October 12, 2004

Some people appear to be determined to tell you what you already know. Seems my subconscious is determined to belong thereto: for the metaphor is fairly transparent. The framework upon which it chose to hang the message in the first dream happened to be the Angel cast of characters. Probably too much of current events contributed to that framework as well.

WARNING: some of the images in my dreams might be disturbing to read. Me, when I dream, I seem to step apart a little, to be part of the dream and observing the dream simultaneously, with a real sense of free will throughout: so however intense or nightmarish the imagery, I don't have nightmares. Sometimes I will even "rewind" parts of the dream to observe something more closely, or to see how a different choice might have gone.

Dream the First

I have been here before. This has all happened before. (Sigh ... not again ...)

I enter a darkened (dimly lit) room. Cordelia is with me, slightly behind me. We had been wondering what was taking so long for Angel to join us. As our eyes adjusted, it became obvious why: for Angel, wearing black, was sitting on a chair in the middle of the room, bound to it with white, knotted cords. Cordelia asks him what was taking so long. Angel answers, deadpan, that he would have gotten out of it already if it were not for trying not to set off the explosives. As he speaks, the explosives wrapped around his body come into our awareness, in the way that things spoken of often do: and then Cordelia spots the timer, and even through the in-dream sense of "not again", our actions take on a heightened urgency.

(Yes, I know that timers are not normally a part of a detonation package except in film sequences, and I knew that even in the dream. But the dream ran as though it were a film sequence, and I simultaneously one of the characters and the actor playing that character.)

Together, we work off the cords binding him. It takes two minutes, because when we are done, there are still three minutes left on the timer. I take the ropes with their attached explosives and jump in the car and bolt, aiming to get to an unpopulated place and throw them away; but somehow among the roadways and walls and lowering trees I get disoriented and lose myself in the suburb, keep taking wrong turns and dodging buses going the wrong way: and now I must get out of the car and bolt through the crowded mall if I am to get it to a relatively non-populated area in time. Time must have slowed significantly at some point: I have not looked at the timer at all, it might as well not be there for all the interest I have in it, but I know that if I keep running toward my (very specific) goal, I will be on time, and no one will be hurt.

I don't really realise it yet, but at some point I must have stuffed the explosives into one of two plastic shopping bags: it was after the initial bolt (when the explosives were still on the ropes in my hands), and before the next part.

I have succeeded. The bag containing the explosives has been nestled safely away from where they could hurt anyone, and I still have time to walk away quietly, and join the long bank queue to deal with the finances, invoices and cheques and such in their original envelopes ... contained in a plastic bag.

At this point I realise that the bag I am holding is empty; that in my hurry, I have stuffed the explosives in the wrong bag ... the bag which held the income cheques I had to deposit and invoices I had to pay. And in the sudden "oh shit" moment - those few frozen moments when one suddenly realises that something has gone askew but it is too late to change anything, and time stops - is the awareness, not of my own linked identity, but that another's name was on those cheques, one whom I'd been trying to protect and keep out of all this, and that now she would be dragged into this and she would not and could not understand what was happening ...

I have a vague image of explosion, and of fragments of paper drifting across my entire field of vision, like snow. People are exclaiming. (None of them have been hurt.) ...

And I woke up suddenly, with a sense of amused bemusement, mostly at myself.

* * * * *

Apparently this by itself was not adequate for my subconscious. It kept insisting, giving me three other similarly memorable (if considerably less detailed and apparently shorter) dreams over the past three weeks. The next time, it chose a framework from Heretics of Dune, and was not so much a story as sudden insight.

Dream the Second

If Odrade had not survived Basher Teg on Rakis, Teg's (and thus humankind's) blinding mental and physical breakthrough in effect would have "never happened". Instead, everything he had gone through to achieve it would have been useless - no, worse than useless, because it then becomes a stillborn "might have been" which never was.

* * * * *

For the third dream, my subconscious decides to borrow a framework built up of people I know ... although for some reason I still seem to take my own identity from the Buffyverse. I can hear my own voice and although I recognise it for mine and although people call me by my name, it is not mine.

