Let me begin by saying that within the interlude of REM sleep and upon awakening—those pivotal few seconds before my vision relapsed into the realm of the conscious—a bright chill encompassed my prostrate corpse, which further aided in my awakening. I produced a dream deep within the early hours of the morning, one so queer that it dwelled within the uncanny, despite my existence reigning in a later century in which this peculiar dream took place.
The Salem witches spread cross-country, seeking refuge in the colonies and unforeseen territories—that would be later acquired (with aid of treaty or by the brutality of force) by the United States—their devilish, heathen influence to the corners of the continent. Yet, wherever the witches fled, the mobs pursued. It was a movement so grand, so revolutionary, that the hundreds of millions that stomped across the forest, the plains, the swaps, the mountains, the deserts, made it their vindictive plight to corner the witches within the cells of animosity.
Once found—scrapped from the vile pits in which they bred and flourished—the revelers of such a passionate mob would have their ways with them via fist and knife and bullet (or whichever tool of destruction was readily available to them at the time) until the blood poured freely upon the table of Christ’s apostles. The biblical manuscripts of old were turned freely, leaf by leaf, until the justification was revealed by the self-proclaimed anarchists. They shook their head at the laws of Moses, vying to find a loophole within the doctrine that would absolve them of any archaic creed that bound them to their glorious ascent to the heavens above.
Meanwhile, the children now had their glee—their joyous ransacking of the witches’ robes. The currency was collected deep from within, and some would spit into the blinded eyes of the cadaver, hardly clinging to the threads of the ether—their mortified bodies striking penance inward, while the temptations of karmic sin writhed at the edge of sanity. Once the children’s innocence was depleted, and they were tucked away into the shanties built upon these horrid times, the anarchists rose—hunched backs posthumously arisen erect after toiling like Leonardo da Vinci within his hermetic cavern to take a righteous stand, towering above the witches’ pit like the former city upon the hill—a breath of crisp air now filtered through volcanic charcoal, leaving behind he strayed remnants of radioactive atoms, halving into infinity.
Their rationale was distinct, their motives researched and concise. The highest order, down to the lowliest laborer partook in a democracy of Socrates, and soon after the epitomic vote was cast (125-3, for the three, were but either related, enveloped in marital wedlock, or estranged to the mob’s distinct, collective mentality). A smirk of confidence rose and shone upon the anarchists’ faces—a Cheshire Cat arose from the depths of Hell—pounced upon the bodies of the now meager witches (more like bones if you ask me). They gathered the contents of their pockets and constructed a monolithic funeral pyre of millions upon millions of denominations of banknotes, intermixed with the posters of propaganda that promoted the artifice. Their fallacy was strewn around the lands and the glory was soon burned, tracing Thoreauvian veins upon Her recovering husk—the land of the free slowly recuperating from the rape of the natural love that was mutually exclusive once upon a fairer time.
The pyres burned for decades as they reproduced across the continent. The screams and pleads of the witches knew no filter, no cessation, and the stench of artificial cotton—that which became unavailable was mass produced with alien material crafted by such devious of humans—filled the nostrils of all that was purified within the trade winds. Upon the final incineration of the last remaining witch, and when the acidic rain at last washed clean the remnants of the cataclysm, the anarchists arose, rejuvenated and inspired from the nourishing nectar of Her womb. Again, they walked the land, now transformed completely from the campaign’s initiation, and returned to their respective habitats—their numbers now multiplied exponentially mind you—and built upon the charred pyres their own monuments of the individuality that perspired from every pore, from the general to the layman. The gallows planks were unscathed from the abandoned traditions of old. The iron maidens and quartering tables rusted into the oxygen in which they breathed, and the sun, the almighty sun, also could breathe fully again.
The dream ceased, and I immediately wrote it down in due haste and hid it deep within the foundations of my shanty, for I knew quite well, that if the witches indeed uncovered the gem—the manifesto of anarchy—that I was to be swiftly put to death in the most abhorrent method possible. I believed that the forbidden creativity would not require a trial of such pace as that in my dream—it would be a majority that wouldn’t think twice about my existence. I would be burnt until the ash was even crisp to the touch, and the memory of my neurotic being would be swept by the trade winds to foreign lands.
Josh Dale holds a BA in English from Temple University and has been previously published in 48th Street Press, April Gloaming Publishing, Black Elephant Literary Magazine, Huffington Post, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Your One Phone Call, and others. If he’s not petting his rescue Bengal, Daisy, he is perfecting his stir-fry recipe, hunched over in the dark like an alchemist. He is the founder and current editor-in-chief of Thirty West Publishing House and Tilde: A Literary Journal.