Winter Rain, part 30

The dream begins as it always does. I know it’s a dream. I’m not sure how, exactly, but I always know.

I’m running. Not away from, or to, just . . . running. Along a white road through rolling green meadows. Stacked walls of blackened limestone and granite divide the land into oddly shaped, verdant fields. Sheep country. Farm country. There’s the smell of bog in the air, too—but faintly, not unpleasant.

And I’m running. Now wolf, now human. Now both at once. Maybe that’s how I know this is a dream.

The sun is shining brightly, amidst large, clumpy white clouds. The wind drives them hurriedly across the sky. The light flickers from bright to dark and back again, as each cloud passes.

There’s a large hill in the distance. A mountain, almost. But that’s not where I’m heading.

But where am I heading, then?

Just run.

Small birds flit from copse to bramble, across the road, or along it, as they please. Two keep pace with me while I run. But it’s not a competition. It’s a game. And we all win. As long as we move.

The air is cool in my nose, and on my tongue. It has an edge of dampness, but only enough to be pleasant.

But, somehow, things start to change.

The clouds grow thicker. They pile together in rafts, and the wind seems less able to push them along. White dulls to grey in places. The dark moments grow slowly longer, and yet I run on. I have to be somewhere.

Don’t I?

I thought I was just running.

I look around, but the birds are gone. Weren’t they here just a minute ago?


The air grows damper, colder, in my nose. It chills my skin, despite my fur. And I have fur now. I’m no longer both. I’m no longer human. Just wolf. Just running.

Towards now. And maybe away. No, definitely towards. But towards what?

I don’t know, but I need to get there. I need to get there soon.

The sun is gone, and the clouds descend. There is mist in the air—little tiny drops of rain, so tiny they don’t fall. They just scurry in the air, before my eyes. And into my fur.

The stone walls have fallen into disrepair. There are big gaps in them, now; places where the rocks lie sprawled across the ground. And the green is now tinged with yellow—a sickly yellow. A deathly yellow. The white of the road has turned to blackened dirt. And the mist smells of bog—of wet, rotting vegetation, rotting for an eternity, rotting without any hope of turning to dust.

I’m cold now. I shiver, even as I run. And the world is grey.

There’s a crossroad ahead.

And suddenly I know I’m running the wrong way. I shouldn’t have come here. I should be running the other way!

But I can’t seem to turn.

And there she is—off to the side, kneeling beside a tiny trickle of water. My feet slow, and stop, even though I’m ordering them to move. Away.

And I’m beside her. Only a few feet away. Within arms reach. And she is ancient, from the look of her skin. It sags from her face, and neck, and arms in deep folds. Her hair is white and thin, unkempt. Stiff, even, like wire. It doesn’t move in the wind.

In her hands she holds a white shirt, dripping wet. She thrusts it back into the stream and turns to look at me. Her face cracks into a wide grin, full of missing teeth, and my skin crawls.

Her eyes are black as night, two holes of infinite depth, waiting. Always waiting.

“You are Tiergan,” she says. But her voice is inside my head. And it grates at me, at my entire being. I want to flee. I need to flee. But my feet won’t move.

She releases one hand from the shirt and reaches out to pat my head.

She growls, “It’s so nice of you to come.”

And I’m awake, instantly—a very human scream unable to form through my very canine mouth. And my body is way ahead of me—I’m already pushing off the ground, ready to attack. Ready to run.

But the dream leaves my vision as quickly as it came, and I know where I am. And it was just a dream. Like always.

I look up. Faolan is standing over me.

10 Responses to “Winter Rain, part 30”

  1. That’s crazy!  It’s Thursday.  And I’ve posted!  The world must be ending!

  2. srsuleski says:

    WHAT?  Did you just have Tiergan meet a Bean Nighe?

     . . . This doesn’t bode well. :|

  3. :-D That was a wonderful reaction!  Thanks — you’ve made my morning.  :-)

  4. Katie says:

    Bean Nighe . . . erm . . . Dune?
    Man I really need to read those books.
    Excellent chapter, as always. Creepy.

  5. Bean Nighe isn’t a book.  I probably should leave it vague, but, what the hell — Google it if you want to know what’s really going on in Tiergan’s poor little head. 

    I never trust myself with creepy — I’ve just never done it well.  Sarah kicks ass at it, though, so maybe I shouldn’t compare my writing to hers.  In any event, glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Vercin says:

    From what I remember from Sonja Nitschke’s “Fiction Murdered?” that’s a spirit of very ill omen . . . if you see her washing your clothes, you’re going to die. I rather suspect Sonja was pulling on a more general myth, as Chris is now.

    And if you haven’t read Fiction Murdered, you should. Great little tale.

    Oh. Hiyya Faolan! waves furiously

  7. teehee says:

    I get the picture of Faolan looming over Tiergan in a dominant alpha dog pose.  Tiergan, however, is not on his back cowering, not defiantly facing him, but cautiously submissive, nose and ears pulled back.

  8. Vercin says:

    In my mind, Faolan was definitely doing the alpha thing in dog form with the canine version of “Why the fuck didn’t you check in, little bitch?” on his face, but Tiergan was too startled to have reacted yet. I think his instinctive reaction will have a big role in how the encounter goes down.

  9. Sonja says:


    Your Bean Nighe was so much creepier/better than mine.


    And so awesome as I’ve stated before — in the grim, kind of way.

    Poor Tiergan. 

    And thanks, Vercin.

  10. Hi Sonja — thanks.  :-)  And Fiction Murdered? and The Mutants are on my list of things to read.  Hopefully, WFG will calm down a bit soon, so I can.

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