Strange Land

There was a dark tone throughout this entire dream – as if, the entire time, the weather was cloudy.  The first thing I recall was that I was at some carnival or festival with [Alana] and [Kris].  I walked towards a cluster of trees from where [Abigail] suddenly leaped, seizing me and pulling me into the trees.  I cried out for [Alana] to help me – I was being kidnapped!

[Abigail] had her arms around my waist and was carrying me like I was some living, oversized stuffed animal.  She took me to the other side of the trees to a hidden land.  There, we approached a river with wrecked cars […] on the shores, some still partway in the water – much [like shipwrecks].  [Abigail] proceeded to take me across the waters and we had already waded well in, up to our waists, when a crash-test dummy leaned out the window of one of the wrecked cars.  He warned [Abigail] not to cross the river – that to do so would mean death.  I got the impression that [Abigail] was a very valuable person in this land – a queen or a leader of sorts.  [Abigail] heeded the dummy’s warning and backed out of the river with some resentment.

The next thing I knew, I think I was rescued.  I was riding in the back of my mom’s car with my mother at the wheel when I saw [Alana] riding a bicycle along the side of the road.  We were still in [Abigail’s] strange land but were quickly making our escape.  Upon seeing [Alana], I thought, I knew she’d come to rescue me!  I told my mother to stop the car and invited [Alana] in.  Then I found myself in the front passenger seat and [Alana] in the back.  She was smiling and happy she had a ride – glad, also, that she had found me.  I asked her how she had found her way here and she told me she had crossed the river.  Upon hearing this, I became sad because I knew that crossing the river meant death.  But I didn’t tell [Alana].  I didn’t let her know that she was going to die – that in her attempt to rescue me, she had sacrificed her own life. […]

Then I remember [Alana] and I making our way across rocky, treacherous mountain paths covered with ice and snow.  We were climbing this mountain to reach a house at its very peak in an attempt to find [Abigail] there – that perhaps she could show us a way out of this strange, grey land of hers.  Funny, that the enemy should now become an ally.

We reached the house and, inside, I saw that it was an odd, convoluted thing made of wooden planks with many different floors and separate rooms.  This house was scattered with a great many Asian people of all ages – from tiny toddlers barely able to walk, to old men and women bent over sticks and canes.  [Alana] and I wandered through this house but we could not find [Abigail].

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Baptised

The color was beautiful – bright and vivid.  Everything had a creamy feel to it – an almost pastel hue.  I remember standing at the head of a river or a stream.  This flowing body of water was surrounded, on either side, by fairly large, rolling hills that were mostly olive green in color but showed the occasional sign of a yellowish-tan.  I think I arrived at this point after making a long and arduous journey through tunnels in a wet and slimy cave.

I wasn’t alone where I stood, nor did I make the journey alone.  There were about a dozen other people with me and they were all swimming across the river – not horizontally, from shore to shore, as one would assume, but with the river’s flow, from head to tail.  It was a sort of baptism and we all wore the white robes.

It was my turn to swim across this river.  The river wasn’t very long, for I could see its end a ways in front of me.  It ended where the hills closed around it and a giant sewer pipe emerged from the land.  Next to me was my friend [Olivia], who was a very devoted Christian.  I haven’t seen, nor talked with her for years in reality.  But in my dream, we were to forge through this river together and she was scared.  “Don’t worry,” I said to her.  “I’ll go with you.”  Then I told her to hold my hand as I reached out and took hold of her.  There was something very important about our holding hands – that if we didn’t let go, we’d make it.  And so, holding each other’s hands, we dove into the river.  But I couldn’t hold on and I started to sink.  At some point, I decided that I couldn’t make it – I wasn’t strong enough nor determined enough.

The next thing I knew, I was looking down at the river from one of the surrounding hills, watching all the Christians swimming around below me.  One by one, with great, spirited effort, they labored through it and arrived on the other side […].  I thought as I watched, Boy, those Christians sure are crazy.  But I smiled at them and [was] fond of them.

