A/N: This was a small scene from the end of a dream I had the other day that was not, actually, a nightmare.
I have a rather severe form of hypersomnia, where I'll easily sleep 10-12 hours a night and feel completely unrested, struggling into wakefulness and often getting pulled back into another hour of sleep. Perhaps this is because I am also a lucid dreamer, with very vivid dreams I can remember clearly and sometimes control. Often my dreams intrude while I am still conscious, via auditory hypnagogic hallucinations. So it very much feels like my dreams have a great deal of power over me.
One day, shortly after noon, I fell asleep until 5PM, and dreamed nearly the entire time. I slept for hours, but my experience of the dream's plot spanned several days; my initial recall of the dream rapidly faded, as dreams always do, but when hours after awakening I still had a line from the dream being chanted in my head, I knew I had to write out the final scene that stubbornly lingered in my mind.
So here, without any kind of embellishment or creative license, is the exact content of my dream. (In fact, I'm leaving a lot of stuff out, like a description of the field around us, anything at all about the narrator, or what the boy and man look like; so my dreams are in truth even more vivid than this.)
I can't remember the names of the boy and man. In fact, the Corinthian is the first dream character I've ever remembered the name of. Because I woke up gasping:
"Great sin, Corinthian."
"Hey, look," the boy whispers, and the man and I turn to see what he means.
In an aisle made from the fences of two adjacent fields, a large buck with a magnificent rack of antlers steps regally toward a doe slowly picking her way out from a forest. The buck gleams with health, his walnut coat glossy and handsome. The doe's black eyes are large and liquid in her delicate face, and she moves with dainty feet toward the buck.
But the doe is strange; she—it?—also seems to have antlers, draping strangely down behind its neck so as not to be immediately noticeable. The antlers which would normally indicate a male do not detract from its feminine appearance, and they fall down around its shoulders reminiscent of pale blond hair. They sway gently with every step, moving less like antlers and more like weeping willow branches. The points and prongs seem to be sprouting tiny pale-pink flowers, lending to the otherworldly loveliness.
The nearer the buck gets to the not-doe, the more wary he seems. When they are nearly within reach of each other, the buck finally stops and takes a hesitant step back, before turning to flee. But it is too late; the not-doe's mouth bursts wide in an unnatural maw, splitting open though the muzzle, the cheeks, a terrible yawn revealing sharp teeth and long predatory canines. Crouch, spring, and in a crimson blur the buck is taken down with ease.
We avert our eyes and cringe as blood flies. When the wet sounds stop, we turn to see a man with pale shoulder-length blond hair obscuring his face, rising from the body of the buck, blood dripping sluggishly down his arm. The antlers draping demurely down his back, flowers sprouting from the points, slowly lift from their meek façade into the impressive display of a stag, spreading proudly from his head. The dusky brown coat has resolved into a cape hanging over his shoulders, clasped around his neck and falling to the backs of his knees.
He lifts a hand to push back his hair, leaving bloody streaks through it. His face is fine-boned and beautiful, at once delicately feminine and undeniably masculine. He turns to regard us with indifferent, liquid black eyes.
I bow low, not breaking my gaze. I gesture sharply at the boy and man, and they hastily bow too.
"Great sin, Corinthian," I tell the figure solemnly, respectfully.
I can barely breathe around my heart lodged in my throat as he considers, an infinite moment made longer by dread and terror, before he inclines his regal head a tiny increment and turns to go. The buck's broken body is lying in the grass, wide eyes staring vacantly up at the sky; the Corinthian does not glance at it as he leaves. The boy and the man look shocked by the senseless kill.
As the Corinthian stalks away, a small grey creature with huge glowing eyes and fur patterned with black rings appears in his antlers, Cheshire Cat style, reclining amidst the prongs. It coyly waves tiny fingers at us, long banded tail swinging lazily.
"Problem?" it grins.
The vast majority of the dream was actually about an undine coming onto land, tail vaguely turning into legs after a length of time. The man and boy kept teasing me about how wobbly I was walking.
"I'm trying to bend my legs but it's not that easy since this is the first time I've ever had knees. These muscles have never had to move like this!"