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I may or may not have mentioned this on my blog in the year that I’ve been a blogger, but I have a lot of apocalyptic dreams. I dreamt once that nuclear bombs were dropped on every major (and some not-so-major) city in the United States, and in that dream I went back in time to save my family. I couldn’t save my father. I’ve had at least a dozen dreams in which I was battling zombies, usually with a sword. Once was on a hill in Scotland, once was in a cave in China, once was at my university. Several more, the locations didn’t matter, they were just generically dark and depressing post-apocalyptic cities. I dreamt once that vampires had overrun the world, and there were just a handful of us surviving humans who fought them from the underground. I’ve dreamed twice of an alien invasion. The first time was two Sundays ago. The aliens were some strange, floating, legless but vaguely humanoid creatures with long tentacles for hair and thin, ethereal arms. They were all gray and blue and white, and to an extent, reminded me of the Wraith in the Stargate: Atlantis series. I encountered them in a military setting; they came out of the woods during a training exercise and burned the legs off of one of my comrades. It was a disturbing dream, although I wouldn’t exactly call it a nightmare. I’ve only ever had three of those my entire life, and they’re the only dreams I won’t talk about. With anyone. Ever.
The second time I dreamt an apocalypse via alien invasion was last night, and parts of that dream take my breath away just to remember. I have a vivid imagination, and my dreams have always been realistic in sensation if not exactly realistic in situation, but last night…it was something else entirely. I remember carrying a large man on my shoulders up a hill, running as fast as I could with his weight pressing on my back and straining my quads. I remember running over stone and crumbling pavement as the shifting earth gave way beneath me, deafening gunfire, bullets ricocheting off of concrete and splintering wood. I remember seeing an army of men, led by a small, elegant women in a black dress. I remember, down to ever word, every coy smile, my conversation with her. I remember trying to kill her, only to discover that her skin healed over faster than I could cut with my little knife. She was laughing at me the whole time.
But I knew—even as she laughed at me, as she told me not to call her an immortal, but simply to accept that I couldn’t kill her—that I could do it. I could put an end to the invasion by taking her out, and I knew how. I took out her general. I remember exactly how that felt.
And it was all just another post-apocalyptic dream. Again: sometimes my subconscious produces the darnedest things. I’ve never even come close to doing some of the things that I did as easily as breathing in last night’s dream. I’ve hiked up a slew of mountains and hills, with various amounts of weight on my back, but never a full-grown man weighing me down. I’ve fought men and women of varying sizes in combatives classes, but never been in an actual fight. I’ve only heard gunfire in a controlled setting, at a range, and with hearing protection muffling the sounds. Yet this dream was as true and real feeling as if I had done all of those things, as if I lived another life in another reality in which a spaceship, painted to mimic the night sky, hovered over America like a writhing, twisting, spinning thing. It was gorgeous, but it was dangerous, and I knew both things simultaneously as soon as I saw it.
And then I woke up, and the dream was over, and I’ll never know how the story ends. It was all in my head; I was the heroine, the leader, humanity’s last great hope, and I will never know if in that version of the apocalypse I lived or died, failed or succeeded. I woke up mid-sentence in my conversation with the aliens’ leader, her annoyingly perfect smile lingering before my eyes, the memories of the dream teasing my ears and nose and all-too-realistically aching shoulders.
I normally like my dreams. I'm prone to dreaming adventures, and journeys, and complicated story lines with a peppering of action, romance, and comedy. I've dreamed of finding love in a forest from another time, and I've dreamed a message from an ancient goddess. My dreams of battling zombies are always fun, although the dank, dark settings are generally depressing. My alien invasion dreams? I'm not enjoying them quite as much as I'd've hoped. I miss dreaming about the Forest Lord. He can wander back in my subconscious any night and I'll be just pleased as peaches.
Queen Mab, have you been visiting my bedside? Perhaps I need to make a bigger dreamcatcher and slip some lavender under my pillow. I smell another tarot reading in my future.