Dreamed 9/6/1994 by Wayan
A PSEUDO-RECURRING DREAM?
I dream I have a recurring dream, one I know well in the dream--though later when I wake, I know it's new.
In the dream, realizing I've dreamed this before, I think "Oh, why not live through it--it was happy in the end." So I do, knowing most of the time it's a dream.
The scene is a small kingdom in Europe, developed, but not in the technological forefront. Peaceful, well-farmed... like Tolkien's Shire. Our people are small, stout, but with an odd ability to vanish. Not just hide, though we're quiet walkers and good in the dark. The truth is we can teleport--though only if we stay calm and concentrated. Flustered, in a crisis, the talent often fails. We have folktales of Mad Baggins and the magic ring he used to evade unpleasant callers and get bags of gold--so our anthropologists suspect the talent comes from a strain of hobbit blood, or even Elvish. A remnant population like the Basques. We keep that quiet! Europe has been cruel to its minorities--and if they accuse us of not even being human, it's even, for once, part true. I'm the chief minister to the King, and I insist we keep our secret.
But racism aside, our northern neighbors covet our fertile heartland. We learn they're sponsoring an elaborate plot to assassinate King and Cabinet. We know every detail, in fact: teleporters make good spies! But knowing's not enough; they have resources we can't match, even forewarned.
There's a big airshow in our capital, and the Northerners bring several jumbo jets and stunt planes. Two of these will be remote-controlled, planned to crash--on the stands where the King and officials preside. Their ground forces will move in... the border's only a few miles off. All we've done is quietly warned everyone at the target sites to watch for the crash and pop out just before impact.
THE FASCINATION OF DISASTER
On the day of the fair, I'm up on the stands, waiting. All goes according to plan at first--the first two jets are normal, then a little stunt biplane loops high into the sun where we can't see. It'll dive down at the stands and burn the King. And me of course.
But first, the jumbo jet at the end of the parade will crash, to distract the whole city with a major disaster. Few will notice the second plane--only a small footnote, a dozen killed. The crucial dozen.
I watch the big plane tilt, sag, and fall. Snags a building, cartwheels, tearing apart, hundred foot chunks flying, spewing fire. Even from across town, behind a row of apartments, it's terrifying--and hypnotic. Time for me to pop out, but I'm held by the sheer spectacle. Then it's too late, the other plane hits behind me, thirty yards or less, and I feel a scorching flash and know I'm burned, the shock wave knocks me down and I black out... blew it. Just didn't realize the fascination of disaster.
THE LAST SUPPER
I find myself somewhat the worse for wear, but alive, sitting at a long table with the king and others. The hall is by a shallow lake, Lagunita we call it, in the low hills outside the capital. Council of war. The Northerners' ground forces are invading and time is short. With luck, they assume we're all dead. We're going over the resistance plan--the enemy is setting up their HQ nearby, on Searsville Lake. We'll teleport in with high explosives on a three-second fuse, and leave.
But the noise and confusion as their troops near makes it hard to hear, and I'm not so sure everyone's ready. The King shouts orders but they don't reach down the table... We scatter into the maze of wooden halls and showers and locker rooms adjoining the library, just before the enemy scouts come in. I lead the King toward the enemy border, not far north. Seems to me the safest place to be in a war is behind the advancing army, not in its path. We port around enemy troops when we see them in time. Once when we can't, I start yelling and cursing in a northern accent and say "We're chasing a little bastard in a red robe, some kind of official, tell your CO to detach some men and hunt him down, dammit, he's heading northeast toward the border!" And then we go northwest.
WHO WE REALLY ARE
Near the border, I notice a placename scratched into the old concrete of the sidewalk. Few today could read it, but because of my suspicions we're hobbits, I studied Tolkien's runes. I recognize the name! Now I know it's true: this is the ancient Shire, millennia later. We have the blood of Hobbits, Elves, and who knows what else. Despite our danger I feel calm and right, now, just knowing for certain at last where our strangeness comes from, who we are... who I am.