Dream the Third

There is an infection spreading in the dark, silently, from one person to another: of wormlike parasites which take up residence in the brain and begin to alter personality. They cannot live outside a human body in the light: it kills them - and so they spread in darkness, and lie concealed within in light. The time is late at night, perhaps one or two o'clock in the morning. It is comfortably chilly. I am standing by a lonely road with sidewalks and beyond that planted fields to either side. No particular uneasiness though - I have walked this way many times before.

Also in "real" life, at all hours of the day and night. At this point I woke up briefly - I might have heard something? - but if something there was, it turns out to be nothing, and I fall asleep again, and pick up right where I left off.

A friend offers me a lift. Interestingly, although he calls me by my name, he is reacting to me as he would to the Buffyverse persona. It is very dark, almost the only lights are the headlights of his automobile. He is very friendly toward me - and appears to be seeking forgiveness from me for something, but I don't understand for what. Whatever I say must have satisfied him. We arrive at his place, which is second from the left in a row of white clapboard townhouses. Small foyer in the front with a closet just in front, kitchen to the left and extending back, salon to the right and extending back. The lighting is very dim. Two others here whom I "know" (but not in "real" life), and with whom I am friendly.

He has just moved in "real" life, and has two roommates. I have not yet seen his new place, and this does not resemble his old one ... too much. I suppose, thinking on it, that there might be a superficial resemblance, but the differences are more than the similarities. Odd this, for me, that there should be such a detailed visual impression. For me, visual detail of any kind is extremely rare. But I also seem to have been pulling strongly from aspects of Beth's place ... although Beth was not a part of this dream at all.

But the worms have already infected all of us. The first hint is when the smoke detector - which seems to have developed the ability to detect worms as well, though none of us were aware of it then - goes off when one of us passes under it, and then when I pass under it. We talk and are sociable, and the infection is part of the current events talk. At some point we realise what the smoke detector going off actually means, and there is concern and uneasiness and a general private wondering as to how much of our own actions at this point are really ours - but just at that point the cat manages to get itself electrocuted with a horrible yowl, which is how we discover that a near-convulsive shock of electricity can oust those worms. By toning it down considerably and undergoing a similar process, but much more carefully than the cat had, we manage to rid ourselves of the worms and survive. (Always nice. Although I at least was willing to take the risk - yet was the second one to test this. For some reason they didn't want me going first and taking the full risk.) At some point a three-person tester panel was in front of the closet: it was not there when we went in. We are all cleared - standing in front of the panel tests this, red light for infected, green light for clear - and obviously relieved!

And so, relieved, we must have let down our guard ... for as I followed the rest of them out and happened to step in front of the panel on my way out, the red light quietly goes off, no one else has seen, but I know exactly what this means ...

And I woke up suddenly, startled this time, but again instantly catching the metaphor. I suspect that this sudden, instant understanding is the exact thing that happened to make these dreams, and not others, particularly memorable.

* * * * *

Dream the Fourth

An older, male presence at a doorway, filling it, looming. Behind it night, and rain.

Although it was clear weather almost all the way through, the forecast then called for rain on the night of another's return.

There is a silent knowledge between us that the only reason he is here at all is to bring across that he will not return. And from the darkness behind him comes a swarm of wasps right at me. I can leave almost all of them (all the striped ones) behind just by leaving the area - it is not a bolt, I know they won't sting me - but one solid black one just won't let me be, it just keeps following me, and that one most certainly is trying to sting me.

* * * * *

There was also a fifth memorable dream, but that resolved a section of plot I had been working on, not relevant here. I mention only that it involved dancing an updraught and taming a volcano from the explosive variant into a steadier constant but mild lava gusher. (This was a week before the Mount St. Helens tremours, and although the geographic environment generally matched, the context was completely different.) I seem to write a significant amount of text in my dreams ... but getting it to word or paper before it fades, ah, that is the challenge.

Welcome to the strangeness that lurks somewhere within me.

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