Right before the end of their journey, they had to crawl through the sewage pipe filled with a rich, green slime.  At some point, it wasn’t [Olivia] but [Ana] who was putting herself through this baptismal.  [Ana] managed to make her way through all the slime and I greeted her at the end.  Her entire body, especially her head and face, was covered in a pale green, translucent slime.  But she was all smiles and jubilation as she touched the slime [on] her with both hands.  As she brought her hands away, the slime stuck to her fingers and stretched out in long, slimy streaks.  She was all exhausted, dirty, but happy and triumphant.

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Jungle

In the beginning, I was watching a small tiger cub catch its food.  It didn’t look real but instead animated like it was part of a video game.  The entire scene was set against a dark background with the foreground figures in bright colors – almost [fluorescent] in their bright pink, orange, and yellow hues.  The next thing I noted was the tiger cub flying into the air and it [shrank] down to the size of an ant as it flew towards a giant tree.  On this tree was a whole jungle of different animals the size of small insects – there were caribou, elephants, giraffes… all running around over the tree limbs, over the trunk – swarming all over it like a […] colony of ants.

To protect themselves against predators, like my tiger cub, these insect-sized animals would all swarm together to form a giant animal – like a great, full-sized giraffe.  I saw these tiny animals stack upon each other in a gigantic swarm until that swarm was in the shape of a giraffe and I thought,  With such a defense mechanism, it’s a wonder the predators get to eat at all.  Just then, I saw a bug-sized wolf who had missed his prey hanging by his teeth from a hole on the side of the tree.  “I know,” he managed to say to me, in response to my thought.

Then, I suddenly realized that I was watching this dream on television.  I was in a living room with a light, pale carpet and there were two or three others watching the television with me.  There was also a pale, peach couch against the wall but I was lying on the floor on top of my pet lion.  I realized that I was on top of my lion and so I moved away from her.

The next thing I remember, I was in some shipping yard where I saw, displayed in wooden crates, quite a few, small cabbage patch heads waiting to be bought, and thus, set free.  Someone approached them but they grew afraid and shivered, drawing back into their crates.  I wanted to save these poor cabbage patch heads and so I bought two of them.  I wasn’t supposed to buy [any more] cabbage patches but I saw that my pet lion was one of these unfortunate cabbages and so was a girl […].  I had to buy these last two cabbage heads, for they were my friends and so I bought them with a forged name.

I was trying to make my escape with all my cabbage heads when I was found out.  There were a few guards who tried to stop me.  I looked around me and said, “Where’s my pet lion?” – as a way to intimidate the guards.  It worked.  The guards were frightened by the prospect of my lion tearing them to pieces, and thus they left.

[…]

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Beethoven

I think it was the early eighteen hundreds because of the way the townspeople were dressed.  I was in one of those large dresses typical of that time – nothing fancy or elaborate but not too dull at the same time.  It looked like some sort of simple festival was going on at the town square – for a bunch of men and some women were all clustered together in the midst of some active game, all running across the cobbled streets with laughs and cries of exhilaration.  I was among the spectators who crowded around the players, clapping my hands and [craning] my neck to catch a glimpse of what was going on.  For a moment, I took a brief pause in my excitement and stepped back to the fringes of the crowd where I deliberately made the decision to stand next to a German man whom I knew to be Ludwig van Beethoven.  I didn’t look at him or pay special attention to him – just kept my neck [craned], my eyes focused ahead, and my hands clapping.  He looked at me calmly, at how excited and happy I was, and then he said, “Would you like to come to dinner with me?”  I was astounded, aghast – and altogether thrilled as I accepted his invitation.

[…]

I remember being in a store with him once – it looked strikingly modern, like a [JCPenney] or the makeup section at Macy’s.  There were whitewashed walls and long counters with mirrors and jewelry.  Beethoven and I were laughing and joking as I led him up to one of the counters and I looked at myself in a small mirror propped up on the countertop.  It was one of those typical mirrors that department stores usually have on their make-up countertops – with those fake gold-metal linings.  The reflection that I saw was a young girl in her late teens who was as cute as anything.  She resembled me in a way, only much lovelier, and with a face that was all smiles.  No wonder Beethoven loves me, I thought.  I’m prettier than anything.  My dark hair was done in elaborate braids – pulled back in two fishbones, I think, that ran across the sides of my head.  It was hard to tell exactly what hairstyle I had from the reflection.

