THE SHADOW OF LIBERTY
Dreamed 1989/7/8/ by Chris Wayan
I'm playing a weird game with my two sisters. The game of power.
Althea crawls around with a hat that blinds her, so she keeps hitting her head, painfully. But that's how to get ahead, so she crawls on, hat over her eyes. My role is to play a wolf or coyote, though I too steal a hat and wear it. I attack Althea. Trapped in an awkward spot, she pauses and leaves the game, asking us to hold her place. At last, Miriel asks me to place-hold her too.
Damn. You can't play power games alone! So I take a break too.
Turn on the TV. First channel I try has a test pattern. The next, strange blue diamond shapes with no sound. The next shows Rorschach patterns--symmetrical inkblots. What do I see in them?
Next channel--hey! A show on the power game we're playing! An expert explains "The best strategy is to quit. You can get AHEAD in the power-status game, but never enough ahead to WIN--because others will quit if you dominate too much. So quit FIRST, and save your time and energy!"
But the TV has gone soft and bulgy. Something inside is coming out. Gradually the set extrudes an oversize human shoulder. I back away from it as a huge head bulges from the top: a stony-faced woman with a spiky crown. More of her oozes out. More. Rising steadily, a gray-green giantess. Hardly seems alive, more like a huge carved chess-queen, with no feet, just gunk: melted TV.
Now her head hits the ceiling, but rather than duck, she smashes right through the roof! I run out and hide in the yard. Her shoulders pop through. She looms taller, over the chimney, five or six meters now. She looks around, spots my motion as I cower behind a low mound of blue flowerbushes in the yard... and floats toward me, ripping through the house till she bursts free, to glide across the garden on a pedestal like the Statue of Liberty. In fact that's who she looks like... but her cold, threatening look and her snail-like slither are creepy, and I back away in a dreamlike horror.
Wait, there's a shotgun in the shed! It might offset our size-difference. I run for it, but she's closer; she reaches out a long slow gray arm and plucks it from the rack. Liberty's armed, and I'm not. Helpless.
I run along our narrow side yard through the toolshed out to the street. Liberty pursues me, crushing the two wooden gates. I fumble with my car-keys in panic, jump in as Liberty's shadow falls on my car. I take off with a screech, shaking at the close escape. Look back, shivering, to see the giant gliding down the street after me, slowly, relentlessly.
It's not over. It may never be over. I'm haunted. Hunted. Hounded.
Suddenly I wake, sweating, hands chill with horror.
THE NEXT DAY
As I mull over the dream, thinking "what a dark comedy on my fear of freedom"... the phone rings. My friend Melinda had a breakthrough in therapy. She was abused as a kid--was basically tortured in the name of "discipline". But she's never been able to relive it. This week, for the first time, she vividly recalled her mom chasing her through the house, stony-faced, relentless... to torture her "for your own good."
And suddenly I'm not sure just what my nightmare was about.
Or rather, who.
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