The Clock Froze at 3:08

Posted 1/18/17

Three O'eight. I was awake;

It might be better to say 'he,' second person, though it was me who was awake;

Dehydrated, maybe; and the clock that projected the time on the ceiling was …

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The Clock Froze at 3:08


Three O'eight. I was awake;

It might be better to say 'he,' second person, though it was me who was awake;

Dehydrated, maybe; and the clock that projected the time on the ceiling was frozen.

Or time was.

"Three O'eight," the image said.

"Not there," she had said, earlier;

So he moved his hand completely.

The dream had gotten critical; they were about to find the people he had hidden;

He, the person through whose eyes I see;

"Black and white" she always tells me; men. "Only women dream in color."

"At least shades, if not colors" I have said, though I swear I've seen colors;

Muted, perhaps.


Like a view from under water.

"We're trying to figure out things from our awake lives," I've heard;


Worries and images and memories crazy-mixed.

Good an explanation as any.

This time, there were cattle that needed tending. They were lying down, helpless.

We have no cattle.

It's a past-dream reference, the cattle, to one about pigs; hungry, dangerously so, in the barn.

Squealing, more like begging.

We have a barn; but we have no pigs.

If I look at our barn, I remember the pigs as if they were real

Before I remember they aren't.

I said to my (okay, first person) wife, in the dream, I'd take the truck and get some hay;

And I meant that; it was solid, solemn.

She just nodded.

We have no truck; not one that runs, anyway.

A stocky, shaggy, white horse came onto a porch we don't have.

"I'm getting hay," I said.

And then I was driving, not in a truck; in a car, very slowly on a street crowded with people;

Someone else was in the passenger seat. I looked past him, recognized my nephew, Dylan;

wanted to say "Hey, Dylan," but it was his brother, Carson, who looked into the passenger window;

At me; said, "Hey, Grandpa."


Uncle. By marriage. "Gotta go."

Had to, and we, this other, non-specific person and I, had to move on,

Now we were hurrying up one side of wide, concrete stairs.

Exposed aggregate.

And it was all critical, dangerous, hurried;

And there was a panel on a landing, gray, on a gray wall;

And it opened; and we went in;

Whoever was behind us evidently closer.

There were others inside. Scared, backed-away by the opening of the panel.


"It's all right," I said.

But then I was, suddenly, outside and below that room;

With Them.

Them. Uniformed, shaded, backlit; scary people from some 1950s movie;

One that referenced the 40s, war; the one after the... I don't want to say 'hunger.'


Black and white;


And one of Them, his face's features hidden by the shadow the brim of his hat dropped across it;

Standing at a sort of podium, had a...

Something like a round computer's mouse,

Sliding it over the horizontal screen;

GPS. On a table.

Beeping, lights flickering; zoning-in.


And he looked at me, knowing I knew what he wanted to know.

I knew the Others, those in the room, huddled, were in danger... not me, not the witness;

I was fine;

This time.

And I tried not to look toward them;

They, the man at the table, and the others behind him;

They were watching me.

Those people, those Others, were in such danger.

Beep, beep. Closer. I was ready to act.

I was moving my arm, my hand;

I didn't start that low moan that would rumble toward a scream;

One that has become that scream several times.

Not this time. I would act.

I saw color.

Red; projected on the ceiling.


I told myself I'd remember.


"Remember," my wife told me a moment ago,

"You have to..."

There are a million 'have to's.'

"Yeah, I know. I mean; yeah; I remember."

Some, not all.

"Maybe," I offer, opening the curtains, glancing toward the barn,

"Maybe, in dreams, things we turn away from otherwise... catch us."

"I'll feed the cats," she says, "When I wake up."


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