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Martian Airlock

Dreamed 2015/6/22 by Wayan

Paw of a cat-taur, in fake fur and silk, by Wayan. Click to enlarge.


I'm sculpting one hand for my life-size soft sculpture Silky the Cattaur. First I wrap bolts & nuts in duct tape, then force these steel fingerbones into muscle-sheaths made of foamrubber, and force the now-bony rubber hand into a cotton glove. It holds together and has the right weight but looks & feels lumpy. Still, it proves the principle works.

I'll peel the glove off, trim the rubber smooth, and redo the paw in fake fur and reddish silk for the paw-pads...


Relax and read Kristin Cashore's Graceling. Katsa is a thug who never wanted to be. She's grown up thinking her Grace, her magical skill, is fighting; her uncle the King exploits her for tax-collection and general intimidation. But she's wrong. Katsa's true grace is raw survival, no matter how hard the circumstances. A more painful gift, but having much broader--and more moral--uses.

I have to cheer her on--this cliched, kick-ass fantasy heroine who's sick of the role and painfully gnaws her way out of the trap, into a wider life.

May we all.


Shop for food. Biking back home, I stop to get cash at an ATM. Alone on the dark street. No... one guy steps from the shadows and comes up to me, starts begging. His vibe is more whiny and hangdog than aggressive, but I panic--snarl "BACK OFF!", jump on my bike and burn rubber getting out of there.

Badly rattled. Scared, angry and... guilty? Accuse myself: "You're being unfair to a guy down on his luck!"

Whaaat? He just crowded me at a lonely ATM in the dark--a clear robbery threat. Thanks, Mom and Dad. Nothing beats liberal guilt!
I sew a jaguar mask onto a girl's living face; dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.



I'm in a tropical garden. Warm, humid. Rich colors. A beautiful almond-eyed woman comes up holding a jaguar mask. She asks me "Would you sew this onto my face?"

I look shocked, I guess. She explains "I'm a shapeshifter. But my old cat magic has worn thin, and I need a fresh mask sewn on to regain my full jaguar powers."

I seem to actually be considering it. But what if I slip and poke out an eye? Even if I don't... "Won't it hurt?"

She says "Well, yes. But I know I can take it--I've had to before. It's just time. Just use your smallest needle and some light thread. Here--"

And she hands me four spools, all fine enough. But none of the thread-colors quite fits her Mayan skin tone. One's blood-red, one's too dark a tan, one's too pale. The fourth is a muted gold--pretty close. I guess it won't show.

I think I can do her forehead cheeks and scalp safely, but I still worry about the eyeholes and around the lips--I'll be sewing into such delicate sensitive skin. Yes, I've learned how to sew fake fur for my soft-sculptures, but that's a lot cruder than this. This is surgery!

I guess it's no worse than tattooing really, but I couldn't take that pain! Not on the face. Skin too sensitive. Can't believe she can take it.

She must really want her jaguar powers back...



I'm on Mars. Red rocks, snowdrifts, pressurized huts. Stinging cold. I have no suit, no helmet. Just hold my breath. I can do that a very long time, several minutes--it's a Grace, a paranormal talent I have. But even I will reach my limit soon...

So I step into an airlock. The outer door seals, but there's no hiss of air, and the door into the habitat stays shut! I wait a full minute. Nothing. Hit both the entrance and exit switches, trying to get ANY door to open. Nothing! I'm on Mars with no spacesuit! Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

Oh. The raised, mushroomlike button on the floor, that pressurizes the chamber, has something wedged under it so it can't engage. Claw under it--pry out a Coke bottletop. Relief! Stomp the mushroom and wait for air.

Nothing. The doors STILL stay sealed.

Grab an electric punch or awl and hammer that button--WHACK! WHAP! BAM!--until the soft metal starts to bend! Nothing.

Drill right into it! Nothing.

Getting short on air at last--time's running out. I drill right down through the stem of the button, gambling that the air pipe is inside, that the button's physically linked to the valve. Whistle, hiss! Guess it is. Pull the drill away. A visible plume condenses in the thin cold air. I suck oxygen, clear the CO2 out of my lungs. My head clears. Still, the pressure in here is very low; I can flush my lungs out, but can't fill my lungs with Earth-pressure air and hold it--I'll risk embolism.

So I charge my blood up with oxygen sips, preparing to try prying the outer door back open and sprinting in thin Mars air to the next dome just a few yards away, and trying that airlock, holding my breath, using my Grace. Surely not ALL the doors are so thoroughly sabotaged! The bottletop could have been bad luck--or casual malice. But to jam ALL the airlock machinery like this took time and effort--whoever's trying to kill me can't have spent that much time on EVERY dome. Can they?

I wake. Sweating, heart pounding, gasping. It's 5 AM. This must be the tail end of the fever I had earlier this week; night before last I woke at 3AM, but I slept through last night so I thought this bout was over. Wrong!


I'm on Mars with no spacesuit! Thumbnail dreamsketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

Jaguar Mask: shamans & magic - shapeshifters & were-folk - jaguars - alter egos - babes, hunks & sexy creatures - masks & disguises - surgery - pain - freedom
Airlock: other worlds - Mars - gimme air! - cold - locks & keys - machinery - sabotage - nightmares - chronic illness - diagnostic & subliminal dreams - digital dream art
Similar setting, different message: A Hisa on Olympus

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