THE RECKLESS KING
We port across the Border Stream and walk north, up a green pasture-valley. The king barely knows this area, and you can't port to a place you can't picture, so we go on foot, which I prefer anyway. Someone might see us vanish or appear.
Up a long wet green pasture to a school. Sun's low and dim already. We'll need the flashlight soon. The path loops around a playground, and I follow--all part of my plan. Students are all out in the yard. High school girls by the fence eye us curiously. I'd talk to them if I were alone, but I'm an enemy alien, shepherding our King. He's getting overconfident--wants to go up the path to the left, leading to the lip of a long grassy valley with a golf course on the bottom. I say "NO! It's dangerous down there! We go down to the right, into the cover of the woods." He says "Oh, I think you're exaggerating! There's no one out there but golfers." I call after him "Come back, you idiot!" but he dwindles on down to a dot. Met by other dots on the green: golfers. Who suddenly begin swarming, chase his dot, corner him--and he has neither the time or calm or a goal within range to teleport to, and they have him. Taken the King.
Why didn't he listen? This borderland isn't what it seems, any more than we are. Beneath this green bank is a buried defense complex. He walked right across their front lawn... I move gingerly off the edge. Mustn't get caught, I'm our only hope now to coordinate resistance. Smell flowers I don't see--freeze! Spot an air-vent from the buried bunker. They may smell me as I scent them... I move away, slowly, quietly. Lucky the light's dim...
THE DRYAD AND THE FIXIT TROLL
I make it to the parking lot for the defense center. See a man... no, a male of another species--a faun, a troll? Pointed ears, angled eyebrows, long clever face. A wandering tinker and fix-it artist? He might well see I'm not human either, be sympathetic, not report me to human authorities. But I can't be sure. Duck behind a car. Uh oh, he's coming over. Hide and seek among the cars. Damn, no trees or brush, just lawn and parking lot. Stuck.
Then, ahead, another person, even less human looking, tall and strange, female... a dryad? I feel more hope she'll be a friend, she could never pass for human... but she and the fixit troll team up without a word and corner me. She slings me over her shoulder and carries me off. Strange, I still feel no aura of enmity at all, quite the opposite, yet they don't speak.
They bring me to a huge barbecue... is it a fair? Lots of wagons and food and people--of various species. Several beautiful women like my captor, tall, graceful, long-face narrow-jawed, wolf-eared, some with long animal hind legs, with that distinctive joint. Tailed? Hey, isn't that my old housemate Cory?
All this time, she was passing for human too...
I guess I could teleport away now that I've calmed down, but I don't want to. The adventure has moved in a completely unexpected direction! Though I'm bewildered, I like these people; and I'd rather watch the dryads play Frisbee than dodge burning planes. Maybe I'll even find a girlfriend. So many here have nonhuman blood like me...
And then I woke, and felt disappointed that it ended there, at such a promising point.
But I was wrong. The story wasn't cut off. Or over.
TWO DAYS LATER
A day and a half later, the radio reports a spectacular jet crash and fire, the worst US crash in a long time--years? Wednesday or early Thursday. I'm shaken by that, and the timing: I dreamed it Tuesday night, wrote it Wednesday morning.
Not just clairvoyance, then; precognition.
A FEW DAYS LATER STILL
A lone pilot, in a small plane, tries to crash into the White House. He cracks up on the White House lawn just under the Clintons' bedroom window. They weren't home, he misses the house... but the pilot died there.
First the big jet burns, killing many; then a small kamikaze plane is aimed at the local head of state, but misses...
Not just precognition, then; politics.
SEVEN YEARS LATER
Now, seven years later almost to the day, after two planes destroyed the World Trade Center, hypnotizing us all with their balls of fire... this dream troubles me even more.
And yet... the creatures I met at the end of my dream found a peace that held across even species, not just race or religion or politics. It must be possible; indeed, living in San Francisco, I've seen it IS possible--and will spread, in time.
Or so a hobbit can hope.
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