Currently Reading: The Stone Sky (Book 3 in the Broken Earth Trilogy), by N.K. Jemison. Currently Listening to: Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng.
It started at the old house, which comes as no surprise. Katie’s REM studio seems to have run out of sets or is trying to operate on a micro budget, because all my dreams lately have been staged here.
George returned to the house, appearing suddenly on the front lawn. He was drained of energy and color, thin as I never knew him in life, and quiet. But we celebrated, because George was home. Home from death. This too, was an unoriginal script for my dreamscape.
Dream Shift: the family threw a party to celebrate, and it turned into one of our classic Junebug Bashes. People popped into existence, old friends and neighbors and swarms of unfamiliar bodies. Everything was fine. Everyone was happy, except for George, who seemed grim and insubstantial. There was the scent of cooking meat in the air and the sun was warm. Everything was fine.
Until Ray started signaling to me, calling me over. He had the flap of my purse in his hands, and as I grew near, I could see there was strange writing on one side. The rest of the purse was gone – he’d ripped it off and used it to record a series of strange characters in black paint. Uncharacteristically of Ray, he was silent, tense, and jittery. The shadows of the house seemed to pool around him. He gestured for me to follow him to the side of the house, wherein he handed me the flap and finally spoke, telling me to hide it, that it contained secrets we would need to survive. Something bad was coming.
I ran up the porch that connected to Mom’s old bedroom – dream Katie no longer minded the desecrated purse, intent on tucking the flap into a drawer in Mom’s set of dressers, a secret drawer the aliens would not be able to find.
Apparently I recognized the writing enough to know that aliens/non-human entities were approaching, that one or a few could be allies, and that my sister’s friend was their target.
Win conditions: protect Nicole from being taken.
Lose conditions: the flap and writing are discovered or Nicole is taken.
A wormhole opened up in the sky beyond the front lawn with this wrenching wail, like a tormented tardis had mated with a T-rex, and this sound was the offspring. All the colors bled wrong, the daylight consumed by the hole. The aliens began to emerge, like horsemen of the apocalypse or chaos gods, wreathed in fire that reflected against their dark carapaces or armor – I could not tell which.
Dream shift. All the cars from the party guests morph into battle machines, tanks, assault vehicles, etc. like small transformers or Gundam knights. My partner is by my side, and we run to his car, which turns into a giant mecha-tank. The earth is starting to shake, and even though I can’t see outside anymore, tucked safely inside the tank’s belly, I know the sun is gone. Explosions and screaming are equally muffled by the tank’s metal, but I can smell smoke and exhaust, burning metal and oil, filtering in from the vents.
I am sure we are going to die. I am crying, because I don’t want to die, not like this, in terror and violence, and so helpless. At least my partner knows how to operate the tank. I don’t know how to fight. All I can do is feel this crushing, crumpling fear and regret.
I concluded that if I must die, at least I had my partner next to me, and he had me. “We” as a collective were fighting for something important. We were fighting for home. For humanity.
But we do not die. The dream shifted again, snapped forward, beyond the battle. We emerged from the battered tank shell, back in the circle drive. The sun was back, a bright spring day. The wormhole was gone, replaced by fat, cumulus clouds, like chubby baby cheeks. The earth was steaming, and everything had a smudged, charred appearance, as if a filter has been slid over the camera. The yard was muddied and pock-marked, and the cars – all returned to normal – were broken, cracked, dented.
The gravel crunched beneath my feet, the only noise. There was no wind. No voices. No bodies. Living or dead.
My partner was holding my hand. I have no idea where my family is, where my sister or her friend are. But we have the knowledge that somehow we repelled the attack. Not victorious exactly, but neither did we lose.
And that was how I woke up this morning, musing over the cinematography of this particular dream, which was more like four different dreams threaded together.
My dreams tend to come in sets or cycles. For several nights (or weeks) in a row, I’ll be plagued with really stupid yet somehow still horrifying nightmares. Then I’ll have action/adventure dreams. Followed by a period of empty nights. This seems to have been a mostly action/adventure style dream, though it did have some nightmarish qualities.
This concludes a surprise peek into the brain of me. In an unrelated, though somewhat serendipitous note, I discovered and started watching Love Death + Robots tonight on Netflix, so who knows how my brain will integrate those components (warning – this show is designated NSFW/mature audiences only).