A LAKE DEMON
Dreamed 1979/11/3 by Chris Wayan
I go through a door into another space, playing bait, to decoy out a powerful, terrible spirit, so it can be destroyed. A risky mission--I could be killed, or worse. That's not hyperbole. If it possesses me...
The world on the far side seems medieval. Find myself in a dead stone town, under a crumbling castle within squat dark walls like Usher, or the Dark Tower in SILVERLOCK--the gate into Hell.
Ahead, a Voice in the Air. I assumed I was protected somehow--but with a horrible jolt I realize I've constructed the dream wrong! I'm as vulnerable as the natives were! And they're all gone.
The Voice sweeps me up and drags me into the Gate of Hell.
I know I constructed this dreamscene--what keeps me from being killed, after all? Yet I accept my capture, play out the scene. Don't even think of revising it.
The Voice keeps me as a servant. It goes out into the world and does... who knows what? Half-freed in its absence, I wonder if I can set a trap while it's out. But what? I have no spells--no bomb--I've left out something. I sense I can create these things if I picture them, so I know it's a dream--yet I don't seem to care. What good is lucid dreaming? Don't seem to lead to freedom or fun! My energy's all in fighting demons, or making people validate what I see or feel. I crave the adversity in non-lucid dreams!
Now we're on a stage; the theater's in shadow. Audience or not? I can't tell.
The Mysterious Voice directs us all. "Action!" An actress tries a new interpretation, but it fails. I say "Don't bother fixing that one, you got six more." Six scenes, or six whole PLAYS? Just how many of these grim scripts do we have to act out here?
The theater seats are built on terraces like Frost Amphitheater, but with low fences. They're the circles of Dante's Inferno! Hell's not really all that impressive--the circles are low, more like shelves, easy to cross. I pretend despair, but wander to the edge of the innermost fence. I toss over a bundle of clothes so I can pick up them later when I make my break, so they'll search for me in my present clothes but I'll look different. I'm not staying in Hell, no way.
I find a rocky pool; threads of tiny bubbles rise. I smell the water: a warm mineral spring. A second pool is hot but not bubbly. Taste both, drink from one, then dive in. I can stay down a long time exploring the depths, breathing the water. I'm careful not to wonder how. If I did, I'd go lucid, and then things'd be too easy!
The water is clear. I explore a crack or fault--an earthquake fault? The spring-creator? Follow the crack up into the rock until it turns to a crack between my pillows! I'm half awake! Then I return, down to the dream level and out into the pool, and enjoy the water.
I'm safe from the demon while down--it hates water.
The pool grows to a lake. High school kids float by on bright air mattresses--I have one too.
But soon the Voice of the Air will come and massacre them. It's part of history, notorious: The Massacre of the Lake. Nothing I can do. It has been written.
Then I "recall" what protects against demons: water. Earlier versions of this scene were dry--but now, with the lake added, we have a chance! History rewritten! I tell the others "Get under a rocky overhang by the shore, and hang underwater from your air-mattress, so when the demon comes, it won't be able to grab you."
NOTES WHEN I WAKE
This is an extreme example of what I call underhanded lucidity--using the awareness you're dreaming to change the dream, but only just enough to keep you alive and handle what the dream throws at you! Why? In my case, guilt--I felt it'd be cheating to use lucidity! Got to give your dreams a chance to voice their concerns--their displeasure. But I dunno. I seem rather sneaky about it--like I'm out to maximize conflict and drama and even misery. Use godlike power to cook up situations where I feel powerless! What the hell am I up to?
Well, that's exactly what! Hell is what I'm up to. But why do I condemn myself to it, then plot to escape? Hm. A question I could ask of a lot of people, busily digging holes to fall in.
The dream also echoes Silverlock by John Myers Myers, which I just read. The narrator's guided through Hell by a devil of modern materialistic doubt. An updated tour of Dante's Inferno! And there, too, Hell looks suspiciously like just another self-imposed drama.
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