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LAMPREYS

Dreamed 1974/6/27 by Chris Wayan


The school year's ending. My roommate's gone, my friends are scattering. It's all just trailing away...

To console me, Bill, our dorm manager, offers to show me the Money Room. It's one floor up. He enters, I hesitate, and he closes the door on me! I knock, puzzled. No answer. My friend Rebecca walks by... she tries knocking and calling. No answer! We peer thru the windowblinds and glimpse Bill.

He's changed. He has a ring of teeth, like a lamprey!

Bill's been hypnotizing us all into seeing him as human. He still has power, but now that we know, his hypno-mask is intermittently translucent. Becky's badly shaken. Well, so am I. When Bill comes out at last, cool and human, I blurt "you're an alien come to steal our college's money, aren't you!"

He just listens and pops those little candies he likes. As usual.

As usual?

I ask Becky "Have you EVER seen Bill eat FOOD? He's always chewing, but even at formal dinners, it's just his little pills. Maybe our food can't nourish him!"

Bill comes up with some lies--plausible enough if you haven't seen his teeth.

Becky and I walk away, down the mountain flank.

Beneath trees, we meet our dorm-mate Terri, and a tall girl I don't know. I tell them what we saw. Terri looks sad, not scared. Her tall slender friend leans over me gently, as if to reassure me with a kiss... and nips my neck with her teeth.

Her teeth in a ring.

I wake in horror.

I drift back down, but with two thoughts: that was a true nightmare, rare for me.

But also... why'd she bite me, if our chemistry's wrong for them?

I find myself back in the same dream. I'm not sure of anyone now. But Terri promptly says "Of course I'm an alien, most of the people around you are." I've always liked her, so I withhold my judgment on the aliens and just walk around with my eyes open. Now I see many, subtly ordering humans around without their knowing. I tell people what I see, but half of them are lampreys too.

I feel it's hopeless, decide to leave school.

To my surprise, Terri wants to leave the lampreys and come with me. She loves me! Unlike the others, she stays human all the time, even when we make love. Except that she has to take her pills, we're a normal couple.

Time passes. One day, Terri and I are high up in the southern mountains, at snowline, sunbathing naked, cupped inside a snowbank. The snow is mild, not cold like northern snow. Terri puts soothing lotion on her crotch, a bit sore because I ate her too hard. Near us lie other couples in sunny snow-nests. I peek. Each lover has a bandaged spot, breast, neck, inside of the elbow. Eases MY guilt a bit. Lamprey or human, you can't help a few nips in love...

Terri says "This isn't responsible! I don't want to just run away. I have to go back, face them, and make a clean break." I think about it, say "Okay, but let me get equipment so I can REALLY face them."

I rent a lot of amps and loudspeakers so can talk whole crowds out of their hypno-trance. But it turns out I may not need to: the friends I told began to see for themselves and told others how. Skepticism's spread.

The aliens shift tactics--try to convince Earth people they're all trapped in an inescapable prison: but all they really have to reinforce their words now is a few cardboard panels with silver paper. Their illusion games are getting thin. Just we two were enough to shake their control.

The first thing the aliens tell Terri is that her old friend, the tall girl who nipped me, has already had eight kids! Terri and I look at each other. I know she doesn't want kids yet. Another reason lampreys are turning human. Lamprey society really pushes you to crank out the larvae.

The lampreys give up on conquering humans and decide to build their own city. It has intriguiing squarish veins of darkness all through it, like power conduits, but otherwise it's much like any student housing. Looks like the aliens aren't THAT advanced...

Left on their own, the lampreys go more and more native. At last they abandon their city. The hardcore imperialists return home to the stars. Terri and the rest stay with us and assimilate.

The City of Dark Veins remains, a rather cryptic monument. Even the former aliens can't really explain it. It's as if their lamprey selves themselves were just a trance, a cultural trance they woke from...

And so their invasion trails away. The lampreys, used to absorbing others got... absorbed.



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