Cobwebbed And Comfortless
Scene Title Cobwebbed and Comfortless
Synopsis A group of dreamers are brought together for more riddles and rhymes, along with a real estate tour of a very narrow home.
Date April 8, 2021

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Elliot and Wright sit side by side on the stones by the river. Not Wright, merely the idea of Wright; a projection unoccupied. His feet are cold in the icy water, ripples obscuring the target of Ames’s attention. Her drawing of that rippled anemone is morbid, towering, threatening. Closed against company. “Gone forever,” she sings, “Gone forever.”

“At the Market,” Wright says suddenly. Elliot spins toward her, feet momentarily leaving the ground, then permanently. Attention tilts as Wright clips too close, becomes more than merely the idea of her. She looks around, confused, up to Elliot. “Coda?”

Elliot has lost purchase on the dream, displaced from it by Wright’s arrival. In the moment of his understanding he knows Ames, the idea of Ames, is gone, her drawing discarded. The anemone’s tentacles are now inviting, directing, curious. He can only point Wright in the direction she needs to move as his dream careens off in another direction while she takes his place in this one.

Wright lifts the paper and enters the Anemone.


Trees stand like blue black pillars in an impossibly dark world. Their trunks rise from a midnight ground, reaching infinitely into the sky. Nothing calls from the trees or from the murkiness beyond. There is nothing to disturb the silence that is both oppressive and comforting. Small clouds of dust rise from soundless footfalls, shimmering with a phosphorescent quality until it settles again. The path is a slightly lighter shade of blackness that branches and stretches endlessly out in all directions. Devon runs, unimpeded by the trees all around, unconcerned with where he's going or where he's been. Each stamp of his foot against the ground propels him further and further along though he neither gains nor loses ground. He runs for the simple joy and freedom of the activity, driven by a nameless and shapeless fear that pursues him.


Drifting over what looks like Coney Island Amusement Park, it doesn't seem strange to Megan at all to see it as it once was, full of people and laughter. The only difference here is her. She dreams of flying a lot now. It's a lazy feeling, allowing herself to swoop and dive above the wave tops off the pier. There are kites and she skims around them, laughing at the excited squeals of people on the ground.

It's a scene that has never and likely will never happen in the waking world, but for now it seems thoroughly realistic. As she comes down to touch her feet to the sand at the edge of the water…

The cottage is familiar to some of the dreamers, but not to others. Devon and Wright will recognize it immediately, cozy and warm, a shelter from the darkness outside. It’s raining, today, the sound louder than it should be, as if it were raining on a tin roof rather than the sod roof the cottage appeared to have on the outside.

What’s different are the photographs — there are more of them. The faces are still faded, impossible to make out the features. But there’s something that catches each of their attention, drawing them to examine the faded, sepia-tone pictures a little closer.

There’s something in the cant of one’s head that reminds Megan of herself. Joaquin recognizes the shirt — his favorite shirt — despite being culled of all color. Devon recognizes a building in the background of a photograph that calls to mind the Bastion, before he even notices the man standing in the lower corner that’s unquestionably him. Wright sees a couple turned toward one another, mirroring each other, and she knows it’s her and Elliot.

The kettle keens, a sudden sharp sound in the quiet space.

Wright picks up the photo of them and turns it around, plucking open the clips that press the paperboard backer to the frame. She seems uninterested in the others, giving Devon a nod before moving to the stove and repositioning the kettle off the flame. She sets the photo frame down for a moment to fill a tea ball with tea, and the teapot with hot water. She leaves it to steep and turns, leaning against the counter.

“Oh right, hi Devon, fancy meeting you here,” she says, realizing her coworker would likely expect to find Elliot instead of her, so she gives the usual half-truth. “We fell asleep linked, I just accidentally bumped him out of the dream that lead here. Oh, Hi Megan!” She smiles wide and waves. “Is this your first shared nightmare?” She finally picks the back of the frame free, setting it aside to study the photo, and its back, in better lighting.

Not so much surprise as … caution. As Megan takes in the room, they are familiar faces. Although Joaquin's she cannot quite place; it's been a lot of years. Megan has a younger visage here in dreams than in waking life — one's mental image of themselves is often not quite realistic. And as one ages, well… instead of a woman in her 50s, she looks more or less like a mid-30s version of herself.

Her gaze comes away from the pictures at Wright's cheery tone and she replies drily, "Nope. Not my first rodeo." Shaking her head, the redhead sighs and looks concerned. "I hope this one goes better than the last one." She pauses and grimaces. "If I had to make a choice, I definitely prefer the ones from years ago to these ones. Shared like this is a little creepier than a flash forward. And I have real concerns about what happens when shit goes wrong here."

The nurse is just as blunt in dreams as she is in the waking world, not surprisingly.

Standing near the window, Devon watches the other dreamers first. He's briefly surprised by Wright’s presence, moreso than Megan or Joaquin’s. He knew Elliot'd had a dream, it's odd seeing Wright here now. And really, the fact that they're collectively in a dreamscape — one that strikes the chords of a memory — is a thing that's otherwise taken in reluctant stride. “Hey,” becomes a generalized greeting as he wanders, inevitably drawn to the mantle.

