreams, much further than I wanted the sensations to go.

It had to stop!

I woke with a scream.