For the first time in a long time, I dreamt about Bob.
The dream was weak, and grey, and flickering. I strained my eyes, but I could never seem to see as well as I wanted; there never seemed to be enough light. I was in a walled garden, standing on the lawn. Bob was sitting down, stroking two foxes who rubbed against him. Their cubs frolicked around us. Bob was a desiccated husk. His eyes were milky white, his skin paper thin. His hair and beard were patchy, reduced to white wisps. He told me he was dying.
He said the battle had been fought, and both sides had lost. He held out a fox and said I should embrace it. I stayed where I was. Something moved over my foot. I looked down and saw a snake. Bob saw it too, and nodded. He said it was clear. One was a gift, the other a prize. The burden would be mine, the endless burden that had destroyed him and twisted the other, if only I would take it. The end was coming, or was here, and the choice was mine. Carry the burden or end everything. He held out the fox again; I took it.
Bob said he would help me, one last time. Then he would wake from his nightmare, his burden gone. He told me to pack my bag and sleep in my clothes. Then he said goodbye.
I woke up soaked with sweat. It was mid-afternoon, and I was exhausted. I'll do as Bob asks. I'll take my laptop. If I can, I'll post. I feel like this will be my legacy.