Swarm — A Dream



“Swarm” — C.Birde, 10/17


Side by side that night, we slept and dreamed our separate dreams.


Or so it seemed.


I, in a derelict house that leaned within its footings, climbed a crooked staircase through a murk of dark. Hand trailing the banister’s time-gnawed and pitted wood, I reached the slanted landing and moved, as if down a throat, through railroaded rooms that lead one into another. Faded carpets underfoot, their colored patterns lost to time and wear. The house felt empty – of soul and memory – and the walls held little on their broken plaster planes beyond strips and tears of antique floral papers. Three windows in that final claustrophobic room held only night – far darker for its starless aspect – and here, carpet and floorboards both peeled and fell away to reveal a swollen bulge beneath. The sides sloped gently upward to a hole defined by the floorboards’ split and broken edges, and from this broke-toothed fissure emerged a skittering, chittering fury of insects. Mandibled and multi-legged, their pale, foot-long, segmented bodies writhed in and out of that misplaced hole in chaotic, threatening fashion. Near at hand, I found a smooth, stout branch and thrust its gnarled end into that revolting hive. I heard the crunch and squish of squashed, insectoid bodies, felt my stomach heave. But the swarm did not decrease. I knew I’d earned the creatures’ wrath when, with relief, I woke.


Unbeknownst to me, he, too, in his sleep dreamed. Of a house, filled less with dark than light, its angles meeting square and right. And he – downstairs, not up – perceived in the sweep of ceiling overhead a bulge in that smooth space, seemingly benign. A squat stalactite of sloped sides, its peak crowned in a dark, hollow depression from which moved to and fro a collective of insects, sleek bodied with wings of pale and iridescent green pressed to the subtle gleam of their hardened carapaces. Though he craned his neck to discern the meaning of their movements, he felt no threat, but curiosity.


Side by side that night, we slept and dreamed our separate dreams.


Or so it seemed.


— C.Birde, 10/17



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