art by Shane M. Gavin
The Dream of the Night-Shift Power Worker
by Edoardo Albert
So you think the world's become prosaic and dull? There's no mystery any more, no magic? You want enchantment, adventure? You want... monsters?
You dream of feeling the downrush of a dragon's wings, of hearing a distant, metallic rhythm and slowly realizing that it's the sound of dwarves, marching, I know you do.
I'll tell you how to bring us back, all the creatures fierce and fey, immortal and unhallowed, the crawling, jumping, flying, soaring things.
Turn out the lights. That's all it takes. Simply turn out the lights.
No, not that switch, stupid. That just switches off the light in the control centre. No, I mean, turn out all the lights, everywhere. You can do it, can't you? Jim's gone off shift early and Nate's late in. There's no one else here but you. You've got time.
Get rid of the glow that suffocates your cities and let the night back in. Go on. That's all you need to do....
See. I knew you wouldn't. You think you want us back, but you're just like all the rest. Pussy! Why do I bother?
We're too interesting for you, that's the problem. You think you're so cool, what with your stoned friends and your discreet tattoos, but you're nothing but normal with knobs on.
I really thought you might be different. Haven't you ever dreamed of weeds growing up through the M25, of wolves howling through Brent Cross and the tube stopping in Narnia rather than Neasden?
The thing is, you can't have wonder without fear. If there's nowhere for monsters to hide, if there are no shadow places, then everything becomes flat and boring. Like trying to take landscape pictures at noon.
But you, you're unusual. I can tell you're listening. Maybe you're not like everyone else. We've been waiting for someone different, someone unique, for ages. You could turn out the lights and let us in.