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05 November 2004 @ 01:42 am
Second installment!  
This brings my wordcount up to 2 002, only 47 998 words to go!


Al nodded even though he felt a bit ridiculous following a cat—a talking cat—around and fell into step behind Blue.

“Oh, I suppose I should give some sort of introduction, my name is Blue, as you all ready know, and one of my responsibilities is to explain things to you,” he said as they walked toward Al’s house.

“Can you explain why my old, dead cat is alive and talks with a British accent?”

“No.”

“Great. So why is a cat explaining things to me?”

“It’s one of my responsibilities, I just told you.”

“Okay, responsibility of what, exactly?”

“I’m a Guardian of this place, I have to know these things in order to keep you out of trouble.”

“Well you’re doing fine so far,” Al muttered.

“If you’re referring to what happened back there, that was out of my control. If you’ll recall I did try to calm you.”

“Yeah, what was that, anyway?”

“That was a Landscape shift, they’re quite common when you’re dream. Essentially, what happened was you ended up shocking yourself so significantly that your emotions triggered the reshaping of the land around you. Luckily for those of us who have to live here, the effects of a shift that size are temporary and everything will be right as rain in a few hours.”

“I think I should tell you that you’re doing a sucky job of explaining things to me,” Al commented.

If Blue had heard him, he didn’t give any indication although his pace seemed to quicken a bit. They reached the house a few minutes later, although Al entered with some inexplicable trepidation.

“What’s the matter?” Blue asked.

“It’s weird, but this doesn’t really feel like my house,” Al observed, looking around the living room.

“Just as I thought,” Blue said to himself.

“What’s that?”

“You’ve gone lucid and, as a result, you’ve recognised this isn’t exactly your house.”

“Say what?”

“I think you’d better sit down, I have a lot to explain.”

Al took a seat in an old leather recliner as Blue leapt up onto the mantle above the fireplace.

“Where to begin?” he pondered, twitching his tail in thought. “Well let’s start with your relationship to this world which we call the Landscape. It is a part of you. It is, in essence, a representation of your subconscious which is, in turn, a representation of how you interpret and view the world. This is why your house exists here, yet feels slightly unnatural to you. Are you with me so far?”

“I think so.”

“Good, now when you dream, this is where all the dreaming occurs. Your dreams are interactions with various citizens.

“Now, the normal flow of things is you come here when you’re asleep, frolic about for a few hours, then leave when you wake. When you’re lucid, as is the case now, you’re a bit more troublesome.”

“Troublesome?”

“No, that’s not a good word for it. You’re just a bit of an annoyance, really.”

“I’m an annoyance to myself?”

“You’re an annoyance to everyone who lives here because all the times you’ve been lucid you’ve done much worse to the Landscape than creating a jungle in the middle of the street.”

“I made that? It didn’t just happen?”

“No, Landscape shifts and reshapes don’t happen randomly, when you’re lucid, you trigger them whether you’re consciously doing it or not.”

“So I can do anything I want?” Al asked eagerly.

“You can,” Blue sighed, “but you really oughtn’t. It puts a good deal of strain on the Landscape and everyone else.”

“Oh, come on, let me make something.”

“Fine, fine, but it has to be small enough to fit in your hand, we don’t need you creating airplanes out of thin air.”

“Okay, I’ll make an ice cream cone, then.”

“Ice cream—how old are you, sixteen or eight?”

“How do I make it work?” Al asked, ignoring his comment.

“Just imagine it.”

The clock on the wall ticked off the seconds as Al stared at his hand, obviously concentrating as hard as possible; Blue refrained from making an obvious joke at his expense.

“Nothing?” he asked after a full minute had passed.

“I think my hand might be a little colder,” Al said uncertainly. “What’s wrong with this place, is it broken or something?”

“No, but something is definitely wrong. You’ve done much more in the past. The only reason why you wouldn’t be able to do it is—no, that’s not possible,” Blue shook his head.

“What? What’s not possible?”

“Well, when you have lucid dreams, you’re conscious and have total control over the Landscape. The situation we seem to have now is that you’re most definitely conscious yet you have no control whatsoever.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means you’re here by mistake somehow because you don’t appear to be dreaming at all and if you aren’t dreaming then you shouldn’t be here in the first place.”

“Okay, so what’s happened?”

“Any number of things could have happened, unfortunately I don’t know of any off the top of my head.”

“Well if the stupid talking cat doesn’t know then who does?” Al yelled, on the verge of panic.

“The Fountain of Knowledge might.”

“’Might’?” Al repeated. “You don’t even know if it will?”

“No, this hasn’t ever happened before and I have to say that yelling at me isn’t going to make anything better.”

“Okay, so where is this fountain?”

“I’d say it’ll take us about a week and a half to get there on foot.”

“On foot? This dumb place doesn’t have any cars?”

“This section of the Landscape doesn’t because your interpretation of things is that we’d all be better off without cars, remember?”

“I—well—that’s not fair!”

“No, it isn’t, but you’re blowing things way out of proportion. The chances are very good that whatever problem this is will resolve itself on its own and you’ll wake up while we’re walking. Now go find a bag, we need to pack a few essentials.”
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