Dreamed 1986/11/17 by Chrs Wayan
I'm reading a kid's book that opens in San Francisco, starring a skinny Asian-American girl around fifteen, very gifted, with long straight hair she's dyed dark-blond. She's a retro-hippie into psychedelics, but also crazy about Polynesian culture--she's learning the language and knows about thirty thousand gods.
A typical California kid, just like you.
One day she stumbles through a Door, into a far future world. Or perhaps a parallel present. She finds herself in a desert of red mesas.
There among the rocks, she has a religious vision, telling her she's been sent here for a reason: to show people such doors to other levels of reality; to prove this world is not all.
And now I'm her. Gospel Girl. I walk all morning across the desert, and come at noon to a city of fluted sandstone. I climb down to the municipal stream, just a series of pools at this season. Before I drink, I kneel on the rocks and thank my gods: the Polynesian spirits of Water, Light, and Love. The City guards watch calmly from the high rim.
But not only the City archers. Strange men start stalking me. Not City men, but agents of a Nazi-like empire, with spies everywhere and their eyes on the city, pushing at its borders. They have no right to hound me, but the City no longer dares to restrain them.
And these quasi-Nazi agents, with their worldwide travel-knowledge, recognized my prayer as nothing from this world. I'm a prize to them--or a danger. They don't want the cityfolk finding escape-hatches to other worlds, other times...
I flee through the City marketplace, stalked by their agents. And the City guards look the other way!
Then I run into a family--literally, I bounce off their mom. They fuss over me, and on hearing my tale, they bundle me into their car, under the groceries and clothes they bought. The make me welcome in their house, a solid walled villa, with an atrium and everything. Even the Empire's agents can't casually enter. Inside the wall, their home reminds me of my parents'. A fenced back yard and side yard with a garden... But I still don't feel safe outside; I cower, and try to hide from aerial spy cameras. The Quasi-Nazis can't break in, but the house is watched. Innocent things fly overhead, like a straw hat caught in the wind, but clicking and glinting... And higher up, too far to see, are spy jets that can emit deadly beams. They know. They know.
At last we flee through the forest. Intelligent animals join us on our way to my adoptive family's clan-home. They surround and guard me.
I know we're a target, because of me. They want to seal the door to the other worlds.
Sometime later, alone in the house, the family gone off on trips in cars, I hear a radio update. The Empire's ordered its troops and agents to even kill each other, spare no price to kill Gospel Girl!
I sense prowlers... the houses auto defenses trip in. But the family who owns the place drives up. A relief... but are they real? Or spies, impostors? In a panic I hold my own best friend hostage, a girl my own age. They don't attack: they bargain, concerned for her, concerned for me. They must be real; the enemy would sacrifice one soldier, or a thousand, to kill me.
So I let my friend go, and beg them to pile in their cars and flee while they can. As just another family of refugees they'll be safer than around Gospel Girl--I'm targeted.
"That's true, but we're not going without you." Stubbornly, they pack me up as well... and take me along. As ordinary refugees, a drop in a flood, we turn invisible, at least for now.
We return to the Holy City in the desert.
For this is a religious war: I'm a sort of Christ, but this time, with sympathy for all beings, not just those who happen to be human. The animal people have waited so long for a protector. I have an inner certainty of purpose -- I'm on a mission from 30,000 gods. I'm supposed to show all creatures of goodwill the way to the other world, so they can get help from it to free themselves from these neo-Nazis. I have to establish a new or renewed religion; Christianity is here, but weak and narrow and old (much as in my waking world).
But where's the door I came through--will have to die to return? Must I be a second Christ?
In the harbor, a Soviet and a U.S. aircraft carrier are anchored side-by-side. But Sauron, the Dark Lord of Middle Earth, has taken over the Soviet Union. Inside the Soviet carrier are many PT boats, waiting to be released. Sauron personally calls up the Scandinavian captain of a neutral freighter in the harbor, trying to win his alliance. He's doing this with all the neutrals. "We want your superior technology" he flatters the Captain. It doesn't work. Next thing I know the radio reports peace talks...
But Sauron demands most of the world! And he insists that all the rest be satellite territories or demilitarized zones.
Then he invades. NATO, expecting the talks to go on, is poorly prepared, and retreats. Their army flees across several bridges near the port city. Heavy losses. I don't fully understand... Sergeants in particular are wiped out. Soldiers, rather than get off the road, just flee down it or hide in cracks under the huge pillows that pave it. They're easily pried out once the enemy catches on.
Why is the Evil Empire winning so easily? If our soldiers just got in stands off the road and sniped, they'd bog down the advancing army, but... nothing. They really have infiltrated, sabotaged...
