The train came to the depot at the top of the mountain, unloaded its tourists. I was among them, bedazzled by where we had arrived, like a tour with no map of our destinations.
The snow-covered slope, free of trees and granite knuckles, saw the tread of armies of people. Yet the snow did not melt. This landscape was cold. A tent ran the length of the slope, heading down to the flat land below, dancers twirled routines near its cover, half-clothed and were treated like royalty. A great Renaissance carnival for another world. A voice rang out across the land speaking of carnival and its shows. All this frivolity, attention, and detailed wardrobes for mid-Winter?
We walked down along this tent coming around to the other side when another side of this world came to light in a burning inferno. The skies were not clear, dragons circled above, three. A warrior came racing down the slope where we had come. Dragons and men focused, determined to extinguish him by fire or arrow.
First dragon shot a line of flame which erupted straight across where the warrior ran, the fire intense, high, but Warrior did not falter, racing faster, not running or skiing, just moving determinedly and leaped over the flickering flames. Dashing into a crowd of people halted the second dragon from expelling his breath, a spit of clear oil that would line the shot and combust in air, along snow.
The third dragon, here I knew this battle was one in a long, raging war; the men and dragons wanted this warrior as fiercely as the heat of a sun burning in their bellies. Warrior dodged the man at the bottom of the slope who had arrow targeted, ducked behind him so the dragon hesitated, withholding his breath, once, twice. But finally the desire, the hatred, flooded the dragon’s eyes, seeing nothing but his target and shot a line straight at the man fighting on his side. Engulfed, the man cried out as the warrior raced away, flicking around the lower end of the tent and loosing an arrow, downing one dragon without ever stopping, racing up around the other side of the tent, back to the top of the slope.
And here is where I wake up. As I recount the events, I see it through eyes of the seasoned warrior and eyes of the tourist arriving in this strange land.
I don’t know how this relates to Baby beyond the vividness of the scenes, of ballerina’s twirling in off-white underclothes from another era, or maybe it had to do with the drawn-out search for a lost smartphone on the train before our arrival. I found it resting on top a backpack and the boy whom it belonged to claimed he feared he had left it at home during our lunch break. I had helped others find a charging port. And it had seemed naught but a simple trip at the time.