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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.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Alien Agitators

              I dreamed I was in a downtown apartment complex with a large warehouse sized common room and several small shops on the bottom level. I was with a group of half a dozen other people who were all from outside the culture that lived and worked in the building. The residents of the building were also aware that we were not local, and were doing their best to prevent the authorities from finding out we were there.
              We split up and were staying with 5 different people. One married couple were pretending to be visiting grandparents.
              In this culture, any meeting of more than 6 adults was subject to scrutiny by the authorities. The only places where more adults could interact was in local pubs and sports bars. The tricky thing there was that those public places were full of potential informants, and video and audio surveillance. The little pizza place (Much like our Killer Pizza from Mars) was different only in that it made no effort to hide the government cameras and microphones, going so far as to paint red and white rings around them making them a focal point of the places design. Even though groups were allowed to be larger in such a supervised place, each table was firmly bolted to the floor, and had only five chairs around it. I think it was a sort of open satire, but easily protested as being in support of the SSET. I told our hosts that the place would likely not be open for much more than a year, as someone would find a way to shut the place down. “Tyrants and tyrannical systems do not always get satire, but when they do they take great umbrage and examples must be made.”
              Public family events that would have more attendees actually required advanced notice, and a permit, with the names of all the attendees, to be on file with the Safety and Security Enforcement Team offices. Servers were prohibited from engaging in any conversation other than to take and deliver orders for food and drinks. It was a strange atmosphere.
              We taught a group of folks in the pizza place a gambling game that used three shot glasses and three dice and a touchstone. The touchstone was a common cultural item, like a single prayer bead. It was the sigal of the presiding government 'religion.' The touchstone of the elite was a polished flattened oval of precious or semi-precious metal or stone, often with a gemstone set flush into it. The lower classes, or non-elite used regular stones, porcelain, glass, or hard plastic resin. There was a sub-cult that used carved wood. Although it wasn't illegal to have a nice touchstone, if your touchstone was much higher quality than your status in the culture, you could end up spending some time under investigation. Also, if you were a 'Treestone', as the wooden touchstone users were sometimes called, you could find yourself under arrest for belonging to a “terrorist” or “subversive” element. It was actually safer to not have a touchstone at all, as having “not yet found the right one” or “it sits in the center of my home and life” were both acceptable parts of the litany. This had been explained to us by a helpful, though nervous, citizen shortly after we arrived. (Our group was over the size of a legal gathering.)
              The three dice were rolled and then covered with shot glasses, one of the shot glasses had the dealer's touchstone on top of the die. The shot glasses were opaque except for a thin band around the limb. Players would earn the points of the die under the shot glass if they could guess where it was. Being able to guess what the point value of the die under the glass was part of the game. The game could also be played with any opaque cups and the dice would then be placed on top of each cup. Dealership passed to each player in turn, with points being totaled after a full circle of deals. Games would typically be played to a given point value, with a final round or several, to find a winner in the case of ties. While any number could play, groups were usually three to five players, for obvious reasons. The game began to take off as a friendly way to wile away some time and a way to show off your touchstone. The elite, of course, would take such a display as being very low class, and as such, tended not to pay attention. There were variations, of course. Three players could each put their touchstone under a cup and those that picked their own would get all the points.
              The real secret was that you could rig the game fairly easily, at which point the game became a way of transmitting short messages. The two dice not under the touchstone would be used to represent a consonant or consonant pair (up to 36 of them, anyway), and the one under the stone would represent a vowel. Not particularly secure, but the game was so ubiquitous after a short time, that it would be difficult to tell who was communicating secretly and who was just gambling.
              We lived with folks for a time, and started gaming in the common area. We found that there was a pretty large underground group who existed to get things done outside of normal channels. They were sort of a Secret Salvation Army. They were, of course, completely illegal. Since our group was six people, and our hosts often were with us, we attracted an informant, who called us in, but then tipped us off by saying, within earshot, that the fire department were on their way. The fire department being on the way was a euphemism, it was explained to us, for the Safety and Security enforcement team. We immediately began erasing computer data, and gave the families quick instructions on how to stay in touch without ever having more than five people in a cell. I then suggested that they head outside, and in groups of four or five, attach themselves to our nosy neighbors, and to local officers. I knew that our group was about to be in serious trouble as we didn't have any “papers” to prove who we were. Four of them had access to a vehicle and so took off, the couple driving a ways and then looping around to pick up the others. One man was able to become invisible and so vanished and walked off. Leaving myself to take the heat, should it develop, by leading the SSET on a long chase, far away from our hosts.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Photo Shoot: Nude Olympics, Attack on a Mountain Road

             I dreamed I was shooting athletes for a calendar project. We were in the Italian Alps, or at the base of them, rather. I was shooting some oiled up beauties on the grounds of an old vineyard. There were lots of poses on split rail fences and against old rusted equipment. At the end of the shooting day I transferred, via laptop wireless, the best of my photographs. The athletes went home, except for one one slender woman, who wanted to have racier photos for her own portfolio.
             We wanted to try something exotic by shooting with lots of dramatic side lighting, and different colors against the red rusted farm equipment and the dark night sky. It took me several minutes to set up lighting for the different locations. She went into town for dinner while I was setting lights and reflectors. She came back with a friend, a much rounder, bustier woman, who I thought would actually be a much more visually romantic subject.
             We worked for a couple of hours after dinner, and I was finally able to talk the friend into posing for some photographs. I had some soft robes and some aprons as well as a couple of floral pinafores in my trunk, some one size fits all frilly clothing. I managed to get some make-up on the friend and we were able to talk her into posing nude, as well. I could not convince them to pose nude together, but was able to get some lovely shots of them in aprons and pinafores as well as in their striped blouses and shorts.
             The women went back to town while I broke down my gear and stowed it in my rented Ram.
             The next morning I had a large number of Italian Adult film stars at the same site. They were in track and field outfits for a sort of Summer Olympics tribute that rapidly turned into a nude Olympics and then the Olympic Orgy afterwards. The producer of the work was shooting video and there was also a film photographer on the scene as well as her two assistants, who I thought were better looking than most of the adult stars. The producer saw some of my photos from the evening previous, and wanted to purchase them. He offered me a large amount of money, which I had to decline, explaining that these shots were works for hire. The other photographer and her assistants asked me to stay another night and to help them set up and shoot in the evening. The four of us went to work, and the two assistants proved to be enthusiastic and willing models. Eventually we managed to get the three women in the compositions, with me operating three cameras. We reviewed my digital images and I burned DVD copies for the three women. After we had packed everything up, the photographer invited me back to their hotel, where she and I spent the night in one bed and the assistants/models in the other. The two slender assistants were very noisy, but we weren't really sleeping that much, either.

