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Presented by State Library Victoria


I dreamed, and as I did so, I heard something. The dark held me still as I listened, was forced to listen, to the hideous rattle and horrible click of what could only be bones. I shuddered and tried to run, but no such luck. Not for me. I breathed in to scream, and all around me burst out tiny flames, bright as the winter’s sun and twice as chilly. The skeletons I saw started at me with fire for eyes. They swayed and moaned, a drumbeat growing louder underneath the click of the bones. Vines sprung from the earth and twined onto their legs, their ribs, their arms and skulls. They kept on dancing, speeding up, though I didn’t notice. I struggled, but what used to be shadows, what now were lit up patches of sky, still held me firm. I was destined to watch forever, this morbid dance of death. When awake, I remember the lolling heads and raised arms, hands hanging limply like a puppet on a string, I can’t see how I failed to notice how closely the drumbeat matched my own heart, how the skeletons seemed to be suspended by a thin rope such a similar colour to my hair. I didn’t even notice the sensation of my hands moving beyond my control, pulling the strings of a puppet performance that played out, dramatic and never-ending in front of me.