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."
It's fortunate that this was such a short dream.
First of all, this blog was launched 2013 01 15, and the first dream I recorded was The Ugly Child. A few days later, I recorded a dream of my late brother, Sean that I'd had the previous September. This was not going to be the last dream I had of Sean this year.
Not all my dreams were nice. I recorded this terrifying vampire dream that had kept me awake.
Some of my dreams tied in to my creativity:- this orcish dream inspired my Legend adventure The Blood Path; and other dreams such as The Seer Princess and Books of Wine-Dark Red tied in with the Legend fantasy roleplaying game. There were other major Legend dreams, notably the Garden of Obsidian Statues dream which introduced Lady Jorana - a character I really need to write up the next adventure about. She really is hilariously fun as an NPC.
I never seemed to run out of vampire dreams. There was this gay vampire Nosferatu in the streets of Ancient Rome, a delightful chap. Truly. But then it was my turn to play the vampire.
There were dreams where, for some reason, I was preparing food for lots of people. One of them involved a wedding; one of them, a disaster.
Food is important to me - the need to restrict my choice of food was a personal theme throughout 2013, as I was prone to having agonising flareups from my inflamed gall bladder starting late November 2012 and continuing throughout most of 2013.
Hence, I guess, all those dreams of blood and pomegranate juice substituting, at times, for ink on a page. Inasmuch as I loved food, I also love books and found myself seeing books as another form of sustenance.
Even though, in many of these dreams, I never actually got to eat anything.
Shortcuts And Getting Lost
If you're in a dream with me, and I tell you that I know a shortcut, don't follow me. My shortcuts go nowhere. My dreams have absolutely no sense of direction whatsoever, and whenever I try and go anywhere in my dreams, in the end I never ever get there. I only ever seem to get more and more lost, every time.
Hypnosis and Magic
I'm no stranger to hypnotising people. It made sense that I would be hypnotising people in some of my dreams. I recollected one from late 2011, which featured certain landmarks and incidents - a dream to which I would return later in the year.
In addition, dreams in which I was a sorcerer kept cropping up. One of my favourites was recorded here. Sometimes, in my dreams, I'd get to the good spot just as the alarm went off.
Those landmarks turned up in other dreams, where I found myself travelling to various venues: inhabited apartments; an adult movie theatre; my friend's place in Texas; amphitheatres and lecture halls; the red carpet. Sometimes, the travel was more important; sometimes, though, the destination was far more interesting than the journey there.
The Waiting Stars
And then I dreamed big.
Whether I dreamed of galaxies, the Traveller space opera roleplaying game or being a walking Type II civilisation helping out in Stargate SG-1 or witnessing a Starfleet recruitment drive, I never strayed far from the realms of science fiction.
More Magic and Fantasy
That's not to say I stopped enjoying my fantastic dreams, either. In fact, my fantasy dreams just served to inspire my writings, whether I was discussing elementalism and Man, or cloning dead babies. I even questioned the purpose of the fantasy genre, and where it should be taking us.
Mongoose Publishing's Legend fantasy roleplaying game featured heavily this year in my dreams. It was natural that I would discuss aspects of it at several key points throughout the year. Or run scenarios in my dreams.
Legend inspired me to dream of ideas which ended up in featured articles which I have submitted for possible future publication; features, part of which I have discussed here and here. And here I discussed the restoration of The Veil in the fantasy genre.
Strange, Strange Creatures
Some of my dreams featured the animal kingdom. But never your standard dogs and cats. Oh, no. They had to be exotic.
One of my favourite dreams concerned butterflies; Outliers; luminescent butterflies, not moths, that flew late at night. They were beautiful.
Maybe just a bit scarier, though, were the snake dreams. Snake dreams such as this beauty. And this one, which took place in the house where I grew up.
I mentioned having dreams about family before. I have two sisters, now; but I also used to have a brother, Sean. I've mentioned him above already. But while I've dreamed of him elsewhere this year, the only other sibling I have dreamed of this year has been my sister Bird.
