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Deepening Dream Space

by Trent Walters

At a two-story, two-door Tudor house, a police car screeches. The policemen motion to a lithe little girl lit up in the backyard. She’d fallen asleep playing at the foot of her treehouse--a corrugated cylinder of metal. She skips toward the searching lights and wailing sirens. Her skin is wrinkled like a prune.

“Space,” the girl, leaning through the open window, tells the cops, “makes...”

The cops can get a warrant if she wants to play hardball.

She does. She takes them to her bedroom to show off the old-time transistor radio: “...time for music...”

They aren’t listening. They rake through diaries and crumpled pages of half-baked ideas seeking answers to mysteries hiding in plain sight between lines.

“...after, before, beside bedside...” She opens her toy chest and hands one a pony with its flaming red tail, the other a battered Strawberry Shortcake. “...words to make...” She spreads her arms wide, wrapping up a short tune off Broadway. “...room!”

Neither cop claps though they’d like to clap her in chains.

Before they can arrest her, she dodges their slow arms and dashes to the yard out back. She slams the treehouse door behind her with a clang. The officers cannot budge the door, cannot find a handle or a keyhole. The treehouse rumbles. They back away to watch the overturned ice cream cone ascend. Behind it blooms iced flowers curling into petals of black cherry.

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