             Later, after N went to work, I fell asleep again. This time I was walking along a cobblestone road with a cliff on one edge. The road hadn't been designed for vehicle traffic, so there were many pedestrians and a few brave cyclists. The road was flanked on the other side by stone buildings whose porches sat right on the cobblestone road. There were a couple of fruit stands, and a cart with knitted goods hanging from it. There were narrow side streets that wound their way up into the hillside along very narrow alleys faced with similar stone buildings. Given the twists and turns of the roads, I had no doubt that there were spots which hadn't seen the sun in hundreds of years. A large half-tracked vehicle lumbered by, forcing us pedestrians to press ourselves against the buildings, or in my case, to jump up on the top of the retaining wall alongside the road. The other side of the wall was forty to sixty feet high, and nearly sheer.
             As the half-track passed the last of the buildings, an old chapel next to the graveyard, which was terraced into the mountainside, a large machine gun swung out of the back and began firing at random people along the road. People shouted and headed for the alleyways where the vehicle couldn't follow. I decided it was too far to make a break for it, and ducked down below the wall. Fortunately the stones were the shallow flat type of stone, and there was no mortar, so there were plenty of hand and foot holds. I could hear the half-track shift into reverse the the machine gunner continued to fire. I saw a cyclist fall over the retaining wall a hundred yards up the hill from me. The wall was undercut there, so he had nothing to grab on to and fell into the ravine below. I started for the overhang, which turned out to be a good idea. The half-track backed further down the road, I could see the jet black machine gun swivel over the top of the waist high wall. The gunner was a black silhouette against the bright blue sky. The gun was able to be aimed back along the side of the lumbering tracked vehicle, but the curve of the road, and the under cut favored me. I was able to hang in the shadow, fist and feet jammed into crevasses to hold me up. I pulled my body up into the shadow, and hoped the sunlight on the beige stones would be too bright for the gunner to make me out.
             The gunner squeezed off a few bursts along the wall, not really aiming for anything. I was pelted with rock chips, but the bullets all were far below me. I waited for the vehicle to be gone, and then tried to climb up over the overhang. The stones of the actual railing like wall were much smaller and smoother, so I had no purchase. I am also much heavier than I used to be, and without a foothold, I didn't have enough upper body strength to pull myself over the lip of the overhang. I hung there for a bit, exhausted. I didn't know if I had enough strength to climb down and back to where I'd first gone over the wall. I started calling form help, hoping someone would have a rope or some luggage straps or something I could use to pull myself up and over the edge.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Messenger for the Undead, (Warning: Long)

