What Dreams May Come

Last night I had the dream to end all dreams.

I’ve never had anything quite like it. For sheer complexity, it was…insane. The demented love-child of Perdido Street Station and Kushiel’s Dart. It was like reading a particularly bizarre novel. (Really, REALLY like reading it. As in, when the dream finished, there was a page of advertisements for the other two books in the trilogy, the second one of which was titled “Hittide,” and was apparently a combination of “Hittites” and “tide.” Alas, I didn’t see the title of the third.)

There was a city, which was almost xenophobically self-contained, and ruled by fourteen…err…clans? moieties? Things. The only clan that left were the “lymen” or travelers, who functioned as explorers and diplomats, and were looked down upon by the other clans. I was picked up somehow and adopted by a clan that was mostly made of good-natured misfits and obsessive inventors. Some of the other clans that I can remember were a powerful quasi-Hebrew, intensely political group; a group of powerful courtesans ruled by the “Queen of Night’s Dancing,”; the People of the Veil, who went around clothed in robes from head to toe (the women didn’t speak, and shaved their heads under the veils); a group of gypsy bakers; and the Sokovard, a group of high-tech sadists somewhere between the House of Mandrake and a particularly decadent offshoot of the Romulan Empire.

(My god! I thought, as I started to wake up. This is complicated! I’ve got to write it all down while I still remember it! And indeed, I did write it all down. My notes were a thing of beauty. Had I simply taken them in reality, instead of in another goddamn dream, they would doubtless prove illuminating.)

The city itself was built on some kind of real or artificial canyon, both sides built extensively with bridges spanning the middle. There were doors outside, and into back rooms and attics full of junk. I spent a lot of time in one of those back rooms with a large blue statue of Ganesh. A childhood friend of mine, whom I NEVER dream about, was hanging around there as well.

Somehow in this jumble of clans, I wound up being ordered to present myself to the courtesan queen during a seriously crazed party, with an eye to adoption into her clan. (Hey, it’s money.) I was given a very bizarre outfit (the costume of the dragon queen, which everybody seemed to think was dead sexy, but which I would have liked much better did it not have a giant stuffed dragon for a headdress, and if it had not been in cotton candy pink) and wandered through the streets, which were madder than Mardi Gras. Avoiding a presidential convoy (his daughter was the actual power, the president having gone mad some years earlier) I wound up in the appropriate area, but before I could have more than the start of a conversation with the courtesan queen, I wound up having to drag off my male counterpart, who was wearing an equally stupid outfit, but had run afoul of the leader of the Sokovard and was in desperate need of medical attention. (By “run afoul” I mean “attracted the interest of.”) Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on one’s predelictions) I then encountered this gentleman, who was pretty damn freaky, and there was a really weird sequence that I only vaguely remember involving a machine that made you think your brains were being pulled out of your ears. He decided he wanted to adopt me…(curse that high pain tolerance!) and for some reason I agreed to this (anything to get out of the pink stuffed dragon suit!) Unfortunately the costume of Sokovard was just as bad, being mostly head-to-toe grey fur. I looked like a Jawa on the way to discover the north pole. (Lotta costuming in this dream.) “Be careful,” my childhood friend told me glumly, as she took the statue of Ganesh and headed off to become one of the travellers. “He’s not the leader of Sokovard by right. No good ever comes of an upside-down beheading on the bridge.”

Wise words. I woke up shortly afterwards, thought “WTF?” fell back asleep, and the next thing I knew, I was escaping the city, pursued by my former friends, who kept turning into homicidal aliens and trying to tear me apart and eat me. The dream was one of those on the edge of lucidity–not enough to know it was lucid, but enough to control my surroundings enough that my assailants could never quite reach me. Eventually, having killed them all, and a few rape-minded rednecks, I wound up pursued by a cop from the slums surrounding the city, and he was incredibly tenacious. I turned into a fish, a bat, and a few other things to elude pursuit, but I spent a frantic hour of slapping the alarm clock while involved in this demented pursuit. (Perhaps if I had not kept stopping to throw bricks through his window and leave broken glass in his food, he would have been less tenacious.) (Mind you, the bat form was really useful. I see why vampires like it.)

This might have gone on for hours–the pursuit showed no sign of ending, and whenever I’d wake up from Ben standing on my head, I’d fall immediately back into the dream–but fortunately a buddy of mine called up and invited me to a local fetish fair. I seized this escape from dream gratefully. God only knows what that experience’ll be like, but it can’t be any weirder than my dreams.

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