Of Dreams and Memories
Author Josh Fickes
I would like to apologize for replacing Josh’s short story this month with my letter, but I need you to trust me when I say that this is very important. Besides, after force slamming him off of the clocktower last year when he surprised me, deleting his article seems pretty insignificant. This is an incredibly grave situation, and I will do what I must to help my people.
You may have seen me around this year in my black suit, black hat, and green cape; I have had to make many preparations, and I have been gathering as much information as possible to ensure the best chance of success. Oh, that reminds me, that spider you stepped on last week was one of mine. Please leave the other spiders and black egg sacks alone. They are entirely harmless; they are just here to help me gather information and scout things out for me. I do expect a formal apology, though. But I will write to you again about that later; I am pretty sure that in this digital format you will have a better chance of remembering the things I write to you, unlike the previous letters. Anyway, allow me to tell you my story because I need your help. Not the general, plural “you,” but the specific, singular “you,” the person reading these words right now.
I am not from this universe; my home is far away, connected to this one through the Space between Worlds, but more on that later. My best friend reigns in my home world as monarch, and so they must make many difficult decisions. About a year ago (it has been a year in this world, though it has likely been at least ten years in my own world), through a series of complicated circumstances, our worlds essentially drifted too close together, and your Moon ended up in our world. Our world operates a bit differently than yours, and so your Moon’s presence with its immense uncontrolled magical energy immediately began to disrupt the balance of our world, and an endless winter began to set in. The leaders of your world quickly made a replacement Moon to avoid panic, but meanwhile in my world, my friend had to do all they could to save my panicked people. My friend decided to channel all of their energy to create a portal so that my people could flee our dying world to the Space between Worlds. Of course, though, my friend had to stay behind to sustain the portal, so they remain trapped in their ivory castle, completely sapped of all energy in what I can only imagine must be a terrible blizzard unlike anything either of us have ever seen. I fear the worst for my friend’s safety, but I know for certain that my people were unprepared and will have hardly any supplies left by now. They are all trapped in the Space between Worlds, and they will surely starve unless we act now. When I was first with them, about a year ago, by the time of your world, I used my own abilities and energy to transport myself into your world to try to work to bring the Moon back and set matters right. I first worked to create a time dilation to help my people have the time they needed to survive with their limited supplies, and recently after countless sleepless nights of work, I have finally created the spatial dilations necessary to bring our worlds adjacent to each other. My apologies, these must seem like senseless ramblings to you, but you must help me.
Essentially, here is the situation. I came to your world to set in motion the events which may save my people. My people are in the Space between Worlds starving. My best friend is in our frozen home world alone and quite possibly dead. With my presence here, in your world, and with my friend’s presence in our world, along with a very special and dear talisman I gave to them long, long ago, I have been able to align our worlds so that we can save my people. Now, here is where I need your help, and believe me when I say that the fates of thousands of people are quite directly in your hands.
Bear with me as I attempt to explain this process. Portals between worlds are sustained by thought; the stronger the individual, and the more people focusing, the larger the portal can be and the farther it can stretch. By bringing our worlds essentially side by side, we can use all of our thoughts to make a portal large enough to bring your Moon out of my world, through the Space between Worlds, and into your world. Then, my people and I can travel back through that portal to our world and finally be home, where we can rebuild after the damages and one day return to peaceful lives. What I need your help with is creating the portals.
In about a month, every single person in your world will have a dream. Since you are certain to forget it entirely, I will do my best to explain it. You will be standing alone under a perfectly uniform, light gray sky. You will be standing on a perfectly smooth sheet of dark gray stone which stretches away in all directions for as far as you can see. It will be slightly cool there, but not unpleasantly so, and a gentle breeze smelling of ocean water will blow across your face as you begin to walk. You will notice a large gathering of people off to your left, about three hundred meters away; they will be whispering in hushed tones, the only sound besides the faint whistle of the wind. As you approach the hoard of disheveled refugees from my home world, you will see just past them a gathering of eight stone archways. They will be about ten feet tall each, made of many smaller brick-like stones stacked into their sturdy forms, and they will stand in a large, wide ring, all facing a slightly raised white, stone platform in the center of them. As you push through the many starving, haggard people, you will notice a few individuals walking away from you toward the horizon, spaced far apart and too distant to tell who they are. Now here is the part where this whole plan becomes tricky. This is the part of the dream when you will have to make a choice.
As you step onto the small stage, you will face the archway to your left, which is noticeably larger than the others. Inside of it you will see my home, filled with snow with a moonlit ivory castle far off in the distance. Then, you will choose. If you continue to face the doorway, it will become a bit taller and wider, strengthening the connections between our worlds so that this plan can finally succeed and return everyone and everything where it belongs, and you will step off of the platform. If everyone dreaming makes this choice to help, at no cost to themselves, we can save my people. However, as this is a choice, there is of course a second option; if you decide to look away from the portal and step off of the stage without helping, for whatever reason, then the entire archway will instantly crumble and the connection will be lost forever. Once your choice is made, you will walk away, following the others going ahead of you toward the distant horizon, and eventually, as you walk, you will wake up and have no memory of your choice or its consequences.
Please, I ask that you choose to help my people. I wish I had complete confidence in my plan, but I do not. Even though helping to save my people comes at no cost to you, I honestly do not know if everyone will be able to make the same choice. I do not know why someone would condemn so many people, but if any one person believes that choosing to break the gate is worth some fleeting feeling of power or some satisfied curiosity or some macabre whim, then my people will die for it.
What is a hero? I think that this is an interesting question to ask people, since they usually need to take a while to think of an answer that satisfies them. Would you still think that you are a hero even if you forget the amazing things you did? Would you still be a hero even if you never knew that you saved the world? Would you still be a hero even if you tried to save the world, but you never knew that someone else stopped you from succeeding? And if you were that person that decided to end my people, would you be a villain if you never knew that you did it? And would you forgive someone who made such a choice if you and they never remembered the decision? I do not know the answers to these questions, but I think that a hero might be someone who makes a choice from their heart that reaches out of their heart. Choices to help and to forgive and to be more together than one person can be alone.
I am running out of time to write this letter to you, as I must go make a few more preparations for the dream. I hope to see you there in the Space between Worlds soon, and I hope you will choose to help my people. Farewell, and thank you.
I am so proud of you, for the choice I hope you will make, and for a few choices I know you have already made.