I once dreamed of a little boy named Huck.
It was both an odd and terribly fascinating dream, one I mentioned to my good friend, Professor VJ Duke. Though I only mentioned a few things from the dream, the dear professor was itching to hear more. So I have complied, and written out the story my brain treated me to one night not so long ago. Enjoy.
The dream began on the edge of a cornfield. Huckleberry, a young Native America boy of about seven years, stood watching his mother gather corn into a large wicker basket. (Why he wasn’t helping is anyone’s best guess). The sun was shining and everything seemed very bright and peaceful, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long.
Suddenly an unearthly noise rent the air, shattering any calm that had been there before. From the depths of the cornfield came a hulking beast the size of a large dog, only much stockier. Huck was paralyzed with fear as he beheld the creature known to him as a wolverine.
As if in slow motion, he saw the beast charge towards him, only to be stopped by a shriek from his mother. The growling beast with the blackest eyes Huck had ever seen (save for his own) stopped and changed targets. Still frozen, Huck could only watch helplessly as his mother backed away, but not fast enough. The wolverine latched on her leg, ripping into the soft flesh. Huck has never seen so much blood.
Dimly he realized she was screaming at him to run, but he couldn’t. He could only watch in horror as the beast continued to mutilate his mother, staining her blue cotton dress red. When his mother finally stopped moving, Huck wondered why he still heard screaming. Then he realized it was him. The terrible screams were coming from his mouth. And now that his mother was dead, there was nothing to stop the wolverine from getting him next.
So he ran.
Huck ran and ran, and never stopped running. Flashes of green forests and wide open plains passed before him. Tall grey cities and sprawling farms, cold streams and rocky hills all flew by, and still he kept running.
As he ran he grew. Huck grew taller and leaner and wilder with each passing year. He avoided people and human contact, and shunned animals unless he was hunting them. He never spoke a word.
One day near the end of summer, Huck came across a large house on the edge of the woods. After careful observation, he decided it was empty enough for him to explore. He crept onto the patio and went in through an open window. The room he found himself in was not like most houses he had been in. It was full of desks. The house was actually a private school for young boys, though Huck had no way of knowing that. It was nearly empty because the students were still on summer holiday.
Keeping a wary eye on his surroundings, Huck tiptoed out of the room and into the halls, his bare feet leaving dirty footprints on the immaculate floor. Although the house seemed deserted, Huck was tense. When he rounded the next corner, a balding man in a grey suit, standing at the end of the hall caught sight of him. After a brief look of surprise crossed his face (most likely at the sight of Huck’s wild appearance – he was very brown after spending so much time outside, covered in dirt, wearing a pair of buckskin breeches that may have once been white, and had long black hair, tangled into dreadlocks) he yelled, “You there! What are you doing here?”
In the blink of an eye, he was gone, running full tilt down the hall, his adrenaline rising. All the doors looked the same, so Huck was no longer sure which one he came in. He ran past all of them, looking for a door. Footsteps and garbled shouts sounded behind him, pushing him to run faster. As he passed more and more doors, his panic rose. The feeling of being trapped became stronger.
Finally he came to an open glass door. He hurled himself through the doorway, into a stone courtyard. Then his stomach plummeted. The courtyard was surrounded by high stone walls. He turned around to go back through the door, but the sound of footsteps were louder than ever. He was trapped.
Panicking, Huck launched himself at the farthest stone wall, desperately trying to find a hand hold to haul himself up over the wall. He slipped and cut his knee. Hissing in pain, Huck whirled around at the sound of a soft voice.
He sat crouched against the wall, eyeing the owner of the voice. It was a young redheaded woman, her hair tied up in a bun on top of her head, wearing a dark grey floor-length dress. She inched closer, her hands outstretched. “Are you alright?” she asked.
Huck said nothing. He stared, unblinkingly back at the woman, ready to flee at a moment’s notice.
His stare was unnerving her, he could tell. “It’s alright, ” she said in a wavering voice. She was obviously trying to sooth him, but her shaky tone made it sound like she was trying to convince herself of that too. “No one’s going to hurt you.”
Huck flinched, and the woman jumped. He had heard those words before. They were never true. He growled at her. The woman stopped then, her nervousness turning to actual fear in her wide eyes. “It’s alright,” she repeated.
Huck, breathing hard and coiled tight as a spring, stared into her eyes. The woman wore glasses, and he caught sight of himself in the reflection in the lenses. His eyes were blacker than he’d ever seen them. Just like the wolverine.
Then I woke up.
No, no, no! I can hear your protestations now. But what happens next? Your guess is as good as mine, because I chose to wake up right at that moment, and I didn’t fall back asleep. However, when I close my eyes, I can still see Huck’s black eyes, full of pain and loneliness and all the wild things. And he just stares unblinkingly back at me.
I will continue my posts about England next week. We’ve just about covered everything! It was the trip of a lifetime, and I’m happy I can share that with you. Until then, watch for my usual Friday Fictioneers story tomorrow, and have a fantastic day!