Free Flash Fiction: The Boulders

From “I Actually Dreamed This”


As this is my first entry in this category, I’d like to briefly explain. I used to have some downright incredible dreams. I mean, truly incredible! They were clear, bold, detailed, and highly imaginative. It was like a movie playing in my head while I slept. I could even retain them for a bit after waking to enjoy them further, as if I’d just walked out of the theater. After a while, I decided they were just too intriguing to let go and began writing them out as little short stories. Sadly, I don’t dream like this anymore, but for a season, my dreamlife was highly entertaining! And who knows? Maybe they’ll return someday.

 Category Disclaimer

One thing to keep in mind as you enter my dreamscapes: they were dreams. “Well, duh,” you say, rolling your eyes (inwardly, because you’re using them to read). What I mean by this is, you will likely find inconsistencies, faulty logic, continuity errors, and sometimes sheer nonsense. I never liked changing the stories just so they’d make sense in the waking world…they are what they are. I mean, feel free to point them out, I’ll laugh along with you! But really, I’d just go with it.


The Boulders

(Dream Date: August 2009)

I was big. Huge! I was a boulder…large, quiet, proud. It was getting late, but I was working away diligently despite the failing light. I swung my pickaxe with all my might, doing the best I could with spindly arms that barely met. The night air was crisp – perhaps too cool for flesh – but I enjoyed feeling the coolness of night wash over my round, chiseled body still radiating the heat of the day. The rock fields were turning black in the night, with flecks of obsidian reflecting the lights of the city in the distance. It was beautifully stark; I paused to enjoy it.

Squinting into the dusk, I could see my friend approaching and a smile crumbled across my face. We hadn’t seen each other for a while; the life of a well-respected rock chiseler is comfortably mundane. I dropped my pickaxe where I stood and tottered towards my waiting granite companion. The old Human-Time Fair was in town and we’d been planning to go for weeks.

The rides swirled and twirled, their lights blurring brilliantly against the velvet night. Boulders large and small alike marveled at the tiny seats and straps that must’ve been used to harness the human riders in place. Fascinating. We jostled along feeling clumsy amongst the miniature oddities, delightfully distracted by the sights and sounds of an empire lost. I imagined what fantastic lives the humans must’ve led to have required such extravagant forms of entertainment. The fair certainly wasn’t for everyone. In fact, it was nearly overwhelming for the average boulder.

We finally found the animal exhibit. Well, “animal” exhibit…the animals were presented in an effort to maintain historical accuracy, but they certainly weren’t the draw. It was the tree. A colossal fig tree stood alone in the middle of the enclosure, and as boulders, we were more fascinated by the mighty tree itself than by the frivolous animals dangling from it. A tree of that magnitude commanded respect from the boulder community, its quiet, relentless power a subject of awe and inspiration. It was the kind of tree that kept old boulders rolling! The animals – monkeys of some sort, I guessed – were originally the focus of the exhibit, their ridiculous antics a source of amusement for a human audience. (It seems an odd sort of entertainment, really, although it’s difficult for a boulder to relate to a culture obsessed with stimulation.) But trees were rare in these parts, what with the rock fields and all, therefore many of us braved the overwhelming fairway to come admire the Great Fig and speculate on its mere existence.

So there I stood by my old granite friend, our backs to the swirling lights, where we regarded the tree together feeling humbled by the power of living organisms.


Thanks for reading.

Deidre sig, transp bg

Find this story and more in the Mannison Minibook collection I Actually Dreamed This Crazy Nonsense (2019 from Mannison Press).

Available in 4×8 paperback and ebook.

Find it here.


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