       I dreamed a long convoluted dream that started in some sort of broken down shrine on top of a lush green hill. There was a storm raging across the valley below, but myself and about half a dozen couples and their children were huddled in the ruins. There were heavy winds, but the rain clouds were dumping their liquid ordinance before stranding themselves along the mountainside. The winds were damp and chill as well as fierce. I watched the lightning play about the tops of the rainclouds that thundered by at nearly eye level. After a fairly short time, the rainclouds dissipated and the smell of wet earth in the sunshine rose from the valley.
       “Perhaps we can find a place to stay in the village,” said an older woman, pointing to what looked more like ruins than a living village.
       “OK, someplace with a roof and a working bath would be nice.”
       We all drove down the hill. I in my little electric car, and the rest in SUV hybrids and solar powered vans. The village was not as ramshackle as it looked from the shrine. There were people about, they spoke Japanese and very limited English. All of the families found either a place to rent, or someone to take them in. One family and myself found ourselves saying we would take an old house that stood in a state of mild disrepair on the outskirts of town. I chose it because it was empty, and quite a bit upslope from where it looked like flood waters had risen in the past.
       A woman showed us up to the house and turned over some keys to the father of the family I was with. She took me aside and warned me that the house was haunted, and that I should try to keep the children out of the basement. I looked into her eyes as I thanked her and noticed they were a deep violet rather than the ubiquitous brown of the local population.
       “You have lovely eyes, very unusual.”
       I thought I saw them shimmer and shift a little bit.
       “Th-Thank you,” the woman blushed.
       I bowed as she stuck out her hand. She bowed as I stuck out my hand. We laughed, and shook hands.
       “By the way, you speak excellent English.”
       “Silly, mister, she's speaking Japanese,” one of the children giggled.
       “Ah, right. Origato,” I turned to thank the woman but she was all ready far down the path.
       “Let me drive you back to the village.” I shouted to her.
       “I'll be fine. Thank you.” The woman called back up the hill and then broke into a sort of hopping jog down the rest of the steep hill. The wind was picking up again, and it smelled like rain. The woman's skirts were tossed about by the wind, revealing her shapely calves and an occasional flash of thigh. For a moment her skirts looked like a tail as she entered the forest and vanished from sight.
       “Oh! She's a fox lady.” The child stood watching her go with her mouth open.
       “That's a foxy lady,” I corrected her, “and yes, yes she is.”
       I went inside to help the family unpack. My unpacking consisted of rolling out a futon and some blankets and plopping my travel case next to my pillow, it could wait. The son wandered into the kitchen and was trying to open up the cellar door.
       “No children in the basement. Our landlady insisted.”
       “Did she say why?” The mother looked worried.
       “No, but I will check it out when we have you settled in. It's probably just mold or dangerous junk piled up. No telling how long since someone lived here.”
       “Someone lived here...” I heard echo in the moans of the wind around the eaves.
       “Did you hear that?” the little boy asked.
       “The wind in the eaves made an echo.” I explained, even knowing that it wasn't really an explanation.
       “Please, have dinner with us, a thank you for helping us unpack.”
       “Domo origato,”
       “Yes, and after dinner you can check out the basement.”
       I felt that I couldn't wait for dinner, though, so opened up the door. There was a musty damp smell, but not overtly moldy. “I'll be right up.”
       Light filtered dimly through the dusty brown glass along the west wall of the basement. I could see very little in the room, but my first impression was of piles of bones and three old women sipping tea at a short round table, its intricate inlay covered with a dirty brown lace table cloth. I pulled my wind up flashlight out of my jacket pocket and cranked it up to full brightness. Outside the beam of the flashlight the basement seemed even dimmer and more full of debris.
       In the direct light of the flashlight, the basement was empty, except for the dust covered table and a triangle of flattened cushions about it. As the beam of the flashlight passed over things, they vanished, only to reappear populated in the fading daylight on either side of the beam. Voices, whispers, indistinct sprung up on either side of the beam.
       “You OK down there?”
       “Yeah, but I don't think anyone should come down here.”
       “No, it's haunted.”
       All conversation stopped in the basement. All conversation stopped at the top of the stairs.
       “What!?” the mother's voice shrieked down at me.
       “Bones, voices, three old ladies having tea. I'm going to try to make peace with them so we can stay until the pass is clear.”
       I turned off the flashlight. It took a couple of moments for the voices to come back, and then I could see men and women milling about. “It's freaking party down here.” I muttered.
       There was laughter from the vicinity of the table.
       I gingerly walked over trying not to knock over any piles of bones, and knelt at the table, greeting the old women with a deep bow.
       “Oh! He is so polite.”
       “Oh! He is so scared.”
       “Oh! He is so brave.”
       “Oh, he is right here and can hear you perfectly.” I said, feeling a little angry at being talked about like I wasn't even there. I let it pass, not really knowing how long it had been since the old women had talked to anyone but themselves.
       The conversation at this point was complex, a mishmash of English and Japanese, none of us seeming to hear one another in anything but our own language as long as we spoke directly to one another. Otherwise, all of the side chatter, and there was a lot of it, was in Japanese. Even I could tell that the accents and dialects were slightly different. During the course of our conversation I somehow managed to agree to take their petition to a fellow named Erukai, or some such. The three old women brewed up a special tea, and told me I had 24 hours, and to be careful, time wasn't the same “over there on the other side.”
       “Slower, or faster?”
       “Yes,” the three of them answered in unison.
       “Be careful,” said one ghostly man
       “Don't eat or drink over there,” advised a woman.
       “Our Samurai should have a sword,” said another.
       “I have this flashlight,” I offered, hopefully.
       “He's delivering a petition and bringing back an answer, for good or ill. He doesn't need a sword.” One of the old women handed me a rolled up parchment, another a case for it, and after I put the parchment in the case the third capped the case and sealed it with wax from a ghostly candle.
       “Take the road up to the shrine, then across the bridge.”
       “Leave your cart at the bridge, though,” added the most modern looking of the ghostly women. She smiled at me, a smile that was wider than I thought possible, and possessed of more teeth than I thought was strictly human. Still I couldn't help offer “Would you like to ride with me?”
       This made her blush, I didn't know that spirits even did. “Perhaps later, when you return with our freedom.”
       As I made my way up the stairs a male ghost stopped me “She will remember your offer, just don't let your attention wander from her.”
       The family all met me at the top of the stairs. Their eyes were all wide with barely controlled terror. “You'll be fine here, just stay out of the basement. I have an errand to run, so I will have to share dinner with you on another evening.”
       “Hai, yes, of course.”
       As I stepped out of the house I could hear them blocking the cellar door with several heavy objects.
