The Dreamtime

Where did you come from?
High in the sky from beyond the Sun
I've been looking for someone like you
Where did you come from?

— "The Sun", Mr. Lif

Mowan walked the land; that was his task, the one the mani had told him to maintain no matter what. All around him the sprawls of dewy greenery sang their silent choruses, angling their lush leaves upwards towards the mother sun, the great giver of life. Trees and perennials sprouted everywhere in fractal synchronicity.

The plants told Mowan many things. He paused briefly as he walked, stooping down to pick some seeds from a coffee shrub. Mowan chewed on the beans slowly. As he did, he noticed a fawn watching him from the other side of the glade. Mowan smiled at the ruminant, and the deer approached him. He petted the animal gently, guiding it over to some tasty shoots to munch.

Birds began to twitter along the arboreal paradise. It was the song of the evening; soon the sun would set and it would be night, and the glade would be lit only by the pale shimmering of the moon. Then Mowan would enter the Dreamtime.

He found a large tree, an old gnarled chestnut, and began to climb up into its branches. A little way up he found a nice resting spot, curved well for his back with a sprawl of smaller branches around it, and laid down along it. Mowan closed his eyes, and the sun set over the horizon.

He arose in the usual place; the Site. Like the many strange and awesome things in the Dreamtime, it did not exist in the world. Its stark white walls were twisted and warped, and the hallways kept changing as he walked them, leading nowhere the same twice.

Then he found the naked yabun, whose head was constantly changing, and whose gadya was a hand holding a djarraba. The yabun saw him and went berserk, screaming, "You candied son-of-a-bitch, I'll kill you twice!" Mowan ran through the hallways from the monstrous enigma, the loud and angry sounds of its djarraba cracking behind him, until he no longer recognized where he was.

There was Wiyanga, where he had stopped. She was wearing her white coat, but one breast was exposed and nursing the malgun, that strange woman-thing with the shiny skin; the malgun was dressed as a child, in a frilly dress and wearing a diaper.

Wiyanga looked up at Mowan and sighed, sadness on her face. "They're in there," she told him, pointing to the door next to her. The malgun looked up at Mowan briefly. "I like helping," it said.

Mowan opened the door. Inside were the dingo and the gunat, arguing as they often did.

"What about the SCP-629?" asked the gunat. "If can we bring one person back to the waking world…"

The dingo shook its canine head. "Forget it," he said. "We tried it already. No effect."

"SCP-781, then," offered the gunat. "If can he alter these dreams of the SCP-992 that holding us here…"

"It's no use, Strelnikov," said the dingo. "We've tried every dream-based SCP we have, as well as dozens of other items. The fact of the matter is that since Incident 992/496, everything that exists here now only exists as dreams, which means it can't affect the real world, except as a subconscious impulse in the dreamer."

The gunat shook his head. "Then we having one single option, Professor Crow," he said. "This SCP-992 is dreaming us, yes? He is keeping us here? We must convince."

"Good luck," said the dingo. "We've tried that, too. For starters, he only shows up every…" The dingo stopped suddenly, finally noticing Mowan's presence. "Well, speak of the Devil. Been standing there long, '992?"

Mowan didn't speak, watching the canine and the gum-haired man for a long moment.

"Understand you not, man!" yelled the gunat. "You have trapped us here, using the datura! This is a Hell to all of us, a madness!" He grabbed Mowan and shook him furiously. "Let us go!"

"Strelnikov, no!" shouted the dingo. "You'll wake him up! Don't—"

Mowan awoke with a start, nearly falling out of the chestnut tree. He caught himself, caught his breath. His heart was racing. He looked around. Under the dim moonlight, streaking through the branches, the night cricket chattered hypnotically into the darkness.

Mowan exhaled a long breath. Then, he laid back into the tree again, and fell back to sleep.

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