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The Key To Our Inheritance

Dreamed 2010/9/12 by Wayan


My sister Althea calls. She says "My share of our inheritance has revolutionized my life! Dreams I deferred for years are coming true at last."

My share? I haven't done a thing.

That afternoon I bike to the San Francisco Fringe Festival to see Graffiti Highway, a cabaret piece by singer Megan Liley of Toronto and local composer Breakfast. A treat for a composer like me--the songs are mostly originals (my faves: the song of a Burning Man drug dealer, and the anxious Let's Fall in Love).

They use Dante's Inferno as a frame story--an apt image of the musical nightworld. In straight theater you mustn't break character, but I liked their asides like "true story, the band was Z---" or "this song's by my friend A--- in Toronto" and so on. Why not be openly autobiographical, and steal more friends' horror stories? Turned to art, they're pure gold.


A teenage friend died and left me and my friend (my brother?) a confusing will--a riddle, really. We puzzle out that he wants us to go to a stone ruin in the woods on a certain day, but what's "mind the rightmost" mean?

We find the ruin all right--a wall nearly 3 meters high (9-10') enclosing a roofless square twice as wide. Like a fort guarding... nothing.

Not quite nothing. We're not the only ones summoned here. The dead boy's girlfriend is here before us, nervous fragile and small--no more than 14 I think. We've met, but rarely.

The only things we find inside the wall are two hulking armored statues stand in opposite corners, like monster chessmen or readed-up stag beetles. Low, broad, heavy crested heads, not rusty yet, but dulled by years of sun and rain.

The lefthand suit of armor seems to be empty; but the rightmost suddenly twitches and comes to life! Peels off its helm and cuirass, to reveal the head of a burly giant.

A giant with a knife. He chases us, roaring 'Give me the key!'

I guess it's to our friend's fortune, though where the lock is and what it guards, I still don't know. My friend has the key, but gets pinned in a corner. So he tosses it to the girl. The giant corners her, and she tosses it to me...

Whoever he is, he's forging us into a team!

Sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: a girl atop a stone wall, fleeing a knife-wielding armored man, tosses a key to me below. Click to enlarge.
Sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: a girl atop a wall tosses down a key.

We've been set up to play this game, but what are the rules? Ask the girl if she knows.

"Oh, yeah!" she calls back bitterly. "His letter to me said: 'In the game you're entering, there ARE no rules.'"

Set up indeed. As bad as Alexander the Great.

We climb the walls, run round the square. But so does he! And he slashes freely--doesn't care who he hurts. What to do?

My friend drops outside the wall and runs into the woods. Of course! Just hide the key. No matter what he does, if we don't have it, he can't extort it. We're not in medieval times, or miles deep in the wilderness. It's just a few hundred yards to a road. If he kills one of us, the others will escape and bring in the cops.

If we scatter, he can't track all of us at once.

I wake still scared... but burning to know what the treasure was. And why the kid endangered all of us like that! His so-called friends. Did he hate us, or was there no choice?

NOTES IN THE MORNING Sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: a bulky, squat, unpolished suit of armor, standing outside a stone wall.

Sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: I reach to catch a brass key tossed to me.

LISTS AND LINKS: inheritances - guards - outcasts - fear - drama and theater - the power of song - death and funerals - money - stone - armor - duels - violence - knives - hunted! - friendship and trust - Wayan's a ditzy heiress who won't give up in I Want My Inheritance! - two more dreams inspired by Fringe Festival plays: First Impressions and the New Dalai Lama

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