Dreamed 1989/3/29 by Chris Wayan
I'm a bluebird. So's my girlfriend. We live happily in the green country of the bluebird people, on Alternate Earth.
We're all strictly diurnal--get sleepy soon as it's dark. But, too, we fear the night a bit... it's not safe to fly half-blind. And another people fly at night--the Bat People. The giant vampire-bat people. We dread them the way you humans dread vampires... except they're real. Solitary predators, rarely seen; but they ARE out there.
They claim they don't eat us, that they have standards... But how can we be sure?
One evening, I leave the flock--stay out, on a perch, like a beacon. A message. As night deepens, a bat-winged male thunders up before me in the dark. I say "I want to make an alliance--all the winged people together." He's stunned: this is unheard of. The deepest polarity in our world is Day and Night, not gender, not predator/prey, not even good/evil.
Why am I talking to vampires? We do have something in common: we're all pestered by the Rexes. They evolved intelligence too, millions of years ago, and survived the extincton of the other dinosaurs. They've shrunk in size a lot, but are still huge to us--and they don't respect us much. A big solitary male recently moved into our territory, and he's been just shoving us all aside, doing whatever he pleases, and not cleaning up after himself.
So Batwing thinks it over. The bats are angry too. Finally, he ACCEPTS! I'm still uneasy round him, but we work together on weaponry. The next day I read up on Tyrannosaur history and biology. They must have vulnerabilities! They haven't changed appearance much other than shrinking a bit, but inside the changes have been substantial as they evolved brains.
At last, when we're ready, my girlfriend and I confront our local Rex. It's not just his teeth we have to worry about. He has a nasty trick--he inhales or drinks a little booze, then pulls out a cigarette lighter--yes, most Rexes smoke, what'd you expect?--and purses his big ugly dino lips and blows a plume of fumes at me--just as he flicks the lighter. A puff of flame bursts out six feet!
Just a brief flash, but it's terrifying, and that's his intent. See, our wingfeathers singe easily in fire, way faster than scales--I can't risk getting close. He chases us. I retreat in short hops and glides, wary and nervous, but not fleeing. I'd rather face him now. Why wait? So I climb up a slope too steep for Rex, where his breath can't easily fry me, and uncover our own secret weapon--a blaster! A broad-beam energy gun.
I flame a rock by his knobbly knees and enjoy watching a Rex freeze like a mouse for once. Scared! Angry, but scared... of a bluebird! We can burn him too.
Standoff! Which is all I hoped for, all along--I don't want to kill him, just cut a deal. It's with a certain pleasure that I yell down to him "Neither of us can afford to attack the other. We'll both almost certainly get burned. You have to agree to leave us alone--birds and bats alike."
I think he'll have to agree. We're united against him and we have something even worse than his awful cigars. If we don't get him in the day, the bats will get him at night. He'll agree, or we'll drive him out.
I think it's gonna be a lovely spring.
NOTES ON WAKING
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