Beethoven […] reached forward and picked up a set of beautiful earrings – one in each hand.  They were small hoop earrings, studded with rows and rows of tiny diamonds – they were absolutely gorgeous.  He held them up next to my face, right underneath my ears – and they made me look even more lovely.  “Oh, they’re wonderful!” I exclaimed.  “They’re so beautiful!”  And so he bought them for me.

The next thing I remember, we were in a bookstore together – a modest one with wooden walls and a single storekeeper behind a small, wooden counter – early nineteenth century again.  I think [Beethoven] was looking out a window, all sullen and worried, and I was coming to the realization that he was deaf.  I noticed that he never responded to anything I said unless he could see and read my lips. […]

Napoleon was invading and we were grim as we stood in the bookstore.  Beethoven wanted to save the books from being burned and so […] we pulled the books from the shelves in a frenzy, loading as many as we could into a cloth bag that I carried.  I asked him some urgent question that I can’t quite remember – something like, “But what if they don’t know…?”  I was referring to Napoleon’s troops.  However, Beethoven couldn’t hear me.  I touched him on the shoulder so that he turned and looked at me while I repeated my question.  But the time was too chaotic and I said it too fast – he did not understand me – was unable to read what I had to say.  He embraced me anyways and told me what to do with the books.  Then he left ahead of me, walking out the front door.  I remember thinking about how misunderstood the man was.  And I remember seeing a glimpse of myself running after him in my big long dress – down a dirt road in the middle of town.  As I ran, I thought, Who would’ve known that from dinner would come this? […]  And I was so glad he had asked me to dinner.

Then I was back at the bookstore, walking out the front door and leaving the books next to the front steps in a bag that was now plastic.  It was what Beethoven had told me to do.  I looked out at the town and saw a great many people lying dead or dying upon the ground – civilians that Napoleon’s troops had slain.  To my left I saw a woman on the ground […].  To my right, Beethoven was making his way among these dead – hurrying towards a particular building.  I picked up my skirt and ran after him.  As I did so, I noticed that my skirt felt like plastic bags. […]

I followed Ludwig into the building, which was all fancy and lavishly adorned inside – like a nineteenth century palace.  There were a number of gentlemen in a particular room going about business – dressed in suits appropriate for the time.  As Ludwig entered, one of the gentlemen – rather round in face and feature – approached him and greeted him with, “How’s that ringing in your ears, Sir?”  Apparently, they either did not know of Ludwig’s condition or were making fun of him for it.

Ludwig ignored the man and proceeded to the desk of another gentleman who was taller, more well-built, and more business-like than the previous gentleman.  This man had a dark mustache and wore over one eye a spectacle attached to a cord.  Beethoven threw what looked like a manuscript in front of the man upon his desk.  The two argued about the books Beethoven had been trying to save.  There was some elaborate scheme, but ultimately, the gentleman wound up taking the credit for rescuing the books.

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Napoleon

It was the early 1800s on a day that was bright, sunny, and absolutely gorgeous.  I sat at a large, grand piano on a green lawn right at the edge of the woods – the beautiful backyard of some wealthy family.  I played the piano, my fingers running along the keys, and as I did so, I was aware of the scent and shape of blossoming flowers.  It was such a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere.  My audience was only several people who were not overly attentive, but just casually listening or wandering about – the ladies dressed in their elaborate nineteenth-century gowns, flapping their fans and politely chatting, a few children running across the grass, and just one or two gentlemen strolling here and there in their black suits with coat-tails.

I was approaching the last line of my piece – a left-hand run across the keyboard – when I heard loud thumping noises interjecting into my music.  It sounded like the marching of a whole troop of soldiers.  I wanted to look up to assess the oncoming threat, but even more so, I wanted to finish playing the piece.  However, the urgency I felt towards the oncoming danger was too strong to resist and I dashed off the run in a blundered hurry.

