with long-time wear but are otherwise intact. However he deigns to
travel on any given day, he always allots himself seven hours of sleep.
Sleep periods are sometimes broken up into shards, slices of naps
that can occur for a few minutes at a time. It is another talent he
has, he may doze off for a few minutes and during that time he will
have perfectly normal dreams. Once a passenger traveling alongside
him whispered to him after he awoke, You were talking in your sleep.
Something about lime juice on your shoes, and ghosts before you…
Like an anthropologist charting some hidden antecedent, he turned
those words over in his mind, striving to connect them to his experiences
the day before, or the day before that. Or perhaps they were a portent
of future events. Maybe the fanatics were right about him after all.
No, that way madness lies. Still, years after the event he would spill
some lime soda on his feet, and for a moment, a cloudy fragment of
the dream would lodge itself in his
thoughts without ever gaining hold. What - no, can't remember,
and that path would be closed forever.
When he was young the Far North was a mystery, a destination only
for those who had abandoned and been abandoned by life. No sentimental
tales of existential independence and self-sufficiency, only illness,
death. Conditions were such that the landing strips of aborted airports
warped and cracked within days, railway tracks and trestles were buried
under frequent avalanche, and shelter was limited to choice log cabins
and whatever cover one could carve out underneath the skeletal trees.
Now the Far North holds towns, and colleges, and museums, and pubs
that serve fish caught fresh under the frozen lakes along with day-old
pizzas. But most