Dream or Reality?

Andy Miles 9th February 2024


 “We are not bound forever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory.”

I see you all, staring up at me in my less that gilded cage. You were not interested in me before, never gave me a second look or heard my tortured pleas. I have your attention now though. You and the birds, you pecking at my soul with your eyes, the bird pecking at my eyes, tongue and skin with their beaks. If I had had a fraction of the attention you give me before now, maybe I would not be swinging in this gibbet.

I am not particularly well-educated, I have been a manual labourer working wherever my strength and hard work were required. This gave me a lot of time to think and my mind used to wander through daydreams of the world and what lay beyond it. Our physical bodies are restricted to this physical plane whereas our thoughts, dreams and even our memories are not so bound. Have you ever compared a memory of a real event to a memory of a dream? It is impossible to tell the difference between them, at least with any dream that is not fantastical in nature.

I did not think so many people would be interested in spending time with me now, they never have in the past. I guess I am more well-known now, and that in itself is an interesting thought experiment. If more people had been interested in me in the past, then I would not be here now to amuse you all, so maybe from your perspective, this is the right thing to have happened. Now you have something to while away a few hours before the darkness descends and I left with the insects and other night creatures.  

As I gaze over the crowd I can see mothers and fathers whispering to their children, presumably warning them to behave or be a god-fearing person else they will end up like me. I see some people, mainly me, stare fascinated at me,  I can tell they will end up like me having committed something that others see as an atrocity. When it is quiet, in the morning or the evening there are also a few people who seem to be here to study the birds that feast on me.

All I needed was someone to listen, someone to spot that my thoughts and reality were merging. I knew I was more than this body, knew that even if people didn’t remember me there would be more beyond the circles of the world to discover. I mentioned earlier that you cannot tell the difference between a remembered reality and a remembered dream. I dreamt that I had killed someone, I was sure it was a dream. When the constables came to arrest me I told them about my dream, I told them it was not reality. I repeated this in court when they found me guilty, and I repeated it again when I was hung 2 days ago. I have been hanging here since then and I know I was right. I was right that there is more to the world than our earthly manifestation, I was right to think that there are more than memories. I may have been wrong about the dream though, I realise that now as I look down into the crowd and see her, piercing me with her gaze, her head still at the same angle I left it with a month ago.