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Summer Dreams

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            The One-All-Light drove his heavily laden wain slowly to the meeting place, pausing every so often at shacks or cabins far from other human dwellings to complete his harvest.

            By the time he reached the crossroads under a live oak dripping heavy with moss, the full moon was already high in the sky, and the One-All-Dark was already standing at the edge of the tree’s shadow. He stood still and silent, the dust of the road not daring to cling to the hem of the long black coat, his hands hidden in his long black sleeves, his face hidden under the wide brim of his flat black hat.

 

            At this sight of him, the things like horses pulling the wagon of the One-All-Light jerked forward, jostling the cargo. The One-All-Dark put up his hand to calm them, but it was too late. One of the items in the wain fell to the dusty road, bursting with a smell of river pools shaded by broad green leaves.

            The One-All Light and the One-All-Dark sighed. That one had been fine indeed. Still, there were many others.

            “Thank you for the use of your horses,” the One-All-Light whispered, as he always did.

            The One-All-Dark lifted his head so the moonlight could fall upon his face and smiled at the One-All-Light. Even with the smile, his features were as sharp as the silhouettes of bare branches against a red sunset sky. “They were calm for you?”

            “All are calm for me,” the One-All-Light said. The One-All-Dark made an inarticulate noise of approval and unhooked the horses from the wagon. Immediately, they rushed over to the thing that had fallen and began to lap at it. The Ones ignored them.

            “They’re beautiful this year,” the One-All-Dark said, approaching the heaping wagon.

            “We chose our night wisely,” the One-All-Light said, stepping down from the seat. He took a deep breath of the still, balmy night air, lush and gorgeous yet but not as lush and gorgeous as it had been yesterday. “I picked one especially for your first,” he said, and reached his hands up to run his hands carefully along the soft, warm skins of the last dreams of Summer, piled high in the wagon like peaches the size of doubled fists. Each fruit dimly glowed a soft orange-gold, like the moon when it had risen that evening.

            He handed the One-All-Dark one that looked no different from the rest, to him, but the One-All-Dark knew well by now to trust the One-All-Light in this. His small hands had gathered Summer dreams for a long, long time, and he did not need to taste to know the flavor.

            The One-All-Light lifted a dream for himself from the wagon and raised it to the One-All-Dark. The One-All-Dark raised his own, and they nodded to each other, their sharp teeth flashing in the moonlight for only a moment before they were buried in the sweet flesh of dreams.

            The One-All-Dark filled his mouth with a moment of heavy green sky and purple lightning thrown across it like lace, petrichor and ozone on the air, freight train sound echoing in the distance but no smoke floating across the prairie, no black line on the tracks. He smiled with bared teeth, letting the juice run down his chin and under his collar. Yes, this was yet a Summer dream, ripe with desire, but a terrible desire, a desire to finally see the thing that made the sound, the thing that made the day into night, a desire for revelation, a desire for dissolution. A Summer dream for him.

            “I knew you’d like it,” the One-All-Light whispered, his face neater as he devoured the dream he had chosen, his smile knowing and his eyes wide as the moon.

            “What’s yours like?” the One-All-Dark asked, and the One-All-Light beckoned him forward. He kissed the One-All-Dark, juice and pulp from his fruit mingling with the flavor of his storm-dream. The One-All-Light kissed him with the taste of high, burning sunlight falling over every inch of soft, old skin, quiet sough of wheat in wind all around, and then, the creak of the front gate, packed earth of the path to the gate hard and warm under tender feet hidden by stockings many a year and season, and at the gate a young man in an old uniform, colorless as the memory of a photo, a young man hard and warm as the Summer earth, old soft skin and cool green grass between the two.

            “You always do love reunions,” the One-All-Dark said, and the One-All-Light merely nodded and handed him another.

            They gorged themselves on the last dreams of Summer, filling themselves with sweet fantasy and desire, sucking the pits clean of wishes and discoveries, until every uncanny fruit had disappeared into their mouths. Giddy with sunshine past, the One-All-Light dared to remove the coat of the One-All-Dark. Drunk on the stars of Cygnus and Lyra, the One-All-Dark made bold with the buttons of the One-All-Light.

            Under the mossy oak they made love, their mouths and throats and bodies stained with the moon-orange blood of dream juice, the One-All-Light round as the Summer sun under the spidery fingers of the One-All-Dark, the One-All-Dark lean as Winter under the crocus lips of the One-All-Light.

            When at last they were sated with each other, the One-All-Light kissed the cheek of the One-All-Dark and dressed. He smiled at the One-All-Dark, his long limbs beautiful in the dappled moonlight, but he looked around, too.     

            For the One-All-Light is jealous, and woe to any who might chance upon the One-All-Dark sleeping there.

            On this night the One-All-Light saw no one, and, knowing well his duties could not be abandoned for his jealousy, whispered to the horses of the One-All-Dark to tell him, when next he met them, if any mortals had been fool enough to travel this road, this night, and stop and admire his love.

            That done, he took what had been a wagon piled high with fruit and was now a wheelbarrow full of pits, and, pushing it before him, set off to begin the work of planting next year’s crop. He would plant the storm dreams where he had not harvested them, the love dreams in new ground, the daring dreams in fresh plots.

            By the time he was done planting, he would meet the One-All-Dark again, to share the lengthening nights tending the fears that nourished the strangest Summer dreams throughout the Winter.

            The thought made the One-All-Light smile under the moon one more time, his teeth glittering-sharp. As he walked away from the mossy oak, he began to whistle, the tune like the first cold winds of Autumn.