When I turned to look at the clock, I noted, with some astonishment, that it was 4:00 am. I did not feel sleepy, but considered the situation and with mild anxiety decided I should try to get that additional two hours of sleep. Despite my dread, I soon drifted off. The dream resumed, apparently having moved forward by a scene or two in my absence. Vivian and I were in a darkened theater. I was aware that the skater-rabbit was also in the audience, but not sitting with us. I do not recall what was on the stage or screen, whichever it was.
As the entertainment moved toward a conclusion, I noted that I appeared to be experiencing an annoying drip, striking my head occasionally. At first I ignored it, but as the frequency increased I became aggravated. As I brusquely rubbed the damp away, I became aware that others in the audience were growing restive as well. In fact, an increasing number of the audience were also experiencing intermittent drips.
Puzzled, I looked about just as the drips turned into a constant rain. I recall looking up at the ceiling of the theater in time to be dazzled by the crack and flash of a lighning bolt amid lowering clouds. Puzzled, I was pleased to note that I had not neglected to bring my travel umbrella with me into the theater, and as Viv and I made our way out, we huddled under the umbrella until I snagged an apparently forgotten umbrella of my own.
We made our way out into the hall of that same old building I had hurried though earlier and realized that the rain was apparently confined to the cavernous spaces of the theater. Curious, we made our way out of the building and onto what I took for a wrought iron balcony, clinging to the side of a curving wall of old, but quite tall, buildings. Far below us, a narrow street filled with human traffic of all kinds – pedestrians, cabs, carts, all josting.
Up the sides of this picturesque urban canyon, a system of openwork iron walkways webbed the surface of each building. Together they created a multilevel sidewalk system several stories high, using the technology of late nineteenth-century fire escapes. Everywhere, people hurried about their business.
Viv and I climbed the one or two levels up from our first location to reach the roofline. As we stood and looked, we saw that this warren of interconnected and quite old buildings stretched away into the distance, no building being particularly taller than other. The effect was of looking across a large, flat surface made up of hardback books of varying thicknesses, all laying flat and densely fitted to form a sort of mosaic.
As we looked across this plane of roofs, we noticed a small cascade of water pop out and arc down into the hurrying throngs from a roof to our right. As we turned to observe it, more lines of water arced out. We reversed the direction of our gaze, to look behind us. The surging water from the previous dreamfragment had reached the level of the roofs on our side of the street. It roiled toward us even as the leading edge of the water crumbled the rooflines to our left and right.
As we looked out, we didn’t see the tops of the buildings we’d hurried through. Only the swelling surface of the water fronted by the surge of debris was visible. Below the new sea buildings collapsed in cinematic grace, bricks spiraling away from centuries of mortar in slow motion. Eruptions at the surface marked the final escape of pockets of air, furniture and bodies popping into the daylight before drifting toward our new, temporary Niagara.
The water thundered over the roof in a stampede, charging out into space to curve gracefully down upon the city. Holding each other by the edge of the cataract, we felt the building give.