The item was, would you believe it, a Browning automatic pistol, which I had concealed between two folded towels. I was dressed like some a member of staff, and carrying the towels was one of the duties of staff apparently because suited security guards kept letting me and my silent female partner through all the blocks unsearched.
Then two guards in what looked like police riot gear stood in our way. I could hear a weird blooping. They said it was radiation, and we needed decontamination. It didn't sound like a Geiger counter though. Nonetheless, they led me and the woman into another room, where I was asked to put the towels down in a laundry basket. One of the orderlies whispered "I'm the next link in the relay chain. Leave the towels and the package with me," before leading me to a room with a bed and a chair and ordering me to sit for an hour to await the results from the decontam.
And that was it.
I was dreaming of being in an office, overlooking a large business through a massive panoramic window. Based on its location, high above the premises, I had to be the owner. Lucky me.
The secretary called on the intercom. My three o'clock had arrived, ten minutes early. Her name was Agneta Hansdottir. I told the secretary not to let her wait, but to see her in right away. I'd been waiting for her. Something about her being some sort of a graphic artist. I was hoping we would get to collaborate on a project.
She wandered into the office, and I'd never dreamed of anyone this tall or elegant before. She was a blonde, she had a kind of a swish when she walked, and her hands were long, thin and delicate. She herself was Amazonian in proportion, and someone as short as I would have had a good deal of difficulty in meeting her gaze unless I were standing on a chair or something.
I think she got the job. She had me at "hello."
I was a passenger in the car, and my sisters Bird and Julie were also in the vehicle. Bird was driving. Julie was in the back seat.
Mum and Dad did not appear in this dream and, unusually, my late brother Sean did not appear either. Just my two living siblings.
The road kind of looked like the back road we used to take to get to the folks' in Brynteg, the one that's all lined with trees that connects with Summerhill, Gwersyllt and Brynteg, but I could tell that this was somehow the wrong way. I told Bird, but she did not believe me.
I was, however, fully vindicated because around the very next bend the road came to an abrupt end with a hedge cutting straight across the narrow single lane little road. I told Bird to reverse down the road again, but she went straight instead of following the bend - and we ended up crashing through the flimsy hedge on the side of the road.
On the other side of the hedge was another narrow road; one which had not apparently been used for years, judging by the overgrowth. I told Bird to just put the car in forward gear. We were still only halfway through the hedge; if we went forward, we would still be able to get back, reversing all the way.
But no, Bird knew better. She reversed the car further into the lane so she could turn us around, despite my warning that if we came fully onto this mystery road we would not be able to get back - and that we would all be killed.
Once again, Bird knew best. She pulled us through the hedge and onto the new road. She turned to me and said something like "See? It's just another road. Nothing special."
I pointed to the front of the car. Bird looked.
The hedge had sealed up in front of the car. There was not only no way back; there was now no sign of that other road at all. Just one road remained: this one.
We had come fully through the hedge, and it had closed behind us blocking our way back to the normal world. Whatever happened to us, we were committed.
I remembered this road. I'd been down it - or rather up it, since it seemed to be gently rising in both directions despite that we'd been driving along on a flat plain in the previous road - and I knew where it lead, whichever road we took: the Chessboard, an ivy-covered ruin of gigantic stone chess pieces in a narrow gully nestled amid trees and carved rocks, the remnants of a small stone quarry.
I told Bird to listen to what I had to say. I had been here before. I knew some of the rules. And if she and Jules wanted to get back alive, she would have to follow my lead.
Otherwise, she and Jules could kiss goodbye to any chance of seeing their kids alive again.
I'm the bill payer, I am an adult, and I'm the only resident. No kids or vulnerable adults here.
ISPs are being told to crack down on content that is dangerous to this government, in the guise of censoring pornography. It doesn't take any effort at all to tick off violence, gambling, crime, blogging, protests and legitimate activities to promote democracy and weaken corrupt tyrannies from taking over the government as "extremism" and "pornography" and block access to them.
In the long term, it means that my blog might suddenly stop because I won't be able to access the thing at all - not, at least, through my ISP, which is TalkTalk. I doubt any of the others are going to be any different. I can't access half of these sites from public terminals these days because it's the same in town.
So if I seem to vanish, and my posts dry up, you know why. And if I do go dark and quiet, I do apologise in advance. You'll be able to email me to correspond with me directly - at least, until the day they cut me off from there, too.
Crossposting to everywhere else.
Each membrane was some sort of barrier, as much emotional as physical - self-doubt, jealousy, fear, aversion, anger, foolishness, lack of judgment. Pushing through each barrier took a bit of effort, but when I came through I was in The Shadow.
I was elsewhere, in the Cold Realm, the Abode of Shade; a place of grey monochrome twilight beneath eternal swirling clouds, a place of shattered black mountains and black soil everywhere. My feet crunched underfoot; the soil was rich and alive with the stuff of broken dreams, the energy of nightmares given substance and allowed to mulch for thousands of years, ever since we evolved the ability to dream.
There was a citadel in the distance, nestled in between the mountains of a range of jagged peaks, their sides glistening like broken-off lumps of uncut obsidian.
Between where I was and the citadel was a forest; the Forest of the Night Trees. The people of the citadel fed from the Night Trees, which were rich in this Shadow stuff called Dreck. The fruits of the Night Trees are a deadly poison to people - even the smallest piece, or tiny trace of the juice, induces vivid hallucinations. Indeed, mixed with certain pharmaceuticals the juice of the fruit of the Night Trees is called Tears of the Gods, and allows people to astrally travel to the Shadow.
Anyone trying to come back from the Shadow has to pass through those veils, which serve to brush away all the Shadow matter - even Shadow matter stuck to the soles of one's feet - and to snag things such as Night Trees fruit and seeds, and the solid black fossilised sap of the Night Trees, called Black Amber. Black Amber can store Soma (the stuff which lends substance to the things in good dreams) and Dreck, and it can be worn as jewellery or ground up into a black paint that can be used to make portals into the Shadow, like the stuff around the door jamb of the portal at the start of the dream.
Thus I found myself back here, in the room, looking at the door which was now closed and locked, the Black Amber portal paint discharged. I was holding a 1kg lump of uncut Black Amber blacker than jet, and a handful of Night Trees seeds in the palm of my hand.
