Delirium, the youngest of the Endless, who was once Delight, needs a change. She decides to find her missing "prodigal" brother. She begs Dream to accompany her and surprisingly, (for reasons we don't discover til later) he agrees. But their prodigal brother is none other than Destruction, and as Dream and Delirium soon learn, few can seek Destruction unscathed. One of Gaiman's many skills is the use of doublespeak, and this story is no exception. It is a brilliant interplay of past accounts and current journeys, mirroring each other.
"What's the name of the word for things not being the same always.....there must be a word for it. The thing that let's you know time is happening. Is there a word?"
"Change" replies Dream, and that is the basis for this story. It marks the realization of what Dream boths needs and yet cannot accomplish - he must change to survive, or cast about the seeds of his own future destruction.
"Brief Lives" is the glory of an already impeccable series. It is for me, the jewel in the crown of the entire Sandman saga. It manages to be haunting, thrilling and hysterical all at the same time.