Still shot from the film 13 Lakes by James Benning
A short story based on a dream I had today
By: Amy Moloney
A young messenger boy looks for me. His name was Luca. He finds me inside a marble building where I am studying ways to face karma with a man, my soul partner, twin soul. The teacher asked Luca to lie on the table. Young Luca does as he is asked, looking at me for reassurance. I am unsure, but nodded to go ahead and comply. I trusted teacher. Teacher said he would demonstrate how to pull the face from a man with one grasp. This would reveal his true soul.
My partner has large manly hands and places one of his big hands above a different prone body. My small hand reaches for Luca. At the same time my partner and I said to teacher, “We cannot do this.”
I look at teacher and ask, “How can I look into a soul if have first caused it harm? I will not do this to another being just because I can.” My partner nodded his agreement.
I pulled Luca up from the table and told him to run, run fast. He did. Then turned to me and said, “We all know the truth, soon we’ll accept it.”
The teacher laughed, clapped his hands together and said, “Well, that was a lesson well learned. Time for lesson number two.” He led us to the shore of a misty lake. The sand was soft and the water had a thick, dark surface. A boat arrived at the shore and my partner got in. The teacher held me back saying, “No. He needs to face his first.”
My partner set off in his boat alone. I watched from a terrace kitchen above the lake and busied myself with making dinner for his return. The teacher told me, “Your partner will find a great flying fish above his boat. He must look into its gaping mouth and see truth within himself before he can return to shore. I hope you are prepared to save this dinner for a while.”
I could see the silhouette of the boat in the blanket of mist. The sun was nearly set. From the water a great fish jumped toward my partner, hovered just above him. My partner began to row his boat backward, away from the fish.
I screamed to him, “NO. Face him. See what you need to see. Go back.”
My partner turned his boat around and rowed away. I ran to the shore only to see his boat disappear in the other direction, the fish flying behind him and another more menacing fish ahead of him.
The teacher appeared beside me, “It’s your turn to travel the lake of Karma. Only it won’t be a fish you encounter. It will be your partner and he will not know you until he has entered the mouth of the great spirit. To face your karma, you must face his.”
I get into the boat and teacher removes his face and places it inside with me. The face spoke, “The more alone you feel, the less alone you’ll be. Go save your soul.”
I began to row. I encountered nothing until I reached the middle of the lake. It was just before sunrise, the color of the mist transformed into a golden glow like that of sunlight through drops of water. Rain began to pour and a lone dragonfly hovered over the boat. It landed inside and waited for me to turn in the direction it came from.
“He’s that way, isn’t he?” I asked the dragonfly. I didn’t wait for an answer, I proceeded in the direction I was being drawn. I found myself rowing into an inlet where trees on the shore hung low over the water. Moss created a curtain. Behind the curtain I could see my partner’s boat. I pulled back the mossy curtain and found him lying in his boat with a young woman, a mermaid. She had golden skin and he was beneath her with his eyes closed.
“Are you the great fish he is to look into?” I asked the mermaid.
“Yes. But he chooses to take comfort in my embrace rather than looking too deeply within. It is his choice. You should go.” The mermaid said.
“I’m here to help him. You can’t have him unless you can prove you are only here to nourish his soul with happiness.” I respond defiantly.
“I make him happy. See.” She illuminated his sleeping face with her gentle golden hand.
“He’s content, not happy. What will he be when he wakes?” I ask her.
“Why would he ever want to wake?” She asks.
“To fulfill his destiny, our karma, our souls have a purpose. You must let him go.” I demand.
“I accept your challenge.” The mermaid rises to hover above his body.
At that the dragonfly roes before the mermaid and grew to a full sized dragon, green and gold. “Now my young sister, you must look into her mouth and decipher truth from untruth. When you see the untruth you must crush it in your hand then feed me the ashes. I will take it away to leave you free. Only when she holds nothing but truth will she release this man’s soul and allow him to face himself.”
I look at the golden mermaid, “Open your mouth, temptress. Let me for our soul. His soul and mine are the same.”
“As you wish.” She opens her mouth
I look into the mouth of the great fish and see myself as a child, a teenager, then as a young adult. That is when I notice the untruth. The word “unworthy” flutters around my memories. I reach out trying to catch the untruth. It skitters out of my grasp again and again. I hear the mermaid’s laughter echo through my mind.
“You are unworthy of his soul.” She cackles.
“No I am not, you bitch.” I scream back at her.
The next time the word flutters by, near enough to grab, I catch it, crush it. Then I feed it to my dragon friend.
My partner’s eyes begin to open. I pull him into my boat and row away from the mermaid-fish. He wakes.
“Who are you?” He asks me.
“Just a friend. I’ll get you home safely, I promise.” I tell him.
“Thank you, friend.” He smiles up at me.
I row back to an empty shore.
As we walk toward the road my partner asks, “Can we go fishing again tomorrow?”