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Fermius Firefly

A Dream Log, whenever I remember the dreams I've had.

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Location: San Marcos, United States

Fermius is a pen name drawn from a series of short fiction I wrote when I published the small press magazine Stellanova (on paper.) I play RPG games to escape from my daily grind as a technology wage slave for the state of California. I eat out a lot in order to do my part in supporting our increasingly service level economy. I am butler to 2 feline masters. If you ask them they will tell you I'm not very good at it, late with dinner, don't have enough hands with brushes in them, and sometimes I even lock them out of their office.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Creature from the Incan Lake

       I dreamed I was at an inland resort, with a series of large pools that had been purchased by a doctor and his research corporation. I convinced them to let me stay, partly by being pleasant and asking about their work, and partly by playing on the pity factor. I'd been the only loyal customer of the resort for years now, in fact owning one of the bungalow lots on the edge of the property. I had to go through their driveway to get to my winter home, which they'd broken into and assigned to a pretty and petite wheelchair bound research assistant.
       I agreed to let her stay, as my home was the only wheelchair accessible bungalow, and they would reimburse me for undoing the changes they'd made. I stayed in the main resort for the first time ever, until the assistant revealed that she wasn't using the main rooms of my bungalow, and she insisted that she would be fine in the main house. After walking back to my home with her, I found we had a lot in common, and I asked her to stay.
       Over time we became friends. She had some sort of muscular dystrophy type condition, and I though she was a bit too much on the thin side, so I tried to feed her some good solid stick to your ribs style home cooking. Pretty soon I had a large number of the assistants coming over for lunch and dinner. They found out that I was a writer, and we had a long discussion over the differences between television and theatrical scripts. I pointed out that with the advent of computers, it was relatively easy to use .xml to mark up your script, and then convert it into any style that was appropriate with the proper style sheet. I started taking photos and the head researcher himself asked me if I could document their findings. I only found it a little bit odd that they didn't have a photographer.
       It turned out that they were working on the remains of a creature that had been hauled up from the deep bottom of a South American lake.
       “The Black Lagoon,” I joked.
       Everyone laughed but the good doctor. He named the lake, but it was unfamiliar to me.
       The creature was a large ten or so foot long cartilaginous fish wish rudimentary bony structures around the head and spine. It was pretty interesting and somewhat unsettling. The team had dissected a couple of specimens that were in poor shape. They were looking at opening up the third, which had a single large whole in its side, but seemed otherwise ready to wake up.
       “Looks ready to put back in the water and swim away from this side.” I commented.
       Everyone just looked at one another uncomfortably, except my roomie. She had an oddly expectant look on her face, completely out of sync with the rest of the researchers and assistants. I resolved to ask about that later, if I could find a polite way to work it into our conversation.
       I must have taken well over 500 shots of all three specimens that first day, labeling each with the help of a scale placed in the photo by one of the research assistants and supervised by the good doctor himself. My roomie stayed and helped with the third most complete specimen, we worked a bit slower and she treated the large fish-like thing with great respect. I realized that I was becoming quite attracted to her despite her thin limbs and awkward movements. She had a sweet face with large dark eyes and hair cut into a very short bob that was never really combed but still looked stylish. Her lips were full and she had a delightful smile when one could coax it out of her.
       I came back over the course of several days to take progress photos. Each morning I would walk along with my roomie as she wheeled to work. Once in the main house she would switch to a manual wheelchair, as it was a little bit smaller and thus easier to get around all the desks and tables.
       In transferring the photos to disks I realized that the third specimen had several organs that had grown during the time of our investigations. I asked about this and the doctor tried to play it off as a trick of the light or perspective. Only, these were all photos with a scale in them, so I doubted that explanation based on both the scale and my own experience with the camera. I began to suspect that everything wasn't on the up and up.
