Aztec chimera

I dreamed I was being offered as a sacrifice, human I suppose, though I have seldom felt so, to Corporal Pike. Drums pounded around us as he dug ineffectually at my rib-cage with a silicone spatula. It was duck-egg blue. “I don’t want to!” he cried, appealing in vain to the shadowy captain at his shoulder. “I don’t want to!”

I woke appalled. Lulu was nowhere. The shed door swung in a breeze, postscript to the late storm, but even the shed was empty. I found in the living room the reason for her brief visit. She had hammered flat that troublesome ruck in the lino. An offering? A reproach? I couldn’t tell.

I turned away, fuddled and lachrymose. With the ruck now unavailable, I tripped instead over the toolbox, inflicting quite a severe stub on my right big toe. Hot tears brimmed over. Somewhere in the shadowy half-world, the implacable captain laughed. I could fancy I heard his cold tones: “Stupid boy.”

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