And that was my dream.
Everything was tied in with a hypnosis website, something similar to one you might have heard of.
So two of the detectives, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) were assigned to the case, and they both visited my site separately. And both of them were entranced by a post on my blog.
It was very disjointed. Neither of them remembered much after seeing the site, but I assured them both that they enjoyed the sessions that followed - and that they'd given their full consent.
I had them standing on the balcony of my apartment wearing only negligees for several minutes. I didn't videotape the sessions, or compel them to do anything they didn't want to do. It was just fun, putting them into trances, letting them slowly go under - the one thing most of my clients really just want from me. To succumb.
They fancied me for the crimes, but I assured them I was innocent. Turned out that someone else was doing something similar, but he was dosing up his victims with GHB to scrub their memories - a more straightforward case than they thought it would be, making me one big red herring.
Then Benson asked me why I'd allowed the female officers to attend a session. Why not the men? And my reply was "Because you really don't want to be living with the image of John Munch in nothing but tighty whities in your memories for the rest of your lives. Some things, Man Was Not Meant To Know."
The streets were narrow, tall, curved. The boyfriend got one in the back of the next as we approached the hotel - the front of the hotel was this colonnade, rather like the Grosvenor Hotel in the middle of Chester.
Somebody had been feeding the sniper our whereabouts. I'd figured it to have been the boyf, till he caught one and went down.
That left the blonde and her three, or was it five, kids.
I saw one of them, a girl, standing at the window. Roofs across the way. I roughhoused her to the ground to get away from the damned window. There he was, roof opposite, silhouetted against the sky right across from us. I was screaming "Sighting confirmed! Sighting confirmed! Point three! Point three!" into a head mike.
The location shifted. We were in some subtropical country. Hot, dusty, mountains in the distance. The sniper could strike from anywhere.
Then it turns out that the contact I'd been speaking to on my head mike happened to be a TV show producer. We had been his entertainment. He'd been feeding the sniper our locations and setting up the kills. And now the sniper was going to come after us.
Except that the producer had decided to prolong the agonies by making this final show of the series a two-parter.
So in this dream, I finished off the producer with a device in his car, and told him "Your show has been cancelled."
Thing is, if I was doing a cosplay, people automatically think I'd make a great Penguin from Batman - that, or if it were LoTR or fantasy LARP, I make a perfect hobbit / halfling.
When the hell did I start dreaming of being some sort of ex-SAS type?
Ahead of me, at the top of the stairs, was a set of double doors in a large arched doorway, set in a stone wall in a long corridor. I opened the door and entered.
The room was some sort of a vestibule. Stone walls. Stained glass. The pulpit was unusually tall. The room was higher than it was long, this squarish room with a vaulted ceiling very high up. Rows of pews filled the floor, facing the pulpit. They were occupied by rows of people in their Sunday best. And there was I wearing just underpants.
I just pushed past them and made my way towards the pulpit. All I said to them was "All Right, Let's Do This!" - apparently, they had been awaiting my cue.
As I drew near, I realised that everybody had to climb the stone steps leading up to the pulpit, because there was another little doorway up at the top, behind the pulpit, leading to another area beyond. Some sort of a ritual area.
I began climbing the narrow stone steps, feeling a grim sense of deja vu.
And that was it.
It was a big black American car. Looked like a Ford Lincoln.
I began heading for the fire exit which was behind me, and dragged along the woman I was talking to, before the car reversed to come along and finish the job.
As I threw her through the exit door, I heard the car beginning to back up, and I knew that they had realised that I'd survived - and that could only mean they were going to be after me and the woman to silence the witnesses.
And that was it.
Consequently, I had two new dreams arising from the trauma of Tuesday and Wednesday's shittiness.
I will post them over the weekend; but for right now, behold the new look for Perchance To Dream.
I have synchronised its appearance to match the other key blogs in my collection, including To Scape The Serpent's Tongue.
My dreams new and old will be going forward with this new look from now on. Until such time as I might want to change everything around again ...
All week long, Flash Gordon - that movie with the Queen soundtrack - has been in my mind a bloody awful lot.
I was watching an episode of Stargate SG-1, and the former Flash Gordon (an unrecognisable Sam J Jones) turned up in it as a bounty hunter.
Not long afterwards, there was an episode of Diagnosis Murder, where the same actor turns up as a big lifeguard.
In both appearances, the man was a walking slab of neckless meat - a block of muscle.
Clearly, the actor had attempted to aim for Rocky and ended up as Victor Frankenstein's Creature instead.
And then, over the weekend, naturally, I revisited the clip of the Ming Ring seduction scene from that movie.
I posted the link to my Hypnotic Erotic blog in this article.
At this point, this video appeared in my newsfeed, completely unrelated to anything even remotely pulpy.
In contrast to the pulp aesthetic of the Gernsback Continuum, and indeed to the thinly-veiled sexuality of the 1981 movie, this short edited segment was a delightfully refreshing delve into Gibsonian cyberpunk, with more than a nod to R Talsorian's Cyberpunk 22.214.171.124. roleplaying game.
Not to mention Shadowrun.
And so, inevitably, I dreamed of the two genres colliding somehow, the cyberpunk aesthetic extruding from its savagely stylish universe into the chrome and alabaster squeaky clean universe of Flash Gordon.
The scenario ran like this.
Emperor Ming was leering over a helpless Dale Arden as she lay on yet another slab, testing the restraints.
Ming, naturally, could not let it go without monologuing his plan.
Ming: 'I assure you,' he gloated, 'you are crucial to the completion of my master plan.'
Dale: 'What are you planning to do, you monster?'
Ming: 'I am going to surgically replace your organic limbs, my dear Miss Arden.'
Ming: 'I intend to replace your organic legs with these shiny, sleek chrome-plated cybernetic limbs.'
Dale: 'Oh, that is monstrous! How dare you? It's inhuman!'
Ming: 'On the contrary, Miss Arden. Observe. You will feel no pain while wearing them. You will be able to move more quickly than before, without ever getting tired. You need never worry about cellulite again -'
Flash: 'Hold it right there,Ming!'
Dale: 'Flash! Hurry up and save me, Flash. I - wait a minute!'
Dale: 'Ming. Go back a bit. What were you saying about the cyberlegs?'
