Tag Archives: We Dream Of Our Dead Pets

“We Dream Of Our Dead Pets” – Fiction by Carl Fuerst

Greyhounds royal hunting - Valentin Serov, 1901
Greyhounds royal hunting – Valentin Serov, 1901

There’s an uncanny dream-logic at work in Carl Fuerst‘s “We Dream Of Our Dead Pets” (from our Fall 2014 issue)– but is it actually a dream? Or could it be an irregular reality caused by galactic cannibalism? All we know for sure is that this surreal little story has burrowed its tiny fangs beneath our skin and we can’t quite yank it out.

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I DROVE ON THE ROAD THAT CIRCLES THE TOWN where I live, an island of crumbling low-roofed brick buildings surrounded by countless miles of cornfields. Once, three summers before, on a late summer night bordering on an early summer morning, I stood on the balcony of my second-floor apartment and watched the cornstalks in the rising sun, anticipating the brief and unpredictable moment when the new day’s light would make the leaves look like emeralds heated to their melting point and hammered flat.

Since then, I’d been in my car, and a small part of me was starting to wonder why it had always been night.

I took a road into the cornfields. It had recently snowed, and the roads were dark, snowy, icy, and bad. A blurry, white-robed man hunched by the road’s shoulder every few miles. Whenever I passed, he strained towards the car, snapping his jaws and howling, some invisible force dragging him in the direction of the fields.

This made it difficult to listen to my passenger, who reclined in the back seat, smoking a joint and staring at his phone’s glowing screen.

“See, stars form when gas inside galaxies becomes dense enough to collapse,” he said, “usually under the effect of gravitation. But when galaxies merge, see, it increases the random motions of their gas-generating whirls of turbulence, which should hinder the collapse of the gas. Intuitively, this turbulence should slow down the formation of the stars, but, in reality, the opposite is true.”

“Do galaxies collide often?” I asked. “Is this something we should be worried about?” It was nice, for once, to think about something besides the reasons why I couldn’t remember when I wasn’t driving in circles around the little corn-town where I lived.

“It’s very common,” said my passenger. “But ‘interaction’ would be a more accurate term than ‘collision,’ accounting for the extremely tenuous distribution of matter in galaxies.”

“Sure,” I said.

“Meanwhile, galactic cannibalism happens when a galaxy, through tidal gravitational interactions with a companion, merges with that companion, resulting in a larger, often irregular galaxy.”

My car skidded off the road and down a steep hill and rolled to a stop on a farm pond’s black bank. I got out of my car and snow spilled into my boots. The pond wasn’t frozen. I watched icy water lap at my front two tires.

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