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Alternate World War

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

A dream from January 2013.

A battle is being fought. I am commander, or at least I am bearing witness to the commander. I slowly understand that it is not just a battle but a war and that the war has been fought for my entire life. Within the army I command, there are whispers of unrest and some of our own people dissent, even though an enemy is coming that will likely be our end. These people form their own group and steal our technologies, including gigantic, cybernetic, genetically modified spiders. They nearly lay us to waste with an attack on our gates and then a group of their soldiers come to request parley at the throne. I take the throne in my plain clothes (which is quite an irreverent act in this world, but time is of the essence) and speak to a group of them.

Meanwhile, a host of soldiers from their side and its leader are sneaking in around me and my own soldiers while we talk. Their leader then makes himself known and begins parley with me. He is a devious and sly man, full of cunning that is evidenced by his smile and his general aura. He begins to speak quite enigmatically, dropping hints that he has perfected the monstrous orange-and-blue humanoid battle warriors that had been previously stuck in development. Even as he does so, I see these monstrous creatures growing larger on the horizon. As I continue talking, with a discreet wave of my hand I command two of my bannermen to sneak away and summon the battle spider to me. In a last effort to appeal to reason, I tell the leader of my new foes that we need to join forces because the real enemy is approaching us at our northern gates and will be upon us very shortly. I wonder fleetingly if this treachery is some trick of the enemy, but I have no time to consider it further: the orange-and-blue monsters are upon us, flying into the air and raining fire down upon our host. There is no time to form a defensive position. I take cover under some rocks and look for The Spider. I see it approaching and I run to it, diving out from under the rocks and engaging in some seriously impressive acrobatics – cartwheels, tumbles, flips, and gravity-defying jumps – to dodge the fiery balls of rock and ash that are falling all around me. I get on the back of my battle spider and begin to combat their leader, who is on the back of a similar arthropod cyborg. But he is too cunning, too strong, and he is besting me. As my spider rears up on two of its hind legs, I am flung from its back and land on the hard earth, rolling many times and stopping on a large rock. I notice a wooden door beneath it, so I open it and jump through, closing it hard behind me and shutting my eyes as balls of fire hurl toward me.

I open my eyes on the other side of the door. It’s Monday morning on an urban street, and people are returning to work after the weekend. They wear suits. They carry briefcases. There are construction workers in orange and blue pouring concrete, doing sidewalk construction. People generally seem either bored of preoccupied by their thoughts.


I try to slow my breath. I don’t want any of them to know anything of the magic, devilry, and destruction that is all about them. I will keep it hidden. I walk on the road, acting as though everything is quite ordinary and peaceful.

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