       I found myself walking across a bridge that spanned the valley. It hadn't been here before, and while it was certainly wide enough to drive across, I left my car at the shrine as instructed. The bridge was long and shrouded in mist, about halfway across I lost sight of the valley below, and as I approached the far end, I could see others stepping off of the bridge. It was a light crowd. After I stepped off of the bridge I looked back and could see the bridge full of people, people I hadn't seen when I'd walked across alone. I thought I could make out my little red car parked outside the shrine in the distance. Odd that the mist didn't seem to cover the bridge. It was good to know that I would be able to find my way back.
       I found a traffic officer, he was wearing shades, even though night was falling. I asked after Erukai, and the officer directed me to the tallest tower in the distance. “Take a cab, it will get you there in much faster time.”
       I thanked him and as I walked away, realized that there were no frames for his shades, the grew right out of his eyebrows, and into his cheeks. His eye sockets behind the lenses were nothing but black pits in his head. I shuddered and ran to catch a cab.
       The cab was old, like early 50's era. The driver was a skeleton. We made the trip in silence, and I couldn't even convince him to take a fare.
       The building was large and modern. I entered the slightly over chilled lobby. I had my flashlight in one hand, in my pocket and the scroll case in the other. I asked the information officer, a tall slender blond woman with a gaping wound in her neck, for directions to Erukai's office. She handed me a paper map with some circled locations on it, and pointed me to the elevators.
       “Since it is only on the third floor wouldn't the stairs be faster.”
       “Wait for the elevator, and wait to arrive. Time never moves slower than when you are waiting. I think you want the time here to move slowly, given what you are.”
       “Ah! Ok, then I will wait for the elevator.”
       I waited.
       And waited.
       And glanced at my cellphone clock. No time had passed, though it seemed like minutes.
       I rode to the third floor and found it entirely dedicated to Erukai-san's enterprise, what ever that was. I found my way to his receptionist and she called in to him immediately.
       “You swordsman is here.”
       “Um, excuse me, I'm not a swordsman.”
       “You have the messenger case.”
       “Yes, I've volunteered to be a messenger, no one said anything about swords.” Which as soon as I said it I realized wasn't exactly true, one of the spirits had suggested that I needed a sword.
       “Only a Samurai can carry that case. Mister Erukai will see you now.”
       “Thank you,” I bowed, and she stood and bowed as well.
       I entered a large plush office, rich reds and browns in the carpet, the furniture was all burgundy leather and dark woods. Built in bookcases and scroll cases lined three walls. A large window took up the fourth wall. I was actually entering behind the desk and the chair was turned back to me.
       “Hello, Mister Erukai.”
       “You have something for me?”
       “A petition, I believe.”
       “You believe?” The chair turned around and I found myself facing a large man in a suit. He stood, I bowed. He nodded . He towered over me by at least three feet.
       I offered the scroll case to him.
       “You don't know what you are delivering?”
       “I was told it was a petition.”
       “You didn't read it?”
       “No, sir. I presumed I was to deliver it to you, seal intact.”
       “So you are not my swordsman, not a Samurai.”
       “No, sir.”
       He grunted. “You might be surprised. Still. I will look over this.”
       “I have been asked to bring back your reply, sir.”
       “Ah, I think I see now. Please, wait in my lobby.”
       “Yes, sir.”
       I saw the giant's clawed hand deftly cut the was seal and open the scroll as I backed out of the room. I gave a last look at all of the books trying to recognize a title or binding even. I bowed and Erukai nodded.
       “That was faster than I expected,” the receptionist spoke.
       “I am to wait for a reply.”
       “Please, take any seat you wish.”
       I chose a seat where I could see the receptionist, the office doors and the entrance to the lobby.
       “Would you like some refreshments?”
       I remembered the advice I'd been given, and what I'd learned from Greek myths of the underworld. I was thirsty, but declined.
       “Thank you I will just wait here.”
       “Suit yourself,” the blond looked at me for some time, I thought I caught her sniffing the air.
       I checked, I wasn't sweating, and didn't think I was too smelly. She went back to work, clacking away on her keyboard. I couldn't be sure, but found myself convinced that she wasn't actually breathing except when she inhaled to speak. I began to realize that I was into something much deeper than I thought, or understood.
       I checked my phone, over eight hours had elapsed since I'd called the cab! I resolved to wait, and nothing more, just wait.
       I waited.
       I waited some more.
       I waited while thirsty.
       I waited even more.
       Yep, still waited.
       Erukai entered the lobby. My time on my cell phone had not changed. The receptionist and I stood and bowed as one. Erukai smiled a great toothy smile at me. “I have your response. You will have to work hard to deliver it before your time runs out.”
       “Thank you, sir.” I bowed and without thinking offered my hand.
       He laughed and shook my hand. His hand was cold to the touch, but dry and strong. His claws were mostly folded under and I could feel their smooth backs on the back of my hand.
       “Have you any advice?”
       It was obvious my question caught him off guard.
       “Run or walk, and do nothing else while you run or walk. Touch no one. When the spell fades, you will take the state of the last being you have touched.”
       A young woman entered, she looked much like the woman who'd showed us the house. She skipped over to me and clutched my arm.
       “Oh, is this my swordsman, daddy?”
       “No, dear, this Samurai has a message to deliver for me.”
       Erukai's daughter let go of me with a little pout. “He was kind of soft, anyway.”
       I bowed. Choosing to ignore the girl's comment.
       “Thank you.” I left, hoping their next swordsman was better than the last. I had the impression that they might go through a lot of them.
       In the lobby I checked the clock on my phone. Another two hours had passed during what I thought was our short conversation. I ran down the stairs and out into the main street. It was crowded. I concentrated on walking, and avoiding the dead men and women crowding the street. I didn't want to be dead when the spell wore off. When I reached a park like across from which was the bridge, I broke into a run.
       Erukai's daughter jogged effortlessly up next to me.
       “Hi there, miss.”
       “I want to see if you really can make it.”
       “Almost no one ever does. But you, you are different. I think you are not what you seem on the outside.”
       “It's an enchantment.”
       “Ah ha! I thought so. I knew you felt different. Just keep running. I will be quiet and run with you.”
       “Thank you, miss.”
       She ran next to me, trying not to be distracting, which was, a bit, distracting. We reached a street overlooking the street that lead out onto the bridge. Where I wanted to be was at least twenty feet below. I looked for a way down, I couldn't see any in either direction. The street I was on was above a retaining wall and parallel to the street leading to the bridge. I decided to jump to the top of a vendor cart, and then down to a mailbox. I landed on the roof of the cart with a bang, then the mailbox, then the curb. I heard the bangs of following hoof falls; the daughter of Erukai behind me.
       “I wish you were my next swordsman. I've never had a Samurai before.”
       It unnerved me a bit, because it sounded like she was talking about dinner. I walked to the bridge.
       “Oh! Brave, walking like this when time is running out.”
       I didn't want to run into anyone, and found that when I was walking or running, un-distracted, time on the cellphone stopped. So it didn't really matter.
       I turned to look at the daughter and bumped into a man. He said nothing and continued on his way. I was not too happy about that. I could feel his deadness, and it lingered. I turned up to the bridge. There were hundreds of folks, young and old, though mostly older, soldiers, women, thin, fat. Some in hospital gowns, some in uniforms, some naked. I realized I was looking at the recently dead, and they were all streaming off of the bridge. I would be walking upstream. I tried to avoid any further touches, but realized it was futile in the crowd. A couple of people tried to tell me I was headed the wrong way. I looked for another walkway, perhaps lower down, but didn't see one.
