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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.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Cave Clanks and Werewolves

I was running on all fours, chasing through the forest with a lovely yellow Afghan looking (but much larger, still with the same slender proportions) companion. I could feel the leaves and branches crumple under my calloused paws, feel the saddle bags bounce against the mesh harness. We raced along the open paths, sometimes me leading, sometimes her leading. We'd occasionally catch wind of something interesting and would crash through the ferns and berry bushes to investigate. I could see the fur on my front legs and paws, it was thick, about two inches and mostly grey-brown with black patches.

On one of these little side forays we came upon a round opening in the side of a cliff. I transformed back to my human self and stooped down to see into the cave opening better. The opening would have been completely obscured were it not for the thick bat smell coming from it. I pushed aside the vines and roots and stepped into the entrance. The Afghan, Lydia I think her name was, transformed next to me, delicately sniffed the air. She bounced her breasts at me playfully, adjusted her harness and then transformed back, saying she was going back to bring the rest of the pack. I dressed and, using my wind up flashlight, proceeded deeper into the cave.

The bats only occupied the first large chamber, clinging to the roots and vines along the ceiling. I found that the cave continued past that chamber, a small rocky alcove contained a chiseled opening that headed down some narrow stairs. There were the remnants of wooden stairs in a couple of places, but it was only about four to six feet of a jump down to pass to the next rocky part of the path, so I proceeded by jumping over the wooden stairs, not trusting them to hold my weight even where they looked okay. I kept scanning the walls with the flashlight, hoping to spot some markings that might explain what I had found. I could feel air flowing gently down past me, so knew there must be another opening, perhaps at the bottom of the hillside where the spring pools on the opposite side of the mountain were located. We didn't spend much time over there, as that was Bai Yun's pack's range.

I came to a large chamber, split level, a large rectangular slab of material on one wall, with a square slab inset into its base. The square slab looked like it had been some sort of seal, but was now very pitted and scarred, as though something had been working at it. At the opposite side of the upper level was an adobe building that looked to be connected to the side of the cliff overlooking the lower level of the chamber. I could smell water at the bottom, and it very much smelled like the waters of the spring, so I knew that there must be another entrance somewhere below. I used the flash to try to pick out a path down to the water, but it seemed that the only way down was to jump, and hope the water was fairly deep, or to risk climbing down through the adobe building.

I turned back to the slab, and tried to make out what was etched into the surface. The slab was about fifteen feet high and ten or so feet across at the base. It was narrower at the top, about eight feet or so. It wasn't perfectly symmetrical, so I guessed that it had been carved out of something that was already here in the cave. I didn't recognize most of the languages on the slab, but about a third of the way down, discovered that I recognized some Latin words. I could tell the carvings were not literate Latin, as there were many case and number disagreements, and the verb tenses were all over the place. It was as though someone like myself had tried to put something together from memory, and oddly, it looked rushed. The whole thing looked rushed. There was a large pile of rubble at the base of the monument, and I could tell from the size and color of the chips that they were the debris from the carvings.

I could hear my pack coming down the trail, so headed up to greet them.

There was a huge thundering crack behind me, I turned to see the square chunk of stone pulverized and flying out of the base of the slab. Something mechanical stepped out on six legs, whirring and clanking. It lifted its middle legs up over its head, and lights flickered to life, it scanned the cavern, fixing a light on me. The other arm began to spin, like a Gatling gun. Lydia, still in Afghan form, with the rest of the pack behind her was highlighted on one of the slopes. The machine appeared to dismiss the wolf pack, but swiveled its gun back towards me, I instinctively shouted "RUN!" and turned back down the path as the machine opened fire.

A couple of the bullets hit me in the upper legs and right buttock, I rolled on the ground, transforming as I did so. The flashlight tumbled onto the platform, and the bullets followed its spinning path. I picked myself up, glad that the ammunition didn't seem to be made of silver or salt. I kicked the remains of my pants off, angry at losing them, as they were one of my favorite pairs. I heard my pack leaping up and away, I didn't want to go after them and lead the machines to them, so dashed from behind the rocks I was hiding behind for the adobe building. I glanced over to the opening, and two more clanking machines had scrabbled their way out of the monument, they lifted their middle legs and lights shot into the darkness, helping illuminate my path. I dove through a window into the adobe building, the ancient mud walls cracked and splintered as a fusillade of bullets tried to chew through it. I ducked down, feeling the heat of tracers as they sizzled through the air overhead. The building was essentially a stairwell, so I raced down the stairs, not really concerned about the possibility of a fall.

The metallic creatures made their way across the upper cavern floor, Each window I passed, I could see their sweeping lights, and hear the gravel crunch under their feet. Apparently they were looking for me, and even though they'd seen me go into the building, they didn't associate my wolf form with my human form.

The bottom of the building was bricked up, so I had to go back up two flights to a window. I squeezed through, and dropped the nearly twenty feet to the ground. I was really angry about losing my flashlight, as there was really no way to replace it. As I scanned the path along the underground pond, a light from above picked me out, and hesitated on me, I crouched to leap away, but the light swept on, apparently dismissing me. I headed back along what looked to be the freshest trail, though that was old enough to be nearly indistinguishable. I found myself in a twisting turning set of narrow tunnels, only one of which had any signs of traffic in it, though, again, those were old signs. I came to a curve in the tunnel where I could smell the outside, and thought I could just begin to see a glimmer of light. and there in my path was Bai Yun. He growled. He did not look happy.

I transformed, "Run, gun-clanks have come out of the cave."

I transformed back, he growled low, but nodded and waited for me to finish, then led the way out.

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