So this was my dream last night:
I was at some big fancy professional conference-y panel, with a thousand or so people, it was mostly american but there were some international people there. I started talking to one woman, middle-aged, careworn, and Korean. She was from North Korea. She had her daughter with her–who seemed to be a ditzy 11 year old brat. Then I learned that her daughter was 27, but had been stunted by malnutrition and environment. Her eyes looked a little weird, but she acted this way because inside she was very sad. I tried to get her some fruits&protein food from the reception table, but I rememeber thinking–it is too late–she is too old now to ever grow, it is too late. The lady was a bit jumpy, someone who was genteel but frightened of the whole world, as if it was one large horror novel.
And then, it was. We were in a giant gilded mansion built by some American robber baron from the nineteenth century. It was repurposed now, full of American ivy league undergrads who seemed by turns giggling and nervous. They were all talking about the artistic serial murders that were happening around the mansion we were all staying at. They were sadistic and staged. It fascinated them, they were all looking at the pictures (the murderer took posed black and white photos of his victims and left them around the house ), though of course we didn’t know who would be next. When they kept discussing the murders and looking at the pictures, I couldn’t tell if it was genuine fear for them, entertainment, admiration, sadism, morbid curiousity, or all of it. I think it was mostly fear though. They were dressed very stylishly.
We were all standing around in a circle in one of the large rooms of the mansion. I thought I recognized the murderer from the photos. He was a white male, but there was this Indian “woman” with a square jaw who was smiling at me in a sick way. I thought the dark skin looked paint, and the hair like a wig. But I didn’t say anything, because he was there, and also, I thought if I was wrong, they would all be upset at me for being cruel to a woman for having an irregular body type.I was sick with fear, especially for the North Korean woman and her child, who already expected the worst to happen anyway.
Then Mal was there (the guy from firefly) dressed in his western gear. This was the action part of the dream. I remember running alot, running into forbidden darkened rooms, grabbing guns and things (including a magic flower). Mal got the undergrads to band together, and they fought the serial murderers.
We left the mansion in some mayhem, but it was cleansed of the sadistic laughter and the lurking darkness among the gilding. I think the undergrads were trying to organize a new government or some semblance of order. We (I was now a young boy, following Mal) were leaving now, headed for a prairie farm in middle of the desert. His wife came out of the farm to greet us. She was not pretty, but there was something about her that was very womanly— she carried herself ram-rod straight, long apron and hair tied in a bun atop her head, hands calloused and tanned, her arms strong and her voice steady. She had a gun, but she was not bloodthirsty, and just by looking at her you could tell that she had long experience with harsh wildernesses and stubborn animals. With her coming across the desert was a crowd of strapping young prairie boys from about 9 years old to 16–they were old enough to try to be men, but weren’t men yet either. They were her and Mal’s sons.
I thought all was well now, the chickens and the animals lowing to be milked, the chores and the windmill. There were occasional moments when Mal started acting strange. His face would get clouded and confused by turns. We tried to ignore it though, and hoped everything would be alright. Later I was running around the farm with Mal’s sons, and then we came up on the edge of the desert and froze. Mal had dug this oddly-shaped ritual-like pit about 10 feet wide in a perfect circle, and at the center of it was his wife who he had tied to a stake. It was all very bizarre. I looked at his face, and he looked at us without recognizing us–there was some kind of struggle going on in his face, and it would keep changing expression–one minute looking recognizable but confused, the next minute this hungry animal look was overtaking his face. I realized he had been infected by whatever had infected the serial murderers–he had come into contact with them in the fight at the mansion, and now it was getting him too.
Then his wife spoke. She was clearly exhausted from a previous struggle, but her spirit was unbroken. She told her sons to go home to the farmhouse and wait there, that mommy and daddy would meet them there. I realized she didn’t want them to see this and become zombified. She was also completely unafraid. I could tell she was very sad, but she hadn’t given up. From the sound of her voice, I could tell she hadn’t surrendered.
We turned and walked toward the farmhouse. I knew the boys were in cognitive dissonance, if we tried to tie down Mal and rescue their mother it would just end badly–they were shaken and Mal was armed and much stronger than us. We headed back to the farmhouse. I was planning to get the guns ready, so that when Mal came for us, I’d at least try to shoot him from a distance, through a window. He was a much better shot than me, but this way I had a chance. I didn’t think his sons would be able to handle fighting him, and I didn’t want him to get them too.
We waited at the farmhouse, and then, outlined against the desert sky (it was either a sunset or a sunrise–I couldn’t tell), I had my gun loaded, and was looking out through the upstairs gable window. Then I saw two figures walking. It was Mal and his wife, unharmed. They were walking hand-in-hand. I looked at his face, and it was human again. The zombie-virus had been overcome. The kids ran up to them, and the animals were lowing. I put down the gun and ran downstairs, to feed the chickens.