       I'd also lost the daughter in the crowd.
       “Pardon me, coming through here, stay to your right!” I shouted. Not really expecting anything to happen. Curiously, the dead began to shift to the right and I lunged through the opening. I was resolved to dying, but hoping to make my delivery before doing so. “Stay to your right!” I shouted again, opening up more space.
       I reached the foot of the bridge, and as I shifted left and right, the people on the bridge shifted. I was looking for an empty bridge, with a little red car on the other end.
       I felt a touch on my shoulder. It was Erukai's daughter. “I thought I lost you.”
       “Thank you for cheering me on.”
       “Cheering you on. You're getting me out of here. Why have you stopped, you don't have much time!”
       “I'm looking for my car. I have to deliver this before the enchantment fades.” I indicated the scroll case.
       “I wonder what's in there.” She grabbed the case.
       I held on to it. “We'll know when it is delivered.”
       “You're no fun! What if it says to kill you?”
       “If I don't get out of here before the enchantment fades, I'm dead anyway.”
       I spotted my car across a nearly empty bridge. There was a woman standing on the bridge. I stepped onto the bridge, focused on holding onto the scroll case and making it to my car. The daughter stopped. “Please, stay with me.”
       “Another time, perhaps, you have been delightful company.”
       She leaned in and kissed me. “Run, Samurai, you can make it.” The lingering feeling of deadness was replaced by another feeling, lively but in a pent up sort of way.
       So I ran. As I reached the middle of the bridge, I recognized the foxy woman, and saw that she had a tail and foxes ears. The kid had been right.
       “Who or what touched you last?” she demanded.
       I kept running, forcing her to turn and run to catch up.
       “Erukai's daughter.”
       “Daughter? What daughter?”
       “We weren't properly introduced.”
       “What was she?”
       I wasn't sure about that, but I knew she didn't feel dead like the people I'd bumped into in the crowd. “Not dead, that's good enough for me.”
       “She didn't follow you onto the bridge, did she?'
       “No, I don't think she could.”
       The fox lady said something in Japanese. It sounded almost like swearing. “Slow down a little bit!”
       “I have to deliver this before the enchantment wears off.”
       “I know, but you need to give me a lift back to town.”
       As I reached the car, she was still several feet behind. I clicked the doors open, including the passenger side. “Door's open.”
       I raced around and just got the car in gear as the woman dropped awkwardly into the seat next to me. The acceleration of the car pulled her door shut. She pulled at her tail, more unhappy Japanese again.
       “Sorry, I hope we missed the bone.” I apologised as the front wheels grabbed the ancient tiles and we lurched forward again.
       “No damage.” She peeled her left glove off and grabbed my hand on the gearshift with hers. She was still struggling to get settled around her white bushy tail with its shock of reddish blond on the tip..
       He hand bounded mine around, there was a grinding noise. I struggled to get the right gear. We shot down the hillside, skidding a bit and becoming airborne for a few feet on the steeper parts of the hill. She squealed, neither of us were belted in. She would not let go of my hand.
       “If we get into the house before the spell is gone, hug one of the kids.”
       “What happens if we don't?”
       “Tough to explain.”
       We arrived at the house. Everything was dark and quiet. I jumped out of the car. Fox woman clambered out right behind me, not letting go of my hand the whole time. I had to pull her up to her feet, she weighed next to nothing. We raced up the stairs together and into the kitchen. Every bit of furniture on the lower floor but the futons was pile against the door.
       “Nooo!” the Fox lady shouted, “The cellar doors, outside.” She seemed to have forgotten about kid hugging.
       She yanked my arm pulling me back out the door and around the side of the house. She kicked the lock on the door handles and ripped them from the doors.
       More unhappy Japanese noises.
       I balled up my fist and aimed for a mossy looking board. I punched through it and pulled the door open. We tumbled down inside together. Pinkish red light filled the basement. It was nearly sunset again. I heard the spirits hissing around us, not at me but at the Foxy woman, this I judged because all of the comments were in Japanese.
       “Don't let go of me, no matter what!”
       “Ok.” I changed my grip so our fingers were interlaced. I got it. I didn't want to end up a spirit.
       Big Smile girl stepped in front of us. “I thought you promised me a ride to the bridge.”
       “After the scroll, and some dinner, and then, may be, a nap.”
       “A nap, with me?” she smiled a wholly frightening tooth filled smile.
       “No, he's not yours.” Fox woman shouted at her. “He's never yours.”
       “We'll see, we'll see. His car only seats two, and he'll keep his promise, I can tell. He will.” Big Smile Woman licked her lips with an impossibly long tongue. Then spat out some high pitched whining Japanese aimed at the Fox woman.
       Fox Woman raised our hands to her mouth, and bit both our thumbs. I pulled my hand away, she barely keeping hold of me. “Don't let go! You promised not to let go!”
       “Before you bit me!” I sucked on the bite, tasting my blood and hers. Her blood was hot, very hot, and tasted quite unlike my own while still essentially blood.
       More Japanese shouting between Fox woman and the Big Smile woman. I let my hand and its bleeding thumb be pulled away from me as I stepped up to the three old women at the tea table. I handed them the scroll. I wanted this to be over, I was hungry, thirsty and oddly, feeling horny.
       “We knew you would make it. No matter Erukai-san's reply, we are in your debt.”
       “You might want to take her out of here before we read this.” The oldest said.
       “Is it dangerous to us.”
       “I doubt it, but if the answer is not what all the spirits here want, it could get ugly.”
       “I've seen it through this far.” I pulled Fox woman in close.
       Wrapping both our arms around her in a sort of dance turn. “Get ready to run.” I whispered in her fox-like ear.
       The bloodied thumbs came into view of the old women, one of them pointed, and they all laughed. “Well now, you're going to have an interesting life, no matter what happens here.” She reached up and pinched my cheek.
       The oldest opened up the scroll and read it aloud, in Japanese. There was a commotion and the spirits began to fade one by one until only the oldest woman the Big Smile Woman were left.
       “This was my home, I'm not ready to leave it yet, and there's a new family to get settled in. I'll go when everything is peaceful again.”
       “You owe me a ride to the bridge.” Big Smile woman glared at Fox woman.
       Fox woman in answer, pulled her lips to my thumb and kissed me, tasting my blood.
       I felt a warmness and a tingle go through me. This was also some sort of enchantment, I could tell. I don't know when the other one had faded, sometime during the tumble into the celler, I guessed.
       I wasn't sure what my new 'state' was, but I could feel that it wasn't completely normal. I was hungry but no longer really tired.
       “We need to get some supper.”
       “I'll be waiting for you, in your car.” Big Smile woman turned to exit up the stairs, hunching over to blow me a kiss. Her robe fell open to reveal he small but nearly perfect breasts.
       Fox woman huffed, and blocked my view by pulling herself up to my mouth for a kiss; the kiss tasted of her incredible sweetness, tinged with hers and my blood. It seemed just the perfect nightcap for the preceding weirdness.
       Big Smile woman laughed all the way up the stairs and out to my car.
       “You are not going any where alone with that monster she'll eat you the moment you stop paying attention to her.”

