written by Jason Sanders

Dreams don't come often but when they do there must be some meaning...

It is night but torch light burns on the old wooden houses. Thatched rooves sit high above the flame as if repelled by the threat they pose. The earthern streets are abandoned except for Bobbi. She has never been here, she may have seen it in an old painting but never experienced it for herself.

In the distance, down some dark thoroughfare, there comes a barely noticeable drumming. Then a strumming. Ta-ta-ti-ti-ta. It comes closer and there is laughter with the drums and dancing with the strums. Drum, strum, ta-ta-ti-ti-ta. The sounds become more clear and distinguishable as they approach. The strums are those of a great many guitars (or maybe one incredible guitar) but the drums are not drums at all. The cadence playing in Bobbi's ears is a frenzied stamping like a marching army with no set rhythm.

Finally she can see what approaches, a great procession led by an oddly adorned man. He is dressed like the pope at Christmas Mass but his robes seem to swallow his tiny frame and he wears a strange mask. The mask is black with a long nose, Bobbi knows she has seen it before but for some reason she can't recall where. Behind him are many followers dancing wildly if not beautifully. When this strange miniature pope looks up and notices Bobbi, he smiles and the floodgates of her memory are thrown open. His smile is perfect except for one thing: a broken tooth. As the name suddenly arises in her mind, Bobbi is interrupted by his voice.

"I am St. Vitus and I didn't think I'd see you again after you were swallowed by that beast," He continues to move forward, walking right passed Bobbi. Though she tries to move her feet are planted. St. Vitus looks back over his shoulder, still walking on, and ends his thought. "But I guess you're more resilient than I expected."

Still paralyzed in her place Bobbi watches as the whole procession dances by her. Right behind St. Vitus comes a group of many faces Boobi has never seen; they seem oblivious to her. She notices that the torch light seems to catch them from all directions, illuminating their life filled bodies. Stumbling behind them is the first follower she recognizes, Harley. He looks exhausted and is having trouble keeping up. When he notices her he stops and speaks. "Hello Bishop Bobbi." He then turns and stumbles on, now even further behind the first followers.

The next group that dances along is more familiar, they are all Sabbat. The Accordists march proudly ahead while those of other paths follow, dancing and squabbling. As that group passes, darkness proceeds. A true, aware darkness that conceals at least four forms within it. It morosely creeps along behind the others.

Bobbi stands still as the whole procession dissappears down another poorly lit street. As their sound is nearly dying away she hears more footsteps from the direction the parade had come. A small group walks brazenly. At its head is a strange looking woman and a huge troll of a man, then Prof. Whitney and a foul, shriveled walking corpse. The corpse's head has been caved in and its masticated body looks to have been well beaten. It would have no meaning at all to Bobbi if not for the rose covered doublet it wore and the races of bruising on its arms. "Have some ergot, have some rye, dance and fly, dance and fly." The group chants the words in chorus, the corpse gurgling blood in its own sad attempt to join them. They repeat the words over and over, until the chant becomes a song rising up melodiously through Bobbi's soul. The song becomes louder and louder until this strange pack disperses madly and fearfully to the four corners of existence. Though they are gone the song continues to rise in a deafening crescendo. A warm strong hand grabs Bobbi's and she is pulled to the realization that the song being played is the song of the procession. It has returned for her.

Bobbi looks cautiously at the hand that holds hers. Her body becomes mobile again and she truly feels... The hand is so warm that it seems it could burn her frozen skin. But the comfort she feels makes her ignore her fear. This truly human experience, one she had not felt since long before her embrace, scares her to her core. The hand holding hers begins to gently pull her and she realizes that this hand is connected to an arm which is connected to a body which is connected to a face. The man gives a warm smile and says "Come with me. Dance with me." His unfamiliar face is lit and his cheeks rosy and he is truly the first "real" thing she has seen in many years. The feeling is overwhelming and she can't move, she is caught in this real moment, it could almost make her believe she had a soul... If she had one.

St. Vitus speaks yells for them, "Hurry or you'll be left behind!"

The man looks at Bobbi, inviting her. "C'mon," He gently pulls her but she is overwhelmed by the moment and refuses to move. "Are you okay? C'mon." The procession continues. The space between the illuminated people and the Sabbat, where Harley had been when last they passed but was no longer, was coming. Bobbi knows if she was going to go with this man it would have to be in that space. She looks at him and he looks at her, his eyes urgent but patient. "Are you okay? C'mon."

"Are you okay? C'mon!" Bobbi is barely able to revive herself from the strange dream, the sun is still out and had he been a hunter she would be dead now. Her body refuses to move but she can feel the heavy weight pumping on her chest. Her eyes open slowly, groggily, accustomed to the darkness she sees a male form pumping on her chest, futily trying to restart her heart. "C'mon," The form says in a deep voice. "C'mon, are you okay?" He stops pumping and moves to blow a breath into her long unused lungs. His eyes run over her face and he stops dead. Bobbi is now aware of the man, the one in her vision, and he is aware that she is concious...

written by Jason Sanders

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