Dreamed 1987/3/7 by Chris Wayan
I'm living in a tiny village in Ungava Bay, in Canada's far north, within shouting distance of Greenland. Our inlet faces east; it's a half-flooded crater. It's a treeless, lonely fishing outpost hundreds of miles from any other settlement, except for a tiny research station on the northern cape.
I feel sympathy for a little frog. Worry about it so much I get late one night and carry it along the cove shore. It's summer and the tide pools are full of frogs. I'm looking for a home for my little frog offering food, elbow room and potential mates. The first few tidepools I look are big enough and full of life, but murky so I can't see everything; and as soon as I drop the frog in, a horrible big gulper appears, aggressive enough to scare even ME, though it's only 18 inches long and blind, pale-eyed due to a fungal infection.... It's a GROUPER! Meaning well, I've hurt my friend! Every pool has frogs--but mine must flee a Grouper, now.
The water seems to be rising; little streams and pools all back up, and the wave-spray densens. Finally, I turn back to my own home. But something is wrong. Smokeless, dark, silent. Even at midnight it shouldn't be so... they're all gone. I search from house to house, and...all my neighbors have disappeared!
I radio for the territorial police. They show up a day later, and refuse to believe anything's responsible for this. "It's an act of nature -- a big wave or storm. You just didn't notice." Insane! I was only a few miles off. I'd have seen, I'd have heard. I was right down at the shore, so a wave would've killed me too. And why would it hit just the one little crater and nothing else? Someone kidnapped or killed these people! I call ask for satellite photos of the day's weather, and it turns out they show the weather as clear and peaceful.
But the police ignore the photo evidence, and continue to sneer at me! They mockingly suggest "maybe it they blew themselves up playing with dynamite! Maybe aliens kidnapped them!"
I say furiously "That makes better sense than claiming a whole town vanished due to nonexistent rain."
Finally someone points out we've only searched the central bay; no one's even called the Institute on the northern tip. Are they okay? I'm so angry I don't want to search anymore; a tractor or train nearly ran me over. But I at last I agree to join a trip up there, and we search for the Institute in the dark.
And it is dark. The lights are out. Starlight on patchy snow and melt pools.
Shapes loom. Wrong shapes. Gigantic, terrifying shapes, with spine-leather wings like devils, armored in scales... Aliens did land. They've taken over the station.
A gigantic arm reaches out of the dark and picks me up like a kitten, its huge claws digging painfully into my shoulders. I feel like I'm possessed by a demon riding on my back...
But it doesn't draw blood, just looks at me quietly. Is that fear I see in its huge slit eye?
It turns out these dragons are peaceful enough--in a way. They're hiding from humanity AND their own invading kin! They want to stop the war with humanity and just live here peacefully.
I convince them at last they can win acceptance from humanity by helping us find the lost village.
We fly south through the Arctic night. I ride cupped in ivory: a fist of giant claws. The aliens are nearly invisible in the dark, just a rustle of black wedges above me, a green gleam of eye; even in the day, they're superbly camouflaged for such big creatures, nearly invisible to inexperienced eyes, but if you CAN see them, you know they've been here for millennia; they're unmistakably the dragons of our myths.
The next day, we reach the settled lands, and soar over suburban neighborhoods. I'm nearly comfortable now, dangling from the great claws of the dragon above me. Despite the sharpness of our immediate point of contact with the dragons, I trust them more and more as we travel and talk together.
My friend banks and wheels. Why? Oh! On the ground below me, in a suburban back yard, a pouting, insecure-looking brunette tries to find a bikini that will make her look good. She has an inflatable dragon beach-toy she hopes to ride, so she chooses a matching dragonhide-print bikini. No wonder the dragon stopped, curious at these strange-looking tributes...
But she doesn't stand out THAT much. Others, too, secretly in their backyards, have dragon kits or puppets or robes or wings. In fact nearly everyone we look down on has SOME secret connection with dragons that they hope will let them fly. Each one no doubt thinks they're the only one, the freak in this nice normal neighborhood. I'd never have known, if I hadn't seen the all the private yards simultaneously, from above.
From a dragon's-eye view.
NOTE IN THE MORNING
Is it so? Are we everywhere? Dreaming, but hiding it, thinking "I'm the only one"? The only frog in the pond... Fearing, if we go public, that we'll be swallowed by that blind grouper mentality.
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