Dreamed 1996/1/19 by Chris Wayan
Walking in the hills near my parents' house, I meet a skinny Eurasian-looking girl with a long ponytail who's riding down the trail--riding a tigerlike alien from another world. The tiger doesn't speak English; she does, but with an accent I don't recognize--is she an off-worlder too?
They act strangely toward me--block my way, bristle, threatening, though the tiger doesn't actually touch me. I back away uneasily. The tiger pads after me, sometimes bounding off to the side or around me to block my way back down some branch of the trail.
Finally I realize--they're herding me up into the hills somewhere!
I stand my ground and yell "What do you think I am, a sheep?!"
The girl gets off the tiger. He rears upright and approaches me, front paw out. Hand, I guess: unlike an earth-tiger, he has opposable thumbs. On his leathery pink and black palm is a two-inch cube of raw flesh!
I translate this as an ultimatum: he'll eat me if I don't go where they're taking me.
That gets me really mad. And more dangerous than I'd usually be when angry: I'm only partly me (a librarian untrained in fighting)--I'm partly another man with some combat experience. And we/I have a weapon--not sure if it's an energy gun or just a spell he directs with his finger, but it's powerful and can be fired from a distance. I urge him to use it. It's his decision: he's the main character in this story, I'm just the reader...
The girl is riding the tiger again, ahead of us. Together they seem almost a horse: with her long hair, she's like a horse's arched neck and mane. He/I point at them, aim, but he won't fire. Doesn't mind hurting the girl, after that death threat, and he thinks "there are millions of girls around", but he balks at the sentient tiger--"the only one on Earth." And they're almost fused when riding, he can't hit just one, not safely.
So he lets them go on herding us to their goal. It turns out to be a ranch home on the shoulder of Water Tank Hill, about a mile from my parents' place. A long thin house, barely distinguished from its neighbors, from the outside. Unsure we're in one at first. But the sidewalk slowly encloses to become a long hall, with bedrooms on both sides. The girl and tiger go into the middle one on the left.
I wait a while but they don't reappear. Warily I slink forward and peer in the open door. They're on the bed. From this angle I mostly see just their legs and feet, but she's lying on top of him, and they seem to be making love. Riding him again!
It's not really a shock; they seemed as close as lovers.
Now, even I can't kill them, angry as I am. I go on down to the bedroom at the south end of the hall. Mine? Though the house is quite unfamiliar, it feels like mine!
In this bedoom, I set up my defenses. Prepare weapons. I'll fight them, even kill them, if they push me around any more. I came here grudgingly but peacefully, but that's the absolute limit of my tolerance. They owe me an explanation and an apology.
But I wake with neither. Just herded here, and left to figure out... why?
IN THE MORNING
I wish I could explain this dream neatly to you--but it's been years and I still don't know. The tiger never returned to explain, with or without that bloody chunk of flesh.
I wish he would. Creepy though it was, I wish he would.
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