Week #509 - Do Dinosaurs Dream of Proto-Sheep?
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Winner


This story was critiqued by:
Tyrannosaurus (crit)
rohan (crit)
The man called M (crit)
flerp (crit)

Prompt

My brother and I are floating down the river on a makeshift raft, the kind that's just logs of wood crudely tied together with rope. We're escaping from something. It's raining hard. So hard that I can barely see him even though he's right next to me. He's laying on his back with his head under his arms and he's wearing sunglasses. He's drunk again at another inappropriate time. It's night. I'm trying to keep our raft together but the river is choppy from the storm and it's making the ropes come undone. I keep grabbing rope and tightening it but as soon as I fix one two more come undone. I'm yelling for my brother to help but he just keeps laying there. Logs separate underneath me and I'm plunged into the cold water. I hold on to two pieces of the raft, the side I'd been sitting on and the side my brother is laying on. The strain is making my muscles burn and I don't know how much longer I can hold it together. My brother looks at me, lifts up his sunglasses, rolls his eyes, and says, "Just let go already."

My thoughts

You're a very legible dreamer, aren't you? I have a lot of dreams like this. I don't know the real world context; if your brother is deceased, then the dream takes on a very literal interpretation. But if he's not, I wonder if he's a stand-in for people in your life who make you feel like they're just watching you flail around, half drowning. The river and torrents of rain definitely add to a feeling like there's no control. When you're on or in a river, you're at the mercy of the current, and the rain obscures your view.

It's a lot easier to tell someone to let go than it is to really let go. This makes me curious about your brother--is he alive? Is he estranged? Does he frustrate you? Or is it like I supposed above, where he's a stand-in for people in general? The splitting of the raft suggests a divide, but it also feeds into this idea of control. If you don't hold everything together, no one will. My take is that, while that's true sometimes, a lot of the time the obligation to hold on is mostly in our heads. Most things work out ok on a long enough timeline. Or you die, and that's that.

big stick ideology
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