While recognizable, this dreaming version of Devon remains a solid ten or so years younger than he is in the waking world. His reflection picks up in the glass of a photograph he picks up. For a second he stares into his own eyes, then shifts his view to the image invaded in the frame.

Brows knit at what he finds in the picture. “What happened in the last one?” Dev asks. Still studying the image of himself, he migrates again, with a brief glance to Megan and Joaquin.

There’s no words or information on the back of the picture that Wright examines, just yellowing photo paper. As she holds onto the photograph, though, it crumbles into dust, like some ancient manuscript that disintegrates once exposed to air.

Footfalls sound on the stairway, light and fleet, but it isn’t the stone angel that steps onto the ground floor. Instead, a little girl stares at them. Her gold hair is in two braids, but her eyes are as blank as the gray, sculpted eyes of Angel and the same vague white-gray hue. Her features are rounded, cherubic compared to the chiseled features of the angel.

“Did you come for a tea party?” the child asks, her voice clear and bright, as she hurries to the kettle. Small cups, the dainty size used for a child’s tea party, appear, and she pours the dark fluid into each of them and holds it out. Without adding sugar, creamer, or lemon, the contents of each person’s teacup is precisely how they take their tea — or if they don’t like tea, it’s now something else entirely.

As the girl hands out the cups, she begins to sing-song. The voice fills them, and without trying to, their mouths open and each dreamer recites with her, not in their voices, diverse as they are, but in the same tone and pitch as the little child, in unison:

This door you might not open, O! you did;

So enter now, and see for what slight thing

You are betrayed… Here is no treasure hid,

No cauldron, no clear crystal unveiling

The sought-for truth, no heads of women slain

For greed like yours, no writhings of distress,

But only what you find… Look yet again—

Wright dusts the crumbled photo off of her hands on her pants and accepts the diminutive tea cup. She barely has time to sip the tea before being puppeteered by the dream. Once she has control over her mouth again she clears her throat. “Well that was weird and unpleasant,” she says. “Who are you, tiny strange child?”

She doesn’t really expect an answer, or least not a useful one. She racks her brain for her waking memories, trying to recall what she can from Elliot’s preparation for this possible dream abduction. They really should find a dreamwalker to get some training, if only to make the rare occurrences of shared dreams more lucid and predictable.

Taking the tea warily, Megan eyes the small girl. "See for what slight thing you are betrayed," she muses very softly. "We know you can't seem to give straight answers, but…" the redhead thinks for a moment. "Guys, maybe check all the photographs." Her own eyes are searching the little girl's face. "It sounds stupid as hell, but I saw it in a show once… figured it can't hurt to try it." A glance at Devon and Wright.

"And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.
Over these things I could not see;
These were the things that bounded me"

When she looks again at her companions, she shrugs. "Maybe she can only speak in Millay poems?" Yeah, yeah — probably a dumb idea, but at least Megan felt like she doing something while they waited. Learning poems isn't the worst thing in the world.

Close. But eh.

The little girl turns her blank eyes on Wright and wrinkles her nose. “It isn’t nice to call people strange. Impolite,” she says, primly. “You weren’t even invited, but I guess you can stay. The other one is handsome, though. Dreamy, as they say.”

Giggling, the girl holds a hand up in front of her mouth, clearly pleased with herself. “What is it that you say — no pun intended.”

Megan speaking in verse to her draws her attention that way, and she cants her head, brows drawing together, and then she claps her hands. “Splendid! Do you know the one about Wynken, Blynken and Nod?” she asks, pale eyes rounding.

But before she can hear Megan’s response, all of their mouths open again for the next part of the poem:

An empty room, cobwebbed and comfortless.

Yet this alone out of my life I kept

Unto myself, lest any know me quite;

As the words end, the room suddenly empties of all creature comforts — the photos, creepy and blank faced as they were, the sofa, the cushions, even the teacups in their hands, all fade, crumbling to dust like the photograph had in Wright’s hands.

Nothing is left but cobwebs and bare floors, bare walls, boarded-up windows and a boarded up door.

When the second wave of poetry comes on, Wright doesn’t struggle against it, instead focusing on the words. Remembering dreams is rarely easy, though Elliot’s memory of the first dream was fairly solid. When the room is vacated, she’s curious whether it’s because Megan suggested looking for clues or if it’s merely to dress the set according to the poem.

The child doesn’t seem interested in answering questions, but Wright doesn’t feel like having this dream call all of the shots. “As far as we can tell, everyone abducted into this cabin is sleeping in New York City. Are you quoting Edna St. Vincent Millay poems because she lived in Greenwich Village? Is that where you are?”

The child tips her head, giving off the air of a thoughtful student trying to remember everything they’re meant to say in a recitation or oral presentation. Her eyes turn upward toward the ceiling, arcing from right to left, like she might be able to picture the answer that Wright desires.

