Dream Blood

Peel back the bark of the Acemeir tree and you’ll find the faintest traces of a sticky red sap. The ancients called it dream blood and revered the trees for their ability to transport lost souls to a place where they might discover answers, or, more probably, remain lost forever. For some, it held another possibility, and it was this chance, however slim, however brief, that had led to his desperate search.

It was a search that had consumed his mental and physical resources and taken him down a route he knew would haunt his future. But desperation is a powerful force, and one that had eventually opened doors he should never have known existed; doors that had terrified him; but which had been the only route available.

He would worry about the cost later. 

He sheathed his knife and examined the tiny graze he’d managed, with excruciating slowness, to work into the ancient, gnarled bark. Was it tinging red? Perhaps, or perhaps it was merely a trick of the light played by the sinking sun. He’d expected to see droplets of red forming on the trunk’s surface as dream blood escaped the tree’s guard; but knew now he was going to be disappointed. Perhaps the search had been in vain; the tree too old and withered to produce its potent drug. But perhaps not. He bent his face to the graze, pressed his lips to it and sucked. Nothing. He licked his lips and used his hand to spread the moisture over them. And tried again. Again, he felt nothing. 

He stood, feeling the hopelessness of the situation slowly envelop him in its cloying, suffocating embrace. His feet rooted him to the ground, but instead of feeding him, as roots should, they drained his energy and determination away. He watched the efforts of the last months soaking away through the soil beneath him and slumped slowly, the tree supporting his back, to the soft grassy bank beneath. 

As the world teetered and he tried to steady himself, he noticed the faint red streak on the back of his hand.

He awoke to the sound of a stream, and light blinding his eyes from a sapphire-blue sky. He was standing on a narrow path between peaceful hedgerows; a faint smell of sea in the air. He knew where he was! Ahead of him the hedges would open to reveal a large grassy area to the left. And to the right, would be, his mind hesitated, a cliff, and below that a sea wall th...

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Rod Webb
May 12 2020

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Wow! So much imagery! It has that feel of mythological tales of dreamworlds where everything is so hard that even hard things are soft, preventing you from completing your journey. A dimension of "oneness" between siblings when two consciousness help each pull back from an abyss.

Tony Spencer
May 4 2021

I loved this!!

Charity Reed
May 15 2020

Excellent plot which is well developed and vividly described with an unexpected ending.

Katherine Horejsi
May 12 2020