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Dreamed 1984/5/29 by Chris Wayan

The real, secret ruler of this world is The Mimic, a spirit who can copy a human body and impersonate him flawlessly. Or did you think mere human beings could be so rotten?

Still, there are refuges; I live in a hippie county on the Redwood Coast, in a house of cats and babies. It's a place even the Mimic's ignored as unimportant so far. We're raising kids to keep their eyes open and not go along with the evil out there. The other adults are out one day, when suddenly I feel an overwhelming urge to mistreat the cats! I kick one. Fight the urge but it comes again, stronger... and... EXTERNAL. A demon's pushing me. Jerks me across the room like a puppet, to kick at a baby. Can only hope it's not seriously hurt; though I don't think that's the demon's purpose. Seems to be waiting for the others to come home, to frame me perhaps as a child-abuser.

I fight the compulsion and keep from hurting the kids, but the best I can manage is paralysis--unable to hurt but unable to care for them either. Stand like a twitching statue among hungry, scared, crying kids...

At last the demon gives up and leaves.

My housemate Leona comes home. But she doesn't want to hear my warning we've been discovered at last. She says "Follow me! We have to go to a meeting over the ridge."

Huh? "Just leave the kids?" Makes no sense.

"It's necessary."

Necessary? That isn't how Leona talks. I follow her, but as we slog up through the woods, I slowly start to wonder if she could be the Mimic itself, decoying me away from the kids. Leona keeps talking strangely, so I chatter 'innocently' back to it, saying "I can tell intuitively if a person's fake or real, those monsters can't fool me!" The bigger an idiot the Mimic thinks I am, the better. Clearly it's war now. No refuge left.

I collect what powers I have, and with a wrenching leap, fly back across the meadows to the house. Behind me, Leona dissolves to glass, to air. The Mimic! The real Leona must have been lured off too.

In the house, the kids are alive, alone--but the basement crackles. I go under the stairs and peer through the door down. Smoke and red light. Caught them early--they're just setting the fires to burn our house. It's the Mimic all right, in Leona-form again, with two servants, spirits of fire with no form at all. They flame at me as I run downstairs in fury, blasting them with my rage. They re-form and come back. I sweep the room with wind and snuff the fires. They relight them. I smother them. Our souls wrestle like angry bears. I'm barely holding my own--harassing them is all.

Monty, my apprentice, calls from the basement door "Can I help?"

"Keep out!" I yell. "It's the Mimic!"

But he keeps insisting. He's a kid with one power, and one only--the power of ice. I don't think that'll mix well with all this fire, but he's a stubborn kid, and finally I have to let him risk it. I'm not making any progress on my own.

Monty blows on the fire-spirits, and to my surprise, they slow a bit, shrink and thicken to bell-shaped things like Saint Elmo's fire. Even the Mimic itself slows a bit.

But it too has disciples.

The Voice of Truth starts whispering in my ear "This isn't working. This is useless. You can't win." And since it's the Voice of Truth, I have to agree.

Still, I can't think of anything else to do, so I keep fighting--putting out fires, knocking the spirits around.

"The Mimic rules the world. You can't defeat it."

True, true. But I keep delaying our inevitable defeat. So does Monty. And it works--the monsters chill into floating hats of slow fire, with sullen eyes. But sleepy. Sleepy and slow.

"This isn't working. They're just slowed, not defeated."

True. But as they chill toward absolute zero, they get slow enough to handle! We bag the demons in Saran wrap, and pop them in the freezer...

And still the voice says "You can't live with them always ready to explode into fire."

No. But it's a lot better than having them burn down the house and rule the world.

"They're invulnerable. You can never kill them."

Yes. They're still invulnerable. But at least, for the first time, they're STILL.


The world-devourers may be invulnerable. We may be doomed. But slow doom down enough, and you get... not victory exactly... but life.

LISTS AND LINKS: dream houses - dream beings - demons - weird urges - war - flying dreams - fire dreams - critical, authoritative, nagging voices - political dreams - dreams of math and logic - Leona gets forceful in Spinwitch! - Fire-ghosts get inside us in Hepburning

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