Looking up at a trail that twisted into the serene […] woods, I saw an army marching straight towards us – in the uniform style – rifles, boots, and coats – typical of that time.  “It’s Napoleon’s army!” I cried in a panic.  “Napoleon’s army’s come to invade us!”  I ran from the piano to a group of women who sat on a stone garden bench.  Sitting down with them, I saw that one of my stuffed animals – an Easter bunny I named Jellybean – sat at my right.  I hugged her close to me, and all of a sudden, in a strange way, she became like the children.

The next thing I remember was everything was chaos and people were being slaughtered everywhere.  We were all running across gently sloping hills of that same green-lawn grass bordered by the delicate, whispering beauty of those same woods.  But the presence of the house, the patio, the backyard feel, and definitely the piano – were all gone.  It was just wide open space – seemingly a giant field of trim lawn across which we ran hectically, in every direction, in a panic for our lives.  We no longer wore our fancy clothes, but only the dullest, most typical things of the blandest colors – brown shirts, gray pants, tan colors – peasant clothes.  In front of me, I saw vividly, a soldier stab a man in the lower back, the sword sliding straight through the man’s body, emerging from his belly in a bloody burst as his eyes bulged and his mouth gaped open in pain.

Suddenly, the soldiers began to shoot arrows, and these arrows rained down upon us.  I caught one in my lower back but I kept running – the thing jutting out behind me.  Lucky it missed my spine, I thought.  It was a long and painful thing sticking out of my back, and it hindered me as I ran.  I reached behind me and broke off the arrow above my flesh, but a larger part of it was still inside of me.  Lucky I can still run, I thought […].

Then I noticed that it wasn’t arrows the soldiers were firing anymore, but giant, wooden javelins […].  There was a female commander wearing peasant[] clothes, and at her command, the soldiers behind her launched their javelins into the air.  I found myself running with a group of about a dozen others, all scrambling about in a confused frenzy – not knowing what to do.  I don’t quite remember what happened – there was a mistake – an accident […].  But suddenly, I saw a javelin mistakenly pierce through the female commander’s body – the head of the weapon slicing through her heart from behind and piercing through her chest.  The soldiers gasped and blamed us for their mistake, seeking vengeance by firing [a] […] torrent of wooden spears upon us.

We screamed […] [and] we turned and fled towards the edge of the woods.  For some reason, I did not turn like the others.  I ran backwards, facing the onslaught of javelins that flew just inches from my body until I reached the woods with the others.  There, I turned and fled into the forest, the great trees surrounding me.  Everywhere, people were scattering among the trees, dodging into the darkness.  I could still feel the arrow in my back and the presence of the javelins chasing us into the woods.

All the while, throughout all this, the sun was shining brilliantly, the sky was a clear blue, and the weather was perfect.

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Arm

[Alice] and I were part of our school’s musical groups which decided to take a field trip to perform at a very beautiful place, by the looks of which I took to be […] Washington D.C.  It was nighttime when I was scheduled to perform with the orchestra but my right arm was feeling sore.  [Alice’s] father’s arm had recently been amputated and she had it with her, for some reason.  Since my arm was sore, I asked [Alice] if I could borrow her father’s and she consented.  Thus I played through the concert using [his] arm.

Afterwards, I think it was (I’m not sure of the chronology here), I walked from the concert hall around the building until I saw [Alice] standing next to a set of windows, staring outside amongst rows of seats […].  [I] asked her what it was she was looking at out there in the night. […] she said to me, drawing away from the window […], “My father has a job interview today and I’m afraid he’s not going to make it through.  I’m afraid he’s going to show up drunk and he’s not going to make it through, you know, the counting part.”

“Is he here?” I asked, looking out the window.  I saw that the view contained a building with several men gathered around in their suits and ties, holding onto cocktails as they clustered around […].  It seemed to be a business meeting of sorts.  I scanned the men, looking for [Alice’s] father.

