It is a dream, or most probably a dream. I cannot be certain, for I am in the same place within the dream as without, as is my habit.
But yes, it must be a dream, after all. I am almost certain of it, now, as much as I can be certain of it, which is to say nearly not at all.
The bird that ruins my nap has a green body and a blue head. It taps. It taps. I get up to shoo it off and it stares at me through my window.
The bird is my friend, Arun.
I know right away what this is. A spell has been cast – on Arun, I mean to say – and now to all the world, it is as though Arun is a bird. Scared and alone, he has flown nine thousand, five hundred-odd miles in hopes that I might recognize him and solve his dilemma. I recognize him.
“Come in, Arun,” I say and I slide open the window. “You have traveled far. Rest and find comfort here while I bring water for you.”
A spell is only a trick. Maybe a trick of the mind. Maybe hypnosis. Still, in the end, only a trick. Myself, I have a way with puzzles and mazes and riddles and I can break this. I can!
It is a simple matter, really, just a matter of coming at it from a different angle. The unintended angle. The illusionist waves his right hand before the crowd so no attention is paid to what his left hand is doing. That's all there is to casting or breaking a spell.
I can break this spell.
This is my sort of game exactly.
I walk back to the room, water glass in hand, and find my cat, Qasurah, Lord of the South, up on the window sill. The scattering of feathers around her does not look promising.
It seems my cat has eaten Arun.
Yes. Yes, it is only a dream.