One morning I go down to the rocks again. The archers guarding the city, who were there the first time, recognize me as I kneel to worship Water, Light, and Love.
They shoot me. And not with arrows. Bullets. In the back. Sauron posted a huge reward. And enough of them bit.
I die there, by the pool.
My spirit's stunned -- how can I finish my mission if I'm dead? So I cling to my body, and refuse to die fully. For that means the spirit has fled, and I won't flee. I'm on a mission from the Gods.
A guard reports to my family only that "Your u'umahine" (or a similar Polynesian word meaning maid, female servant) "is dead." Not who I am, or that they murdered me.
My adoptive family claims my body; the Enemy doesn't care about them now... just so the door to the spirit world is shut. I don't breathe, my heart doesn't beat, my blood is cooling. I look dead until I'm safe with them and then... I move. I move my body like pushing a soft clay statute. I'm clumsy as a zombie, which I guess I am; but I can walk a little.
The next day, my foster family dresses in black, rents a long black car, and drives to the park where it all began and ended. The wide lawn is pitted with wells or pools: wells between worlds, for those who know how to open them. Here in this graveyard-park, as the funeral service begins, I stand among my own mourners, with a veil, and dark glasses, and an expressionless face... because I no longer can express.
My shaky balance telegraphs illness or wrongness, if not death. I shouldn't have come, but I feared to be alone. I hear the radio-crackle as a man in the back calls for backup. They're relentless! Sent a spy to the funeral on the off-chance I wouldn't stay dead.
I must get out NOW--find the path to the other world! As carloads of Nazis burst into the park, scrambling out of their cars, my foster-family helps me hobble down a path toward a pond. Never mind what world it leads to. I must go.
But at a fork in the path, on the steep bank, it's over. Agents above, below, behind, ahead. I was so close.
They tell my adoptive family "Surrender, and no one'll be hurt." I know, with my fevered senses now blurring into the future and past, that they'll all be electrocuted. The chair, just for helping me. For loving me.
And then they execute me on the spot. Thoroughly, with no ambiguity this time, my body carefully bullet-drilled. One, two, three, four, five, six, the cracks echoing. My body doesn't even twitch.
As I die again, finally this time, all I can think is "God told me to set these people free, but how can I now?" I start crying over my dead body. For a moment I see holes in the upper path, with little ladders down through caves in the bank, leading out to the lake-shore. And these caves... they're the doors to the other worlds! The doors are right here, even closer than I thought!
I shout "There!" My last word. Not, my post-last. Only my ghost says it. My lungs and lips don't work, not even for puppet-speech. They can't hear...
And my own sureness fades. Little ladders! Was it a dying hallucination?
As I fade too, a sudden defeat sweeps through me. And then...
A vast peace and joy as I see long-range. My death IS like Christ's; and it won't stop things. Friends from psychodrama hug and kiss me as I die, hug and kiss the dying girl, Gospel Girl... who is no longer me.
I wait my turn, and kiss myself goodbye.
But my soul feels a deep dissatisfaction with this long-term promise. How will the neo-Nazis be overthrown? The ancient Christians had a ruthless state to contend with, but not like this: nowhere to hide and psychic impersonaters and a powerful propaganda machine and total control of information. The Romans were arrogant and organized, but not genocidal, not worldwide.
I want to live, and fight, and make damn sure this time. No more nebulous promises, no more pie in the sky when you die. Look what a mess they made of Christ! "Cover the earth and subdue it..." Onward, Christian soldiers! Other religions are nothing, other creatures are little robots with no souls... hell, WOMEN only got souls by one vote!
No, I won't do it. The age of blood sacrifice is over, thankyouverymuch. I never thought it was romantic, and even less so when it's me.
NOTES ON WAKING UP
I know what triggered this dream, and it wasn't Christ... or Ronald Reagan.
I read today about "Michael Fairless," the pen name of an English woman who wrote "The Roadmender", opposing cutthroat capitalism and emphasizing generosity and charity from a mystical Christian perspective. Personally, she was rather like me: an empath with animals and people, and occasionally even telepathic, but fragile and sickly all her adult life, hiding out from humans even to the extent of using a gender-bending pseudonym. Not that hiding helped... she died in her thirties.
I find this depressing, since I too pick up the energies of animals and people, have occasional telepathic and predictive dreams... and am also fragile and sickly.
So Fairless's early death is discouraging. Doesn't ANYONE with empathic gifts ever "live long and prosper"? They all seem to die young.
The spirit world may love these short grand-gesture lives, cut off like Christ's at thirty-three. How romantic!
But I won't SETTLE for being Gospel Girl! Not this time around.
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