And in the major dream I had of her, she is irrepressible.
Two other dreams themed around games and gaming, unrelated to roleplaying games, entertained me this year. One was about a strange variant of chess. The other was a hilarious one about winning the lotto.
A Fine Romance
I think my anima wants to go to bed with me. She's put it to me plenty of times this year.
I have been her human furniture. I have been snogged by her when she was Lara Pulver; she has gone to bed with me as a guy, been seduced by me on the altar of my Temple. She has invited me into her redbrick home and let me hypnotise her. She has let me seduce her at conventions, willingly letting me use hypnosis on her while using the pretext of helping her to temporarily quit smoking.
There is intimacy in these dreams.
Action And Adventure
Beyond the dreams already mentioned above, two dreams featured all-out action. One was a fun little romp in a hotel which was a crappy little hole, but which became the venue for some sort of all-out robbery invasion.
The other has turned out to be the most-viewed of my blog posts this year: The See-Through Invasion, my dream of cloaked, phased aliens living among humans and their galactic war with their cannibalistic rivals.
End of the Year
This has been a fun first year for my little dream blog.
I've had plenty of dreams over the 365 days of this year, including many which I loved at the time, but which I sadly forgot all too quickly upon waking. Dream diaries do help, but it's getting into the habit of writing in them immediately that is the bind. I have a new dream diary for 2014, and I've written a few dreams into it already, including the four-part dream I posted a few nights back, and a handful of new dreams which I will be stockpiling for future releases.
These were the dreams of 2013. Here's hoping that the dreams of 2014 will be just as scintillating - if not moreso.
Hence my involvement as a colour picker, the human equivalent of that little eye dropper icon in MS Paint, Paintshop and GIMP.
So, after painstakingly recreating that exact shade of lime green, balancing the green with the muted blue and the dash of red to get #0ddf79, I pointed to the perp with that shade. He still had residue of that colour nail polish on his fingernails.
I identified the shade of nail polish as being called "Don't Give A Shit, Argentina."
This one was too brief; the alarm went off at the end of it. But I was part of a play, enacting some sort of science fiction show involving time travel and stage magic. I was a hypnotist, and the others my subjects (the Celia Imrie lookalike and the Chloe Bennet lookalike from my bed dream), and the lads from the Parkour dream and even some of the students from my College dream as extras and minor characters. The Peter Serafinowicz lookalike was the policeman who'd been brought in to investigate a murder, which had been committed by ...
... well, you'll have to wait till I've written the play to work out whodunnit.
The only part of the play that I can remember, sadly, is the epilogue. The bit part actors in the background, and the four principals approaching stage front; Mature Woman to my right, Skye-lookalike to my left, and Peter Serafinowicz lookalike behind me, the group in a diamond formation with me stage front and centre.
The poem being recited was one written by Hattie Hall. Mature Woman recited the first line:-
Time Was, is past; thou canst not it recall.
Time Is, thou hast; employ the portion small.
Time Future is not, and may never be:
Time Present is the only time for thee.
And that was it for the final dream in this sequence.
After running Parkour, the lads told me that there was this room where I could get clothes to put on over my socks, boxer shorts and vest from the college dream. There was one drawback. I had to spend the night with three other people.
There were three people, who were looking for a fourth to spend in bed together. All of them. In one bed. Apparently, they were some sort of a troupe, but the fourth - an actor who played the role of a hypnotist in a play - had unfortunately dropped out. Permanently.
And so I climbed into this four-poster bed on the right-hand side, still in my undies, though by this time I'd taken off my socks - I never wear socks to bed - and I was joined by the three other people. One guy, and two women.
The one guy, who lay naked facing me, looked kind of like the comedian and actor Peter Serafinowicz, whom you might recognise from his appearance in Shaun of The Dead and the BBC's Look Around You; the mature woman, lying beside me on my left, wearing a skimpy negligee, was a mature actor who resembled Celia Imrie.
