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dark water draining north

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Sometimes

you do not dream purely of water.

Mostly, there is weighty silence, and starlight. Water swirls, slick and heavy, hollowed out with knowledge.

Hungry.

The scars itch, ever-present friends in your journey north. Sometimes blood spatters across your blankets in a frenzy of scratching, old wounds reopened. The wind creeps through the cracks in your window, an urgent curl of breath snatched from the Unterzee.

North, it whispers. North.

At those times, your bones clack. Your head lolls carelessly on the pillow, like a doll, a puppet. Your limbs are lead and your joints are chains. The dreams catch you, buoy you up. You dangle lifelessly, chains biting into the sky like anchors, suspended by your own folly.

You don't remember what was important. The only thing that is important is the Name.

The Name, the Number. Your teeth and your belly ache with hunger, set alight. Whatever you eat is never enough.

(And you eat much. Sometimes you wake and you find yourself bleeding from teeth-marks. You know they are yours.)

Nothing is more real than what you seek. So you dream.

But.

Sometimes the dreams are different.

Sometimes

there is darkness, lit by the slow burn of fragile lights

pale ghost fire, the colour of tallow, sinking beneath the waves

punctuated by a frantic, stuttering heartbeat and the punctuation of screaming thought

why can't you breathe? they've betrayed you. they've betrayed you-

The water is bitter in your mouth.

Breathing is a struggle; blood stains the sharp walls in swirls and patterns until the well

the Well

the well is red

has it always been red?

You pull in air and choke on water, tangy with blood. You go down again. Your eyes flick up, involuntarily, hoping for salvation.

There is none.

Nothing pulls you from the water.

For a moment, it feels too real to be a dream

but when you wake, nothing remains of the dream

the memory (his memory)

And eventually

nothing will remain of you.