By Sirius Dogfire
Kyle recalled that particular summer semester at college when the animus revealed itself. He had taken a part time job as a student helper for the Mammalian Vertebrate collections lab. A chilly, climate controlled shed in concrete walls laid out like a U. Warehousing a collection of bones, jars with preserved mammalian body parts and occasional fetal animals in various stages of development.
The morning would began with a supervised monotony of cataloging and shifting various items around to renovated shelves with their new and proper labels. The Collections Curator would then leave for the day. Leaving Kyle to lock up the lab. Instead of going outside in the summer heat, he'd spent the afternoon studying alone inside the lab at an old metal desk by the only window that overlooked the center courtyard.
Sometimes he'd nap at the desk. Using his book bag as a pillow. A mop headed student asleep under windowed light. Surrounded by dusty shelves that resembled temple stele stuffed with a menagerie of white stone idols. The empty eye sockets of mammal skulls staring ahead into the dimness.
One cloud streaked afternoon, a weary Kyle flumped down at the desk and laid his head on top of his bookbag for a brief nap. His eyes opened. Finding the courtyard beyond the window glistening in damp. Rain drops roll'd down the window. At the corner of the desk, there was a skull that he hadn't noticed before. A canine skull and jaw. He switched on the table lamp, studying the discovery. Somewhat large. It's proportion told of a wolf. But teeth dentition appeared that of a vulpine nature. He looked around for a label. None. A maned wolf perhaps?
Puzzled at who placed it there, he reached out. Fingers cupping beneath jaw and skull, lifting it with some effort towards his face. Wrists feeling unexplained weight that did not have the lightness of dried bone. It felt heavy of wetness and blood. The room light changed the skull's color from bleached white to a marrow stain.
It was then, that marbled dark veins and membrane grew across the landscape of bone. Followed by rust muscle and hide across bony cranium. Re-fleshing itself. Eye sockets filling as black lips were re-sewn over teeth and jaw. Kyle's fingers felt the tickling of fur jutting through them. Found himself staring into now liquid eyes and pupils when...
...he fell into a world of smooth motion through a forest of tall grassy stems under a dry pampas sky. Limbs bicycling in a glassy smooth trot. Immersed in sounds symphonic and alive. Scents playing across a scene richer than the most imaginative of tapestries. Breath. Glorious breath...
Kyle awoke. Seated at the chair, head tilted sideways, resting atop the book bag lying atop the desk. He sat up. The window showed a world dim with damp rain and setting sun.
What kind of dream was that? Came the groggy question. He looked around, finding no sign of the canine skull. I must have dreamt the whole thing.
He clawed his cellphone out of a front pocket. Oh oh! It's 7pm! I need to go.
The student stood up, taking his book bag. He left the building through the side entrance door and locked it. Pausing to gaze up at a lead overcast, drizzle streaked sky. Stepping lightly through rain puddled pavement set aglow by a streetlamp.
Under the streetlight, he halted. Set his book bag down, squatted and gazed down at a puddle. The lit water surface mirrored back an image of a squatting student with the long muzzled face of a wolfish creature with a fox toothed grin.
Somehow, Kyle was not surprised. For every time he looked into any reflecting puddle, his face would be that of the animus gazing back. Mood for matching mood.
© 2013 Sirius Dogfire ("SiriusDF"). May not be reprinted, reposted, or redistributed without permission. First appearance posted July 14 on Furaffinity.net
Short short tale of a dream. Inspired by Hibbary's provocative acrylic painting at: