Dream Denizen: The Forest of Shadows

"Phatpuppy Forest Primeval Stock" by phatpuppy, used with permission
"Phatpuppy Forest Primeval Stock" by phatpuppy, used with permission

Imagine the canopy, thicker. Much thicker. Branches intertwined with each other appearing as if the trees were battling each other and froze in mid parry. Ever leafless, ever just on this side of wet rot, but so thick that even at noon, it is dark as night on the forest floor.

And here you are, trying to make your way through. Maybe you were told this was a shortcut, a way to avoid bandits on the road. Maybe you were told there was a secret treasure hidden within, with the owner depending on myth to keep thieves at bay. Maybe you found your family missing, with directions to leave the ransom in the forest. The reason you are here, really doesn’t matter. You’ll only be here for a few hours, after all.

Just you, and your lit torch. Just your muck soaked feet on the squishy ground, just your fire sizzling from the gathering mist.

Out of the corner of your eye, you see movement. You turn, and only see a pile of leaves and debris. Nervously chuckling, you turn forward and try to make your way.

It moves again. You turn your whole body to face it. Yes, the pile is moving. You take a step backwards in sudden fright. The presence of the damp tree behind you chills you in surprise. You stand on the tree’s roots, anything to stand away from the moving dirt.

The pile of debris rises and stands. You stare at it in muffled shock. A slight whimper escapes you. The Shambler says nothing. Just as you make the decision to run back from where you came, you feel a sharp pain in your leg. A root of the tree you are leaning against against has lifted and impaled you. Slowly, more Shamblers rise from the forest floor.

You have intruded into the Forest of Shadows, where humans are not welcome. You try to keep them at bay with your torch, but the environment is too damp. When you make contact, the fire only scorches the Shambler’s surface. The torch however, starts to rot in your hands. Soon it is ripped from your hands, and the Shambler extinguishes it with its own body, engulfing the wood and digesting it before you.

You reach for a branch to snap off and swing. But the very branch you grab, grabs you back! The tree itself is bending roots and branches to hold you fast. As the Shamblers begin their slow embrace, you feel the worms, the beetles, and the roaches that live in them start to nibble and bite into your flesh.

They will eventually cover you completely, so that it will appear the tree that continues to impale you is growing from a tall mound. But they will leave your mouth free. They don’t want to suffocate you. Living meat is the best meat. Your death will be slow, your blood seeping out of your many wounds to the delight of Shambler and tree.

Some say, the trees don’t have leaves because they can’t use sunlight. An ancient grove that came about before the worlds were finished, there was no sun when they first sprouted. Some say the trees are wights that offended the gods, cursed to live without living in the grove.

Some tell their children, the Shamblers are what becomes of boys and girls that don’t do as they’re told. But the old men will tell you, after a tankard of ale, the Shamblers are what become of people that don’t die right away. The worms and the beetles and the roaches change the victim, until there is only the mass of decayed putrescence laying on the forest floor. And the hunger that drives it.

Still you wish to walk in my dreams?

Vision: I Walked Away

(This vision occurred in early 2002. My mindset has changed since then. However, I still remember how I was then, and will write this from that point of view. It’s dominating my thoughts again, and I write it down to contain it.)

Classes were over early for the day. Don’t go to work until late tonight. Time for study. Home was too hectic with all the drama, so I went to a church friend’s coffee shop. I knew the morning rush was done, and the afternoon rush was still two hours off.

Two hours of uninterrupted study. That’s worth the price of a medium mocha. Continue reading “Vision: I Walked Away”

The Fledgling

I entered the dream walking from the wilderness to the fire before my lair. I was looking forward to getting some sleep and wanted my mind to be as comfortable as my sleeping body in my room. I was met at the fire by Snake, who had been on his own adventures and was resting near the warmth. He coils around me in that snug comforting grip and we laze there for a while. In Snake’s coils, I fell into a deeper sleep.

