Dreamed 1992/6/16 by Wayan and his Ghostmaster
I just learned our upstairs neighbor Tom has an agent to market his paintings. It sounds wonderful... but he won't even give me her phone number. Says he has to be protective of her.
From other artists? More business would hurt her?
What am I, a monster?
For a long time now The Ghostmaster has been sending hallucinations, spirits, and sometimes corporeal agents over, to kidnap or assassinate me--bt sometimes, just to scare. Their inconsistency is deliberate; I never know what I'm up against.
Today my mom is driving us down a highway only several fields away from the Ghostmaster's stronghold. I give her sharp directions she follows sluggishly, sullenly. She won't openly call me deluded or a liar, but doesn't believe in the danger. I'm angry and scared--her passive resistance could get us killed.
His agents start appearing, in cars that materialize from nowhere. My mom treats them as ordinary cars. They're herding her to the Ghostmaster! I yell "TURN! GO THROUGH THE GAP!" She finally does, but slowly... A car comes straight at us. I say "Drive straight through!" I assume even henchmen terrified of their master won't commit suicide, so either the driver will back off, or dematerialize.
We pass right through the other car! I was right.
But what if it had been solid this time? We'd have crashed and burned--and with the dry tall-grass fields around us and no help for at least a mile, even if neither of us were injured in the crash we'd be trapped by fire--and agents. The enemy CAN capture us, or kill us: really I'm helpless against him in the long run.
I'm shaken. I can win battle after battle, but not the war. I'm vulnerable to him, and in the end he'll get me.
Not long after, in our deadly game, I win three wishes from my enemy. He must grant them, by the rules.
I use my wishes to build a small starship! The Ghostmaster is somewhat Earth-bound, and I hope to escape him this way. I'm cautious how I phrase my wishes, as he'll sabotage me if he can. So I keep the ship simple: a stable envirobubble that maintains healthy conditions for any lifeforms in it, and is transparent to their senses--a fishbowl ship. A simple navigational display that will scan for intelligent life and livable planets, and a star-drive answering to my voice.
I set out on a shakedown cruise. Slip into a nebula full of young stars and even protostars... Bright blurry streaky webs, currents of hydrogen, CO, hydroxyl, even ice-clouds.
I'm not actually traveling deep through the cluster yet. Remote-sensing, trying to spot the core. By shifting focus on the display, deeper and deeper, it looks as if we are gliding through... but it's just our focus changing.
I think one huge, hidden star at the center dominates gravitically, creates most of the currents.
I do finally deduce the center star's hiding place... but it's not clearly visible. Just a bright area in the core. A giant sun, but blurred, veiled. The nebula's hot heart.
I meet another space traveler who warns me "Just by viewing, you may disturb the space currents. Best not to mess with fetal stars."
Oh, well, at least I proved my starship works.
So I come back to Earth, refreshed by my holiday, and far more confident. I deduced the hidden center of the cloud. I'm ready to confront the Ghostmaster.
I go over to his house for the first time, and meet the Ghostmaster face to face at last. He's a rather short dark South African man, raised in the Indian community there. He looks like a grumpy Gandhi.
Turns out the Ghostmaster's a doctor. I never knew. You mean his job in life isn't harassing ME?
"You have some ego!" he snorts.
"Yeah, well, probably. But I'm not the only one, am I, 'Ghostmaster'?"
He's a bit driven, I think. At least he keeps making arrogant, angry judgments. But I have to admit they're perceptive--as they keep pouring out, it becomes obvious he's a genius, frustrated with the prejudice against him, and needing vindication more than anything.
But several of his predictions sound circular--at least I suspect he'll make them come true, with his sabotage, his ghostly agents. Does he even realize how self-fulfilling his pronouncements are?
Still, as he rants on about his latest insight (on the chemical basis of chocolate as a love-substitute, I think)... I grit my teeth and concede "Okay, your last few predictions all came true--you're probably right about this issue too."
I'm grudging, only half-sincere--but he accepts the acknowledgment.
First time I've seen him smile. I think "This could be the start of a beautiful enemyship."
And then realize he already gave me one. I flew it. My enemy's ship.
And it's beautiful. His gift.
Only it wasn't a GIFT.
I earned it.
And I think that's how it's gonna be with him.
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