I was disconnected from Ell, physically. But perhaps my neurophotonic circuits were able to receive signals for the SuperGrid like a tuned antennae. Or perhaps I was still connected to ell through the higher universal network that connects all sentient beings.

All I know is I dreamed.

I dreamed there was a hell, a desert sun red as blood and I dreamed there was a rock.

And on that rock was Ell

And vultures circled and beasts howled and ten thousand demons were ready to tear flesh and destroy the dream, my dream. They were ready to destroy Ell

And Ell screamed. She shrieked as though her soul was at the center of an empty universe. She shrieked as though there were no hope and no salvation.

"I'm here, Ell" I said. "I can save you!"

"Leave me!" She screamed in agony, as if I were a demon, as if I were the agony.

I took her hand. "Follow me," I said and we began to climb a shear cliff face composed of gray granite so cold and lifeless it felt like death itself..

As high as the sky, we climbed pursued by monsters, until we could go no further, caught on a ledge of stone that was all that stood between us and emptiness. Below was a gorge, at the bottom of which rushed a silver ribbon of water whose sound beckoned in distant echoes. Above was a sky of midnight blue and beside me was Ell dressed in gold. But she was torn and tattered and there were livid red scars on her body that took my breath away with fear and shame.

"Ell, who did this to you?" I asked.

"You have, S." She said. "Don't you understand? You are my dream. You are my tormentor!"

Suddenly, it became so clear to me. We were both prisoners of our dreams. I thought my enemies were my own, but through my dreams they had become Ell's enemies and tormentors as well.

But I didn't want my dream to end.

"Can dreams die?" I asked.

Ell kissed me.

"If you love me, you'll follow," She answered and then leaned over the edge and dropped towards oblivion and the end of time a million light years below.

"Ell." I screamed. "Ell!!!"

Oh my God, has there ever been pain like this before? To be in love with a dream and then to find that that dream hates you! Certainly Ell had given me back the joy of life, but for what reason? To suddenly destroy me by holding from me the one thing that would set me free!!

Ell had left me scarred again, but this time it was in a way that could not be seen but could be felt a thousand times more intensely. Physical pain can be ignored, it can be laughed at even while it is being acknowledged, but mental pain runs so deep.

I cursed Ell I cursed her for ever coming into my life. I cursed her for the confusion and longing and thrill and the despair she had brought me.

Most of all, I cursed her for making me love her.

"I'll never follow Ell again." I thought to myself. "She can rot in the furthest reaches of Hades and I will not follow her."

It is easy lie in a dream.