Last night, I had another weird dream... I think I
was inside a television set looking out. Actually,
I think I was the television set. There was a
boy in the room, maybe eight years old. He talked to me,
and I talked back. We talked about many things; he
asked me many questions. I made him laugh, I made him
think, I helped him with one of his homework problems.
And then I heard his mother call to him from the other
room, and he said, "I have to go now," and he reached
out and turned me off.
I had an odd interaction with Laura this morning. When
I told her I was leaving town, she just giggled. That's it--no
complaints, no look of sadness or upset, just, "Tee hee". I...well,
I didn't know what to say to this since it was the last thing
I expected, so I just sat there perplexed for a moment.
"You really did hit your head, didn't you," she finally said.
Then she did start looking concerned, realizing that I
was serious. She said she would pack up some food and we can
go together by horse. I gladly accepted, of course--much
rather ride than walk, and then she can take the horses
back when I catch my ride.
We're off momentarily.
Where to start... No, there isn't an earthquake, my hands are shaking.
We rode out of town. I asked her what way to go. She of course
didn't know, but she said it didn't really matter and that I should
just pick a direction, so I did. We rode for a while, at a casual
pace so as not to wear out the horses, and then I noticed it. There
was something odd about the horizon, some sort of optical illusion,
like a mirage but without the shimmering. I stopped my horse to get
a stationary look at it. I couldn't quite figure out what I was
seeing. The horse was still shifting its weight from foot to foot
a bit, jarring my vision enough to be annoying, so I stepped
down. And when I looked back to the horizon, it looked fine! Laura
sat and watched me with the patience of a parent with her child,
maybe raising a brow once or twice. So I shook my head, got back up
on the horse, and--there it was again! In fact, the whole horizon
moved strangely as I climbed up and down--which, by the way,
did start to annoy the horse.
"Come, let's go," Laura said, so I re-mounted and tentatively
It soon became evident what was going on. Within a minute we were
standing before a painting of the horizon.
I jest not. Actually, it was more of a print than a painting,
because within ten yards it was obviously mashed together out of random
blobs of color. At first I started laughing, because it was really
so preposterous. There was nothing subtle about it. Some sort of
I noticed the
texture of the surface, fine little swirls like a fingerprint, but
sharply ridged, more like a metal file. Holding my hand to shade it
and reflect light onto it from various directions I realized it was
designed to make each bit of the mural respond to light in the same
way as a surface set at the angle of the object the mural was depicting
at that point, so as the sun passed overhead during the day, the mural
would continue to look approximately correct. I say approximate,
because it really isn't that great. I mean, once I knew it was there,
what it was, I could see it from half a mile away. But...it's just
not something one normally expects!
Naturally I made some attempt to chip at it with a rock, to see what
was underneath, how deep or superficial the colors were, etc., but
it was truly impervious to any assault I made. (The rocks out there
weren't particularly hard, though. They chipped quite easily.) Laura
just gave me a crooked smile after a while and said, "You really haven't
ever been to the boundary before, have you?"
The Boundary. Why she didn't just tell me...oh, I wouldn't have
believed it anyway. And from what I gather The Boundary is just
such a universal truism here, it's not something anyone would think
to mention unless there was something going on there. You know, like,
"Ritual sacrifice at The Boundary, East, tonight at midnight!"
Anyway, we rode alongside it for a while, until it was clear to me
that it was in fact a big circle around the city just as Laura had
claimed. We headed back, and here I am, right where I
was last night, and I'm just a little bit confused. Just a little
How tall is The Boundary? She doesn't know. To hear her talk
about it, there is quite a bit of idle speculation about what is
on the other side, whether there is an other side, whether it has
a top or goes up forever, whether the sky is part of it, whether
there is a boundary deep beneath the soil...
I might have thought this place was a disposal site for the politically untoward,
but it seems as if most--perhaps all?--of these people have been
here their whole lives. It doesn't add up. How did I get here?
How do I get out?
My hands are still shaking.
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