Ming: 'Which part? Er, let me see. No pain. Moving like lightning. Never getting tired. Cellulite-'
Dale: 'There! What were you saying about the cellulite?'
Ming: 'You need never worry about cellulite again?'
Flash: [getting tired of standing there, hands on hips, getting ignored] 'Hello? Uh, Dale?'
Dale: 'Shut up, Flash. I'm talking business here.' [looks at Ming] 'Can you take a cheque?'
Anaesthesia in surgery must always have some effect on patients. One year ago, I was in hospital having a cholecystectomy - gall bladder removal. There had been complications, and it is those complications which haunt my dreams and nightmares and screw around with my sleep rhythms.
The anaesthetic they injected me with, one year ago, has given me some tremendous nightmares - the Museum of Hate, the Zombie Meat Grinder House - even a dream where I was in a scene from the 1979 Thames TV Nigel Kneale serial Quatermass, where society had broken down and millions of people were gathering at stone circles for aliens to harvest them. In the dream, I was in the middle of a stone circle, surrounded by a wall of people, absolutely unable to go anywhere even as the aliens' energy beam was lancing towards Earth, closer and closer ...
Today marks the first anniversary of The Great Hiatus. My scar still feels sore whenever I touch it; I still feel like a much-diminished man from my surgical experience ...
... but at least I am still alive.
We got there, and apart from the team there was nobody else on campus. Not a single student, lecturer, staff member. Not even birds or animals. The place was deathly still. Mikey, a big buff guy, jumped out on the truck and vanished into the interior, what looked like the entrance to the Catrin Finch building. He never came out again. Susanna, a big woman, the driver - she looked like my sister - decided to go in after Mikey, and I followed after her.
I peeked into the doors just in time to see a rhino-sized termite come right up out of the ground, attack her and just bite off her top half just above the hip. I realised that Mikey was probably long since gone.
The bugs were coming up through the ground, literally phasing through solid matter. And there was worse ...
... because the walls suddenly began crawling with maggots, ranging from the size of a large TV remote control to the length of a desktop table lamp and even longer. Big, fat, wiggly white witchetty grub-like monsters phasing through the walls, all over the place. Walls, floors, ceilings.
And some of them began dropping on the shoulders of my fellow first responders and sticking their jaws into people's necks.
The clock read 03:03 when I mercifully woke up.
The show was some sort of Western version of the Power Rangers - a wholly American Super Sentai, where the bad guys weren't prone to turning into kaiju and kicking over the Legoland Tokyo set every five minutes.
These 25-y.o. "teenagers" (sigh) looked E4 identikit perfect, with the leader a macho type; it looked like someone'd tried to clone James Marsden. The lead female was a big-haired blonde type, a cross between a young Jeri Ryan and a clean Hayden Panettiere. The other two were a blur. Clearly the producers were going to pitch stories exclusively centered around the lead couple, allowing the other two bites at the B plots once in a while.
They wore outfits similar to those leather flight suits in the original X-Men movie. The four of them had access to a specific elemental force. Brock, the leader (no idea why the showrunner called him Brock - "Brock" to me will always be the lovesick puppy who accompanied Ash Ketchum in the old Pokemon cartoons) had access to fire, and the collar of his outfit was lined with red piping. The lead female was not air but light, and her collar was yellow piping. I was presuming that this was to make sure they didn't accidentally put on one another's clothes in the morning, because that would have been awkward. The other two were apparently rock and sea, rather than earth and water. Producers were not doing their research, or maybe they were trying to be edgy. My money was on the latter.
Then the four of them did something very familiar.
Yup, they did a four-person whirlwind pyramid. Basically, they leaped onto each other's shoulders to form a tower of four, and they spun on the vertical axis to create a great tornado. Cue five minutes of CGI.
That was as far as I got, because Dad was getting up at that point. I guess his allergy to bullshit was kicking in something fierce. I might have inherited it too because the last thing I remember was asking Mum to use the remote to change the channel.
Pics unrelated. They just look hilarious.
I got to the cafe, and the counter had been walled in; just a tiny window with a button for the intercom. I saw the boss on the other side of the glass, and pushed money into the slot.
'Can I have a cup of tea?'
'No,' came the reply. 'It's just gone 2:30 pm, and nobody's allowed tea or coffee after two.'
I snatched back my money. Meanwhile, my friend was looking around at all the CCTVs all over the walls. The place was bristling with them.
I woke up before the dream got any further. I dreaded the thought of having to be asked the password if I'd wanted to buy a Bakewell tart.
I was exploring what could have been an old ruined abbey or decaying old church or cathedral. I found myself stumbling about below ground, traversing a narrow subterranean passageway, lit only by a small handheld flashlight. Arched stone walls everywhere, and spiderwebs and dust in all directions.
Then I felt something brush against my cheek. I felt something soft give; and a moment later, this crawling sensation spread across half of my face. I brushed my face, and my hand came away covered in tiny spiders. I'd only gone and torn open a ripe eggsac.
In this level, I could see nine circular platforms separated by vast gulfs, stretching off to the right. Each contained dozens of monsters, active but trapped behind invisible panels on big pillars like pedestals. There was a platform behind me, and a glowy skull switch that I had to shoot to activate to raise the first land bridge to grant me access to the first circle.
And then the Cyberdemons appeared.
There were two of them, the big hulking bastards that fire rockets at you. But they weren't alone. This version of the game had two new kinds of Cyberdemon - a smaller cousin, just the head, arms and upper torso, fused to the front of one of those small spidery Arachnotrons like some weird centaur with the Arachnotron's brain exposed behind the Minidemon like some bizarre camel's hump, able to fire one rocket for every three their regular size cousins could fire; and then a truly colossal King Megademon with a rocket pod, dwarfing the Cyberdemons with footsteps like the fall of asteroids on cities, able to shoot six rockets simultaneously, three from each side. King Megademon could also apparently fire one rocket at a time, three from the right and three from the left, or fire the top two, middle two and bottom two; the firing pattern was never completely predictable, except that if you did manage to injure it - and at 10,501 hit points a fresh one could even survive a telefragging attempt - it would always respond immediately with a full six-rocket broadside against the aggressor, as I saw when it turned an Archvile into bloody stumps.
