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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.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Boat Tour, Haunted House Game(?) and the Mad Handset of Vision

I was sitting by a dock in the bay, wasting time, when I overheard a skipper (who sounded like Sean Connery) ask a young couple "sure you could fly to India, if you like being loaded into a cannon and shot to your destination. A boat trip, now that's an adventure from start to finish."

It seems I had just come into a lot of money and needed a way to vanish for a few weeks, so when the young couple accepted the skipper's offer I made my way over to the boat and asked if he'd take an old man on as a crewman. He only asked three questions, "Can you operate a computer? Can you mop?" and "Can you shoot?"

I said "yes" and "I can also cook, read a navigation chart, and I'm not a half bad mechanic, either."

"Yer hired!"

I put my bag on board, my room was a tiny cabin in the bow. I could barely stretch out in the bunk, the light didn't work, but it did have two long narrow portholes. When I made my way back up to the top deck, we were already underway, threading our way in and out of the wide river traffic. The plan was to sail down the nile, across the Mediterranean, through the straights and across the gulf around the horn of India.

-----

I was in a haunted house game of some sort. The chat interface was an odd combination of voice recognition and hundreds of small clicky icons (they might have been Chinese or Japanese). You could type to jump to parts of the list or use the scroll wheel to send them flying by the right hand side of the screen. I couldn't figure the chat interface out, so the game master sighed and ported me into the reality version. There was an evil laugh, and I was actually there in the dust filled, creaking and groaning structure that was the haunted house in the game. The first thing I did was call out to any other players, I got a couple of answering calls, and some whimpering. That didn't bode well. I pumped a round into the shotgun's chamber and checked my ammunition, six in the gun, about twelve in a bag on my belt. I headed for the whimpering, wondering what good a shotgun would be against a ghost.

There was a woman inside of a chandelier. It didn't look comfortable. I moved a couple of couches together under the fixture and then climbed up on the back of one. I cut the thin nylon straps holding the woman down and she indicated that she still couldn't move, so grabbed the edge of the chandelier to tip the woman out. She was in mid tumble inches from my arms when she just vanished.

I spotted movement along a wall and the shadow slunk out the far door. I hopped over the couch, catching my foot on the wooden rail of the back and stumble-hopped headlong into the wall. Fortunately I was wearing some sort of helmet and the blow as cushioned. The impact still left my neck hurting, however. I knelt down and poked my head around the door frame. Gunfire from down the hall, three or four pistol shots. They were way to high over my head, but if I'd been standing? That would have been game over.

"I hope you have a good reason for shooting at me?" I shouted out of the doorway.

"Sorry, I thought something had snuck up behind..." his conversation ended in a scream and more bullets went singing past. Apparently, whatever had snuck out of the room had snuck up in front of him. I rolled across the hallway and into the room across the way, I couldn't see anything in the hall, and started to think that a flashlight would be better than a shotgun. I looked around the room, it was some sort of small sitting room, I opened up the drawer of an end table next to the door.

There were some yellowed postcards from Iceland, the writing in a language I couldn't read, a book of matches with a picture of Iceland and the name of a hotel on the cover, a half dozen gas lamp mantles, and a roll of duct tape. The soft glow flickering from the gas lighting fixture may have caused the postcards to look yellow, they didn't feel old and brittle. I was amazed this house hadn't burned down ages ago. For a moment I contemplated replacing the damaged mantle in the lamp, but then realized I would have to do that in the dark.

"Are you okay down there?" I asked into the empty hallway.

There was no reply save a wet smacking sound and crunching, like when a dog is chewing on a large bone. I took that as warning not to go that way. Although, if it was chewing, the shotgun would probably work on it.

I looked across the room at the window, it was partly open, the curtains gently blowing, I finished opening it up with an effort, it felt like it had been painted in that partly open state. I climbed out the window and stepped over the dead holly bushes. The dried leaves were even spikier than if they'd been alive. I walked out into the street and took in a view of the house. It was three stories, and there were houses up and down the street as far as I could see that looked very much like it. All of them in the same state of decay, most all of them with at least a few windows glowing faintly from gas-lights within. The house across the street was completely black, a burned out shell, however.

The streetlamps were also gas lights, some of which had their mantles burned out, and just a flickering ball of burning gas at the end of their jets. Some were completely dark. I guessed they were a ball of flaming explosion waiting to happen. I couldn't tell if it was day or night. there was a thick layer of clouds that looked to be just above the height of the tallest building's roof lines. At one end of the street I could see tendrils of fog creeping in (at least I assumed they were fog.) At the other end of the street, was pitch blackness, none of the houses lights reached the road and there were no streetlamps alight. I was deciding whether I should re-enter through the window or try to find the front door when the window sash came crashing down. I saw a hunched figure at the window, and then the gas lamp in the room went out.

------

This morning's wake-up voice told the other voices to hush, "he's got the mad handset of vision."

I rolled over awake, thinking "interesting, what the heck is that?"

I swear I heard the the voice give out a disappointed "awww."

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