The Headless Vase

The most difficult truths prefer solitude. Tucked away in the darker corners of the mind, far from open consideration, we awaken them at our peril. For the world, as we know it, is neither whole nor complete. It demands a constant effort to construct a reality that contains its endless confusion, and the illusion holds only under the most tightly controlled conditions. Once awakened, such truths wreak havoc on the scaffolding and leave behind a trail of collapsed beliefs.

Yet we must accommodate them despite the betrayal they carry in their hearts. What bitter allies they become! Jealous foes of whatever we once held dear. Announced by epiphany, triggered by the smallest detail — perhaps a coincidence almost overlooked, an isolated anomaly in an otherwise predictable world. This is their talent to disrupt the orderly. As they unfold and reveal what lay hidden, they turn upon us as well, like a madman blind tol friend or foe. To the extent we resist, they stand ready to strike down the whole edifice of that precious assembly, our reality, even if sanity topples alongside.

Thus, I share my story with hesitation, knowing what harm might come to those who read my words. Once we grasp the occult mechanics of dreamwork, its subtle influence on reality, and to what extent our dreams precede the puppetry of waking life — such awakenings strike hard. So much confusion is reflected back upon our baffled minds that a portion of the soul, overwhelmed by the blow, shatters in the process. The remains never fit together quite like before.

Light travels differently, however, through the lens of a broken soul. The cracks and flaws give it a signature glow. Today, I look back and feel at peace with my fate, ready to consider my losses a mere bygone. No one can take away the rare glimpse I caught of their shadow machinery in all its plutonian splendor, or remove from my memory the sound of its innermost thoughts traveling underground, or erase the flutter in my heart, to know that I still carry its currency within me.

As sure as summer pollen and winter ice, somewhere beneath our feet, a vast archive of dreams circulates under the administration of the ghost of Nixon Cygne and his legacy to us all, the Advocacy. Without knowing its true purpose, the presence of this archive reminds us of an endless enterprise to capture the imagination.

This is but one of the truths I would impart, however hard it lands. To broadly direct your attention to those fleeting moments in everyday life — impressions, intuitions, coincidences — which express a fundamental flaw in our conception of reality. Too quickly, we dismiss such moments as oddities or accidents when they are the precise markers of Advocacy work. They signal the presence of a weird psychic energy generated through dreams that directly influences our waking lives.

Cygne discovered this power long ago through his moth research. He quietly founded the Advocacy to harness it, and he succeeded spectacularly, until control was slowly wrested from him.

That was more than a century ago. Now the Advocacy is run like a mining operation: captured dreams power a network of batteries housed beneath a group of underground archives across the country. The stored energy allows them not simply to engineer coincidences with purpose and design, and subtly drive our behaviors, but more importantly, to control the past from the vantage of the future.

Synchronicities they're commonly called, but the label dissembles the agency and organization now behind them. These days, synchronicity marks direct evidence of an Advocacy intervention. Only in rare cases like mine do these moments reveal a genuinely numinous event, borne across the threshold from dream to reality. But of course, I paid dearly.

We all must squarely face our death at some time, and our dreams prepare us for the encounter. Yet even the Advocacy recognizes that my unexpected passing, accompanied by so much tumult and mayhem, was an oversight. That is why I've been granted the unique dispensation to publish my story here.

You see, dear readers, the governance of any dream system demands a bureaucracy. This is the truest form of the Advocacy, a venture whose mission defies explanation and makes a mockery of reason. The scale and complexity of its operations exceed all measurable proportion. Everything under their watchful eye and no detail left to chance: Winding bureau to the clockwork of history, lathe to the hollowing of the ordinary, and ministry of all things unremembered.

Today, as little as I understand what provoked my unexpected disappearance from this world, or how my dreams betrayed me, I care even less about any Advocacy designs upon my fate.

By now, it's impossible to pinpoint who or what set the whole machine in motion, and useless to assign blame. I suspect the Advocacy sprung the trap long ago. When they began to record my dreams, I suppose.

But take heart, dear reader! As unsettling as you may find the story that follows, and insofar as you try to nerve yourself to its truth or the inevitable reckoning that awaits us all, do not look away. Many of your dreams are also among the archives. One day, one of them may find a way to reach you. Its truth will alight in active incandescence and enter a liminal state, magically hovering between dream and reality, like a fluttering moth pulled back and forth between light and darkness, waiting to guide you home.