       I managed to convince WG to join me in town one evening as her co-workers had abandoned us to go party for the weekend, leaving her behind. In town, over a dimly lit Italian feast, WG confirmed the apparent regeneration. She admitted that was the real purpose of their research, and the sole reason she was on the team. She was studying gene therapy to encourage nerve tissue to regenerate, for not entirely impersonal reasons.
       She admitted that she had not gone with her co-workers as she didn't want to leave me alone. I told her that wasn't really a problem, I was used to it (we'd had a lot of company lately as I'd become the unofficial company cook as well as photographer.) After a couple more drinks I asked if she'd like to model for me. She volunteered much more quickly than I thought she would. She pulled a folding specimen scale out of her purse, “Can I pose with just this?”
       That caught me off guard a bit, but since I'd planned on trying to talk her into a swimming shoot anyway, I figured I would go with it.
       I wish the photo shoot had been explored in the dream, but the dream skipped right over it to me looking at her photos in an empty lab, and then where we were in the specimen room and she was posing with the large regenerating fish. I noticed that the fish had a very full face, and its eyes seemed to follow WG around the table as she posed.
       I went to the doctor, with cropped photos of the fishes face. When I reached the lab I decided not to show him the photos, as the fish's face had been stripped of its flesh, and its eyes had been removed. I could barely hold down my breakfast when I considered what that meant.
       I confronted WG about it at lunch. She came home very late that night.
       Over the next few days she became more distant, yet scattered at the same time. She was out very late every night, and told me a story about “seeing one of the other assistants,” with an expression that led me to believe that she was making that part up. I framed several of the photos I'd taken of her swimming. She had an ethereal beauty in the water, a sleek naiad with a loving expression. I realized I was quite smitten with her.
       In equal parts jealousy and concern, I made my way up to the main house one night. It was mostly dark, I could hear the assistants playing gin in their bungalows as I passed by. I didn't really count, but it seemed that they were all accounted for. I let myself into the main house and stopped in her office, it was empty. As was the doctor's office, though his light was on. Perhaps she'd been lying about seeing an assistant because she was seeing the doctor.
       I almost turned around and went back to my home. This was very much none of my business. I made my way through the main lab. The specimen, which I hadn't seen in a while, was swimming in its tank. It pushed itself up on its fins as I entered startling me. We stopped, looking at one another. I suddenly felt very sad. I took a shot, long exposure because of the low light levels. The creature stayed still for the exposure. It swam to the glass, spreading its whiskers out flat against the pane. I stepped up and put my had against the glass. I could feel the vibrations of the stiff whiskers on the glass. One tap, then two, then three, then five. Then it waited.
       I tapped the glass seven times. Then it tapped eleven times.
       I tapped thirteen.
       It tapped seventeen.
       I had a sudden very sick feeling as it backed away from the glass. I saw a slender hand reach into the tank and the fish/being swam up to it. Another slender hand reached into the tank and stroked the back of the animal then picked up a spine and plunged it into the opposite wrist. I recognized those hands, only they weren't shaking and seemed firmer than I remembered. I was glad the specimen tank spanned two rooms, and that I was in the darker of the two rooms. I took another photo and slipped away, very confused.
       I waited up for WG.
       “Look, you aren't my father, I can see someone my age, can't I?”
       I held up the photos I'd taken.
       “It's intelligent, isn't it?”
       “What were you doing, following me?”
       “I was jealous, and concerned.”
       “Jealous of a fish?”
       “Um, no, you said you were seeing someone? Jealous of that possible someone, you're a terrible liar, though, so I became concerned about what I didn't know.”
       “It's helping me, I can feel a difference, the spasms are almost gone in my arms, look.”
       I saw the marks from many punctures on her wrists, but those wrists, and the hands attached to them were much steadier than I'd ever seen them. “I'd been getting worse, now I'm not.”
       “Does the doctor know?”
       “He's been working on refining the toxin. I convinced him to stop cutting up the fish. We don't need to do that.:”
       “I think the fish is intelligent, like not dolphin scale, like human scale.”
       “No! It's just a fish.” and she spun her chair and rolled into her room, struggling to get turned around so she could slam the door.
       Later in the night I awoke to the sounds of her vomiting in the guest bathroom, then cleaning up after herself. I thought I heard her sobbing.
