Something Fundamental

His head was down against the silvery sunshine heat. Walking along, he looked up to orient his course and spotted Doctor Frank further up the white cement sidewalk.

He literally froze where he was. His heart beat – he felt it – but a shocked stupor held him stiff. Doctor Frank had died two months before. This had to be a doppelganger. He’d heard or read that everyone has an exact replica of themselves elsewhere on the world. This was the most perfect one he’d ever seen. The man was just like Doctor Frank, the biologist, in every aspect from his impish, good-natured expression, gray and white beard, and slender-as-a-broom frame to the outdoor pants, boots, and vest that were Doctor Frank’s regular attire, including the forest green bush hat.

He snapped out of it. The result put him up the sidewalk past where he’d spotted Doctor Frank, as if he’d never stopped. His head swooned. Pausing to regain control of his senses, he saw Q across the street, waiting to cross.

Now that was fucking impossible. Q’d died four years ago. Like Doctor Frank, doppelganger Q was an eerie ghost of his deceased friend. As he wondered what the what, he saw his mother-in-law, Jean, dead for the last two years, off to the left, with her husband, Carl, who’d been dead since 1992. 

“Holy shit,” reverberated through his mind and came out his mouth. “What’s going on?”

In a blink, he realized all the color had deserted the world, as though he was watching a movie on an old black-and-white television. Closing his eyes to recover, he gasped; with his eyes closed, he could see everything taking place in color, except the dead folk that he saw weren’t there.

Slowly, he cracked his eyes open and took in the monochrome world. The sound differed from before. Swiveling his head, he saw more dead friends and relatives. It wasn’t his beloved hometown any longer, until he closed his eyes. With eyes closed, color was restored, and he was in the town where he’d been living and walking.

Keeping them closed, he resumed his walk. That seemed to work, but it was a temporary solution. Something fundamental had changed in his world.

He was going to have to open his eyes again sometime. And then…

He shook his head. He was going to keep his eyes closed until he was home. And then —

Well, he’d see.

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The Dogs Dream

Last night’s dream shook me. I’m not certain why.

I was with my spouse. We were at her mother’s property, with her mother. Her mother passed away in Feb., 2018, after several years of illness. Her illness and care were instrumental in a family schism with one sister. The property is over twenty acres in the countryside.

The estranged sister wasn’t present. I had an impression that it was she who’d passed away. My wife, mother-in-law, and I were talking in general. As the conversation progressed, I was inspecting the house and thinking about what needed to be fixed and how that would be done. We were mostly talking about the dead sister’s husband. He was planning to stay on the property (he and his wife had a home on it) and would continue taking care of it.

I went outside to walk around. It was a gray, quiet, chilly day. While there was a lawn around the houses and outbuildings, fog swathed the woods. Tree trunks obscured with a gauzy swirl.

Weirdly, I still heard my wife and her mother talking, even though they remained in the house. While walking around, I saw a large, gray or dirty white curly-haired dog cross the property. To me, it appeared that the dog had dragged itself out from a hole under one of the outbuildings. When I went to check that out, I saw another dog come out of a hole from under another building. That was soon happening in every direction. There were quickly seven or eight dogs of different sizes, colors, and breeds running around.

I spotted a small ginger tabby cat. Seeing all of these, I ran back to tell my wife and her mother about the animals. They either didn’t understand or didn’t believe me. I kept repeating what I was telling them, and then insisted that they come out to look. They finally agreed, and when they looked, the number of dogs seemed to double, and then two ginger cats were there standing up and looking back at something. As if a signal was given, the cats dropped to their feet and darted away. Seconds later, the dogs did the same. For several moments, it was a helter-skelter scene of dogs racing to their holes.

And then they were gone.

End.

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