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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.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Desert Crossing

This mornings mental offering was a dream of outstanding complexity. It started out with my meeting with a couple whose car had broken down on the long lonely stretch of freeway outside of the Grand Canyon. I suspected I was in the Dreamlands, as this stretch of road was more dirt and gravel than asphalt. the couple were fairly young, in their late 20s or early 30s at the most, but they looked beat up from living outdoors, not the weekend camper sort of beat up, but the out of work for a couple of years beat up.

I looked at their pickup truck, and it was rusted out. It reminded me of the total failure of a steel bucket I had owned. 

The bucket had just been used for hot water and baking soda, I had washed down the garage floor, getting rid of the final layer of cat urine, preparing the garage for use. When I was done, the bucket gave a metallic groan, and the rim cracked like someone had attempted to fold it. The rolled edges of the bucket cracked off and fell around the base of the bucket. I called N out to show her the odd behavior, and demonstrated by pressing lightly against the bottom, which promptly separated from the sidewalls, which then folded up like cardboard. pretty soon I had the whole bucket sitting in four inch pieces in my hands. N yelled at me for destroying the bucket, failing to see anything interesting or enlightening in what had happened, and unwilling to ponder what might have caused galvanized steel to fold like wet cardboard.

I shook off the (false) memory, and brought my attention to the present. We needed to get moving, as there were critters migrating across the desert that would strip us to bone and call it a snack. While the family might have been able to hole up in the now deserted gas station, it certainly wouldn't have been very pleasant. Even then, their truck was collapsing into fist sized chunks right in front of us. 

As if to underscore the urgency of the matter, I heard a rustling across the road from the gas station. A beast, with skin like a pineapple and long horns burst out onto the broken asphalt road.  "Be still."  The beast nosed the air, then came running for us as the couple's children came bursting out of the two bathrooms. "Get in my car!" I shouted and the family grabbed a few handfuls of their stuff and piled into my car. 

The car was a slightly modified version of my old beige Plymouth Satellite. The modification appeared to be that I could start it up and open the doors with voice commands. Somehow I ended up in the back seat, and the couple's twelve year old was behind the wheel. The beast launched a salvo of stinging quills at the car, but they bounced off the windows and doors as I pulled the last one shut.

"Make it go!" the daughter shouted.

"It isn't that sort of car," I explained, "you have to manually drive the vehicle, and you're in the driver's seat."

"No time to swap, take the lever behind the steering wheel and put it in 'D' for drive, then press the pedal on the right when I tell you."

"She can't do that!" one of her parents shouted.

"She's big enough to reach the pedals, she can do it. It'll be just like a video game."

"What's that?" the Dad asked. 

I was flummoxed for a moment, but then gave the command for the engine to start up. "I know a place near the edge of the canyon that should have some parts I need. We'll go there and then escape by air."


"Don't worry about that, just keep us on the road until we're far enough away for us to switch drivers." 

The twelve year old stepped all the way down on the gas pedal, and the throaty V-8 shuddered to life, rumbled and coughed a bit, then caught, launching us out onto the freeway. The car swerved and fishtailed as the girl over corrected her steering. I leaned over from the back seat and took the steering wheel. "Ease off on the pedal, about a quarter of the way down will be enough."

We settled into a fairly even ride after only a few frightening moments. When we'd left the beastly scout far enough behind I explained the brake pedal and we came to a stop. I fired up the GPS system, which had somewhat spotty reception out this far from civilization. (I thought that was a little bit odd, as this was where there should have been no interference at all.)

By using the GPS, I was able to navigate us overland to the rim of the canyon, and to a dirigible hanger that I knew about. I had the envelope for the car and the cable in the back seat to connect us to the large bag, what I didn't have was a way to quickly inflate the thing with Helium. I hoped the Catalysis system in the hanger was still working. 

