by Susannah Mandel
I had a dream last night. But Emmot did too, and hers was much stranger; Margery and Constance and I all agreed. I heard it from Emmot at noon, when Maud sent me back to Baker’s, again, for having brought home the wrong kind of bread. I was sore angry, for it’s only Maud’s fussiness that makes the bread wrong. At least this time it gave me the chance to hear Emmot’s dream.
Emmot said: “I dreamed I was in a house, like a lord’s house, only small. There was a window glass, clear as water, and outside snow was falling. But inside it was like summer, though there was never a fire or torch. And such furniture — and everywhere soft pillows.
“Then they brought out strawberries, and oranges — though it was dead winter! — and told me I might have all I wished. And oh, I haven’t said, but there were books in every room. And all the people all had gold and silver on their hands and arms.
“And then… Is this not the strangest part? I asked them who kept the rooms for them, and who did all the cooking. And they said: ‘In this house we have no servants. And everyone has gold and silver, Emmot, and books, and a warm room. And oranges in winter. Even you.’”
“Was it not a strange dream?” she said again. And we all nodded, and went away thinking; or at least I did.
As for my own dream… well, last night I dreamed that my mother was alive again, and the baby too: his face looked like Father’s. My mother laughed and said how tall I had got, and like a woman. She stroked my hair, and said: “Don’t be afraid, my Mariot: I know your secret fear, but put it aside. I shall watch over you, and be your midwife and physician at need, so you and your children will live.”
You see how commonplace it was. We all see our mothers when we’re asleep: Emmot does too, and Margery. (Constance still has her own mother. But she’s supposed to be due again in the summer, so we will see.)
My dream was not like Emmot’s. Mine was only an ordinary thing, with no mystery about it, and none of that strange feeling dreams can give you about how there could be a different world, or what things might be like otherwise. So I know there is no use thinking or talking about it any more.
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