Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dream 14 "The Great Fire" (Lucie Blackburn, 1849)

Lucie Blackburn dreamed that she saw the Devil on King Street. She was crossing the road and there he was, leaning up against the wall of Post’s Tavern, flickering in the lamplight, waiting. He wore a black suit and a short beard. His eyes were coal. She knew the instant she saw him that he had come for her.  He would take her back south, to Kentucky, to Hell.

He saw her too, and smiled. It was a horrifying grin. It grew until it split his face in half. His skin fell away like a snake's as he swelled up out of himself, horns, scales and putrid flesh, rising until he was taller even than the steeple of St. James, great leathery wings unfurling behind him with a gust of hot wind. All along King Street, buildings burst into flame. Fire and smoke poured from windows and doors. People screamed and ran.

She couldn't move. The mud in the street was deep; it had her by the ankles. She could do nothing but pray. And pray she did. Lucie Blackburn prayed hard for that angel who came sweeping down from the heavens above Toronto, all fury and wrath, eager to cast out Evil, and with war in its eyes.

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Learn more about Lucie Blackburn and her escape from slavery here. Explore more Toronto Dreams Project postcards here.

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