It was a bit like driving on the map in a game, searching the topographic overlay for passable routes to get us up to the rim of the canyon. Apparently one of the other upgrades to the Plymouth was an adjustable suspension and four-wheel drive. After watching our little white rectangle positioned against the map for several minutes, all while listening to the family inventory what they were able to grab from their truck, we arrived at the hanger. 

The hanger was collapsed and the caretaker's house was in only a little better condition. I told the family to go and get blankets and towels from the house while I rigged our escape. The two little boys raced for the house, all ready having to go again.

The trunk appeared empty, but I spoke a short phrase, and another dimensional space was revealed. I'd waited for the family to go into the house because I didn't really want them to know about the secret spaces in my car. I could easily ride out the swarming horde's advance inside my car, but it would have been more than a little crowded with six of us. 

I removed six stacks of cables and glassware, then a huge red velvet feeling hide. It was a demon hide, very rare, and very stretchable. There were six inlets set with a pair of poison spines on either side of the connection. The connections had been set into the bag by powerful magics, and were the only way to get gas into the bag. I could rig the bag to fill itself, but that would take several days. (This had been my original plan.) I rigged the first cable and connection, carefully bending the two poisen spikes down and through the tops of the tubes. Poison began to flow into the contraption, being caught by the glass bowls and altered by their magic. The bag immediately began to fill, the small stack of glass bowls working magically to filter hydrogen and helium from the air. 

My car clamped itself to the ground, living steel spines shooting into the ground from behind each wheel. The Dad was out of the house, watching by now. I could tell he didn't believe the bag would be large enough to lift the car. I told him to check in the hanger for anything that looked like a bunch of long hoses, or we were going to have to fortify the house until the bag could finish filling. 

I quickly connected the other five cables and the magic glass filter pumps. It was then that I noted that my first pump was actually broken, and wasn't properly filling. I removed it and went into the kitchen of the house. I needed some small glass bowls to replace the ones that had their bottoms rotted out. Like the galvanized bucket from my memory, the bottoms had just separated from the sides of the bowls. It was not the sort of behavior one normally sees in glass, so I found myself wishing that I'd made a better analysis of the bucket all those years ago. 

I noticed that I'd attracted a shadow. The Twelve Year Old had attached herself about two feet from my left elbow, and wherever I moved, she was right there with me. I could tell she was scared, eyes darting around, always looking outside the window. The dad had found some hoses. We watched him drag them over to my car, where the large bag had all ready doubled in size, and the cables were charged and holding it just a few feet above the roof of the car. "He doesn't know where we are." The Daughter stated. 

I found some glassware that might suffice, but I would have to reveal a lot of my abilities to the family in order to make them work. I wasn't really looking forward to that. So far they had managed to retain a feeling of urgency that exposure to pure magic might trip them over into panic. The demon bag was probably all ready perilously close to the line as it was. I took some small pleasure in the musical tinkling as the small bowls nested together, and the last of the original glassware fell to ruin. 

"Interesting, are you mine or his?" I asked.

"Neither," the Daughter pointed out to her Mother, "We're all hers, except you. You're not, but she doesn't know that, yet."

As we headed out to fix the first connection, I felt the hydrogen pouring out of the end of the hose the Dad had delivered. I disconnected the cable, put my bowls inside the tube and then performed the rituals to enchant them just before slipping the output hose over them. The Demon hide bag began to fill and stretch.

Apparently the woman and her family had figured out what was going on, and they all vanished quietly. I picked up the ruined glass shards and began to investigate why they had failed. I began to worry about demonic corruption from the bag. I would have to fully inspect it and make repairs if needed. I had time to do that, now. 

One of the things I loved about this dream was the textures and color details. The desert reds and browns, the brown-red rich color of the bag, the blue and red bottoms of the glass elements in the filter pumps. The textures of the etched glass bowls, the velour of the bag, and the dusty crumbling bucket and bowls. 

There was another dream, equally as detailed, but much shorter. All I can remember now is waking up and thinking "Oh, another one of those dreams." Hardly useful for remembering any details, sorry about that.

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