What would you do to get home?
Dreamed 2015/3/21 by Sunshine
A long corridor, metal and concrete, but not unfriendly--the air smells of fresh loam, of life. A dozen people, poorly dressed but excited, are walking down the hallway. They speak incomprehensibly but clearly are thrilled at some opportunity.
Cut to a few minutes later, and focus on two of the new arrivals. Two women, one brunette one redhead, both easily beautiful enough to have avoided this poverty. They speak about plants and growing things. The brunette looks around as they realize they are alone. Her voice subtly shifts as the words she speaks become something as similar to English as the bustle of a city street is to the quiet burbling of a small stream. The redhead responds in kind. We can almost understand them, as they arrive at a small tree, gesturing excitedly. It is only one in a line of dozens, each in a broad, tall corridor, having its own little plot of earth. This is their tree, the one they have been assigned to raise, and the one that they came here for.
Scene: A mess hall, in the same happy sparse style of the opening corridor, late at night. The two women sit speaking to a third. If you saw her on the street you'd call her pretty, though next to these two she is plain as a grey wall. The two women (are they sisters?) inch closer to the other girl as the conversation increases in volume and excitement. Their voices shift in tone and the plain girl’s face is blank and receptive.
I walk down the corridor of trees; there is a task I have, but it has been hidden from me. It rests at the front on my mind, just behind my eyes, but out of sight. Twenty people are gathered around the beautiful women’s tree, staring at it adoringly. Each has a small sticker affixed to the front of their clothing, with small writing.
As I get closer, the plain girl stands up. “You can’t come closer to the tree unless you are part of the class 1 tree protection team” she tells me. As she says this, she waves what is very clearly a printer-friendly book of stickers, the same labels attached to the gathered people’s clothing.
“Can I become part of the class 1 tree protection team?” I need to get close to that tree! Why? I can almost remember...
She knots her eyebrows, as if remembering something difficult, or preparing to recite rote. “You have not been selected to be a member of the class 1 tree protection team. Instead, I can offer you a membership in the class 2 tree protection team”. As she says this, she flips the little sheet of printed stickers over and peels one off the back. She offers it to me and as I take it, the scene fades.
Another corridor. It resembles the others, but one of the lights is out and the floor is dirty. This region is clearly in disrepair. Two powerfully built men stride along it, talking in the same burbling language the beautiful women spoke. They are dressed in uniforms with dangling medals on the front of their pressed jackets and what appear to be pistols at their hips.
As I watch them walk, something becomes clear. These two are the women from before, transformed (or revealed) as these two men.
They are confident and calm. Their plan, whatever it may be, is close to completion.
WHAT IS RIGHT?
As I recover from the vision of the two men, memory strikes me, clear and hard. Elves! The fey folk have invaded our realm, and through their tree they plan to return home. They co-opted so many in this facility; it's almost time for them to leave. I find myself running, holding in my hands a weapon unidentifiable but fearsome. The first of the elves is across the room as I fire about it; it fires back from the cover of a bookshelf. I cut it down with a burst of violent metal and run from the room.
As I approach the tree, I see those who have been ensorcelled into the class 1 tree protection team have taken defensive positions, and more than one are armed with old-fashioned bolt-action rifles. I fire, but my my resolution wavers and my aim is poor. Why are the elves even here? They feel more like stranded travelers than scouts, and to stop them from returning home, I'm trying to cause the death of innocents.
Gunfire fills the air, transforming the corridor of peacefully growing trees into an echoing hall of death. I fire again and again, until the scene fades and daylight comes.
By waking standards this dream ends unresolved; but then, our storytellers are content to entertain. I think this dream wants to be troubling; it ends as soon as it's posed its ethical riddle: "Is such violent defense justified here?"
I've never met Sunshine, so I don't know if the dream's questioning emotional defenses, or intellectual ones, or even immunological over-reactions like allergies... or not personal but societal over-reactiveness and xenophobia. But I do think it's re-evaluating some kind of defense.
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