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Red Cat Shuffle, Back to School

       I dreamed this morning, after waking up and feeding the cats, that I was sitting the the back yard, enjoying the newly enclosed patio, sipping a cool lemonade, and petting one of the big red tabby boys. Little John was rubbing around my feet telling me one of his rather long kitten tales. Soon he was on my lap, gnawing on my beard. I got him settled down, and Teddy had been replaced by Ginger Muffin across m legs. I scritched her under the chin and told her what a good girl she was when Little John jumped down, only to be replaced by Marvin. This continued for a very long time. I would read a little, and when I looked down, there would be a different set of cats only lap and draped across my legs.

       I found myself back in school. Everyone had laptop or tablet PCs. Mine was a little bit different, and caused a little bit of a stir. It was a roll out computer. The screen was a 12 inch wide screen, and the keyboard was a full sized keyboard that looked like it was just printed on a thick piece of fabric. I had a bit of a crowd gathered around to look at it, much to the instructor's dismay. I explained that it was a prototype we were getting ready to market, if it passed its field tests.
       Several of my fellow students asked if they could be beta testers. I thought about that, and decided that might not be a bad idea. I showed them how the thick battery compartment only held 4 AA batteries and supported the screen with a pair of antenna like spars. "Completely mechanical and easily replaced if you bend or break one."
        I unplugged my MPEG recorder from the fire wire connector and folded in the screen and number pad. The whole computer then folded, or rolled into a bundle no more than three and one-half inches wide by two inches tall by eleven inches high. It looked like a soft leather umbrella case, except for the fire-wire and USB connectors on each end. The whole thing couldn't have weighed more than a pound and a half. Most of that was the batteries and display frame.

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Room Mate

      I dreamed that I ran into a young woman, who was one of my gaming students. She's in her mid twenties now, a lovely woman. In the dream she was broke, homeless, and pregnant. Even knowing that N would be displeased, I felt compelled to offer our home as a place for her to live, even if it were only temporary. "Sleeping on our futon will be better for you than sleeping in your car."


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Trans-Dimensional Portals

        Though much of the dream has now faded, I do remember the excitement of explaining my clever telegraph to my disbelieving female companions.

        And it was hard to believe, because part of the telegraph was a bolt tied to a string that was wedged in a door that didnt currently exist. I explained as carefully as I could that the door was in another dimension, a parallel universe much like this one, but one where the flaming skeleton hadnt exploded in the room, taking the door with it.

        My companions nodded at me, and then shared a look that told me they were completely unconvinced of my story, and by extension, my sanity. I carefully walked them along the path of the string, and pointed out that the string rose into the air and into the doorway, where it was firmly stuck in the air.

        Because I stuck a bolt on the end of the string and closed it in the door, in the other dimension!

        Well, maybe the string is just stuck to the door jamb with a little piece of wax.

        Walk through the door and then back this way and look at it.

        The leather-clad member of our trio picked up the string and tugged gently on it. The string held, and pulled slightly as the bolt slid up and down on the other side of the door latch, in the other dimension.

        OK, I admit that is freaky. But youre a mage so you could just be doing something, a portal, may be, and you have someone on the other side holding the string up.

        No, I promise. Theres another dimension, a different realm. I connected a cup to the my end of the string and pulled it taught, listening at the cup.

        Ok, Gnome, what are you doing now?

        I pushed my long hair away from my ear and listened again, using my other hand to signal for silence. I could make out some noise from the other room. But nothing very definite, it could easily have been just the bolt turning in the door.

        Someone nearly pulled the cup out of my hands. I grabbed it and gave a tug, and then two and then three. I waited. The string moved into the center of the doorway.

        Ok, thats freaky, the leather wearing woman said. My other companion, in robes of some sort, pulled out her staff and crouched, ready to pounce. I wondered why anyone would spend nearly everything and every moment you had to learn magic, and stand there and prepare to hit something with a stick.

        There were four gentle tugs on the string. I pulled the string taught and spoke loudly into the cup. Hello, testing, one two, three, can you hear me? I wished Id tied the other end to a cup, but hadnt wanted to risk being trapped in the other dimension. I hoped there was an Elf with really good hearing or another Gnome on the other end.

        I put my ear back to the cup. I could hear noises and then Hello, its Grommet, is that you Uncle Axel?

        I whooped! It worked, thats my niece on the other end. Woo hoo! Hurray!

        I turned to my companions. Its been fun, but Im going home, now.

        Wait! How do you know thats the right home? the leather clad blonde asked.

        Good point. Better ask some more questions. Before you go jumping to where ever. My robed companion chimed in, you could be getting a worse deal than here. She smiled and winked at me.

It seems Im writing World of Warcraft fan fiction in my dreams, now.

Ad astra per technica,


Monday, November 17, 2008

Spiny Ant Eater

        Horrible growling and snuffling noises came from the back yard. I managed to grab my flashlight and glasses from the headboard and stumbled out of bed. Several of the cats were gathered at the blinds, looking out the back window, ready to run away.

        I noticed the hot tub and the green table were missing. I wondered when that had happened. I shone the flashlight around until it picked up a large black and white animal. At first I thought it was a skunk, but it seemed to have quills. Then it turned so I could see it in profile.

        Its long prehensile snout and sharp digging claws (which it was using to pry up the bricks of our patio) gave it away as a spiny ant eater.

        Spiny ant eaters are not native to southern California. It was making low growling noises and snuffling up the ants. I was of two minds about that. We needed the help keeping the ant population down, but the creature was tearing up the patio in its hunt for ants to eat. At best a mixed blessing. I asked N to bring me the camera, as no one was going to believe this. N wasnt anywhere around though.