I feel a great heat surrounding me. My flesh is melting. I open my eyes to see I’m on fire. I sit up to find I’m on a pile of burning bodies. Even though I am engulfed in flames, I feel no pain. I lay back down until I fully understand I am on fucking fire! Continue reading “The Fledgling”

Rising Fire

Settled down. Tucked into bed. At rest feeling the day’s issues slide into the past. Only thinking of the pleasure of sleep. Not considering the troubles that would wake with the dawn. It’s good to rest. To feel the blood in my veins, the air moving in my lungs. Engaged in the symphony of senses. Continue reading “Rising Fire”

Five Scenes

Waking up this morning, I felt like I had lived through a Twilight Zone marathon. All that was needed was Rod Serling, nursing a cigarette, narrating the end to tie it all together. While some of the episodes have a flow to them, where one obviously follows the preceding, some seem absolutely random. Even still, I’m not sure how to take them as a group. Continue reading “Five Scenes”

Dream: OMG Snake!

It’s dark. I’m stumbling around. I know I’m dreaming, but I have no control here. I try to jump to the various “staging” areas of my dreamscapes, but I’m stuck fast. There is an up and a down, a semblance of gravity that holds me to the unseen ground. But there are no compass points, no directions. There is only Here (where I am), and There (where I am not). Here is a small space, so dark, I can barely see myself. There, is much larger, and I am frightened by what could be over There.

I misplace a step and twist my right ankle. I crumple into a heap to keep from falling hard against the ground. I feel no broken bones, no bleeding gashes, but I know I’m not going to be able to walk any further. I attempt to shift form into something more habituated to the dark, but I’m stuck fast as plain human me. Continue reading “Dream: OMG Snake!”

Dream Denizen: The Bow Wielder

The first time I saw her, was the summer of 2008. I was in the middle of a lucid dream, dealing with some (more) troubling issues when my shadow lifted off the floor and shuddered into existence. She wore my face and my body but at the time, she felt as different and as separate from me as my flesh and blood sister. She glanced at me then returned her attention to the darkness beyond my field of view.

“You know, if you’re going to be serious about this business of occult forces, you need to start learning how to shield and protect yourself.” She took a few steps past me, staring into the impenetrable darkness. Continue reading “Dream Denizen: The Bow Wielder”

Dream: Life for Mother

I’ve dreamt about many an alternate world involving insects before. Been a space marine infiltrating a insectoid species’s space station looking for survivors of a brutal germ warfare attack. (As a human, I was immune.) In another dream, I found myself standing in a field of yellow daisies, standing with arms outstretched while a large swarm of bees covered me from head to foot and even crawled under my clothes. (At the time, I did not understand the significance of the flowers. I probably should revisit that field, now that I know the flower is a favorite of my ancestor.) Bees made another visit to my dreamscape, sheltering me and my young charge from the frigid night by covering us while we were perched delicately in the arms of an acacia tree.

What happens when you lose a bet to a trickster god? From Loki’s point of view, hilarity. From my point of view, lots of dreams where I’m doing something I wouldn’t normally do, or where I’m outright controlled and enthralled. (And a few instances in the Waking as well!) But the enthrallment in each of those dreams ends when I wake up. The act of opening my eyes in the Waking sheds the chains that had bound me. (Loki’s trailing laughter, however, often echoes when I realize I’m awake.)

But this time, the insectoid creature was not friendly. This time, the enthrallment did not end with the morning light. The enthrallment finally faded about an hour after I awoke. It’s been six hours since I woke up from the dream. And I am still both terrified and affected by the enthrallment I was under.

Continue reading “Dream: Life for Mother”

On KLRO

Y’all just please keep in mind, the title of magician barely applies to me, much less Summoner or Sorcerer. I’m learning stuff by being thrown into the midst of the vat, and finding the names and proper rituals afterward. (Okay, I MIGHT be actively reaching. Maybe. But I try to only skirt the edges.)
Continue reading “On KLRO”