Satyr and Twilight
Dreamed 2018/9/1 by Chris Wayan
1: GHOST SATYR
I survived the end of the world. A thaumaturgical accident killed off nearly all humans. In most cases their flesh just evaporated, leaving clothed skeletons. We survivors mostly happened to be underground, partly shielding us.
Partly, not fully. Most of us are sterile; many of us mutated, changing sex or species.
I ended up as a sort of lanky satyr, with pointed mobile ears, long shaggy lion-legs (paws not hooves), small horn-buds at my temples, and twin/forked phalli that stand erectish even when I'm not excited--spurs of cartilage inside, like a dog's penis. I haven't met a female of my own species so I don't know it they have twin vaginas or if the twin erections are meant to fit together inside one.
I'm okay not knowing. So far I've had fun and no one's complained. Sex is more casual now, since pregnancy's so rare; and kids are treasured. So the dating pool's smaller and very mixed in terms of species, but... enthusiastic. For shy me, this strange afterlife is actually less lonely than my... forelife? Back in the crowded but relentlessly human world.
Technology crashed with the population. Too few survivors to keep high tech going; it'll take centuries to build a population able to resurrect it. We're technologically back around 1900, with odd islands of modernity--solar panels, calculators. Sadly, the web is gone. Or is it sad? Without cat videos, strangely enough, people read books.
We're not alone now here. Breaches in the walls of time let in small numbers of random folk evolved from various animals. Turns out ape-based people are quite rare! And the creatures of our mythologies turn out to have been near-neighbors in the multiversal sheaf. So you see lots of centaurs, dryads, griffins, small dragons, were-creatures, unicorns...
They call us humanoids "ghosts." After all, we're mostly sterile. But some creatures seem to take it literally, think we're freaky spirits that just look like we have solid bodies--they're sure we just move stuff around poltergeistily. Maybe they're even right, and we all died, and most moved on; just a few of us weirdo ghosts stuck around--echoes of the lost human world who don't realize we're dead. In denial.
Who knows? I really can't diss other creatures' theories, no matter how wacko. I'm a satyr with lion paws. Or a ghost--which is crazier?
2: CULTIVATE GEEK COMMUNITY
I settle with a group occupying an old hotel--without electricity or running water, old homes are more popular, they work better--designed to keep residents warm and food cool.
I plant a fruit-tree cutting out front. Plan for a future! Dig loose, light dirt with my hands. Find a watermain or sewerpipe just 20 cm down. Plant to the side of it.
I worry strangers will figure I'm one of those Feral Survivalist types. I'm just gardening!
Our location's not the best. We have to lock the doors at night; two different kinds of entity keep testing them, trying to get in from a stairwell. One wants to eat us, the other... rob? recruit? infect us? My friends seem a bit careless or fatalistic about the hazards. I check and occasionally must lock neglected doors and windows...
We have a house meeting about the break-in problem. It's a mixed, mostly nonhuman group. I like that better than the old monotony.
A vampire girl who's not even formally part of the community but lives in the building sits in on our community meeting. Talks of the danger in a way making it clear it's not her people. If she can be said to have a people. Vampires are normally quite solitary; she's hyper-social to relate to us at all.
One more weirdo...
I especially like that lavender unicorn who lives down the hall--Twilight Sparkle, from Equestria. She's wingless; this must be before she earned them. I have quite a crush on her--so adorkable! A book nut (and ex-librarian) like me...
3: THE PATHOS OF THINGS
Now I'm following friends searching for a legendary Hidden Village, rumored to be near, by the sea. We suspect its secretive residents have been sending out these mysterious nocturnal lock-testers. The recruiters, not the eaters. I think.
Moody scenes follow--narrow paths through piles of post-apocalyptic junk that my dream's filmmakers shoot carefully, in numbing detail. They clearly must find all this compelling. The pathos of things.
Of course we're in an apocalypse movie! Goes without saying.
Not that the film directors necessarily direct me well. I'm meant to be seeking clues here, but I just sweep my eyes around, try to let my unconscious get a good look at everything... I know I can't consciously examine every item, let alone ponder its Tragic Meaning. I don't care much. To me it's just old stuff.
Even that melancholy skeleton behind the shop counter, in the fur-lined hood. Humanity. Just another dead thing. Sad, but be honest--do you cry for the dinosaurs?
Down to the water. A tiny beach, a stone wall. Low tide today; we'd drown here at high. I crouch low so any Hidden Folk above the wall can't see me... then recall there's almost certainly no one. A mostly depopulated world--who'd live down here? Too flood-vulnerable.
Ahead is a hotel like the one in Key Largo. I peer in. Quite a gorgeous old ruin--at least now at low tide. But the placid sea's just an inch below the floor level. Storm surges must fill the place.
I don't think the Hidden Village is here. Better to search higher ground. Maybe tomorrow! All that Pathos tired me out.
4: THE BIKE PARADE
Next morning, Twilight looks out her west window and sees... the impossible. Cars! Bikes! Humans! A steady stream of cyclists heading north.
She wakes me up, and, curious, we two follow--Twi gallops, I bike. The cyclists--all kinds, though more humans than usual--converge in a huge cheerful crowd downtown. Convened to do... what? Are they ghosts? They seem solid. More like we've awakened in the past.
Or the apocalypse is healing!
Just so it doesn't "heal" Twilight away from me. I like the post-human apocalypse. I'm happer in a mix. Humans alone were never this fun.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
Now, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, this post-apocalyptic dream of social breakdown and eerie, empty streets... seems prescient.
And its foresight seems focused on a practical question: happiness during world collapse. The dream's answers were and are: makeshift community and geek love.
Prosperity, technology... rebuilding the world that was? Not so much.
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