        It was then that I remembered that N had taken the hot tub with her, as well as Giles, Ember and Marvin. When I got back to the door with the camera, the ant eater was at the glass door, growling at Little John and T-Rex, who were both guarding the door, ears back, arched back and hissing up a storm. I didnt like how thin and grey T-Rex was, but he seemed quite energetic and healthy otherwise.

I got a good look at the ant eater. It was bloodied and injured, as though it had been attacked by coyotes. I took a couple of pictures and then shuffled the cats off to the bathroom and locked them in. I called the operator, asking to be connected to the San Diego Wild Animal Park. I wanted to ask them if theyd lost an ant eater, and if not, would they like one. I put out a bowl of fresh water while I was on hold, the ant eater backing away but staying close. It wasnt growling at me, at least. I had the impression that it wasnt unused to humans, so most certainly had escaped from somewhere. It eagerly advanced on the water bowl and started drinking as soon as the sliding door was closed.

Ad astra per technica,


Friday, November 14, 2008

Zombie Jungle

        Again with the zombie dreams. This time, however, the zombies were in a jungle setting amongst some old pyramid ruins. Although the dream seemed very real, we all had visible health bars, like in a video game. Every time we would hit a zombie, its health would drop by one fifth. Every time a zombie got to snack on a cadaver it would gain about a quarter of its health.

        There were far more zombies than there were us people.

        Zombies could chow down on each other, they would gain a quarter of their health and their target only would lose one fifth. I complained to the other survivors about the poor game design. They seemed completely unaware that this was a video game.

        Eventually we figured out that we had to lure them away from the crowd and burst them down one at a time. Somehow without taking any damage ourselves. Our food supplies were more limited, and only restored about one fifth of our health.

        It was weird running around with a health bar across my chest. My companions health bars sort of floated at chest level, but were visible no matter how they turned. I had bandages that worked by throwing them at the injured person. The longer we fought the zombies the more ripped and revealing our clothing became.

        I couldnt seem to hit the zombies with my pistol, so resorted to throwing large rocks at their heads, and trying to trap them with vines, and knock them into pits. The trouble with this is that we couldnt really run away from them, as they would clump up and follow, eventually climbing over one another to get out of the pits, etc. Since my shooting skills were severely lacking, I became the bait boy, working to peel one off from the crowd and lure it to the others.

        Fortunately for us, zombies shuffled very slowly in a direct line towards the closest living person. That allowed is to herd them up a bit and trap them in various pits and piles of rubble. Unfortunately there seemed to be an unlimited number of the things clawing their way up out of the vine choked jungle floor. As the sun rose, I noticed that we were in a valley bordering a lake, I suggested that we might retreat to the lake and take a boat to the other side, allowing us to get a clear field of fire on the zombies. I was getting tired from all the running around. Besides, I wanted to see the women in wet lingerie.

Ad astra per technica,


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Island Paradise, Zombies, WoW

       I dreamed I was out on the archipelago again. The one with the heavily undercut main island, and the lush green crescent of vibrant green across the crater from it. There were a half-dozen families or so who lived on the island. I was visiting in my catamaran (I wish) and showing the local families how the boom structures and the out-rigger hulls worked to keep the boat upright in a storm. I could crank the outriggers up over the cabin, which would right the hulls and allow me to lift the cabin out of the water again. I hadn't really had to use them except to practice. I took bunches of folks on a tour of their island, and out to where we could watch the whales from up close.
       When we got back to the island, they showed me how to get to the docks under the overhang. There was a spot that was hidden from view from the ocean, you had to know it was there to make the turn around the spire jungle covered rock to make it into the cove. We paddled the catamaran to an open slip and everyone guided me up a long spiraling switchbacked stair carved in the face of the rock. There were a couple of places where you had to lean out over the cove, holding on to rope and netting handrails to hold your feet against the steps. When I made it to the top, I noticed an elevator there, and several of the women and younger kids were stepping out of it.
       “We had that put in for the tourists and the young ones. It's much better than the old basket,” explained a woman.
       “Except when the power goes out!” A little girl about 11 or so giggled and ran up the slope to the village center.
       The last time I'd been here I'd climbed up a chain ladder hanging from the cliffs overhanging the lagoon. (I'd been on a cruise ship that sank, I think, and our lifeboat had drifted into the lagoon here. I'd made friends of the locals, and promised I would come back for a visit. It had taken me a couple of years to liquidate enough stuff to build the catamaran, and then I couldn't convince N to come with me.
       I told my tale, and they told theirs. Every hurricane I'd worried about had missed them, they explained that the island was charmed that way. Not to say that they didn't have their rough surf and wet weather. It wasn't the sort of life for everyone, but they made a bit of money on the tourist trade, so had computers and high speed Internet as well as television. (which I knew from the last time I'd visited, as I'd talked them into letting me email my folks to let them know we were OK.) I met the folks I'd been emailing back and forth with, turns out those 9 families were pretty much everyone left on the island.
       “We lost our sheriff and the doctor only stays through the winter now. We made a deal with a couple of the cruise lines, and we get to use their doctors in an emergency.”
       “Plus we have a plane if we need to fly someone to the hospital in Palou,” one of the women added.
       “Most of us wouldn't trade this little island for anywhere else in the world, but it's isolated and not for everyone.”
       I was thinking that once you had the internet and a camera, you pretty much had access to the world. I'd brought several for them. There was much glee from the kids as they opened my gifts.
       “So,” I found myself saying, “you have a job opening for sheriff?”
       “You'd have to double as postmaster.” Said the Mayor of the island.
       “And you'd be welcome to stay in my house if you don't want the apartment above the station,” added one of the women, “I know how to cook more than coconuts.”
       This allowed me to identify her as one of my frequent correspondents. We'd had a running Gilligan's Island conversation that had gone on for most of the year. It had started when I'd answered the 'Mary Ann or Ginger?' question with “Some of the 'native' girls who showed up were pretty darned attractive, and I'm almost old enough for that Lovey gal, if she weren't married, you know.”
       “There's not much in the way of pay, but then again, there's not a lot to spend it on. The job is yours if you want it. You mostly get to hold on to cruise ship shoplifters until the helicopter from the mainland comes for them.”
       “Sounds like a pretty cushy job, to me.”
       “You're welcome to stay after the cruise season, of course, but there really won't be anything to do after that.”
       “I brought my computer and my boat, I'm pretty sure I can find something to do. Besides, I hear there's going to be fiber run to this island, so you won't have to worry about outages during the monsoon season.”
       “How'd you know about that?”
       I knew about that because I'd sold my house to be able to afford it, but I wasn't going to tell them that, I was saving that as a New Years surprise. I'd also known that the Sheriff's position was open, as he'd recruited me before he retired to the mainland. He missed the city, just as I knew I would after a time. But I knew I could always sail to the mainland (admittedly a few days away) and take a plane back to San Diego during the winter months if I really needed. Besides, I had Internet camera access to every one of my friends back home.
       It really didn't take long to get me and my two cats settled into the apartment above the jail, much to the, I assured her, temporary, disappointment of my Gilligan's Island friend.