And the last woman got into bed in the far corner. This one looked like the actress Chloe Bennet from Agents of SHIELD. This iwasn't her, of course - just a very good lookalike.
A lookalike who'd had a much rougher past than the pretty young star of AoS. And who, by the way she wanted to play footsie with me under the sheets, definitely fancied me.
The lads from the Parkour dream had told me to watch out for the girl because "she's got a bit of a reputation," but I didn't buy it: and the actress' smile was warm, tender and genuine. As were the warm bodies of the other two.
In the morning, as the troupe got up, they asked me to join them in staging a play. As the young actress got up, she asked me if I would be interested in her, knowing her reputation. I told her that she does not have a reputation. At least, to me.
And that was it for the third dream.
Now I wasn't content to just walk across the floor. Oh, no. I had to Parkour across it. So I was bouncing off walls and vaulting obstacles, and I made it to the exit of the courtyard in a flash - but still I could hear the lads bitching about me.
Round the corner, I spotted a place to conceal myself. I could hear the lads coming around, making comments about how they even wagered that I'd say something inane about Green Day to try and "get down wit' da kidzzzz," ingratiating myself with "yoof kalcha."
When I ambushed them, I scared the shit out of them. And I remembered saying "I know that they exist, but I'd be lying to you if I said I'd ever given a shit about them, or that I've heard so much as a single track they've released."
And that was it for the second dream.
Also for some reason I could not fathom, all I was wearing were black boxers, black socks and a black vest. I had to go and find my clothing, which was in my locker on the first floor - so I had to go through this crowded college full of students to reach it. The door lay wide open. Somebody had broken into my locker and emptied it. I had nothing to wear.
Someone informed me that the Administration Department had opened my locker and taken out its contents for security purposes, which meant that I had to go downstairs to reach Admin and claim my clothes back.
In my underwear. Through all those students.
Instead of Admin, though, the door opened onto this lobby - and to go through the lobby, I had to pass through a security tag sensor.
That was all for the first dream.
The first I saw of the flat was the front entrance, just off the street. A typical Edwardian frontage, a couple of steps up from street level and a stone archway over the door. Whitewashed walls and a wrought iron spiked fence. I didn't catch the number on the door, but I remember there being a brass number there.
This particular apartment had a landlady, whom I saw briefly before entering the flat. The flat itself looked healthy - the landlady said that the service kept it well-maintained. Or so she said.
The door shut behind me, and I had a chance to take a good look at the place. It was just a single room. Bed, chair, telly, kitchen alcove, bathroom alcove, wardrobe for clothes, and a strand of webbing cutting across the corner of the room that was dripping with spiders.
I looked again - dripping with the little buggers. They couldn't have been around for long, because they looked like they were made of pink glass, or maybe rose quartz.
More of them appeared, using the strand of webbing as a highway - and a big one crawled across the bed. Turned out to be just like the smaller ones - it looked as if it was made of glass.
For a moment I wondered where they were all coming from. Then I looked up.
I think you can already guess what shade of horror I am about to describe ...
Have you ever seen mammatus clouds? They tend to be harbingers of pretty extreme weather over in the United States. They kind of look something like this ...
For a moment, I thought that I was looking up at the sky. Then I remembered that I was in a ground floor flat, and there was supposed to be a ceiling overhead.
What I was looking at was, in fact, a colony of these glass spiders. The ceiling was crawling with them.
Just then the door opened. It was the landlady, standing in the doorway. There was a heavy draught from outside, and as I watched it stretched the strands of webbing past breaking point, demolishing all their carefully-woven architecture and scattering glass spiders, large and small, everywhere.
All that hard work, building their nest. I almost felt sorry for them.
The lecture was taking place in this old-fashioned circular auditorium. For some reason, the lecturer had to deliver his lecture from a tall stand which looked like a cross between a church pulpit and the dock in a British court, from which so many defendants had to plead for their freedom.
