As he slept he dreamed. He was back on his island. He was on the beach that led to his dwelling. It was his dwelling and her dwelling, and it was the dog’s dwelling.
He saw the beach but he wasn’t on the beach. He was suspended in some state of visual consciousness as an observer, but not as a participant.
The tribesman looked greedily at the familiar scene of the place that had been his home for his entire life. There was a man walking toward his point of view, toward his vantage. As the man drew closer the tribesman could see that the man was unlike any he had ever seen.
Then he realized that he had seen him before. But it had been dark that time and he had not been able to see him as clearly as he was now seeing him. He wore clothes that were made of material that – even from the distance of his vantage – he could see were not of a sort that he had ever seen. And there was something that glinted in the oblique rays of the early morning sun. The glinting thing was somehow attached to the man’s face and covered his eyes. The tribesman had thought that they were shields when he had seen them in the starlight. And he had shoes that were of many colors. And he didn’t walk like anyone he had ever seen. The man walked as if he had no fear of anything. He walked as if he were not aware that at any moment something or someone could leap upon him and end his life. And he had some place to keep his hands. The man was walking down the beach with his arms at his sides, bowed outward at the elbow, and with his hands nowhere to be seen.
And then the man stopped.
He looked at the beach at his feet. He knelt down and seemed to be digging with his hands. They had appeared magically from somewhere at his hips. After some time he stopped digging and began to carefully put his hands into what appeared to be a hole. After some moments he pulled a large amount of sand to the surface and with extreme care started brushing sand aside. There appeared to be something in the center of the glob of sand and the man appeared to be brushing the sand away from it. Then the man removed something that - from the distance of the tribesman’s vantage - looked to be a very small bush or some kind of tangle of beach debris. The man did something to the debris.
The tribesman awoke screaming.
The sun was barely over the upriver horizon. It was blue-black ascending to the most intense sort of rouge. There was no wind. The last – probably – ululation of an owl wafted over him and a sea eagle crashed into the river nearly at his feet. In a moment it lifted back airborne and shook itself dry. There was a large fish in its talons.
There was an intense pain in the tribesman’s middle finger on his left hand and it was oozing blood. It had already begun to congeal, but the pain of the wound had not yet begun to subside. But he had made a decision and neither blood nor pain was going to stay his departure.
He wrapped the finger in the finest of his skins – that of a squirrel– the fur having been removed and the skin having been tanned to a supple thin whiteness – and he set about breaking camp.
But, what had been the meaning of the dream, he wondered. Had it been an omen? Had it been a prediction? Or had it been a dream? The last dream he had had – while he slept between the roots of the giant oak - wasn’t of the “just a dream” sort. He was fearful that neither was this. He very seldom dreamed and they almost never were “just dreams”. But nothing was going to stay him. He had seen the magic wall and the woman – his woman – and he had made his decision
He broke camp and refitted and reconfigured the layout of his things in his boat and, as the sun had finally burst into full view, he shoved off and turned into the current and into the blinding fire of that rising sun.