I remember everything.
I walk into the cube. The surface does not ripple. I pass through my own reflection. The dream changes. A vision:
It is the woods, from above. A sickness is spreading. Black patches, from many sources. Further up still, a pattern emerges, an impossible pattern of black, dead patches. The presence in the wood is rising. IÄISYYDEN KUOLEMATON PÖLLÖ is awakening. The world is dying. Life is consumed, a madness spreads. I am the only one to witness. I am alone. The world ends. The vision ends. I awaken.
I remember everything. There is nothing left to prepare. The dream has ended. I know what to do. I get up, the sun is just barely starting to rise. The morning is beautiful over the roofs of the city, a red sunlight reflected in the fog and dust. I put on clothes, by sheer reflex. I leave the apartment. I do not close the door behind me.
I remember everything. I get on a train and drive, I change trains, I drive further. The attendant checks tickets. She ignores my presence, utterly. Nobody on the train looks at me twice, nobody looks away, I simply exist as decoration. It is noon. I get off. A small village, somewhere, barely worth a train station. I walk, for hours. I reach the forest.
I remember everything. I enter the forest, naked, my clothes left behind. I do not feel the cold wind nor the sun on my skin. I feel nothing. I walk with purpose, there is a clearing. In the middle, a dagger. It looks ancient, it looks hand crafted, it looks impressive. It is a king’s dagger, or a priest’s. It had been passed on by other priests, older ones, druids, pagans. This dagger is older than the new gods. It is older than history, it is older than writing. It is not older than the forest, the rain, the sun shining or the stones below.
I remember everything. There is a doe on the edge of the clearing. I take the dagger. I take the doe’s life. I paint strange symbols on my skin. I have seen them before, I do not understand their meaning. They are letters of Latin, runes of my own invention, runes of ancient languages, they mean nothing to me. I can feel something now. I feel words, burning on my skin, it hurts more than anything I ever felt. I do not hesitate, I do not even acknowledge the pain. I carry the carcass and put it on the tree stump. The deer still has blood to give, a little puddle is forming.
I remember everything. There is a shoat on the opposite edge of the clearing. No birdsong, no wind, no sound but naked feet on the leafy forest ground. The little boar does not scream, it dies as quietly as the doe. The other naked human is a stranger. It lowers its dagger and paints itself in strange symbols of blood. They resemble eastern characters, I do not recognize any. As it walks over to the tree stump, carrying the shoat carcass like a precious child, I can see the tiniest amount of smoke rising from where the symbols burn into skin. The human does not flinch. I paint the others back in expert strokes of foreign characters. The other paints my back, for a short time, I can feel sun and wind between the strokes.
I remember everything. Every detail, every leaf I pass as I paint the ground. The doe does not stop bleeding, until the very end. Neither does the shoat. We have completed two half circles, they are not touching. The sun is setting. The evening glow falls onto the tree stump. The blood shines. The circles connect. I touch the other human, we lock hands. The words fuse across our bodies. The symbols flare and vanish. We leave in opposite directions.
I remember everything. As I walk back, I am still smeared with blood and dirt. The symbols have vanished in form, but their paint remains. It is dark as I reach the edge of the forest, I do not find my clothes. I start feeling the cold, black clouds have started to form. As I reach the train station, a thunder rumbles in the distance. I step onto the train right before the doors close.
I remember everything. I remember every drop of rain sputtering against the windows of the train. I remember the stains I leave on the seats, I remember nobody paying any notice whatsoever. People still do not see me. As I walk home from the train station, the rain washes off the worst of the dirt. It is still pouring intensely, even here. I reach my apartment, the door is still open. Without conscious decision, I step into the shower and mechanically clean my body. The sun is setting. I collapse onto my bed.
I just woke up, there was no dream, no visions, not the slightest disturbance of my deep, exhausted sleep. I just woke up, and I still remember everything.
I don’t know what to do now. I can not go back and live my normal life again. I don’t know what to do.
I remember everything.
I understand nothing.