And they were all behind me, advancing along the land bridge. I could either fight them or fight the creature in front of me and raise the next land bridge and outrun them.
Or maybe hide behind a pillar and let the monster try and pick a fight with King Cyber and then run across the next land bridge. H'mm. I never thought of that.
It turned out that Barack was a fan of tumblr. He greeted me, surrounded by Secret Service agents, in the Oval Office, and his first words were:-
"Hi. I like your shoelaces."
My response, of course, could only be:-
"Thanks. I stole them from you."
Cue a dozen standard issue Secret Service pistols aimed at my head.
"Clearly, Mister President, you will need to hire people who have tumblr accounts,' I respond, calm as a Bond villain.
So the Pres asks me to demonstrate my abilities. I ask if any of the Secret Service agents have been to Hypnotic Erotic of late. The President indicates an Agent Shaw, a diminutive female MiB. Should that be WiB or FiB?
Anyway, I go up to this Agent Scully and ask her "Have you been to Hypnotic Erotic?"
"Yes," she replies, "but I can't actually remember much."
I ask her permission to come close to her. I whisper a trigger word in her ear. She trances right out. I catch her as she collapses into my arms. Again with the guns. So the Pres waves off the hardware, and I instruct Agent Coelenterate to stand up and walk with me to the President's desk. She does so, holding my hand; then she lies face up on the Oval Office carpet in front of him, sprawled over the Seal of the USA.
Last thing I did was bring her consciousness back and hold out my hand to help her up, asking her not to do any weird judo moves or anything because I'm only helping.
The creature was crawling along the arm of the chair I was sitting in. It was not a tarantula, but it was a big, black hairy monstrosity of a spider, about the size of a tennis ball.
I had to get a really big glass to put it under, and a sheet of metal - I had no idea if the thing could bite through card, so I took no chances with it.
Anyway, with it stuck under glass and safe, I turned to look at it. It stared at me with its big shiny black beady eyes, all eight of them, and I said something along the lines of "I'm going to call in the RSPCA. You're too exotic to be euthanised. Chester Zoo's got this great place where they have all these insects and arachnids. I'm sure they'll feed you loads of flies. You'll have a great time.'
I have no idea if Anansi understood what I was saying, but I really did not want her to suffer, and I hoped it would have a good place to live, courtesy of Chester Zoo.
The details were clear. I was in some sort of hotel, surrounded by people. Someone had challenged me to demonstrate a mutant power.
I turned on a hypnotic power - a little mood alteration, boosting levels of dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin in everyone I touched, and increasing in strength with proximity to me, accumulating with prolonged exposure.
The difference between what I could do in my dreams and what I can do in real life is very simple. In real life, I have to prepare my subjects with a deep trance and lots of complicated instructions, activated by triggers. Takes a lot of work to set up. Here, in my dream, I had powers to affect people whose minds I had not previously touched with lengthy inductions and prep work.
As I type this, I'm watching X-Men First Class, specifically the scene where Hank tells Raven that his feet and her natural blue form will never be deemed beautiful, and the scene where Erik and Charles are having their chess match and debate.
M: We already are!
If the dream had continued, I'd likely have created tulpas and seeded the crowd with them. Tulpas which I, and everyone in the crowd, could see. I found myself wondering what I would have done if there'd been cops in my dream. Would I have had the coppers chat with one of my tulpas, and watch as the policeman has a polite discussion with thin air?
I'd have loved to have seen that in my dream.
(I need to get an outfit for this. Oh, and an emblem. Any suggestions?)
Some people think that hypnosis stems from the eyes, or perhaps from props - in my RLSH persona, Subliminal always has a piece of black obsidian glass with him, and his powers can only be accessed through being in contact with that piece of obsidian - but in truth, the real power of hypnosis stems from two things: the voice; and the mind of the subject.
My dreams have no such restriction. I have an ability in my dream to entrance and suborn people around me, whether or not they have been entranced previously. It's an ability that is almost like telepathy, in that it requires no prior vocal contact with the subject - only proximity.
In the comics, characters with the ability to hypnotise and entrance people are routinely painted as the villains. The villain typically controls the minds of one or more of the protagonists, suborns their minds and forces them to work against the team to secure some device which grants the tist uncommon levels of power to influence thousands of minds, typically in some sort of an event such as a live sports match being broadcast from a major sports stadium and heavily televised.
In truth, the most powerful hypnotic minds would not need to be a villain. Imagine their futures as entertainers, celebrity therapists, negotiators, diplomats, leaders ... the ability to influence is the power which defines leaders of all kinds, and it is integral to both power seekers and seducers alike.
There are days when I wish I had this kind of comic book power, working on people without my having to induce them first and keeping my real world ability to induce with words in reserve. Still, what I have is close enough. It is still useful, even if it does take a lot of hard work. And it is very powerful.
Still, it would be nice to be Subliminal in real life. Even if only for a moment.
I came across my Mum and Dad in their home, sitting in the living room, watching some show on the television. I had to get them out of the house - there was going to be a big disaster, and the ground was going to be swallowed up underneath them - but they would not budge.
They were only interested in the show that was playing. Try as I might, I could not get either one of them to budge from their seat.
A bit of body horror today.
I dreamed that my chest was dissolving. I was looking down at it, then at my chest in the bedroom mirror. There was a hole, oval and ragged, five inches deep and a foot across, and it was spreading. There was no pain. Inside, I could not see a heart - only a multilayered web of white stringy tissues arranged at random. Some of the strands were fine, like hairs. The thickest strands, placed at all odd angles, were as thick as my thumb.
I then looked at my left thigh, and found that the same hideous transformation was beginning there, too. Already, the skin was dark in patches where it was onion-thin, a mere translucent membrane, and the pale - fungal - tissues were forming within what was already a sizable cavity, faintly visible through the thin membrane that was all that remained of my dissolving flesh.
In the flat, everything was pitch black. No power. Everything was dusty as hell, and cobwebs were all over everything. However, nothing in the flat had been touched - all of my books and stuff were where I'd left them. Just nobody'd been in to dust anything.
And then I went to the bedroom, and here is where things got squicky, because when I moved the pillow on the bed, something like this happened.
