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something that happens less often for me than for most people I talk with. Another unusual bit: it wasn't the sort of dream that changes, with random additions pushing the narrative down new avenues. It went on for hours, with no great drama or revelation; it would have made a terribly boring movie.

I suppose you could call it a nightmare, but it didn't feel scary or threatening. It simply was. The inescapable horror was just... life. We were all used to it and made the best of things.

Maybe that's the really scary part.

I was a photographer, moderately well-known for capturing the subtle contrasts of things and places that, at first glance, appear tediously monochromatic. That was why I'd been chosen for the task.

The assignment was simple but ambitious: a months-long residency in Antarctica, to capture the beauty of The Melt.

And beautiful it was indeed. The quickening, thunderous lemming-migration of the Ross Shelf, the sudden, tiny drama of dark rock appearing where man had only known whiteness, eyeblinks of green as a continent learned a new meaning of "spring."

For most, the job would likely have been rather boring, consisting largely of staying warm and searching out the subtleties in a canvas of white. But, as I said, it was just my cup of artistic tea, right in my sweet spot.

Besides, it was just a job, another assignment, albeit one I found fascinating. I had to tip my furred hood to my publisher, who'd had the stroke of brilliance to launch the project, so obvious in hindsight--once someone's done it.

A strange dream, about a long and tedious job, documenting a process that was so universally known and understood that no one had thought to bother recording it.

It wasn't until I woke that I understood that I'd been having a nightmare.

That doesn't end upon waking.

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