In Our Dreams
BY Adam Morgan
It is always night in Chicago, and the edges of downtown give way suddenly to an endless prairie that stretches north and west and south, and Lake Michigan isn’t a lake but an ocean, and most of us never leave the city because we’re too afraid. The trains and taxis are silent and still. There aren’t many of us left. Every so often some of us venture out into the prairie and disappear forever over the horizon. Sometimes a family of deer wander into the city, and we all gather to meet them. They ask us for poetry, and we ask them for new jokes.
Chicago is a half-drowned city, a cluster of towers rising out of a grey ocean. We live on the upper floors of empty hotels and gather on rooftops to watch for whales. We visit each other on papier-mâché gondolas we make from old copies of the Tribune. At night, the water glows dimly from the streetlights on the bottom of the ocean, and we make up stories about the people who live there. We imagine they are sad, that one day we will swim down the elevator shafts and bring them back to the surface with us, but we are too scared to dive that far down. We know that they hate us, because they have never seen the sun.
Chicago is hidden deep in a forest, covered in flowering vines and writhing trees. We are the first people to discover the ruins, to wander through its leafy canyons and explore its vast libraries reeking of mold. The books are rotting and coated with fungus, like tumors. We wonder if the mushrooms have soaked up all the knowledge of the ancients, and so some of us eat the mushrooms and die. We wonder if the fungus was poisonous or if the knowledge was too much for us to bear.
Adam Morgan is a writer, editor, and reviewer in Chicago who loves dogs, thunderstorms, and red velvet cake. He is the author of Best Hikes Near Chicago from Falcon Guides, the winner of the 2009 New York Television Festival’s Fox/PGP Script Contest, and his reviews and interviews can be found in Publishers Weekly, Bookslut, and MountHelicon.blogspot.com.