Everything just poured out from under the pillow - woodlice, millipedes, spiders, just boiling out from underneath the pillow like a squirming flood of invertebrates, scattering across the bed in all directions.
When I woke up, I swear I can't remember actually transitioning from horizontal to vertical. All I remember is lying on the bed ... and then standing, peering down at the bed in a cold sweat.
(Naturally, I was curious, and moved the pillow anyway. It's clean. No bugs in my bed).
In the car, I was given a sketchy outline of my orders. I'd been hired to interrogate a prisoner, who resembled Raina, the Girl In The Floral Dress from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Everybody was so eager to go in and beat a confession out of this prisoner, but those faceless executives who'd hired me had other ideas.
They had been briefed that she was not to be marked, physically, mentally or in any way - she was far too valuable an asset to the organisation to risk her being damaged or killed by the usual methods of interrogation. And so, to the great reluctance and resentment of the operatives of the entire organisation, they needed to bring somebody in who would never resort to brute force tactics. Someone who could be a little bit more persuasive.
The walls were grey and featureless, with striplights and cold concrete floors underfoot. I could see the prisoner in her cell through a video feed, and I realised that she was going to be a tough one to crack. So I looked at the young woman beside me, and told her what I was going to need.
"I'm going to need the makings for High Tea. Full silver service," I said to her. "Everything. White tea, either Tieguanyin or Da Hong Pao; Little Tiptree Strawberry Jam; and scones and cream direct from the Hotel Portmeirion. Do not skimp. If the prisoner even thinks we're feeding her cheap Hartley's jam from Morrisons' supermarket she's going to shut down like a superglued clam."
This was a hard dream. Believe me.
The objective was to take "stone from the wall" (the exact words) and transport the material to a field near Maes Castell, right about here:-
- and, once in the field, to put the material so collected on the paddle end of a small red-painted oar which had been laid in the field. The first person to lay a stone from the wall onto the oar would win a prize.
There were a half dozen of the locals staggering along excruciatingly slowly, dressed in working men's clothes, grunting and sweating as they carried these huge blocks of red sandstone in their arms. Me, I wasn't carrying any blocks. So I just nimbly brushed past them, sprinted to the bottom of the road, clambered down the grassy embankment, crossed the road, vaulted the stone wall on the opposite side, entered the field, crossed to where the oar lay on the grass ...
... and scattered some small red sandstone pebbles from my pocket onto the oar.
One of the officials confirmed, by looking closely at the pebbles, that they were indeed "stone taken from the old wall," which meant I had won the prize. I never got the chance to figure out what that prize was, because I woke up at that point, presumably leaving the villagers and the judges feeling really pissed off at my ingenuity and my going with expediency following suit with the herd. I presume if I have the same dream next year, I'm liable to be disqualified because the committee will have come up with a rules change in the interim or something.
I noticed these small green plants, small succulent rosettes, emerging on the carpet and the upper floor. Smaller ones on the stairs, getting bigger and more developed the further up the stairs they got.
There were two rooms at the top of the stairs, one on either side; the doors opened, and a triffid emerged from the girls' room.
Edit: This is the hundredth post for Perchance To Dream.
I went straight through the open glass door, banked left, flew along the corridor over the heads of the panicky customers and entered an open space where the walls formed an atrium of sorts, open to the sky. No glass dome on top, as far as I was aware. So I flew straight up, nothing but plain brick walls around me, until I reached the top. At the top, the uppermost tier of stores. Gardens, restaurants, an open air amphitheatre. Overhead, blue skies and fluffy clouds. It was as if the atrium was the eye of a mall-shaped hurricane; and the brickwork was the eye wall.
And so I finally came to rest, sitting on the lip of this atrium, my legs hanging over the precipice, enjoying the view.
I had found myself cornered in the activities room of this place where I volunteered as a computer tutor, teaching elderly folks to use basic computers. The activities room is this large, well-lit place with hexagonal tables and chairs dotting the floor space. There's a big tureen on a table in the corner, hissing and bubbling as it brews water for the tea.
The woman who accosted me was the staff activities coordinator, called Sandra (that's not her name - names have been changed to protect the innocent). I'd just come in, and as usual the room was empty because I'd come in early. I heard a sound behind me; and when I turned, I saw that Sandra had entered the room and was standing behind me.
I asked her if I could help in some way. She shook her head and approached me, a slight smile on her face. I can't tell you how hot this woman was - I'm attracted to this woman Sandra with every fibre of my being.
I watched as she approached me, and the smile broadened. I wondered what she wanted of me. I didn't think that she wanted me for intimacy until we were within a foot of one another. I could feel her body's warmth and her breath against me. She didn't say a word to me; just drew closer to me, until we were practically touching.
Her body was warm, soft; her hands, smooth. Her breath was warm on my face. Our foreheads touched. She bit her lip. Her eyes closed; she was making up her mind to kiss me. Next to our mingling breath, the contact between our foreheads, our bodies were still not touching. Closing the distance, I reached for her and began caressing her slender body beneath my hands. She moaned. Her breath deepened.
And that was as far as it got.
Later on, during my waking hours, I had the chance to touch the hands of the woman I called Sandra in real life. They were silky smooth, cool ... so delicate. As delightful as the dream; moreso, even.
Edit: A proverb appeared on my newsfeed a few seconds ago.
"With our thoughts, we make the world."
-- Tathagata Buddha.
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”
So I was returning to this place for the first time since the Great Hiatus, in November. There had been some changes to the personnel - including someone new, called Caroline. Beautiful woman. I smiled the first moment I saw her.
She, however, did not. As a matter of fact, for some reason she froze up on me, her arms crossed, her stance and expression defensive. 'I've heard about you. You have a reputation among the ladies. You're a bit of a Casanova. A womaniser. A seducer.'
She even refused to shake my hand, in case it was a come-on or something.
Now I know that there is always one thing one can do when faced with someone on the defensive, to make them open up. Surprise them.
I surprised Caroline, by ignoring her and turning to the boss. I was to go up to the stockroom and begin helping the staff up there to clear out some of the broken bric.
A while later, in the stockroom, I was sorting out books on the bookshelves when I heard someone approaching me. Caroline. Still with her arms folded, looking defensive.
