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Unlike everyone else who could sleep for days, even months – and there were stories of those who, lost in their dreams, slept for years and, like On, were finally forgotten – Ona woke up often. She lay in the darkness with her eyes closed, wondering where she was. Was it Tu, or Tam? Stepping outside, she observed the receding forest and a growing silence that seemed to descend on the valley. The sun was slowly disappearing over the horizon, and she felt as though she would never see it again. The homes were empty, and there was no one around. With a sudden realization, she knew she was the last one awake in Tu. She walked through the quiet and deserted hamlet until she came upon a solitary weeping willow, its long soft branches like tendrils touching her face. She lay underneath the dark sky and fell asleep. 

On the white beach coloured pebbles waited for her and the blue ocean beckoned…

                                                              *

©aother

It was no surprise then, when on one of his dream treks On found himself accompanied by a large patch of soft moss, that spread itself at this feet wherever he stepped. Silent, it moved imperceptibly, sometimes almost invisible in the darkness, at others glistening with dew as he walked. Above him, he also noticed a pair of condors that often obliterated the sun with their enormous wings. But his favourite companion was a tawny puma that crept along, and sometimes lay by his side as he rested on the carpet of moss. When awake, On searched in vain for his dream companions. The birds that flew above the valley of Tu never seemed to alight, and wild cats hid in the deep forest. As for the thick moss, On would have to climb craggy rocks to reach it, but afraid of heights, he never ventured far enough. And so he would go to sleep more and more frequently, just to be with his dream friends, slowly loosing interest in the goings on in Tu. Tam held an overwhelming allure, and soon the other inhabitants of Tu forgot about him. Except for Ona, who would sometimes peer into his room, seeking his sleeping form. Often, she looked for him in her dreams, but the Tam of her reveries had no inhabitants, only an endless beach with colourful pebbles like sparkling jewels. She collected them in giant urns she found among the seaweed, and they lined the shore like clay sentinels…

(to be continued)

©aother

*In a faraway land, over a tall mountain ridge, lay the small hamlet of Tu. Everyone who lived there belonged to the same family. All the men were called On, and all the women had the name of Ona. Their ancestors came to the valley from an unknown place, and since nothing was ever written down, it remained a mystery. They called it Tam, and often dreamt about it. But everyone’s dream was different, which made the mystery so much more mysterious. With each generation the dreams became longer and more colourful, and the citizens of Tu spent more and more time sleeping. They had thick curtains in the windows and ate only once a day. There were many animals and plants in the valley, and it soon became clear, that they too were dreaming.

(to be continued)

©aother