       Soon I was handling the mail and running tourists out to see whales on my catamaran, or off to the reefs for snorkeling. We got to design and make our own postage cancellations, so I made sure SCV got all our first day covers.
       One evening I was out riding on a basking shark, or some similar creature, when it spooked and headed out to deep water. I was tangled in some netting I'd been trying to cut from its back. The pressure was starting to hurt my ears, and I didn't know how much longer I could hold my breath. I managed to cut the last of the nylon net free and swam as hard as I could to the surface. I looked around in the twilight to get my bearings. The island looked an impossible distance away. I had my waterproof cell phone, so called the island to let them know where I was. Then I started swimming. I angled myself for where I thought my boat should be, but couldn't see it. I could feel the oppressive heat and moisture of a monsoon building. I called and told them to get out to my catamaran first, it could survive the rough seas that were sure to come soon. The water was already choppy where I was.
       A large shape swam below me, stirring the bioluminescent plankton in its wake. This I didn't need, as I was certainly prey size for some of the sharks that roamed the deeper waters. I swam, also creating a smaller wake. I angled myself for the larger wake, hoping to use it for cover. I wasn't the only one. Several large (my sized) fish were all ready following along the wake. They quickly passed me by.
       I looked back along the wake and realized that even as slow as the large fish was that made the wake, I wasn't going to be keeping up. The luminescence was fading. The waves grew choppier.
       As I crested one, I spotted a large glowing patch of ocean, It looked like an ancient ships wheel about the size of a football field. There were smaller bright spots as some critters splashed and jumped in and ever tightening spiral into the center. One of the spokes lengthened, directly at me. I stopped my backstroke and held my cameraphone up as high as I could and snapped a few photos, sending them to GI girl, who had stayed on the phone with me. My connection was spotty, but the cell tower was on the highest point of the island, and reached several miles and even a little bit under the water. (Isn't technology wonderful.)
       The head of the spike was a large whale-like animal, I couldn't see spray as it skimmed the surface, but I could see flying fish, bronze and black in the fading daylight. They were riding the bow wave. I started pulling with all my might to be ready as the large animal passed. (I hoped it was not targeting me.)
       I felt the pressure wave and it lifted me and carried me forward with it. I kicked to bring myself in closer and body surfed along side the large animal. I could see the dark scars left behind by nylon netting. I was positive this was the animal that I'd cut the netting from. It slowed, and veered towards where I had originally found it.
       “Its...bringing... me back.” I spoke on the phone every time I rose out of the water for a breath. I had no idea if GI girl could hear me, as the noise was terrific.
       We swam out of the luminescent patch, for which I was grateful, but the animal still glowed where the plankton clung to its skin, a sort of blotchy bluish green pattern that faded. My legs were exhausted, even with the bow wave making it easier, it was still a long hard swim. I could see my catamaran, and I could see the lights of the launch from the island. The great fish reached the surface and dove, rapidly gone from sight. I slowed after the final push and only the flying fish kept me company.
       I reached my boat only a couple of minutes after the lights came on.
       “Hey, you show up on the fish finder!” GI called to me over the phone. “At least, I'm assuming that's you in the middle of all those fish.”
       I had to keep dodging the flying fish, none of them had taken a nibble yet, but I feared that was coming. The flying fish stayed with me even as I climbed up the ladder onto the deck of my boat. Several of them leaped out of the water and sailed around my reunion. The Mayor and GI were waiting for me with open arms and in GI girls case tears.
       “You are never going out alone again.”
       “I sailed across the Pacific to get here on my own. I think I can handle it.”
       “Handle it, you could of died. I'm not letting you go alone any more.”
       I was a little shook up. If it had been any later and the sun had been completely down, I might never had gotten my bearings to get back within cell range. It had been close. Much closer than I wanted to admit. GI girl was still hugging on me and sobbing.
       “Hey there, I'm fine.”
       “The ocean never gives back what it takes.” Only she didn't say “ocean” but the name the islanders used for the monsoon ocean.
       “The fish I cut free from the netting brought me back, so perhaps this is a sort of repayment.”
       “Let's get back before the tide makes it impossible to dock,” the mayor piped up and headed for the wheelhouse. I unfurled the storm spinnaker, as the winds were quite gusty and I wanted to be under way before letting out the mainsail.

       This is the first long happy (mostly) dream that I've had in a long run of “warehouse full of zombie, race for your life, aim for the head” dreams. The only other variation was a World of Warcraft dream where I was Axel, tossing fire from my hands and trying to keep the group from breaking up. N didn't want to run the whole instance, though and took the shortcut option of buying off the boss. Yes, it fulfilled the quest, but with no loot for anyone, and very little experience earned. I came back with two of the original party and we redid the boss fight. It was dicey without healing, but we managed. Then we ran it again with Fetch. Then as Axel I ran again with some others. N came in and asked, “why are you running that again? You did the quest.”
       I popped out of character and opened up my inventory screen to show her the nice new epic chest piece that had dropped. “Now I'm returning the favor for the others. We're going to do this until everyone gets what they want out of it, or until we're sick of it, whichever comes first. You're welcome to join us, there's a couple of different things that would be good for a druid.”
       “No, I'm sick of it after the first time. I'm going to the auction house.”

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