“You can’t see him from here […]!” she said to me.  In other words, he wasn’t here in D.C.  I think that I gave [Alice] her father’s arm back and she put it in a refrigerator.  All the while, I held for her a soft drink which had words on the lid saying something along the lines of “He will lend his arm,” or perhaps it was, “He who is strong, kind, nurturing… will lend a helping arm” – some saying such as that.

The next thing I remember was that [Alice] and I were outside, walking through the night air among those white, pillared buildings which were lit with fluorescent, glowing lights that shone a soft illumination in the gentle evening darkness.  There were other students strolling outside after the concert.  We were all walking around a giant, rectangular pool whose calm surface reflected the quiet darkness of the sky above. […]  I said to [Alice] earnestly, “I have to tell you something important, but I have to hurry, because this dream is about to end.”

I can’t remember what it was I meant to tell her. […] But my alarm clock was ringing and I struggled for a moment there between the waking world and the dream world before finally giving in to the world of dreams.

I awoke in my dream because [Alice’s] parents were calling me on the telephone.  It was dark when I sat up in bed to talk to [them] on the other end of the line.  They told me that [Alice] had forgotten where she had left the arm back at D.C. and they were wondering if I remembered.  “Yeah, I remember,” I told them, and resurrected a memory of the beautiful building with all the great, white pillars lit up in night lights – the place where we had left the arm.  My memory scanned through the area – across the wide, glowing steps that led to buildings resembling those of ancient Greece – all glowing in a peaceful, starry night.  “It was in the third house all the way back,” I finished, referring to the arm and its location.  They were going to come to pick me up so that I could give them directions as to where that arm was.  They were planning on driving all the way back down to Washington with me.

I hung up the phone and just sort of [lay] there in bed for a good long while before I remembered they were coming to get me and thus I should get dressed.  I got up but couldn’t seem to find anything to wear, so I threw on a whole jumble of shirts and a pair of cotton shorts that made me feel as though I’d be cold if I went outside.  That’s alright, I figured to myself.  I’d only be out there for a short period of time.  As I was fumbling around, getting dressed, I opened a drawer at the head of my bed and there, encased in ice, sat [Alice’s] father’s arm.  I must have taken it out of the drawer and set it on my bed, on top of all my sheets, for that was where I remembered seeing it next.  It didn’t even look like an arm at all – it seemed more like an odd-looking, clear cup filled with ice, ice-cream, and mint-chocolate chips.  Still though, I was a bit disgusted and taken-aback at what I knew that icy package contained within.  “C’mon, Theresa,” I told myself, “it’s just an arm.”  Looking out the window, I saw that [Alice’s family] had already pulled into my driveway in a silver, sporty car and apparently had already been waiting for me for quite some time.  I did take my time, I thought, and wondered why they hadn’t come to ring my doorbell and hurry me along.  But at least I had the arm and now we didn’t have to drive all the way to Washington to get it.

I picked it up off the bed and carefully brought it down the stairs, stepping outside barefooted onto a ground covered by a thin layer of snow.  I was aware that my parents were sleeping inside the house and that they didn’t know I was awake and out here.  But I’ll only be a second, I thought.  They don’t need to know.  I opened the back door of the car and sat down next to [Alice].  Her younger brother sat on the other side of her while her parents occupied the two front seats, her father at the driver’s seat.  They all turned and greeted me in a most friendly, cheerful manner as I entered the car and handed the arm to the parents.  They were most happy and pleased to have the arm back and they thanked me generously – her father even offering to pay me, taking out a little bag of coins and throwing some money my way.  I refused it, of course – after[ ]all, it was I who had borrowed it in the first place and if anybody paid anybody, it should be [me] […].

“Well, why don’t we drive Theresa to our house,” [Alice’s] mother suggested.  Thus, they did.  It seemed like a rather long drive over.  All I remember was that the parents spoke to each other in a strange, foreign language – exactly the way my parents spoke to each other.  [Alice] leaned forward in her seat and said something to her parents in that same, odd language – the words of which I actually did understand, somewhat.

“[Alice], what language are you speaking!” I asked.

She paused and looked at me out of the corner of her eye as if offended by my half-question half-exclamation.  “Romanian,” she said, as though the answer was obvious.

