In a dream, he knew he was in a dream, and forced himself to wake up. “Wake up! Wake up!” he repeated out loud until, finally, his eyes opened. They hadn’t wanted to open, but now at the end of the optic nerve was a mind that didn’t want them to slumber, didn’t want to return to the nightmare.
In the dream, he knew it was only a dream, he was in bed and his brother, his older brother, had come to drag him out and punish him. For what? He wondered, his eyes still half closed. What could have provoked this dream, the presence of his older brother who had appeared in a similar situation in another dream so many years ago.
One’s own archetypes, he realized, thinking his brother had represented the ideal boyscout, and in the dream his brother wore the full uniform with a big belt which was presumed to be the preferred tool of punishment. The night before, he had had a passing thought about the stern man who had been the scout chief. His only interaction with the chief had been to ask for “only a little” of the oatmeal the chief was serving out of a cauldron. The chief had been inflexible, of course, never listening to special requests. And now, in reality, our dreamer wanted out of this life defined by childhood memories of stern voices repressing his own being. Yes, he wanted to decide what food could be in his best interest, not only of his longevity, but also of a passing epicurean desire. And yes, he wanted to decide how to manage his own desire, regardless of old voices in his head.
The people behind the old voices were dead now, and if the voices in his head spoke, they were the voices of ghosts. He thought he had permanently erased them from his mind, but as in a multi-layered compost pile the molecules from the dead come back in another form. He had smelled it in a passing garbage truck filled with garden and kitchen scraps. It had a slightly vinegary odor to it, not altogether unpleasant. Perhaps the only way to rid himself of the smelly molecules was to find an antidote, a flower with a neutralizing pH.
Who were the people with such qualities that could neutralize the remnants of those disturbing childhood memories? He had once realized that doctors and nurses always put the interest of the patient before their own, and so he could trust them even in the most delicate, and frightful, situations. He would avoid the scout chiefs and seek the help of healers, but he was also wary of healers who pushed the patient to the edge of an abyss to then play the hero saving him from the fall. It would have to be a neutralizer.
Distracted by such thoughts he could fall asleep again. The compost pile had been turned and the offending molecules dispersed.