Suddenly, the little cottage shifts with a rumble — the rustic nature shifts into something with more modern, clean lines, though claustrophobically narrow and still cobwebbed and dusty. The entire house — if they’re in a house — is the width of a small room, about nine feet across.

The little girl looks around. “Am I here?” she wonders aloud, before running from what seems to be a living room with a fireplace and built-in bookshelves. Dusty books line the shelves, but the furniture is covered in tarp. A broken window has allowed dead leaves and dirt to pile up in the corners of the room.

The living room leads to the kitchen and a teal spiral staircase leads up to the second floor; the little girl runs up, disappearing for a moment or two before her face peers down again. “No one here. Just the spiders and the rats and the ghosts!” she calls down. “It isn’t safe, you see. He’s not here, either. He’s never been here.”

Their jaws drop again, and the girl’s voice speaks through their open mouths:

And you did so profane me when you crept

Unto the threshold of this room to-night

That I must never more behold your face.

This all is yours. I seek another place.

Wright takes in the shift calmly, noting a few things at once. The first is that this girl seems to know where Edna St. Vincent lived, assuming that’s what this is. The second is that this place looks exactly how she’d imagine a poor, early twentieth-century poet would live. The third is that New York will call absolutely any apartment with the physical dimensions of a practical joke prime real estate.

When they’re all done singing again, Wright stares up at the strange girl with a bit of a twitch in the corner of her eye. But there’s no time to waste complaining about being puppeteered. “So what’s the deal with the Russian river town names?” she asks. “Is there a point to all of these clues other than a wild goose chase? I honestly can’t tell if you need help or if we do.” she gestures to the room's other occupants.

“Who’s the aggressor here?” she asks. “And who is this he?

From trying to place Megan’s verse with the child’s, then interrupted by his own sudden utterances, Devon is left gawping at… everything. The new surroundings, the child, even the other dreamers. There's something accusatory, something almost banking on disbelief, in his expression. He's almost willing to point fingers along with Wright when the other Hound questions the girl.

“There's no such thing as ghosts,” is what he chooses to nitpick over, quietly and with a grimace. A breath follows, drawing on patience he's sure is buried somewhere.

“That poem just now. Is there more to it?”

Well, that didn't work at all. Megan didn't really expect it to, so it's not like she's surprised. When their surroundings change again, the redhead looks around a bit suspiciously. "Honestly, I am not a poetry buff, so the one idea I had was to try to memorize a few of the poems to see if anything popped. That was me, shootingthe moon and missing." Shaking her head, she says, "I wish she could give us something less surreal than riddles and poems." If only because maybe Meg wouldn't feel quite so stupid.

The walls suddenly crumble away, breaking off in chunks and then smaller pieces until everything drifts away into a dark night sky, growing smaller and smaller, until they look like stars in a black night sky, and then even those too are gone.

Gone, too, is the girl, and once more the stone angel stands in the midst of a vast black field of space. There is no light source, but they are lit clearly, without shadow, as is the angel.


“No goose. Snake. Horse. Man.” She looks to Devon and tips her head. “And a ghost. But he’s not in her house.”

Her stone eyes study each of them, and her brows draw together. “Things are jumbled. Parts of me aren’t here,” she says, tapping her temple. “Parts are missing. It’s like playing Rachmaninoff with only white keys.”

The ground beneath them rumbles and she hugs her arms around herself. Hairline cracks begin to split the stone she’s made of. “He’s the devourer of the world.”

Wright murmurs the words back to herself softly, “A snake, a horse, a man, a ghost who is a man who has never been in Edna’s house, possibly because it isn’t safe for him there. The devourer of the world.”

“That all sounds bad,” she offers. She points around her face as if motioning to cracks in her own skin. “Where is the rest of you? Your black keys? Can we put you back together? Elliot has found hidden memories for other people before, though that requires direct contact.”

In far over her head and devoid of any helpful ideas or even any clues, Megan crosses her arms absently around her middle, listening and trying to more or less commit what's being said to memory. She has zero thoughts on what else she might do or ask that could glean further clarity.

Titles are one thing, hints and abstracts something else. Both have their uses, but Devon seeks anything more concrete. “Do you have names?” Haven’t they asked that already? Angel or Ange floats like a whisper of a memory. “The devourer’s name? Is the snake, horse, man, ghost, devourer of the world all the same being?”

Pieces of the angel begin to break off like the townhouse had moments before. She looks up at Wright and tears stream down her face even as cracks run up it. “A void. I have no anchor. Was he my anchor?” She shakes her head. “No. That’s not right.”

Devon’s question draws her brows together in more confusion, more pain. “Names are words. Words are snakes. They change. I lost mine, somewhere. Molted.”

At his second question, she reaches out to grasp his hand. “Yes. Snake. Horse. Man. Ghost. He would devour the world, down to its very roots.” As she holds his hand, he can feel it crumble in his grasp; the rest of her breaks apart and soon the pieces of her too are like stars in the sky.

Without her there, there’s suddenly nothing holding them in place, and they fall through the dark void of nothing. When they land, it’s gently, at least, and back in their own dream.

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