A sm_monthly Story
A Dream Of Flight
I dreamed I could fly,
Out in the blue,
Over this town,
I'd fly over rooftops
And great boulevards,
I'd try to find out who you really are...
Magnus often dreams of finding his father. He knows his father disappeared fighting in a war, and so the only way he can find his father is to fly to where that war took place. But in dreams he doesn't need a rocket or a jet pack. He can use wings, just like his Auntie Usagi once did, although that was a long time ago. Magnus knows that his Auntie Usagi was a senshi and that only girls can be senshi. He is not stupid. He knows it is very unlikely that he will grow wings on his back, just as he knows it is very unlikely that his father will return one day.
None of this stops him dreaming.
He dreams that he is standing in a garden with giant ferns towering over him, their fronds tickling his cheeks. In the dreams, Magnus knows this garden perfectly, although it is not like any garden he has ever visited in waking life. It is huge and subtropical, the plants dripping with water from a recent rainfall, the air fresh and scented with frangipangi. The flowers are splashes of crimson and purple on his vision. Grass tickles his ankles. His feet are bare for take off and he feels the wings unfurling from his shoulders, sticky with plasma and albumen, newborn and frail. They ache like new teeth and he clenches his teeth as he flexes them, feeling the weight of them, which changes as the feathers dry in the sun. (It is always sunny in his searching dreams.) At first he is dragged backwards, then he steadies himself and holds onto a frond as they stretch and push upwards.
He takes a breath and pushes upwards with his feet and the wings beat down on the air, searching for thermals. It is difficult to get airborn, but once in the air, he never wants to come down. He soars into the blue, higher and higher and higher, free of everything that holds him down at home, until the blue begins to darken, softer and softer until it becomes utterly black and he is free of the Earth itself. Magnus takes a moment and turns to look at his planet, blue and green, like a jewel in space. He breathes easily, but it's a dream, so normal rules don't apply. There is plenty of oxygen in dreams.
He turns and flies towards the moon, knowing inside that this is where his father must be. The moon shines like a pearl in front of his eyes. It takes him a long time to get there, because he is only small and the moon is far away, but eventually, he makes it and lands on the surface. The surface of the moon is covered with grass now, silver grass that waves as the wind blows over it. The moon is an endless prairie except for the seas and the palace, where Small Lady is being trained. Magnus walks through the grass, which bows to him, up to the apple tree that marks the border between the palace garden and the rest of the moon. The apples are not green or red but silver. He reaches up and touches one. It is cold and smooth to his touch, just like silver should be, but the apple is light in his hand. He puts it in his pocket so he can give it to his father when they see each other. His wings flutter in the wind, longing to catch it and soar, but Magnus won't leave unless his father comes with him. Even if he has to search the moon for the rest of his life.
The palace garden is full of flowers, pale and fragrant, heavy with pollen. His arms are smeared with traces by the time he reaches the steps, which are wide and gradual, allowing someone to take their time. They are made of marble, grained with green and blue, echoing the colours of the Earth behind him. His feet look almost dark against them, unusual. He is used to being paler than everything. Apparently, his father was the same way. He wants to see him, so he can know if this is true. His mother won't let him see any photographs.
Magnus walks through the silent corridors, tall and silent, the walls almost transparent, coloured a delicate blue by the earthlight. He knows where he is going, he doesn't hurry. His father is waiting for him. Diana is walking by his ankle, her tail held straight, escorting him.
You must be quiet, she says. He's very tired from his journey. He might not wake up.
Magnus doesn't care. It will be enough to see him. He reminds himself not to run and pushes open the glass door. The room is large and a window is open. A black curtain flutters in the wind and he turns to the bed, where a man is lying with his eyes closed and his head bandaged, but then his back is shot with pain and he feels his wings stiffen. He falls to his knees, crying out, seeing feathers fall around him, turning brittle and glassy.
No... not now... please... I want to see him.
He wakes up, tears on his cheeks, and reaches around to his back. It is skin and bone, nothing more. No feathers, no wing bones. Nothing. It was just a dream after all. What did he expect?
The door opens and Artemis comes in, a white shadow in the darkness of the room. He jumps onto the bed and moves right up to Magnus's neck, curling up. "I heard you cry out. Was it a nightmare?" He puts a paw on Magnus's head, a funny gesture that never fails to make the little boy smile.
"I dreamed I could fly," Magnus says softly. "I flew to see my daddy. But my wings stopped working."
Artemis nuzzles him, wishing that he could give more comfort.
"Did Mummy hear me cry out?" Magnus asks.
"No. She's still asleep."
"Good," Magnus whispers, relieved. "She needs her sleep."
"So do you," Artemis reminds him. "Close your eyes. I'll tell you a story."
Magnus closes his eyes obediently. Artemis smells clean and his fur is warm and soft. His purring is a sound that has been with Magnus since babyhood and if Artemis is purring, he knows that everything is all right. "Tell me about angels, Artemis."
And Artemis tells him about angels, beings of light who fly all over the world, nurturing the good in people. Magnus smiles, thinking that if he could, he would be his father's angel, and drops off to sleep, to dream about flying again.