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GLASS EATER

Dreamed 1982/12/10 by Chris Wayan

I'm an inmate in an asylum. "Asylum" in the oldest sense: a refuge. We're not crazy, exactly, just too fragile to survive in the world. You see, we're psychics, with senses so raw that facing crowds of people is overwhelming. So here we hide, and learn to control our gifts--to crank down the volume, at least.

It's an old rambling house, always on the edge of going broke, pleasantly run by a big fat gay man. He constantly cooks up changes he hopes will make the place viable. One day, we find an unused room opening on the atrium. I help him pull down the boards covering the window, let light in, return it to use. Wash clean the old glass pains. Oops! I mean panes.

The manager beams as he looks round the new room, and blurt "I'm so glad of your support and advice and help through all this! I don't want to scare you or hurt our friendship, but... I love you so much, I could even fuck you!" I try to take it the way he means it. It's flattering being the only woman he's ever come on to, but I'm not attracted to him at all. Nothing personal--I just like women more than men.

A shy woman, a delicate psychic I'll call Fragilia, decided to skip out today. I saw her go, but said nothing. I sympathize with her, not the staff--after all, I'm here for the same reason she is--vulnerable because I'm psychically too open. If she thinks she's ready for the world, well, go girl!

But hours later, when she hasn't returned, and people begin to worry, I tell the truth--I'm getting worried too. She really is quite fragile.

Another patient tracks her movements by sniffing. He "sees" her footprints through HIS psychic power. For which he's here, too. A sense too sharp to endure the clamor of the world. He traces which way Fragilia went... then sits down with us to eat, because using ESP drains him so. "Recharge, recharge!" he mutters vaguely as he sits. He drinks from a glass, then bites a piece out of it and chews it and starts to swallow!

I ask "Isn't that bad for you? Doesn't it HURT?"

He grins bitterly and says "Yes. This is what happens when I drain myself. I self-destroy. That's how it works." With a grim grin he lifts the glass, and takes another bite.

A woman says, "Let's get him into the ward and wash the glass out before he begins vomiting..."

As I help her drag him from the table, I ask "Has he done this before, then?"

"Yes, whenever he uses his talent too hard."

This woman was an inmate here too, once, with the same problem... she's made it through the transition far enough to function as a therapist now, on staff. We all look up to her.

I say "The reason Fragilia fled was that she sensed something scary here, a great danger to her, even though this place has been a refuge for her till now. My own gift isn't like Tracker's, I can't see her step-by-step path, just her general direction. And see that her intuition of danger here for her was CORRECT."

I feel responsible for Fragilia. Though I fear to leave, I go out searching for her. The nurse leaves too... From outside, the asylum looks smaller. Suburban. Like my parents' house.

The outer world's enormous! Even such a mundane thing as a train station is, to me, so exotic, complex, overwhelming. I look down the line and worry someone will sneak up and hit me... But I slowly adjust, and learn to live in this sea of chaos.

A year later, I return to the asylum. The nurse does too. We both survived the world! When I see the place again I know it's just a visit; I won't need to stay. This visit's just the back-stitch that finishes mending the seam.

Inside, things have changed. The daily routine's held together by two women who are much stronger than when we were here. Meeting our own needs out in the world did THEM some good too. They grew in our absence till they're as strong as we were a year ago. Soon they'll leave, making room for the next ones. Psychics really do get stronger inside, and there is an end to one's stay.

NOTES NEXT MORNING

Yesterday my housemate Brian ranted on & on about how the world's going to hell. My dream disagrees. Chaos is transitional, not final!

ESP leads to injury: echoes Icarian Pain a month ago, where flying and flirting caused sharp pain.

Notice that sensing Fragilia's direction like a living compass did NOT sicken me. Only trying to explain her detailed STEPS triggered self-destructiveness. So actively using my intuition out in the world may be safe enough! What's sickening is trying to explain to others.

A moral useful to anyone with a nonstandard life.



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