The Day After...
by Juha and Mikko Mehtäläinen, Jyväskylä
So it was that at the end of dreams it was not the blank emptiness we faced, but the countless colours of everything. The fragile petals from the garden floated around me like an autumn breeze that could not be felt. I took off my glove and let one of the petals fall on my hand. One of the last dreams ever: a dream of a cottage and a family gathering. For some reason everyone was wearing a hazmat suit. It made me smile.
As the clients retreated back through the now almost barren garden, the last dreams held in their containers, I sensed the final call of the beacon. The low hum of the warning signal which had called me home so many times felt different now and there was no sense of urgency as I looked on to the petals escaping into distance.
I was calm, as if I had fulfilled some hidden purpose and the pull to come back was there no more. I glanced at the first rule of the Elder Navigator, tattooed on my hand: Do not get lost. Lost. What was that? What else was there left for me - the medicated life of Hollow Eyed?
I had fulfilled my vows to the clients and had never broken the Oath. The last petals from the garden would flow past me and there would never be a need for Navigators again. Our time had come to an end, as it was known through generations. No more dreams, no more Navigators.
But there was still time for one more journey. Not for the clients, not for the Elders, but for myself. I took off my helmet and the heavy suit and felt the dreams rush through me. The hum of the beacon grew more and more distant as I let go and gave myself up to worlds within worlds. I was free.