A selection from “Myopia”

by Colin James Torre

There is a place in the northern Adriatic where the people have subsisted for years on a diminishing supply of food and water. In their dreams the people are plagued by a sense of worry; there is no respite. The world they see there is too honest, too real, they say, and at reawakening they feel ill-prepared for the hours of the day. More than two or three times a year the people of this place gather to argue over ways to alleviate the problem; some try to put off the night and sleep in the middle of the day; others force themselves to dream while active, in the midst with other things… But still they cannot find relief. One night, a construction worker told his family that he had dreamed that day of building a house in a forest in some exotic realm, in India. He said he had been walking in a copse of giant trees, his axe in hand, while the trunks of the forest towered over him. He was compelled to stop before one whose branches seemed to go off in all directions; carved into the bark of the trunk, he saw, were images of fish and woodland creatures, and each limb sprouted forth to become the backbone of an animal. The branches were thin and green, and moved as if bristling at the touch of the passing wind; when the sun broke through the canopy the wild beasts arched their backs and the tree seemed to grow larger before the construction worker’s eyes.

Categories: Fiction