Set On Fire
Dreamed 2017/10/15 by Wayan
1:30 AM, I wake to automatic gunfire. Many dozen rounds, maybe a hundred--VERY fast, sustained, 8-10 rounds a second. First gun violence around here in years.
My housemate Christopher goes up to the next block to find out about the gun battle. Some teens rented a house through AirB&B and held a party; a gang with a grudge toward the organizers came and opened fire. Two hospitalized. Cars all down the street shot up. Only because it was way after midnight were there no passers-by to be mowed down.
I'm a self-taught shaman living in Oakland. I work with dangerous forces--especially fire. A few other witches and wizards with degrees and professional reputations often sweep in and take the credit for the people I save. For a long time I endure this--I don't like publicity and my motive's to rescue people not profit, but I start to do a slow burn when I actually hear the local witch talk to a TV reporter about how she saved this little girl after "a timely tip from a local citizen"--in fact I saved the kid, at some risk, too, and all the witch did was show up after, to give the cops a lead on the curse-casters.
On the next case, I get wrapped in a fire curse. Keep it dormant, suppressed, like being doused in gasoline but not lit. Until, close to the kidnapping victim, I run into some skeptic yuppies who ignore my warnings and bring open flame near me. And I burn. Hold my breath till it dies down a bit--burnt all the spell-fuel, now it's just feeding on my clothes. Tilt my head to get non-flaming air. As a shaman, I can endure the burning skin where a human couldn't. Gradually get it under control. It hurts, and looks terrifying, but I can bear it. Barely.
I'm furious. I warned them "Keep your damn lighter away from me, I'm flammable."
I do eventually find and rescue the victim, but this case hurt. Unnecessarily.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
I've been having nightmares that parse the components of modern evil. An obvious one is violent malice toward the different, but this dream points out a subtler factor: reckless stupidity despite clear warning. Trump ignores inconvenient science, Xi jails reporters who expose corruption, Putin meddles in his neighbors' elections even after getting caught. Reckless leaders dominate the news, but my dreams are pointing out such leaders reflect their followers. These idiots don't even aim to set me on fire. They still do.
As I look closer, this dream seems to be about truth and lies. The witch lied; reporters buy her lie. I tell the truth; the yuppies ignore it. Both times, in different ways, I get burned.
As the world's getting burned.
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