I drank a cup of Senseo coffee at 11 p.m. in anticipation of hours of dueling an allied SuperGroup in the Arena in City of Heroes. We were done at midnight so I got all wired up for nothing. I played some missions til 3 a.m., went to bed, tossed and turned until 5, and finally slept about an hour. In that hour I had the strangest dream, even for me. Most of it had the feel of a dream remembered: that I had dreamed the first part of it before and this was merely the continuation, but I remembered the details of the first part as if I had just finished dreaming it.
This is one of the most Jungian dreams I ever remember having: full of archetypal symbolism dressed up in urban trappings. Everything happened only at night, and I never saw daylight. Every person I encountered was young and dressed in a kind of grunge/punk fusion, like alterna-kid college students. Every encounter with one of my “guides” was preceded by the sight of a different animal. My quest for whatever-it-was was opposed by some primal malignant force, similar to the Wyrm of the Werewolf roleplaying game: a bodiless, faceless concept determined to stop me before I even got started. Some of the details have blurred over the course of the day, but I still remember the vast majority of it.
I was in a living room, sitting and working on something. I was exhausted, and started to have a waking dream within the dream. The room stayed exactly the same, but shifted into dream reality and I knew that some thing was coming for me through it. I knew I had dodged something similar in the past by hiding from it, but this time it appeared next to me. It was about six feet long, blue and smooth and tubular, tapering to a pointed tail. It had a circular toothless mouth and small arched tubes where its eyes should have been. It was malevolent, but slow and stupid. It birthed a small blue version of itself from the tip of its tail, and I knew that many more were about to arrive. Inexplicably, it was called a Whiff, and it looked like this:
In a rage I began slashing at its rubbery skin with my fingertips, as if they were tipped by claws, and ragged bloodless gashes appeared wherever my fingers touched. The Whiff began writhing soundlessly, trying to reach me with its sucker mouth, but I dodged it easily and it soon died, collapsing into a shapeless mass like a deflated balloon. Almost as an afterthought, I squished the grub it had delivered under my shoe and, as I did so, the sub-dream dissolved and I was alone in the room again. My mom and sister walked in and I turned to my sister:
“Do you know what a Whiff is? Have you seen one before?”
She knew. A look of horror started growing on her face and her mouth opened in the beginning of a silent, breathless scream that I knew, once started, would never end. I grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her before it was too late.
“It’s dead! I killed it! See?”
I lifted up my shoe and scooped up the remains of the grub, which had followed me into the waking world. I held the limp, flattened string up to her in my fist to show her, and she relaxed. I left to begin the search that the opposing force was trying to prevent. Right after this point was where the dream began staying consistent in it’s symbolism, imagery, and sequence.
From there I met a succession of three guys, and I always met them in some kind of co-op house or apartment, which was dirty and cluttered, but college student poor rather than ghetto poor. Each of my contacts was to give me an object of some kind, and the name of my next contact, but knew nothing beyond the name of the next person in the chain. I would know I was speaking to the correct person by a diagonal stripe of shadow that would fall across their eyes from lower left to upper right at some point in our conversation.
I encountered the first guy, whose name and face I don’t recall. He was short and husky, had short blond hair and a black biker jacket, and owned a ferret named Ceno who was sitting on a bookshelf I passed as I entered his room. He was also a complete whacko. He spoke some important sounding gibberish at me as he reached up and installed something in my head, directly through the skull, like some kind of cybernetic implant. He handed me some artifact that I never actually saw, which I dropped in my messenger bag.
“Go see Richard.”
“The destination doesn’t matter, only the quest itself. The quest IS the destination.”
Next I found myself on the front porch of a slightly shabby house; a college co-op. A bare bulb overhead lit the scattered bikes, milk crates, and ratty furniture. A pair of black cats circled my legs and I knew that some entity was lurking in the darkness beyond the house, unable to attack me because of the presence of the cats. I pushed my way inside and ran into a thin, cleanshaven guy with long blond hair who looked to be in his mid-twenties. As we approached each other a bar of shadow fell across his eyes from the blinds over the window.
“You must be Richard.”
He sat down in front of me and picked up a short, very thin needle from the desk. It looked like an acupuncture needle with a tiny hook on the end.
“Look straight ahead, keep your eyes wide open, and try not to blink.”
I felt a slight sting in my left eye and, despite my best efforts not to, blinked the sudden tears away. Even though my vision didn’t change in any other way, I knew he had opened the front of my eyeball like the door of a rural mailbox and placed something inside.
“Done. You should see Steve now.”
Back on the porch the cats had been replaced by a huge tiger, which paced restlessly around the yard. It made me very nervous because I wasn’t sure if it was going to attack me or not. It butted its head against me a couple times as it walked by, then suddenly grabbed my right forearm firmly in its jaws and looked me directly in the eye for a moment. It released me, sprang over the fence, and disappeared in the direction of the enemy waiting for me in the darkness. I followed into the road that passed the house and waited. Soon the tiger came sailing out of the trees beyond the road and I instinctively knew it had covered 450 feet in a single flying leap. It had killed or chased away the thing waiting for me and I was able to continue down the road.
I never actually dreamed meeting Steve. I simply knew that I had, that he had placed yet another implant in my head, and that he was the friendliest of the three. He also had given signs that he was attracted to me, even though the next person he sent me too was his girlfriend. It was at this point that I felt that this morning’s dream actually started, with everything prior to it merely remembered from a previous session, so it all seemed to form one long sequence.
I walked into a coffee shop and up to the counter girl as the reflection on a passing truck threw the shadow marker across her eyes. She wore a black knit watchcap over her collar-length brown hair and a black leather coat with silver studs. She looked impatient and quickly ushered me outside to the mailbox, where a delivery truck was sitting.
“You need to get to Seattle right now. My girl friend is waiting there. You need to find C.”
“Yes, get going!”
I had a sudden mental image of a bunch of unrecognizable objects scattered across the top of a dresser.
“You aren’t carrying that stuff with you?! Forget it, there’s no time.”
I found myself in a tea shop, presumably in Seattle, with a tall girl who handed me a menu. On the wall behind the counter I saw something similar to this diagram:
I knew this meant that the three guys were looking out for me, and keeping track of my progress. The circle around Steve and Richard’s boxes indicated a connection between them that they didn’t share with the third, but I wasn’t sure what exactly. I smiled and turned back to the girl.
“I’m here to meet C, who is it?”
She tapped on the menu. I looked at the list of various tea-based drinks, most of them infused with various fruit juices and combinations of herbs and supplements that supposedly would cure what ails you. Next to the name of each item were a couple of stickers, done in a sort of Lucky Mojo style, that indicated what each tea was good for.
“Sorry, I’m not really thirsty. Could you please tell me who C is?”
She tapped the menu again. I looked at the name of the tea her finger was pointing at: “C”.
“Stops a cold!” “Great for sex!”, read the stickers.
“Well, I could always use more of that I guess. I’ll take a bottle. Do you have something else for me? Who am I supposed to see now?”
I was interrupted by the alarm going off, and Aaron nearly punching me as he reached for it in a panic, thinking he was late for work. I staggered out of bed, still half in the dream, and wondered what to make of it all. I wonder if this one will continue, and if I’ll remember it again…