I opened my eyes and saw only a small circle of my room, like looking through a tube. Thinking about it now, I suppose the normal reaction would have been concern, but all I felt was relief. 

She was back.

At her return, I realized that I could feel like me again. I wasn’t so lonely and I wasn’t so cold.

Smiling to myself, I closed my eyes again and let the warmth and glow return and fill me up. I could breathe easier and the goosebumps settled down and away.

I thought of my burning goosebumps as jagged mountains on my skin. Maybe not for a mosquito, but a mosquito baby. Not for a louse, but a nit. 

Nitwit. I felt like a nitwit. Once I felt fine again, it was peculiar and embarrassing to think about the doubt and depression I had been experiencing just moments before. The whole thing seemed so far away, as if it had happened to someone else and not to me.

What do you want? The black tangle, she was I think, at that moment onward, officially my muse. I could feel the warm prickling at the back of my head, stretching over my ears and cheeks. She was planning to wrap around my entire head, I could tell. I really didn’t want that.

Can you keep my nose and mouth free?


It freaks me out when I can’t breathe.

But you can breathe.

I need to breathe freely, or I can’t feel free.

There was a pause, like a silence within the silence.

Yes, of course. I forgot. From behind, she stretched forward, around and over my eyes and then under my chin.

Well? She asked.

That’s good, thank you. It did feel good. Secure.

Why did you ask for me?

I have so many questions.


I didn’t dare start with the obvious. I avoided the obvious. Maybe I wanted to impress my muse a little by not asking about the obvious, precisely what a child would probably do, or at least a very ordinary sort of child. I want to ask about the ants that held me to the dragon.

Of course. (I’ll show you everything.)

Are they real?

Yes. Everything is real.

We talked about dreams for a while. I wanted to be sure, absolutely sure, that I wasn’t dreaming any of it. Repeatedly, she assured me I wasn’t dreaming.

This is all very far from dreaming.

But dragons? Part of me was indignant, quite unable to accept that dragons really existed anywhere.

My muse scoffed. She was not amused and was clearly unimpressed that I still failed to grasp what she felt extremely obvious. She told me to abandon my doubts, flicked the back of my head and left. I could tell though that she wasn’t leaving me completely or forever.

I opened my eyes and could see, clearly, plainly. I scanned the room but couldn’t find my black tangle muse anywhere. Where did she go? I wondered. I had no idea, but could sense, vaguely, that she was close and that she would never be too far; at least, not for too long. That was a satisfying feeling, and reassuring. I suppose that is why I so seldom feel alone even though writing and painting are done, typically, without anyone else around.