Dreamed 1982/7/10, painted 1982 (watercolor) & 2002 (digital) by Chris Wayan
In the chamber atop a stone tower, a woman is teaching a child. She tells a rather creepy story--is she trying to brainwash the kid, pump her fears into the child?
Meanwhile an angry man is climbing the spiral stair. In every sentence she speaks, there's a word that could mean violence, if it were said in isolation. And the man below does! The instant she whispers each scary word, he somehow hears it through floors of stone, and chants it too, loudly enough for her to hear. Slowly, relentless, terrifying, as he nears, turning her story into threats of murder. He reaches the top. She pleads lengthily for the child's life, and her own. Unknown to him, it's a trick, a delay. She knows he'll kill them both, but meanwhile the child's twin--no, a DUPLICATE, possibly even the original--is escaping with a Maiden Aunt. The child is given a horse to ride. Escapes...
And now that child is me.
I arrive at the Contest: a race round and round the Circle of Standing Stones. I'm late; everyone's waiting for me. The others have already put their Bird Sponsors, one by one, onto the Designated Circle. I walk over, with no bird on my shoulder, and they all fall silent. From my sack I pull out the gory, severed head of my Sponsor, killed by the Angry Man on his way up the Tower.
I drop the Bird's head in the circle.
I feel bitter and almost proud I'm making them face the brutal facts. They want to disqualify me, but can't. Nothing in the rules says the bird has to be alive. But they hate me for rubbing their noses in the Angry Man's violence. They'd rather ignore his danger.
The animals we rode here are now giant dogs. In the race, we don't ride them, they run with us, tripping rivals and causing crashes. Mine is huge, horse-size or more, but I didn't notice, for I'm a giant myself. The rest of the racers are mere mice to me.
The race begins. I'm so big I can span the whole track. I can't run because I'm TOO big! They can handle the short radius and skitter round the turns. So I kneel, then SPIN on my knees, my hands "running" round the track, slapping the Standing Stones, my head looming above the whole stone-henge, able to see all the runners at once and plan accordingly. I can spin a bit faster than they run. Near the end I catch up and beat them all--a new record in fact, 22 laps! (The Race's time is fixed; it's the number of laps that counts.) I already hear the cries "Disqualify him! He didn't RUN around!"
I don't respect these people much anyway. They abuse children. That woman was trying to brainwash the child in the tower, and the Angry Man kills children, and several kids a year die or are crippled in the Race... but last and worst to me is the prize.
It's a Princess, just twelve years old, who's strung up outside the top of the Stone Tower. In the last phase of the Contest, the front-runner must get up there with enough lead-time to free her correctly, before the next contestant can arrive and cut the line... it's a 50-100' fall, enough to kill her. That's seen as routine--she's just a girl, an object to be won.
I hate these people. The only reason I'm in the race, the reason I have to win the race, is to get the Princess out of here.
NOTES NEXT MORNING
In our half-enclosed side porch, on the threshhold, a dead bird is lying.
My housemate turns on the news. An English girl is interviewed. She's very articulate and sexy, and I'm astonished when they say she's only 12 years old! She's a long-distance runner, and just entered an American marathon. She says "Back home in Britain they won't let me compete, saying "You're too young." They tie me up in red tape!"
Oh, well. Cross out all those question marks!
A 2002 NOTE
Now, reading this, I wonder about this predictive dream. I was obsessed with finding love at the time--with undoing the damage of an abusive relationship. Did that make me jump to conclusions, assume the marathon meant dating? Could their fixed-time race, the one around a Stonehenge, the oldest calendrical device known... their race, the one I didn't have to run but just spin in the center to win, because I could touch all the milestones at once... mightn't it be linear time itself?
And maybe any of us can turn and touch past and future, not stick to the linear track--if we realize it.
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