It was three in the morning, the time most babies are born and more people die than at any other hour. The Pub was empty but for me and The Old Man writing in his journal as His Ravens looked on. It was then she walked through a door which went where I did not know. She took a seat at the bar, order a whiskey from me and looked at me with a gleam in her eyes.
I am, She said, just a figment of your imagination. I pondered this as I was sure it had been many, many years since I’d taken anything that gave me anything that odd for visions, be they dreams or nightmares
Ok, I said, I’ll play along. Why are you a figment of my imagination? Because I’m a figment of your imagination, she said.
Ahhhh a recursive loop, I thought. We can’t possibly both be the products of the other, I said.
Why not, she said, Is there any reason we can’t both be dreaming the other into being? Surely if Old Gods can sit here and no one notices them, then why not this as well?
Well, she had me there. So, I said, are we all but dreams of someone else? Is there an objective reality at all?
Surely you’re kidding, she murmured, you’re the Pub Keeper on an Estate where dead kings will keep fighting each other until time itself ends, where a dead librarian has been known to help patrons out late at night, where midnight wine is offered up as something to toast with, and where the very boundaries of the Estate encompass an ancient Wild Wood whose dimensions are far larger that can really exist in a rationale universe? And where you border what’s the Summerlands?
That earned her a dram of my very best whiskey which is centuries old and so costly that no one has ever ordered it. Need I say that the distillery was one that never existed in our reality as it’s from a Scotland where Bonnie Prince Charlie beat the English oh so long ago?
So, I asked, who are you?
Ahhh that would be telling was all she said as she downed that single malt. Suffice it to say that you and I will meet again as all mortals meet me eventually..
I turned to get her another dram but she was gone and when I turned around her glass was there, empty of course. I asked The Old Man what he thought of her and he gave me a queer look before saying that no one had been here for hours.
That made me pour myself from that ever-so-rare bottle and I never drink while working.