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MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN

Two dreams, 1992/9/5 and 1992/9/6, by Chris Wayan

Cover of 'Midnight's Children' by Salman Rushie.

FIRST DAY

I start Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. No, not The Satanic Verses, the one that has all the Muslim fundies out for his blood. The book before that, that insults Hindu fundies--and secularists. The dirty laundry of Indian politics...

FIRST NIGHT

I dream I'm in one of three groups of psychic children. My name is Saleem Sinai; I'm the telepath who Salman Rushdie interviewed for his book Midnight's Children.

Life as Saleem isn't easy. I live through lengthy adventures with a constant sense of defeat beneath. Normal people and their majoritarian government tried to stamp out us Midnight Children for being different--threatening.

Still, I was alive to be interviewed! Alive and ready to speak out.

NEXT DAY

I read the second half of Midnight's Children. It ends quite as bitterly as my dream predicted--Indira Gandhi rounds them up, has them sterilized, and cuts out their wild talents with a surgeon's knife.

I'm sick again today. Lie around naked in the sun, and slowly feel better.

Evening: Star Trek. Lame drama. A separatist group of Klingons, warriors obsessed with their honor, hold the main reactor of the Enterprise as "hostage"...

SECOND NIGHT

It's the future--long after things fall apart. Few people now; I only know of two Southern California tribes. One's a desert group descended from hippies and cowboys, living east of the Sierras... they're developing psychic powers to the point others might call magic. The other's a San Diego or San Onofre tribe. Inspired by the coastal ruins, they try to revive high tech. Very high tech. They're building a nuke! Jamila, wounded, cracks a half-built nuke. Dream sketch by Wayan

I'm in the psychic tribe, passionately antinuclear. We want to sabotage that reactor before it fires up. A group of six of us, two women four men, get inside their complex. Did we teleport, walk through walls, out of mirrors? We have long assault rifles. Guards appear and shoot at Jamila, the youngest of us, hardly more than a kid. She slumps without a word. Kneels, still clutching her rifle, leaning on it as a support, pointing it up at the ceiling, not at anyone. The guards hesitate, guilty now.

Jamila, gasping, fishes out an iron spindle--a rocket grenade. Attaches it to the barrel of her gun, fires it in an arc up toward the roof... and down to the reactor wall! It explodes, smashing the containment and damaging the soon-to-be-loaded core... We flee, dragging her with us... We teleport back home!

Her wound's not fatal, but for a long time she's drained, listless, just trying to heal. Not a time to talk about my love for her. I've had a crush on Jamila for so long. But she's too drained to feel anything now.

The tribe has built a wooden fence, ranch style, with a gate. It won't stand up against serious high-tech attack, but if their people try a ground assault, it'll slow them down. We have lots of sharpshooters. The cowboys at the gate seem pretty confident we can survive any punitive raids. Most of us feel great relief. They won't be able to fire up a nuke for years, if ever. And it's the first time we've defeated the high-tech people. They'll have to factor our opposition into any other dangerous projects they cook up. Teleporting saboteurs! I'm not sure they'll even try rebuilding the reactor. Too vulnerable.

Despite the violence of the dream, I wake feeling happy. Jamila's injury seemed a fair price to pay; at least she herself thought so. For saving the world.

NOTES

The dream's saying I've broken the basic pattern of my chronic illness! So I shouldn't be upset if I feel drained, antisocial, and unemotional for a while. I'm healing from a major battle!

A battle I haven't yet realized I won.



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