       “Do you need some help,” I called out.
       A few moments later her door slammed shut.
       I made us breakfast, and stopped her from going out.
       “I'm not going to stop you but long enough for breakfast, and to let you know that I am worried about you. I have become rather fond of you and don't want to see you hurt.”
       She rolled out of the house without comment.
       The dream skipped ahead to a large gathering. One of the pools had been turned over to the specimen's use after hours. I had spent some time in the evenings trying to determine just how intelligent the fish was. I realized that the doctor was still cutting bits of it off, by comparing it to the other dead specimens I'd taken photos of earlier, I could tell that there were supposed to be four tentacle like manipulators on its upper jaw. I think the Doctor knew that his captive was not a dumb animal. I was glad the Doctor didn't know that I had a pool key. I began to bring the being foods to try and it let me know which it could eat and which it couldn't. I sent WG out in the mornings with some of it's favorites.
       I brought my laptop up and tried going through aerial photos of the world to try to locate where it actually came from. (Details were murky in this part of the dream.) The doctor admitted to me that the creature was alive, finally, and I took several photos for his big press release.
       Suddenly I found myself invited to a formal announcement. James earl Jones was there for some reason. There was also a couple of MIB that showed up. I spotted WG and she had a smile for me.
       Then all hello broke loose. When the lights went up on the tank. The words “I am a prisoner, help me.” were etched in the glass of the display tank The doctor tried to play it off as a joke by his assistants, but there were symbols written underneath in another language that looked remarkably like Incan writing. I started taking photos and barely noticed that WG had taken off her lab coat to reaveal that she was in a cheerleader's outfit. (!?)
       She backed her chair into the glass wall and it cracked. The creature pushed from the other side and she and it were washed into the pool. WG's chair sank to the bottom. I could see her holding her breath and pushing the forward control to drive to the shallow end of the pool. The creature swam back to help her, but she waved it away. I raced to open the gate and the creature swam and leaped out of the pool past me and into the marshy ground at the edge of the resort. I bumped a MIB as I ran back to the pool, spoiling his aim. I heard the creature splash into the stream as I kicked off my shoes and tucked the camera under some seat cushions.
       I dove into the pool as WG was struggling to unlatch her seatbelt. The fabric had swollen in the water making it difficult for her to manage. She was beginning to release air. I tore at the belt and pulled her to the surface. I stepped out of the pool, carefully smoothing her skirt down and cradling her in my arms so we wouldn't give the world a show. She wrapped herself around my neck and started sobbing. Soon other assistants were bringing me towels, but she didn't want to let go, so we worked them around her.
       “Please take me home,” she said quietly.
       I wanted to ask about the whole cheerleader outfit thing, but decided to wait.
       A MIB made motions to stop us as we left the pool area, but James Earl Jones stepped up and said “they're with me.”
       I don't know why that worked but it did and we started down the path.
       “Where are we going?” Mr. Jones asked as we walked down the path, him still in the lead.
       “Our bungalow, it's just down the road.”
       “My wheelchair!”
       “I'll get it later when I go get my camera.”
       “This camera?” Mr. Jones held out my camera and flash rig.
       “I didn't think you would want to leave it behind.”
       “How did you become involved in this?” I asked Mr. Jones.
       “Investor. Promises of youth, only more scientific. Still, pretty gullible, yes?”
       “No, I think we may have that,” WG pulled her face out of my beard.
       “That would be nice.” Mr. Jones looked at WG's rail thin form. “ Either it works well, or he's quite the cradle robber.”
       I started to speak “She's just a...”
       “Cradle robber.” WG quickly filled in and then giggled. I wasn't sure I like the mood swings I was seeing. Then she pulled herself up and kissed me on the cheek. “But regeneration works, too.”
       Mr Jones laughed his booming deep laugh. “Good news, then.” We walked a bit, looking back for signs that we were missed. There were none. Still quite a bit of noise and I could hear people shouting at one another.
       I marveled at how light WG was, and worried that I wasn't keeping her warm enough she was pressed so tightly around me.
       “So, what's with the outfit?” Mr Jones looked at WG, voicing my question from earlier.
       I could feel WG blushing, suddenly she seemed warm enough..

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