Apparently, she had been sent up to collect some videos to display on the shop floor; but I could see how uncomfortable she was with the whole business of talking to me, in case I tried it on. And I kept it professional and businesslike, much to her shock and - by the look on her face - disappointment.
I asked her if she had seen the bookshelves. She told me she hadn't. So I asked her for a small favour; as she was taller than I am, I asked her to get a book from the top of the shelves - something she could do with far less awkwardness. As she took to the steps, I went into the staffroom to prep a cup of tea, to show her that I was keeping well away from her, so no shows of grabby hands to worry about.
Presently, I heard her coming up behind me. She had the book in her hands. She'd brought it down; but instead of just leaving it on a lower shelf, she wanted to hand it to me personally. As she passed me the book, I felt her fingers brush my hands.
I put the book down, and stood very close to her to thank her. She had a different expression on her face, now. Not defensiveness. Curiosity. I asked her if she wanted to know what it was like. She asked me "What what is like?"
I leaned closer to her to whisper in her ear. I caught her breathing; it was ragged, heavy, Her face was flushed. I knew that if I felt her pulse, her heart would have been hammering.
And that is as far as I got.
He did not want to be "King Charles the Third." From the day the crown settled on his head, his name from this day forth was to be "Ell."
He reasoned that it would give British squaddies the most terrifying battle cry during wartime in history.
FER SAINT GEORGE!
At that point, the TV was switched off.
It turned out that at the centre of these clubs are rooms where people can come along to be tranced, made to act out their fantasies - hypnotic holodecks, as it were, where they could explore their own imaginations in peaceful, consequence-free environments. These hypnotic holodecks were all the rage: and I had invited a dozen full-spectrum regulars of other clubs to attend this club's opening ceremony; a quick trance, and then playtime.
Only, tonight there was one person who was protesting - a little too loudly. Someone whom I considered a friend was complaining about this evil I was doing, putting people in trances, as if I were running some sort of devil-worshipping cult on the sly.
Nothing of the sort, I promised her: also adding that these loyal customers came to me of their own free will, entering trances and enjoying performing out their fantasies, and mine, with their eyes wide open. I kept emphasising that as long as people come to me, I have no need to send my other friends, most especially her, anything that could put her into a trance. In reply, all she seemed to do was yell at me that her mind was her own and not to be manipulated.
So I put her in the vestibule, and got one of the bouncers - a pretty, petite blonde with her hair done up in a ponytail, a slender but athletic build and clear blue eyes - to watch out for her. I asked the bouncer to leave the outer doors open - it was pouring with rain outside, generally wet and miserable - and to turn up the heat in the vestibule to compensate, while they waited for the taxi. The blonde, apparently called Donna Hendricks, handed me a business card for a local taxi firm run by women, offering a safe service for local women coming home from nightclubs: I called up the number and made a note to put them on speed dial, and also to give Donna a commendation for solid thinking.
Then I came in and, despite the fact that I might be needed inside the club at any minute, sat with Hendricks and this former friend, chatting about the weather and friendship until the taxi arrived. I pointed out that a friendship based on trust is as unassailable as a partnership or a marriage; and that it was highly unlikely that I'd ever jeopardise that friendship by attempting to force a trance on another. I told this former friend that Hendricks had led a troubled life until I'd given her purpose: and, without trancing her, I'd turned her and so many other people like her around, given them the chance to find their own purpose and reason for living, and turned them loose on the world - and in return, they were rewarding me with their loyalty.
I tried to tell my former friend that loyalty, offered freely by people to me, was vital, and that trust cannot be forced upon anybody - not by indoctrination, not by drugs, not by hypnosis, not by anything.
Then the taxi arrived, and the friend made her way to the cab. I told Hendricks that it was okay to set the heaters in the vestibule to default and to close the doors. Hendricks told me that she'd watched how I'd made the former friend feel good about herself, while at the same time putting some distance between me and this erstwhile friend and not letting her know that this was a breakup. She told me that she had never seen anyone do such a subtle job of bouncing before.
But when I woke up, I felt awful inside.
I suddenly recognised it as Ultravox's "Visions In Blue;"
The rest of the dream, I was actually singing along to this song while the half-dozen people in lab coats stared at me , befuddled. Don't ask me what I was doing inside a mobile base in the first place, let alone what it was supposed to be monitoring.
The Professor showed me something he'd been working on - semi-mobile buildings which could be uprooted in the event of a disaster, so the buildings could be relocated to safer ground, maintaining the infrastructure that depended upon them. I made the usual noises of approval, and then the Prof invited one of his teaching assistants to come in; a woman called Karen. When Karen entered, the Prof took his leave out the opposite door - some business he had to attend to in the next room.
Karen entered. A tall, athletic, statuesque, Amazonian blonde with a short Brigitte Nielsen crew cut. She had some sort of flimsy negligee top on, but she was also wearing jeans and trainers.
I shook hands, and maintained eye contact. And right away, there was something weird. The way she entered the room, pausing a moment at the threshold, glancing left and right; her smooth poise, gait, posture - alert yet relaxed - and the look in her eyes as she approached me.
Reserve, detachment, but a mask for something deeper.
A few moments later, the opposite door opened, and another woman entered, called Bridget. Brunette. Heavy coat, street clothes, scarf. She came up to me, and shook my hand, smiling. Warm, affable, charming. She asked me to look at something she'd just done. She wondered if it was the sort of thing I'd like to see on my wall.
It was a mandala, on canvas. Kind of like this one.
Then Bridget floored me. She told me she'd hand drawn it.
I looked at the mandala, marvelling at it, and looked at Bridget, seeing an expectant look in her eyes for a moment. I looked at her more closely, and saw something pink under her coat lapel, half hidden. Then I turned back to face Karen, who looked grumpy.
'Are you all right?' I asked. 'Have I said or done something to piss you off?'
'You dismissed me,' Karen said.
'In what way?'
'You saw a blonde,' Karen said, 'wearing skimpies, and you immediately dismissed me as dumb.'
I said 'I didn't even have time to speak. Bridget was in the room, asking me about her mandala.' I looked back to Bridget.
'Do you show your mandala to every man you meet for the first time?'
Bridget began to blush. I looked back at Karen, whose posture was really defensive now.
'I'll have you know, I'm the smart one,' she snapped.
'Top one percent of the top two percent?'
