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HORTA'S EGGS

Dreamed 1984/1/17 by Chris Wayan

I'm in training to become the next leader of an idealistic project to create a generation of psychics doing good works. One of our programs is to teach people to fly. Our old leader, who we rarely see now, is quite ancient; he's handed daily operations over to a younger woman. She's training me--sort of. Only lets me know things when I suspect them already. Though she and her teacher have been working quietly on me my whole life--long before they revealed themselves to me--training me in psychic abilities.

We're threatened by the same violent psychic forces that killed John Lennon. Forces of chaos! My teacher's survived mostly by secrecy. She can even turn invisible when she chooses. I think persecution's influenced her sink-or-swim tutoring...

I make a new connection one day. She's occasionally taught me spells to go through specific locked doors, and once through a solid wall. In each case, though, there was a magically hidden door off to the side. But now I wonder if ALL doors create a magic double, if EVERY wall has a magic flaw! I start looking at doors askance... and not ONE of them is impervious. I can walk through ANY wall now. I just never thought to look closely enough to see the door. It's fun--slip through like liquid. Can't quite predict where the doors lead to, but it's always someplace amazing.

I'm learning to generalize.

She invites me to her secret sanctuary for the first time. I go through bars beside a gate, following a distant shadow of her...I go transparent and the iron bars turn flexible to me. Slip through and I can feel the spell deplete, so the enemies trailing us will find the bars solid and the door gone. She's confident they haven't found her sanctuary yet. She set up a diversion and the enemy is massed there.

But I'm uneasy--suspect a group of winged animals broke through and are hiding in the swamps nearby, watching us. Can't sense any... but when I scan seaward, I find dots on the dunes... A crescent line of watchers, and they've been here a long time. They already knew of the house!

I rush in and warn her. She planned to show me the labs, gradually. Now we have no time. A crash course! This house is a refuge for fifty thousand embryonic psychics, whose life-patterns have been dehydrated and locked into photos or line-drawings: portraits of each being (some human, some animal, some mythical). They're soon to be given a life-essence she's been collecting or generating from beautiful candles and glowing octahedral crystals. The photos and light-sources are laid out in grids, one per square of linoleum floor. I worry the house is just too small for 50,000 beings; what if I step on some while they're small? And no privacy for any of them, and that drab gray linoleum isn't too inspiring a nest... But I guess it beats never being hatched at all.

The warding spells on the back door feel a bit weak. She shrugs. "If they can get on the grounds at all, past my main wards, no door here will hold them." She wants to take me now to the Old Man for a crash course in his specialties. But she plans to leave in bird or spirit form, trusting to sheer speed as they attack us. I say "No, let's leave by the cellars, slowly, in disguise. May not be as closely watched, since you use it so rarely."

The basement is full of antique cars and her collection of beast-skins and masks, for transformations. We both put on strong animal forms, and try to look like servants or contractors for some hard physical job. The cellar door opens on a city alley. Plan to drive out... but we never get to try.

The Enemy himself steps into the garage. Face-off at last. Smashes the candles and crystals with casual pleasure. I get mad, say "Even if you must stop the hatching of the 50,000 psychics, you don't have to KILL them all like this. Even if they're just saved as museum pieces, they'd have a chance of hatching some day if the situation changes." He looks at me paternally for a moment--I can see my father looking out through his eyes, thinking "Naive!" And goes back to smashing the nest.

My teacher and I face facts--we're defeated here. Rush out of the house, out to the picket fence. Before we run through the gate, a big crow hops up on the fence and eyes us. I stop in shock, recognizing the gleam in the bird's black eye. "Raederle?" My girlfriend! I knew she was the enemy leader's daughter, but does she side with him politically now? If SHE sees his program as right, could I be wrong? She doesn't answer, and hops off.

Taking Raederle's hint, we turn ourselves into birds too, and fly off to consult the Elder. But it seems he's put himself into storage: in his hermit-cave, we find only a crystal, a candle, and a fading photo.

And a note. "I was in town. I met Captain Kirk and Dr McCoy. Two enemy giants blocked our path. They did not speak English. Kirk spoke mildly to one, who clearly believed Kirk was surrendering--while McCoy slipped behind and tripped him so he fell on my ritual sword. Blood everywhere, and my hand on the hilt of the death-weapon. Yes, they were in my way--but I'm a man of peace."

We have to reconsider this war. Why were they so desperate to kill the psychics? Why is Raederle on their side? What are we not seeing?

NOTES ON WAKING



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