I have had many “normal” (read: nonsense) dreams since the Black Armored Angel jumped off the mountain with me. At first I discounted them as mere noise and entertainment because there was no continuity between them, no tells of entities sandboxing me. Until I took notes and compared them all.
Writers of fanfics are familiar with the term “AU”, an acronym for “alternative universe”. An AU allows the writer to explore known characters in situations and environments alternate to the works of canon, the “official setting”, that the characters are a part of. What if two well-known action movie heros were merely two college students claiming the last table in a coffee shop? How would their characters react in such a setting if they kept the same personality traits as known in the movies but had none of the superhero stuff?
What if I were accidentally set adrift in space and the Black Armored Angel was the alien who rescued me? How would we interact without a shared language or cultural symbols?
What if the Black Armored Angel was an alien who crashed to Earth and I was the only human who was willing to reach out to them despite the fear? How would I introduce them to human society and help them integrate with my own cohort?
What if a dumbass magician friend of mine said “Hold my beer” and tried to summon a demon to teach me magic but he hiccuped at the wrong point in the incantation and now I have an angel (the Black Armored Angel) following me around trying to protect me? How hard of a time will that angel have trying to keep me from strangling the fuck out of my friend cuz now I can’t get up to my own demonic shenanigans until I work out the new boundaries? (Spoiler: A very fucking hard time.)
What if I befriend a refugee who doesn’t want to talk about his past but is very curious about my present and as we meet in various places so I can help him learn English, I realize that the refugee is actually an alien in disguise wanting to learn about humanity in general and me in particular? What if that alien was the Black Armored Angel?
As the nights went on, I learned to spot what the “other version” of the angel had in common in all the alternate universes, and thus the specific tells of the Black Armored Angel. Thursday night, I went to bed with the intent of creating a dream environment where the Black Armored Angel could meet with me in mutual comfort. As I formed the environment, I focused on the tells and allowed the environment to form itself in whatever way best supported those tells.
The early morning that followed (I remember because I had to get up to attend to nightly duties and saw it was after midnight) found me fully immersed in a dream where the Black Armored Angel (as an extraterrestrial alien) had come to me to help and protect me. But for reasons I do not want to discuss in public, had to use his “alien powers” to act as my eyes. My dream body’s eyes had become blind and rather than leave me unassisted, he chose to accompany me and see for me. As a result, my mind “saw” more than what a normal human body could see. The effect disoriented me and the dream ended before the plot could be resolved.
Friday at work, I realized that not only was my awareness split, in that the physical part of me was doing the paycheck earning tasks but the spirit* part of me was… not.
The first break I had at work, I closed and locked the door, closed my eyes, and listened.
First was the sensation of being wrapped in something like a cloak from behind. The cloak was warm and cold at the same time. The cloak was hard and soft at the same time. The cloak was lined with feathers. The cloak was two great wings that enveloped me… and the something that was immediately behind me.
I tried to look at the cloak, but I was blind. The sense of touch was the only one active. I tried to touch the cloak but lost my standing balance and almost tipped. Large, metal encased arms came from the something behind me. They wrapped gently but firmly around me, holding me upright. Once I regained my balance, they started to withdraw but I grabbed the armored arms and felt the metal covering.
I did not need sight to know the armor was as black as pitch but as smooth as light. The texture of the Black Armored Angel is distinctive as it in indistinct.
“I can’t see. I can’t see you. But I know you are here, with me.”
The angel nodded.
“I need to see. What must I do to see?”
The angel moved their right arm and rested their gauntlet hand on my chest over my heart.
“I need to trust you?”
The angel nodded.
“Very well, then. I trust you. Do as you need to do so I may see.”
The angel moved their right arm again, keeping their left arm softly holding me, and lifted their visor.
Though my physical eyes were closed, I saw the interior of my office at first merely clearly, and then slowly with augmentation. Certain things in my office were glowing and certain things appeared unnaturally shadowed.
I was reminded of the dream.
“Then that was you, [in the dream]. And my conclusion was correct. The AUs are safe spaces. Okay. I accept.”
The sight looked at the clock. My break time was almost over.
The rest of the work day was normal as far as work goes. The objects that either glowed or were shadowed continued to have that augmentation after I had returned to “consciousness”. Some of the objects did not surprise me, a few did and I understand I have some work to do with them as a result.
Another night (Friday), another unprompted dream, another AU, another layer of understanding gained regarding the relationship between the Black Armored Angel and myself. The day that followed was without spiritual incident and was mostly normal as Saturdays go.
Last night, another dream, another AU, but a scenario that I had not dreamed before. The Black Armored Angel was again an extraterrestrial alien who had (because setting) chosen to remain with the normal human that I am on Earth. The alien’s culture was as fractured as humanity’s with several factions and castes that each claimed to speak for them all. Some alien factions accepted the decision. Some did not.
When one of the dissenting factions challenged my “alien companion” with their inability to fully integrate with my culture, one of the dissenter’s points was that my alien companion “did not have an identifying name”, and a name was key for human cultural interactions.
“I do have a name.” My alien companion turned to me and I saw the silhouette of the Black Armored Angel superimposed on the figure of the alien that the dream was giving me. “My name is [redacted].”
The sound of his name became a glowing glyph that hung in the air between us. As I watched, the glyph morphed into separate Latin letters that were oriented from my field of view. I saw how the letters were pronounced, and how to duplicate the sound that the alien companion made.
I took his hand in friendship. “Hello, [redacted], my friend and companion.”
The dream suddenly shattered and I awoke with the afterimage of the letters fading from my sight as the ambient light informed me it was fully day.
I spent the morning going over all the similarities and differences in the AU dreams. The more the Black Armored Angel presents themselves to me, the less important is the setting of the AU dream.
I’m guessing that even though my fear of the angel has been removed, there is still just so much intensity to the angel that meeting them “head on” would be too much and overwhelming. But by using alternate universe dreams as bubble-wrapped environments, I can encounter one aspect of the angel at a time, process that aspect, and be prepared to meet the next.
I had not attempted to divine a name for the Black Armored Angel. Nor had I sought to assign a pseudonym as I had done for Snake or Esse. I have a lot going on behind the scenes right now, and did not want to involve what is essentially a haughty and egotistical task to something that is way beyond my paygrade.
I had taken it on faith that I would learn more about them as time went on, as long as I was upholding my end of the promises. That is, as long as I had faith.
The angel gave me their name.
And now we go on with the day.
* Spirit or astral or subtle… you know… the terms are used so interchangeably I really don’t know which one applies where and I’m not assed enough to find those boundaries today.
He/They: It is interesting that in all the dreams and AUs, the character that the Black Armored Angel played was distinctly and identifiably masculine but when conscious or in trance, though the Black Armored Angel has traits that appear masculine (as far as western culture would consider masculine), they present and identify as ungendered to the point where the only right pronoun to describe them as is “they”. Something something expectations versus reality something.
And if you’re wondering why I don’t just reduce the Black Armored Angel’s title to an acronym like I’ve done with so many others, keep in mind that means calling the angel, “BAA”. No. Denied. With prejudice. That shit just ain’t right.
(And once I get the references right, I may go back and tag the posts proper. Maybe. I dunno. We’ll see how intricate things get.)