In the last moments as he closed his eyes, he thought he saw the tattoos of his arm shift. Too tired to care about the dream, he surrendered to sleep. The dream continued. His hair appeared different as if freshly cut; perhaps a time in the future. As he stared down, the tattoos came to life at his behest, even changing shape and hue from violent, bitter themes to joyous ones.
The tattoos of his left arm collapsed into a black smudge and rearranged itself into a bullock team. Its driver cracked a long whip, spurring the team, carrying a massive log, to rumble off his arm and trudge in a steady arc above his head.
Can I make them do that? he wondered. What else can they do?
Birds chirped beneath his chin. A miniature flock rose and flew above the bullock team. The ceiling above the scene didn’t look right. Ink from his body merged into clouds and floated above the birds and the bullocks, blotting out the ceiling and the light bulb.
It needs colour.
Faded grey and tan shaded the wagon. The diver wore a bone upturned hat and a faded green shirt. Birds remained black as the sky darkened. Clouds merged into each other and rumbled. Pat jolted at the crack of thunder, and witnessed a bolt of lightning descend from the clouds’ core. Rain descended. What seemed like a fine mist to him, attacked the driver like a white sheet. The man slipped on a leather coat and buttoned it against the wind.
Only then, did Pat realise he hadn’t actually slept as he watched. A film of water covered his face and blankets as if he slept in a mist. He laughed. The rain teemed harder. Moments later, puddles formed, and the bullocks lowed as they strained to pull their load through the mud. Waters rose, first to the driver’s knees then to his waist.
This is getting out of hand.
As they swelled about his chin, Pat willed a better outcome. Team and driver changed shape to become a tall masted clipper, rising and descending on huge crested waves.
Stop! Pat mentally commanded.
The scene disappeared, and a glance at the tattoos on his body, revealed they had returned to normal. A thought occurred to him; if he could create a blissful scene, could he also create something more malevolent?
Droning permeated his consciousness before he became aware of several dots in a distant sky. He saw the sun, peering through a gap between a few white clouds. Another loud engine filled the room. A black Fokker triplane flew from the direction of the bedroom door. It had a moustached face painted on the nose. It’s pilot looked at him and smiled, a fresh faced youth; no more than twenty. Waving, the pilot then waggled the wings of the aircraft as he passed.
The plane’s engine sounded louder and climbed after the dots just below the clouds. Pat knew he could control the action, but refused; instead waiting to see the outcome, wondering if he witnessed a page from history.