You got supplications? But can you pay the price, that’s what I want to know. Everybody comes here wanting an end to their suffering, but what you got to know is this: the cost might bring even more suffering than you already got. Do you understand me? Cause I don’t think you do. Beg all you want, but you have to stand up on your own if you want to get what you think you want. And the entrance fee, for me, is nothing compared to the pound of flesh he’ll expect. Last chance, you sure you want to see him, or will you do the smart thing and turn around and run?
When the dream eater sat down for his meal, he imagined a crunching sound as if the dream were crispy, deep-fat fried perhaps. In truth, no one heard a thing, and were glad of it. If the treatment were to work, the tiny girl must not be awakened while he plied his trade. To remove the recurring dream from her, she must not only sleep, but she must experience the terror one more time.
“Hey, Wilson, why so glum?” Thompson tipped his newsie cap back and scratched his forehead.
“I’m down two, that’s why.” Wilson spit on the grimy sidewalk.
“Me, I’m even for the day, so I can’t complain. Bad trade?”
“Yes, it was a very bad trade. Seems like I can’t ever get one over any more. The other guys, they all seem to have the aces or something.” Wilson picked up a chunk of brick and threw it down the alley. It bounced a few times of the rough pavement before careening into a door. “Always a bad trade.”
“Down two. Too bad.” Thompson shook his head. “That’ll take you a week to earn back.”
“Don’t I know it. Lose any more words, I’ll have to go back to the school to earn more. I got to make a good trade. I just got to.”
I know that Silas used his journals to control the settlement. He knew how to manipulate everyone because he knew what they wanted to hide, secrets they sought to keep to themselves. In a way, he was the conscience of Book.
He knew everything, from quickening to stillness, from sowing to harvest, because he could see it all. Perhaps that drove him to feed on that knowledge, to use it against us. He used his ability to find something that would have been better left alone.
But where he saw leverage, I saw… I see, something else. I see the tapestry of our lives, the vibrancy to our wordless songs, the compassion shared between lovers, the moments of reconciliation and forgiveness that bind a family. How could I turn my back on those lives and let them fade into the past?
You wonder why I continue the work Silas began. It is simply this: our lives, and the lives of those who came before us, speak out to me, and their voices deserve understanding and preservation. I archive our journals because I must do what I can to honor those voices.
Am I insane as Silas was insane? Perhaps. Where he fell victim to the impellation of hunger, I choose to follow the call of our ancestors. I’m convinced that our descendants will need them, will need us, to survive in their distant future.
They gather in the dying light at the end of the day, these old men, to tell their stories. Once there were dozens of them, but time has taken most and now there are three, three left to pass on the traditions of the people, three left to sing the songs of important deeds, to remember the names, to know why this place is home.