It was the same dream he had each night since he touched Dahlia. He stood on the middle tier of a domed city by the dead lakes where she had lived, standing high enough to view the gardens and towers, but his attention was not occupied by anything inside the city. Instead he stared up at the the dome where birds fluttered as the dome began to darken. The darkness seemed to be rising up from the ground, as if the city itself were falling into a deep hole. He felt the drop, and then he woke up, and did not sleep again that night.
The next night, after the long march, and sinking of the blue ship, when he sat with Pik in the rooms outside the dock by the sea, he told him to burn off the blue. And Pik told him to drink, to dull the pain of the heated blade. Dyer drank, and let Pik burn the skin that had marked blue, and drank more until he fell asleep. He thought he had drank enough to avoid the dream but it was waiting for him. The same city. The same platform. The gardens and towers all peaceful under the light the fell through the glass. For a moment he thought the dream was different. Then the birds fluttered, and the darkness grew around the base, climbing up to the second level, and higher, until the shadows fell across the cit. He could hear the people panicking, rushing outside to shake their fists at the darkness, as if the darkness were something living which could be shouted down. And that’s when he saw what it was. The darkness were people. Refuse, impoverished people from the wasteland outside the dome banging on the glass. Thousands of people, crawlig up over the dome and pounding to get in. The sound was deafening, piercing his ears until he woke up, drippinng in sweat.
The final night of the dream, he was exhausted from the walk back from the sea and all the time spent looking in the Talon camp. He had Krill’s book on his lap and Pik slept inside the tent as they waited for the day’s heat to die so they could move in the cool night. The words on the page were making more sense now, and he struggled to stay awake and finish the book, but sleep pulled him down into the cot, and the book, covered his face, shielding him from the light. The dream started again. The towers, the gardens, the birds fluttering, and the shadows rising, seperating into the silhoettes of refuse climbing, fists pounding against the glass. Only now he saw faces. Dirty, smudged faces of those who had lived out in the desert too long. The people poured out of the city again, raising their fists to curse them. Still the shadows pounded, until the light itensified, burning, and the shadows lost their grasp and slide down, piling up in mounds of dead around the the dome.