Episode 99: Magenta

Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. -Carl Jung

The eyes are useless when the mind is blind.

The outside is never as much as the inside.

Flash sank into a deep slumber and woke in a dream. It was as though sleep were just a portal to another world… another realm. He had learned, long ago, to differentiate between big dreams and small dreams. The small dreams merely recalled details of his life in the waking world. Big dreams were an inroad into something not new, but something outside of his experience. Some aspect of the universe of which he was a part, so nothing could truly be alien to him.

Somehow, Flash knew he was dreaming, and yet… the ground on which he stood felt solid. It gave just a bit beneath his feet. The soil, while dark brown (almost black), shimmered with the iridescence of crystal dust. The crystal layer was invisible but for the way it reflected light.

The sky was dusky blue, illuminated only by distant stars. It might have been night. This place, wherever it was (or wasn’t) may not have had a nearby star, like Earth’s sun, to give it day and night. Or perhaps it showed only one face to its sun, as the moon did to Earth.

Flash took these things in within seconds of opening his eyes, his brain orienting him to his surroundings.

He knew he was safe.

This was travel. Without making plans. Without packing bags. Just instant teleportation from one place to another.

There was a sound. At first, Flash thought it was the sound of running water. But that did not quite fit. It was intermittent. He glanced around, taking in dark rocks that protruded from the dirt. They were stark, unadorned by any vegetation, and their severe shapes were silhouetted against the gentle, starlit sky.

He walked, in search of the source of the sound. He rounded a promontory, and there he saw a tall figure. It was licking the rock wall, oblivious to Flash’s presence.

Not wanting to startle it, he cleared his throat.

The person turned its head quickly, and met Flash’s gaze with one eye. The other eyelid drooped, almost obliterating the orbit.

Flash stood very still as the alien being sized him up. That eye felt like a spotlight, focusing a beam on him that could reveal all of his secrets. All the while, he also studied the creature.

It was tall, like I said, and its skin was red. Magenta. It had a long, thin neck with a raised spiral encircling it several times from top to bottom.

Two appendages rose from its elongated cranium, looking like antennae or horns. Or pigtails.

That eye. It was so round. So white. So intense. It looked startled, of course. Was it unfriendly? Aggressive? Flash couldn’t be sure, so he remained still and reminded himself that this was a dream. Or was it? Now he couldn’t be sure.

It sniffed the air in Flash’s direction, and then, apparently satisfied with its investigation, turned back and resumed licking the rock face.

Flash walked closer and sat on a rock near the alien.

What are you doing?, he asked between the loud slurping sounds.

Have you tasted these rocks? They are delicious.

Nothing shocked Flash. Where I come from, we eat mostly plants.

Disgusting! I went to a place once where they ate plants. I couldn’t wait to come back here. I hope I never see another plant. No, I’m never leaving home again.

Flash could relate, as much as he loved eating plants. Once you find a place that truly feels like home, nothing else will do.

The scene faded, and Flash caught a glimpse of the cockpit of the mother ship through his half closed eyes before another vista came into view.

Rocks again, but not the black silhouettes that the pink alien had been licking.

These were brown boulders. Raw sienna that looked yellow in the bright light of day. Burnt umber flecks and streaks punctuated the surface of the stone, and the landscape fell away on every side. Flash found himself on the top of a large hill or small mountain.

A cool, relentless breeze buffeted him, and was balanced by the heat of sunlight on his skin. A pale blue dome of sky arched over everything, flooding the place with an even light. It was refreshing. Flash filled his lungs, breathing deeply of the untamed air.

Flash felt a presence. He knew he was not alone here, but glancing about, he saw no one else.

He walked around, avoiding the small rocks that were hidden in the grass. The grass up here was dry and sharp, pale green in color. It’s edges were like saw blades that could cut your skin if you weren’t careful.

Something moved, catching Flash’s attention. But when he looked, it was just grass, flowing like liquid in the wind, lapping against the base of a large boulder.

But no. The boulder itself was moving. It was not rolling, the way a rounded rock might move, but changing position and shape like a living thing.

It raised its head and looked around. When it turned, it saw Flash Meridian, who felt small compared to this giant.

Hello, Flash said aloud. Silently, he reminded himself that this was only a dream, and he did not need to be afraid. Still, it looked grumpy.

Sorry if I woke you.

It yawned and shrugged. I came up here to be alone. I guess it’s not as remote as I thought.

How long have you been asleep? Flash asked.

I don’t know. A thousand years? A hundred thousand years? What do you want? I’m tired.

Flash noticed that the giant also had one drooping eye. The upper lid sagged, almost completely obliterating an opaque eye with no visible pupil.

What happened to your eye? Flash asked.

My eye? The rocklike alien retorted. I have one good eye, he continued, and then there’s this one. He pointed to the other eye. The clear, wide eye that stared at Flash. It’s useless.

I think that’s your good eye.

No. It’s no good. All it can see is the world around me, the giant explained. This one, pointing to the milky eye with the drooping lid, sees inside. That’s what really matters.

A moment later, Flash realized that he was in his chair aboard his ship. The rough mountain grass had been replaced by his thick black rug, and he was thinking about dreams and eyes. Small dreams were like the eye that can only see the world around you. Big dreams were like the inner eye that sees what you are really made of.

He felt at home like the red alien and its delicious rocks, and he never wanted to leave again.


  1. "The outside is never a much as the inside…" Oh the outsides of life are important, but the insides are what enhance so much of the rest.

    – Fred Rogers

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