Sans le Rêveur - Aaron M Hellem

Often in a dark being lives a hidden God.
--Gerard de Nerval

        Un rêve unraveling into reverie, a waking daze of walking dizzy.  To watch one corner fray into loose threads and the rest disintegrate into a rankled remembrance of things spoken and others pantomimed in terse taciturnity.  A woman's face in le rêve longue, round as a honeydew, has no hair on top her cantaloupe.  Her eyes turn you to stone.  You cry out, Non, non, non, with the intention of shattering the hypnosis. 
        Somewhere in this bon rêve a farmer sits on the ground and waits for the gophers to pop their little heads out of the vitriolic holes and blows them off with his rifle.  The rifle was once reliable, but over the years the sites tired and the action slowed.  Rifles and dogs, the farmer thinks.  He's a horseman and the holes are dangerous to have in the pasture.  The farmer wages his ferrous war in wanton fervid fire, lets his crops go to seed, spends his days perched there waiting with the rifle cradled and one eye squinted shut for better aim.  What looks like a hole hatches heads, crooked cackling heads with red eyes and backwards smiles. 

        Un rêve doux reveals a darkness behind the curtains, the shapes of two shadows stealing kisses in places protected by piety.  The invocation of the savior's name, separated in virgule, shouted in shame or expressed in ecstasy?  The twisted tincture of a virgin's little death contained in the furrows of her face, her eyes squeezed shut, her mouth contorted in corkscrewed curves, curled lips, vibrating tonsils.  You'll know the end of the world in her scream when her hymen explodes, will see the seismic waves travel up her abdomen and into her breasts.  Will see the voltaic pulses in her trembling nipples.  Un rêve réalité when you reach out and seize the virgin by her thighs, pull her to you across silk sheets, inhale the writhing scent of her.  The virgin writhes like a helix.  Watches you with rabid eyes, waits for you with rapacious lust.  In lustful levitation, you kill her and make everything disappear.  The silk sheets are water when you wake. 
        Un rêve du trou.  It's not a bed you lie on but a bundle of springs, squeaky unmoving metal sticking tetanus into your crooked spine.  Lie there and die your own little death.

        Un rêve poised in paralysis:  A scalpel severs the corpus callosum and leaves the two halves to each imagine the other's existence.  A shrouded shape mouths soundless syllables and a formless figure draws a revolver (there was always already a revolver), draws back the hammer, and ignominiously fires a silver headed bullet through the rêveur's brains.  The sucking sound of implosion, washed down the sullied basin (yes, there was a drain there all along).  Un bon rêve sans rêveur.  If you need to know how to exit, always follow the screaming to its centripetal fugue.


Bio: Aaron Hellem lives with his wife in Leverett, Massachusetts where he attends the MFA Program for Writers and Poets at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  His short stories have been published most recently in Carve Magazine, Four Volts, Menda City Review, Right Hand Pointing, Denver Syntax, Blood Orange Review, the Xavier Review, and the Powhatan Review; also, works of his are forthcoming in Ellipsis, Anemone Sidecar, Lake Effect, Amoskeag, and the Beloit Fiction Journal.  The collection in which this story appears, entitled The Things a Body Does When It Thinks It's Going to Die, explores the various ways that we, as humans, compensate for our perpetual misgivings, our frequent miscommunications, and our gradual physical decline in an ephemeral universe.