True to form, the friend - who apparently was on my Facebook f'list as a member of the legal profession - was present, in silks and wig, delivering his speech from the pulpit. It was something about his hobby - managing a universe.
The gentleman, apparently, had a server farm - quite a massive one, and top of the range - and he was running a simulation of the universe with it. Every galaxy, star, dust cloud, planet - it even boasted a simulation of a whole bunch of worried philosophers, concerned that they may be living inside a holographic universe.
It was a stirring lecture. A pity that his audience was so unappreciative, because the organisers had seen fit to turn the auditorium into a Kindergarten. Infants and toddlers, hassled parents, you name it. The poor guy was delivering his impassioned lecture at high volume, but it wasn't quite high enough to cut through the wailing kids.
Finally, my learned colleague brought his unfortunate lecture to a close. Everybody started filing out of the auditorium, myself included. I hadn't got far when my friend caught up with me. He'd taken off his wig, and he appeared still to be enthusiastic about something - it couldn't have been by the reception of his lecture by the audience.
It turned out that he had invited me to attend because he was going to offer me a job running the server farm for him while he was away in Australia for a year.
The closing words of the dream were "How much experience have you had in running a universe?"
Hope you enjoy the new blog. I'll update it soon with a new dream.
This woman was one of the guests. She was a famous actress, well known for playing a role in a certain science fiction TV show. She was also a secret smoker. I'm not naming the show, or the actress.
I spotted the guest heading out onto the open air balcony outside the restaurant for a smoke. It was raining hard, and she was huddling beneath an awning, trying vainly to light up. I told her that I could temporarily help her to be smoke-free for a few hours. Imagine. No urges or cravings. Six hours.
So I hypnotised her to be smoke-free, at least temporarily. The hypnosis would wear off at midnight - at which point she could come along and find me, if she wished.
Some time later in the dream, I was sitting in the lobby of the hotel, enjoying a cup of tea, when she approached me asking me if I could help her again. Without coercion on my part, and most certainly without any kind of hypnotic suggestion, she offered to sleep with me in payment for six hours' freedom from cravings.
We spooned in bed. Due to the difference in size, I had little choice but to play small spoon, with her warm body and arms wrapped about mine. It felt sensuous; sensual.
I did not know what was to happen next. My alarm went off. But I woke up feeling warm as toast, as if she'd just got out of bed.
I was fine with the whole two-naked-guys-in-bed-one-of-them-being-me thing: I was only bothered with being physically uncomfortable.
In the latest dream, the morning of Monday 2 December 2013, I was snogging a woman who had more than a passing resemblance to Lara Pulver. She was so warm. She said that she'd been drawn to my sad eyes. Intelligence so often comes with such sad eyes, and it was a crime that someone like me should have to bear that much sadness.
Consequently, my recovery - not to mention my return to public life - has taken a few days longer than planned.
However, that little adventure has ended, and my gradual return to public life can now proceed. You may have spotted some sporadic posting on my blogs already - they were just pieces I posted to keep my hand in. I will keep you informed of further progress.
In short, however ... I'm back. Crossposted from To Scape The Serpent's Tongue.
The following is a description of concert spellcasting as posted to the Mongoose Publishing forum today.
Acting In Concert
Concert (INT + CHA)
Forming the Concert
Maximum Group Size
Concert Skill Level
Skill Range (%)
Maximum Concert Size
01 - 25
1 x CHA
26 - 50
2 x CHA
51 - 75
5 x CHA
76 - 100
10 x CHA
25 x CHA
50 x CHA
Prodigy and above
+50 x CHA
Large Scale Gestalts
Coordinator's Concert Skill Range
Coordinator's CHA x Scale
Coordinator's CHA x 5 x Scale
Coordinator's CHA x 10 x Scale
Coordinator's CHA x 50 x Scale
Coordinator's CHA x 100 x Scale
Coordinator's CHA x 500 x Scale