Dreamed 1986/4/2 by Chris Wayan
Night. We're in a witches' hall on the shore of a sound. It's around the time of Christ. I'm a slave; I obey everyone here. They're magical, and seem wise to me. But I'm uneasy: do they really look out for my interests? My intuition says "I may be worshiping them to avoid their wrath, that's all."
A man orders me and another slave, a dark little girl with long black shaggy hair, into a small boat. We paddle out into the night.
"We are to meet the Christ Boat" says the Mage leading us. "Listen sharp now, for the sound; we'll not see them in the night fog."
I stare into the dark and my pupils dilate. I start having visions of pure color. "Red!" I blurt.
"What else?" asks the mage.
"Gold!" I add.
"And?" he says tensely.
A long pause. "Black!" I gasp. How it's different from the black around us, I don't know; but I saw a brilliant vision of a bolder black cutting through the dark.
"That's it" he says. "Listen." I hear a faint creak. We meet the Christ Boat. The fog lifts a bit. We're near the shore. Three figures are in the boat: a Christ, hidden; a Soldier, with a bronze chainmail hood, gleaming gold and red; and a sailor or priest, hooded and slight, who may be a woman. She's rowing the boat ashore. Slow and silent, we land together at the appointed place.
Now each of us has a role to play out with one of the Three. Christ and Mage stand conferring, in murmurs. I and the sailor woman have a task only she knows. And to my horror, the Soldier is to rape the little slave-girl, so she'll give birth to alien children!
The mage pronounces "Thus God, Gold, and the Soldier will each get their spoils."
And now I know... Christ, like the Mages before him, cares nothing for us servants--only for the ebb and flow of history.
A horn blows reveille and I wake, startled.
But I'm still trapped in the tale! I'm a servant snoozing in the hall in a medieval English castle. The same victims and magicians, in different guises. Worms dangle overhead--silkworms, or oak-moth caterpillars. At the mage's wake-up call, they roll back up their threads to the rafter spaces, leaving the floor clear for us to walk on.
I'm told it's actually 50 BC now... we've gone back, not forward! I admit I didn't know the extent of pre-Roman architecture in Britain; I guess they could build this. But what about Christ? This religion hasn't even been invented yet! They're toying with us.
They pile us into a horse-drawn wagon and head out onto El Camino, Silicon Valley's main street. We're near the Glass Slipper Motel.
Next to me sits a stranger, a slave from yet another era. I try to place him by his clothes. Silver and shiny blue pants, several layers, tough and thin as Mylar... in my future, I think, but not a lot of centuries.
"How'd you become a familiar?" he asks. That's what we are. Witch's familiars.
I explain how I trusted writers and lived in books like Don Quixote, and so was led to slavery.
He says "I was caught through my... and, you don't have them... sort of like a... 'stereo' (clearly an archaic word to him) "no, a movie picture? Only it shows you..." he pauses.
I sense he thinks I can't extrapolate forward and say "a feelie, a story-world generator?"
"Yes, something like that! I'm surprised. You have jeans. 20th?"
"I didn't know you imagined such things that far back!"
"Well... I wasn't much at home there."
Next to us sit a couple of familiars in love. We feel protective, and they're an added motive for us to plan a break. They both look chunky, neuter and unattractive to me, but they're clearly deep in love. They shouldn't be penned in like this! Two guards are assigned to hover over them, and make sure they never have time alone.
But... the guards were inspired by their charges' example, and have fallen in love themselves. One guard is human, the other a horse-headed woman, who can lean her head way over and neck with her boyfriend while they sit properly side-by-side! Convenient.
They pay no attention to us slaves at all, really.
Love seems to spread. Is it the tool we need, against our slavery? Maybe there's some hope we can stop being someone else's familiars.
NOTES NEXT MORNING
Yesterday, a friend pushed a book she loves onto me, and I forced my way through 50 pages before admitting I just don't like it. Then I reread Thurber, who I loved as a kid, and found I was telling myself "isn't that good?" when his comedy seemed dated--or at least a voice I didn't want in my head. I wanted... my own. So...
When I do this, I'm crazy as Quixote. Letting archaic voices command me! And working in a library doesn't help. Like a drunk in a beer factory!
Time to quit seeking lessons from books. Less reading. More living.
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