dreamed and recorded by Alex Lou
I'm on a platform at the edge of the water, looking out, lost. My husband is gone, swallowed by a giant fish, somewhere far beneath the waves.
I turn to my left and there he is beside me. But different: bedraggled with tangled hair and maybe bits of kelp in it . . . and something else too, he is distant, changed as if he has been through a great deal. He opens a crumpled and soggy book he's holding (in the middle, toward the end) and starts reading the tale of how, after long journey, I finally found him in the leviathan's belly, fought our way out through its mouth, and swam in a cloud of bubbles to toward the light and the surface. And this book is written in my voice. This is my writing! So this apparition before me has come from the future of our timeline . . . he isn't mine and won't be mine unless I go rescue him.
I dive into the water and plunge down into the expansive void of dark blue. A ways below me I see the giant, gray creature, looking not so huge at this distance. Its body twists like an eel's as it swims toward me, quickly bridging the distance. I command that the creature give my husband back. Its skull is so much bigger than me. Its pointy snout is fixed the way some animal's mouths are, in a wicked grin. When it opens it's mouth, it reveals two very long arcs of small pointed teeth. So easily it could snap me up. Would those teeth rip into my flesh, ending my life? Or would I be swallowed whole? It seems impossible that my husband could survive such a thing . . . why am I even here? And yet somewhere inside me I can sense him breathing, his heart beating.
Without sound, the beast has denied me as he smiles at me. I yell, "Let him go! Let him go!" My voice sounds frantic and desperate. The fish offers me a deal: that I should go and work in the micro-city in his innards, and perhaps, eventually, he will allow me to be reunited with my husband. I agree. Those jaws open wide, go up, over, and beneath me, enclosing me in darkness.
I find myself in a civilization made of small twisting corridors with moist pink walls.
They had been expecting me and assign me to the gallbladder where I am to clean. In the gallbladder, they give me a bunk and a locker and assign me tasks and a schedule. The intention is that I only have time to work in my waking hours. I don't know any of the rules and keep messing things up. But, I persevere. I'm told that in a few weeks I may be moved up in the digestive tract. I have no idea where my husband is in this city, but I know that's the right direction.