An Anthy Dream

This is a dream I wrote up to close a chapter... any chapter. Well, it's never going to get used, and I'm still relatively pleased with it. So here you go.

I have this nightmare at least once a month (said Anthy): I'm living on a tropical island, under a canopy of thatch and aluminum poles. There is an oven there, one with leaping, open flames, a very small opening, and no door. I keep a stack of square bundles in the oven, and each bundle is a package of tough, fibrous roots. They must be kept hot. Periodically, I pull out one of these packages and peel back the fibers to reveal rows and rows of swollen, yellow berries called "maiden's heads." Quickly, because they must be hot, I take each berry out, hold it over a special bowl, squeeze it so the juice runs into the bowl, and then drop the pulp in as well. The juice scalds my hands terribly. The smell of the crushed fruit is very sweet and cloying.

Sometimes, someone wanders close to my canopy, and I talk this person into coming inside and doing the sacrifice. I promise them riches and power, as they will be pleasing the god. And they come in and start doing it. Then I just have to keep giving them hot packages from the oven, and make sure that they crush the fruit fast enough that its properly hot. And I have time to look more closely. Then I see that each fruit is really shaped like a woman's head. Each set of features is different, there is even hair that I didn't notice before. All the faces have one thing in common: the eyes are closed.

Helpers come and helpers go, but I must keep the fire stoked, the berries hot, and the sacrifices going. Sometimes I drop a package into the flames and it goes up with a chorus of shrill screams.