Elinor lay on her back, staring up at the sky above. Fluffy clouds rushed through the skies like ships gliding on the breeze, their white sails spread wide to catch the wind. Wispy cotton-candy clouds danced high in stratosphere above the dense sailing ships. In the distance, heavy, brooding clouds loomed with the promise of rain and lightning. In the midst of the dome of perfect Marian blue, the sun gleamed bright and clear, leaving spots of light dancing across Elinor’s eyes any time she dared a glance at its brilliant orb.
“I should very much like to walk through the sky,” Elinor said, rolling over onto her stomach and pressing her face into the grassy, fragrant earth. She drew a deep breath as the scent of grass and petrichor filled her nostrils. The whole world was freshness and life.
But only for a moment.
“Elinor, you must wake up,” Elinor’s mother said.
Elinor opened her eyes to the electric lights—the only true lights she had ever known in her twelve years of life. “I dreamed about the sky again,” she said, brushing the sleep out of her eyes. Her mother stood in front of her, limned by the cold artificial light.
“There is no such thing as the sky. How many times must I tell you? It’s legend from the ancient nuclear wars.”
“But Mother, there had to be something above people before they went underground.”
“No. There has only ever been rock above our heads, even before the wars. The whole of Earth is encased in rock.”
“But how could I see it in my dreams if—”
“Silence. The sky is just part of your imagination. It’s time to go to work. Get dressed.”
Frowning, Elinor stalked over to her drawers and pulled out clothes for her day. Her mother didn’t understand—could never understand the visions that filled Elinor’s dreams. Nothing that vivid and powerful could be based on the imaginary. Someday she would prove it was real. She would bore up into the earth instead of down. And there, bright and blue, this imaginary thing would be waiting for her, exactly as she had dreamed it.
But for now, she was only a child, and all she could do was join the community in expanding deeper into the earth, into the only reality they had.
“The Sky of the Imaginary” copyright 2017 by A.L.S. Vossler.
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Image courtesy of Maliz Ong via PublicDomainPictures.net.