'You bet I am,' Karen said, storming off. She paused on the threshold of the door, holding something back.
'Can I ask you something, Karen?' I asked. 'You're a warrior, and your sister here's an artist. You're very different people -'
But Karen and Bridget were gasping in surprise. Karen turned back. 'How did you know?'
'One,' I said, 'Karen can hand-draw mandalas, which speaks to a most incredible hand-eye-brain coordination, akin to that possessed by Galileo, who could hand-draw a perfect circle. Also, her aesthetic is impeccable. She's an artist, just as I'm a writer, blogger, magician and hypnotist. You follow your instincts; you follow your wiring.
'You are a warrior. You sized up the room - a tactical thing. There were, other than you, two people in the room - me and the Prof. The Prof left the room, and it was then just me. The, er, target. Your walk - you entered the room like coming onto a battlefield, only thankfully it's not a FIBUA simulation, CQB, or you'd have been sneaking around to ambush me from behind. Choke hold, struggle, good night Gracie.
'And like a warrior, you sized me up. Quick threat assessment. Small, bit soft physically especially round the middle. Glasses. Bad eyesight. Hair, always a bit greasy - probably eats a lot of chips. Padding, not much smarts. Tell me if I'm right about your assessment of me.'
'And you thought I'd size you up, too. Blonde, tall, look at those boobs ... forget the rest, what magnificent boobs, oh and there's someone talking but she's a blonde, I can discount it, no such thing as a smart blonde.' I paused. 'Yes?'
Reluctantly, Karen nodded, her brow creasing.
'I don't think it occurred to you ... either of you ... that I could size you both up differently?'
'In what way?'
I look at Bridget. 'You, I think you're a lesbian, and you're straight, Karen.'
Bridget was blushing again, but a deeper kind. Closed up tight like a restaurant in violation of health regs. I looked at her again. 'No?' I pointed at the pink thing - a pink triangle.
'I thought that the pink triangle was your way of declaring your sexuality,' I said.
'We're both straight,' Karen said, her voice softer, warmer. She was looking at Karen, who had now adopted the defensive posture.
'Wait,' I said, 'you're wearing the badge ... but it's hidden. If you were truly out of the closet, it'd be in plain sight. You'd have probably looked me right in the eye and said "I'm a lesbian," establishing that you're already out - you wouldn't come out to me, a stranger, unless I was making a move on you - which I have done to neither of you, by the way.'
'We noticed,' the girls replied.
'So you're wearing the badge ... under false pretenses,' I said. 'Did the Prof ask you to put it on, a red herring?'
Both girls glanced at the corner of the room, and there I noticed the camera that had been monitoring the room all this time.
'Experiment?' I asked. Both girls nodded. 'And of course, ethically, the experiment is now over since I, as the lab rat, have seen right through the walls of the maze and figured out that I was being tested. For something.'
'We're studying prejudices,' Karen said.
'Male prejudices,' Bridget replied.
'And did I fail this experiment or pass?' I asked.
A while later, possibly in another dream segment:-
'I've got some questions. Bridge, did you really hand draw that mandala?'
'Kaz, can you draw mandalas like Bridge?'
'No, but I could factorise quadratic equations at the age of four.'
Bridge taps my shoulder. 'And we were both speaking in Russian to one another at the age of two.'
'We've got some questions to ask, too.' Kaz.
'How did you know we were sisters?'
'You look similar, but the way Bridge was more hunched over, it made her seem shorter - whereas, in truth, you're both the same height. You're twins. Non-identical; you look kind of alike, but you're a natural blonde - I checked the roots, though I had to see you with your head bowed because I was getting a crick in my neck maintaining eye contact, what with my natural eye level being at the height of your chest and all -'
Karen stifled laughter beside me. I ignored it.
'- but it was the way you were both comfortable with each other, because you'd known one another all your lives. And when one of you was defensive, the other would step in. Especially you, Kaz, when it was Bridge getting all concerned about my misperception of her sexuality.'
'So you sized us up better than we did you,' Kaz said.
'I'm learning to be damned good at that,' I replied. 'And I strive to be always full of surprises.'
'Alex, I also have a question,' Bridge asked.
'Fire away, hon,' I replied.
'How did we three end up in bed together?'
However, I was intrigued by an article in the Obituaries.
of Palo Alto
Died March 04, 1994
First Reported Death
On The Internet."
It made me wonder, when I emerged into the world of consciousness - when was the first ever death announcement made over the internet? When and where did it appear? And who was it for whom the bell tolled?
King Street looked the way it used to, before the new bus station - just parallel rows of rickety old shelters, grimy and filthy, run-down after many years of neglect, as compared to the modern bus station which was built looking run down.
This was on the opposite side of King Street to the location visited in this dream; buses went into the stands on this side, and they emerged on the side in that other dream.
The dream reminded me of the evening I was wandering along toward my bus stand with one of my exes, from way back. And someone came up to me here, just as someone did when I was walking along with my ex - and I knew there was going to be a harangue coming.
Sure enough, the harangue started, with this old woman in a shabby blue coat waving a wooden plus sign crucifix at me, hollering about how I was some sort of evil, Satanic, mind-controlling, eye-in-the-pyramid, Illuminati Mason.
I had to stop her and correct her on one point.
I am not a Mason.
This morning, I was trying to infiltrate a hospital. For some reason, I had to go undercover - so I took off my clothes and put on white surgical scrubs, gloves, cap and mask.
A surgeon came in - taller, older, looked like Colonel White from Captain Scarlet. He was dressed in white scrubs too, and he invited me to observe a surgery he was about to perform on a patient in the operating theatre.
That is as far as this dream got.
I asked them who they were, and it turned out that they were all the active service personnel of International Rescue - the pilots Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John who normally flew the marvellous Thunderbirds vehicles into so many disaster areas in Gerry Anderson's Sixties TV show.
It turned out that their vehicles were all laid up for routine maintenance - I think they'd all failed their MOT - and they all had to hitchhike to the latest disaster scene, lugging along their equipment with them. And in the distance, I could now see a plume of black smoke on the horizon.
Gordon, I think, pondered how Cousins Yuri and Valentina were coping, and hoped they would be able to hold on until they got there. I wondered where the Tracy family had picked up Russian cousins, and then the alarm went off.
