The First Dream - By Alice Rose Picton

The scene crackles and pops before my eyes and the darkness that sinks back into my peripheral vision. I am in a field. A barren field that goes on for days and days with no boundaries or signs of human life. Just like the beginning of The Wizard of Oz everything is in black and white. I am aware that this is strange but make no conscious effort to change it. I walk further into the vast landscape, mist looms at my feet and every step I take lurches me forward miles away from where my foot left the ground. I am travelling a great distance. Sinking into the depths of my psyche. I take one last laborious step, the landscape stretches as far as it has ever gone before, my leg expands and with it my chest heaves forward as I launch myself into the distant nothingness. As both my feet land on solid ground and my body shrinks back to its former size and the mist that once lurked around my ankles now rises up and hangs heavy in front of me. I stand still in and watch the cumbersome atmosphere ripple like a heavy weighted curtain until a shrill tune cuts through the corner of my vision. The blanket of grey is sliced in two and in front of me stands a fairground. Even from this distance it looks shabby and run-down. The Ferris wheel travels slowly around as though every rotation could be its last. Next to it stands a carousel. It trolls begrudgingly, churning out a high pitched melody that centres all my senses and calls to the centre of the park. A Stripped, tattered piece of fabric encases the fairground, leaving only a small gap that draws me in like a vacuum. The scene lurches towards me again and I am in the midst of the park. There are people milling about, expressionless, staring ahead, not communicating with anyone. Their eyes dead, their movements forced and ridged. I notice that everyone is moving towards a line of people that is snaking its way through the centre of the park. I am intrinsically cautious of it and warily follow the line to its source. As I trace the chain of people a feeling of unease washes over me. Each person stands directly behind the other, their faces blank, rhythmically stepping forward as soon as a space forms in front of them. At the front of this great train of people is a pitiful looking table, covered by a black tablecloth. It's a stall. Above it flies a black banner that dances enthusiastically in the non existent breeze. Enticing the eye, drawing me to it. Beneath the banner stands a woman. I think it's a woman, there is no way of really telling as she is mostly covered by a black shawl that is ripped and ragged around the edges. The only parts of her body that you can see is her crooked nose that protrudes from her hood and her gnarled hands that solemnly hand out discs to each person who approaches the stall. These discs are about the same size as your hand and are shaped much like a CD. But instead of reflective plastic they are made of a rusted bronze. Worn, beaten and dirty. They give off the impression that they have been buried underground for centuries. As each person reaches old women they silently take the disc that is handed to them and then retreat back into the fairground. Not a word is spoken from either the hooded woman or the people in the queue, even the music from the carousel has faded into the background. I watch them confused, unsure what this all means. Then suddenly my whole body is filled with overwhelming fear. I panic as I am confronted with the realisation that once you take one of those discs you will die. I am consumed with urgency and I run up to the people in the line, screaming at them to run, to get away, that they are going to die. No one responds to my calls for action so I propel myself at them, shoving them away from the line. But like magnets, they immediately spring back to the Solomon linear position. I tug and drag on their arms, attempting to pull them away. I scream and scream. No longer making sense just balling, shouting into their expressionless faces. I open my mouth wider, draw in a breath and attempt to let another cry but no sound comes out. I bare my teeth, my mouth open as far as it can possibly go but not a peep. I don’t know what to do. I need to do something but they won’t move, they won’t listen. Then the sense shifts for the last time. I am now in the line, rhythmically stepping forward closer and closer to my fate. Like everybody else I am stuck, waiting for my turn.

Bupkis is a London based zine exploring the sloppy and clumsy through colour.

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