Step 26 (86.)

Brimstone castle explodes. Smell of sulfur.
Jagged yellow shrapnel shreds the wagon – no one inside, phew.
The drunkard stops drinking gin. They listen, quiet.
Bats fly high and cover the moon. Even they want nothing from the detritus.
Rat soldiers hunker down in their cave bunker. Waiting. Surviving.
A river loops around most of the former castle,
and in its ancient waters, toxins now dance
with menace, like a mugger with a knife.
I fly as fast as I can to the chattering stream
and if I hold my breath,
I can hear the river scream.
In its way, it is on fire,
and what can douse the flame that burns water?
What we need is a miracle.
The somnambulist alights on the opposite shore, shaking
their tired head. Their eyes glow like lamplight
on a midnight street,
and they motion to me from across decaying water.
Their hands swirl, then splay fingers out
in a gesture that resembles
confetti bursting from its mechanism.
I follow these patterns until they imprint
on my mind, then I
try them myself.
As I swirl my hands in a double helix,
my companion matches my moves,
and we blast confetti together.
I hold my splayed fingers above the aching river
and after a pause,
yellow slime is flung from the water
as though it upset a catapult.
The somnambulist nods to me, satisfied,
and we doctors of dreams
take a few well-earned moments to rest.


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