“Really?” I responded.  ” ‘Cause that’s exactly how my parents talk to each other […] and the funny thing is that I actually understood some of the words!”  I sat back and wondered how this could be, picturing a map of Eastern Europe in my head.  Well, I figured, Romania is very close to where my parents come from (Taiwan), so there would logically be similarities in the language.  I was quite satisfied with my reasoning […].

Finally, we turned into a beautiful housing development that paralleled the Kennewyck development near my house in reality.  We pulled up to [Alice’s] house in her driveway and everyone got out of the car except for her father – he was going to take me back directly and it made me greatly upset […].  I watched as [Alice] walked […] towards her house with her family.

Then, all of a sudden, I was with them, standing on the front porch.  [Alice’s] father gave her mother the keys and told her not to forget to ask me the “big question.”  I remember feeling as though they were going to ask permission to borrow money from my family.  But my family’s poor, I remember thinking.  We wouldn’t be able to give you anything.

Somehow, there came to be a change of plans.  They invited me in to stay for a[]while and I saw that their house was beautiful – filled with all sorts of lovely furniture and lit with a warm, glowing light.  I sat on a stool in the middle of all this and spun around on it to take in all the rooms of the house.  I saw that [Alice’s] mom was holding a new baby and that [Alice] was preparing a bottle for it.  […] – the furniture was new, expensive, and abstract, of all colors, shapes, and sizes, filling the house in such a way that it should have made it cluttered but did not.  It had a real familiar feel to it […].  I spun around on my stool when it hit me.  “Oh my god!  This is [Natalie’s] house!” I exclaimed. […] “Wow, I dunno what’s wrong with me,” I continued, laughing.  “I’m just slow.  I mean, I thought this place looked familiar.”  Of course, [Natalie’s] family had sold their house and [Alice’s family] had first dibs [on] buying it.  With a house like this, I thought, no wonder they’re having financial problems.

I spun around some more on my stool, quite pleased to be where I was.  Once, I glanced down at my legs and was briefly surprised to find myself wearing a warm pair of blue speedos […] instead of the shorts I thought I had put on earlier.

One last thing I’d like to add about this dream.  I remember, when [Alice] and I were in Washington, we were […] outside with a group of other people my age and we all held hands in a single row of about six or seven.  It was in the middle of a large courtyard that we stood, there on the lawn with several trees[,] and parked in front of us was a psychedelic van whose colors were dulled by the night.  We ran towards that van, all holding hands in a row […].  I talked about the concert as I ran forward with the others.  “I mean, it didn’t even feel like I was playing [violin] with someone else’s arm,” I said to the group.  “It’s kind of disgusting if you think about it.”  And then we ran up the side of the van – all of us, in a great rush, just up and over.

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Western Themed

I was inside […] one of those Western bars in those classic Western towns.  Except the “people” here were rather different.  In fact, they weren’t people at all, but instead, these strange, odd-looking[,] monster-like creatures.  They weren’t scary, just ugly.  One of them I remember in particular – a […] large thing that had thick, green skin with warts.  He had really thick lips and wore the typical Western attire – a cowboy hat and the classic vest and boots.  He sat in a chair with a keg of beer in his hand which he rested on top of his stomach.  He was sort of like [Jabba the Hutt], from Star Wars […].  Most of the monsters looked like him – however, varying in sizes and skin color.  One of them was a distinct blue.

I remember seeing a human woman who was in the bar wearing Western men’s clothes. […] she was intimidating a rather unkempt, drunken male criminal with her pistol before he gave her whatever it was she wanted.  He was cowering from her, with his back pressed against the bar counter when she took off her hat and shot a flaming hole through the bottom of it with her gun.  For some reason, this showed that her pistol hadn’t been loaded at all and that it was all just a bluff.  She smiled from beneath her head of thick, dark hair before putting her hat back on and turning on her heel to stroll from the [saloon].  The man, with his stubbly beard, became incensed that he had been tricked.  He pulled out his own gun and shot at the woman as she fled through the swinging doors.

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