More thoughts in The Stainless Steel Blog post of the same name.
As I watched, the thing came down on me at a steep angle from above, only to swoop away at the last minute. Buzzing me for kicks. It did this a second time, again for laughs, just to see me flinch or respond somehow.
The third time, though, I could sense that this was going to be an attack in earnest. No more cat and mouse. So I did something. The car stopped in mid-flight, held in place like a fly in a spider's web of invisible forces. I gestured, and the car moved. I waved the car about in the air, some fifty feet above my head, like a flag.
Across the road from me, one of my neighbours was an American Facebook friend of mine, whom I'll call Tami. I could see her ascending on a broomstick in the yard next door. She had two cop cars under her control, holding on to them telekinetically with one hand while controlling her flight with the other.
I had a long strip of white cloth - a felt pelmet - and I telekinetically rolled it up into a long, thin, rigid pole which I mounted and rode like a staff into the sky. Drawing level with Tami, we faced one another and began juggling the cop cars between one another.
And that was the rest of the dream. Tami and me, flying like witches and wizards in the air, juggling cop cars with telekinesis.
That was as far as the dream got before the alarm went off.
Not sure what L.U.C.I.F.E.R. stood for, even though I did ask my superior officer - who looked like Colonel White from the TV show Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.
I had to go into a briefing room for my first assignment. I got to the room, expecting to meet the team to which I had been assigned - but the room was empty and I was alone.
Then the alarm went off, and that was it.
Anyone care to venture what L.U.C.I.F.E.R. stands for?
Edit: Never mind. I've got an idea for an acronym.
Of course, the public had to know that this was a religious duty; on prominent display in the front of the soup kitchen was a gorgeous banner of the local chapter (I'd started setting up chapters in a load of other towns and cities across England and Wales, but this was my home chapter).
Twenty feet across, strung up between rafters and illuminated so it was the first thing you saw on entering the mess hall, before hunger drew your attention to the heaving queue of folks in front of the serving area beneath that banner, the desperation and hunger outweighing their fear.
Crushed maroon velvet. bordered by thread-of-gold brocade, tassels on the lower corners. In the centre, the Seal of Lucifer; surrounding it, the seals of the founding ministers of the movement, including my own. All the seals picked out in expensive thread-of-gold.
Before each meal, the congregation would be asked to attend a brief sermon to be given at a podium beneath the banner. The sermon was delivered by a beautiful young woman, a lay person rather than an ordained Minister.
Best way to describe her - she looked like Emilia Clarke's character from the TV series Game of Thrones.
She began by outlining her horrid life - a fallen woman, who'd run away from home, got into drugs and been railroaded into prostitution. The usual story.
She then asserted that her life had been saved by her decision to embrace the Left Hand Path, and her choice to take personal responsibility for the course of her life and the shape of it, rather than to let her life be made into the responsibility of others less charitable in their intentions.
She described Lucifer as a man tending to an orchard. In the centre of the orchard was a great apple tree. Every apple was a life; but the greedy tree, the Right Hand Path, tended to hold onto those lives, convincing each apple that it was still a part of the whole tree.
Lord Lucifer's job was to pluck individual apples off that tree, to polish them, to plant them and to water the ground, allowing each tree to grow and become its own apple tree, noble and proud.
Of course, there was always the likelihood that he was going to pluck you from the tree just to bake you in a pie, ferment you into cider or grind you into apple sauce and serve you with pork; but hey, those are the risks, right?
She then recited the motto which was written just inside the border of the banner, again picked out in thread-of-gold:-
"If you cannot serve yourself, then surely you shall be made to serve another. If you cannot master yourself, then another shall certainly master you."
She then concluded this brief sermon with the words
"Welcome to the Damnation Army. Now eat."
I love these dreams of mine. Such a fertile ground for inspiration.
Related to this dream:-
I was, for some reason, part of the Atlantis Expedition, as in Stargate Atlantis. There was some member of a science team trying to solve a problem. I asked him if the solution was a simple mathematical formula he may have overlooked. He said he'd take it under advisement; but then he added that, since I was only an artist-in-residence, a mere poet, such matters were hardly my concern.
A while later, while carrying my lunch on a tray into the dining area, I overheard McDickbag joking about my comment "It could be a simple polynomial," followed by scornful laughter from his friends. The impression was that I was a bumpkin who was only on the expedition because somebody got strings pulled somewhere, and that I could not contribute in any way to the expedition. They had no idea I was standing right beside them, listening to this.
I just turned and quietly wandered away, went back to my place in a large chamber very high up, with a gorgeous balcony area overlooking the sea, and just locked myself in, swearing off all human contact bar the bare minimum necessary social interaction to get food.
Just my words and me, and the alien sea.
Before the dream ended, there was a call. All the way from the control tower.
They wondered why I'd gone.
And now I've written down these words, I'd be wondering why I'd ever want to go back to them.
I received a call from someone who was interested in becoming a client of mine, receiving regular hypnosis and being tranced regularly. She told me that she would make it worth my while.
She made the arrangements. I would travel up to Birmingham the following day, meet her, be taken to the venue and there I would put her in the first of many regular hypnotic trances. She wanted to experience going in deep. She wanted to be tranced so hard.
The venue turned out to be a very posh hotel. She booked the two of us in - I noticed that she'd booked us both in to one double room under "Mr and Mrs Smith."
In the room, I tranced her with an obsidian wand, deepened it, gave her triggering instructions, everything. I brought her in and out of trances, gave her visions of flowers on her lap and strewn throughout the room, and had her talking to people who weren't there. What she experienced was absolutely real.
In the morning, she gave me a large wodge of money for my troubles, and told me she'd need my services again next week. The best thing was that I didn't put that in her head at all. She was that satisfied with my skills.
Then the alarm went off, and that was it.
I was talking about how sex is meant to be, at least in my written works, something that is meant to be there: that far from being a gratuitous insertion of a nude sex scene to bump up the readership, a good sex scene should be part of a conversation between lovers, whoever those lovers are.
Someone in the audience - a young man, apparently - cited "Scarred" as precisely the kind of gratuitously sexual story I was trying not to write, because it starts with a couple having sex, followed by non-sexual activity throughout the story.
I replied "It would have been gratuitous if copulating was all they did throughout the story."