The Pack.

The world, was a waking place, but not without dreaming.

Magic is seemed, permeated every supple and green branch, dazzling and drifting in upon the sun rays.

Like a muse we were struck with youthful fancies, of cob-web clothing and speaking stones.

The War Of Sticks was fought with tactic, with reverence and with thickening plots.

Dirty bandages were peeled from grubby hands and baths were seldom custom, and yet passages to other ventures, other avenues of possibility.

In the beginning years of schooling there were dinosaurs and speaking toys.

Hours wasted watching inanimate things for the moment they blinked or took a breath.

The game never ended, but the times playing did. Curled up in mouse-nested beds, the world faded with thoughts of giant feline beasts and runner rats, wicked things very different from us.

Friends faded, but sentimental objects remained. Hidden in treasure troves and coat pockets, in emergency bags and run-away packs.

Not because where we were was bad, but because where we would go would be better.

When the mice and merriment faded, the world began to seep into our imaginings.

Suddenly days were grey and blocks. Desks were straight and homework late and uniforms white and shoes too tight and straps and strings and pretty things and tears and torment, trouble and tests, clouds and gates and prisoners…. All were prisoners.

Then thanks giving. The grey places and tall gates faded, leaving behind friendships, fellows, comrades, sisters and brothers, teachers and guardians.

The new places were of color, of dance and song. Of may day and shadows upon the ground.

The children there were expressive, were real, were true and yet, still very much children pretending they were old.

Relationships bloomed like summer flowers but burned up in the sun.

The small class was a play ground, a scheme of experiments played upon one another.

How much was enough to get what I want.

What clever way? What thing could I say?

What would they like? What would they think?

And from this new trust formed, like-interests were uncovered and not recovered as they would be in our older teens. Wounds led way to deeper experience, deeper seeing, deep understanding, things not easily expressed in words.

It was here and then, on the eve of recognition, that the world became a more frightening place.

Guns.

Hurt.

Home.

Sex.

Pain.

Cancer.

Predator.

The monsters of the real world intermingled and mated with child-hood beasts. Big Brother became an eye in the sky, or upon a lamp-post.

Invisible creatures, demons, illness.

Suddenly bandages were pulled off of well-cleaned hands, and replaced with new coverings.

The children began to starve themselves, or swallow their sorrow.

The rocks still spoke. Magic was still there, if only faintly, a whisper of a voice in the cooing of the birds.

Island escapes gave way to new, updated dreaming.

Of patches of Paradise. Of escaping in the mist of some shallow sea.

The Island was for us all, and held idealistic economics.

Guns were forbidden, for it was guns that struck us in our dreams. It was guns that woke us up to blackened rooms. It was guns that we faced as shadows spoke apologies just out of sight. It was not man, but machine.

The Island was for everyone, but fleeting, dissipating with our child-hood aspirations. We were no longer children as we were, but were not adults either.

Adults were a different species, a drone given over to mundane pursuits, to supplying to work and supply again.

The buzzing cars didn't stop for us. The indifferent faces didn't speak.

We were not related to. Not expressed.

The world became a binder with rainbow dividers. Rainbows crafted in such ways, such magic-less ways and from the blood, sweat, the life of those purchasing them, producing them.

Money…

And distaste.

A bitter taste, a government scheme. An ageing disease. A cancer.

Why did the cob-web clothing of my youth not reach those without in those far, unreal places?

Why did the dogs grow fat and sleep in expensive beds, while children sat on street corners, or slept in damp gutters?

The world was a place of greed, a place of corrupting values. A place we needed escape from.

The Island remained distant, silhouetted yet eclipsing the days before it.

Physical escape was unattainable. Escape upon the sea required money none of us had.

The Pack was a promise.

'If I go crazy and am sent away.'

'I'll be in the room next to yours.'

'When I am old and crazy, you may ride my giraffe.'

'Lets Pack tonight.'

'I'll find you in my dreams.'

Years past….

I have seen friends waste away. Heard ugliness beyond what I could have ever imagined, and been told stories I will not repeat.

Friends fade because there is no deeper bond, no greater connection.

The children drink and the children shoot. There are drugs in the bathrooms.

Not for fun.

Not for sport.

The world is a daunting beast, hung over us like a hypnotist's watch. We want to believe we're crazy, we want to believe something is wrong, we want to realize something. But we can't. We're not. We can't find it.

Wide eyed and bewildered. They laugh and they joke.

But we were born into this.

We were born into the fear, and the hate, and the problems.

We all have the friend with the bruises.

Maybe not the ones they can cover up in the mirror, maybe not the ones under their sleeves. Maybe not the ones upon the walls of their skulls.

I have sympathy for them because I know.

I know how it feels to wake up and feel like the world disagrees with you being there.

I know what it's like to wallow in fever and question. The drowsiness.

We all have our packs. Our escapes, or dreams, or memories. That place in-between dreaming and waking up. Those moments before sinking into sleep.

The times when your still an animal in the grass. Where the stones speak and the clothes are of cob-web stitching. Where dreams escape and guns are what's evil. Where monsters can be driven away by hiding under the covers and trees lead to castles upon clouds in the skies.

We all have our Packs… Our time howling at the moon.