Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
My arms are long and my skin is blue. I’m thin. I can feel long-forgotten muscles flex all over my scalp as my head tentacles wave. I have four huge orange eyes on the corners of my square face. Slowly, I get used to four viewpoints of vision instead of two.
The bright orange stripe down my belly flashes red in alarm for a second while I struggle to breath through a ‘mouth’ before my body remembers my anterior gills. My body stripe settles down again to orange with yellow dots as my emotions turn to pleasure and reflection.
My secondary arms uncross while my stronger main arms stretch up and unlatch the clasps holding the mask to my face. I can feel my thick tail get ‘pins and needles’ as the blood rushes back into it after a long time asleep. My toes flex.
With a sharp intake of breath, I sit up and reflect. I lick the crusted sleep-salt from around my mouth and stare forward.
All around me, fellow sleepers are dreaming.
I was what was called an accountant. I lived in a small town called Sharecrop in a state called Texas in a country called the United States. I was born in a year called 1925. I was beaten as a child, dropped out of school, and ran away when I was eighteen to a bigger city called Austin. I came to be an accountant by getting a part time job at a bank and showing a talent with numbers.
I married a teller. She couldn’t have children. We never adopted. We were happy although loneliness and silence eventually left us distant from each other. When she died at the startling age of 43 from heart failure, I remember being quite stricken with how little I knew about this woman that she had evolved into over the years. I knew her habits, sure, but not her.
I retired at 55. I was hit by a car at 62 and died at the scene. It was agonizing.
I have been asleep for sixteen hours. I will take what I have learned and try to add it to our race conciousness and my broodfamily.
We dream of the humans. We become them. We live their lives.
I have a hard time with their loneliness. Two people to make a baby? I feel better with our race’s number of six. Two or three children? I feel better with our race’s number of forty slills to a litter.
I feel grateful after the dreaming to be what I am but I also feel like something profound is missing.