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Bah-Ha!

How To Kill Demons and Other Villains

WARNING:

THIS ENTRY TALKS ABOUT SOME VERY VIOLENT DREAMS.
SO DON'T READ IF YOU'RE NOT INTO HORROR.
DON'T WANNA SQUICK YOU.
UNLESS YOU LIKE THAT SORT OF THING.


In high school, I used to have all sorts of killing-things dreams. The things I killed fell into three categories:

1.) Demons
2.) Serial Killers
3.) Fantastic beasts that were rampaging about killing humans

You can't kill a demon with a weapon. You have to outwit them. The demon Mercury I defeated after he'd killed me (or the me in my dream, which wasn't me, but let's not confuse things), but that was okay, because in a way a spirit can defeat a demon more handily, being a more insidious sort of entity.

The demon Mercury worked through the power of suggestion. A whisper in your ear. The offering of a choice. If you agreed with him, you were his, and he'd walk into you and take possession. "Which do you prefer?" he'd ask. "An apple or an orange? Coke or pepsi? You like pepsi, don't you?" And if you said yes (WHO WOULD?), he would empty you out.

The spirit I became (or the girl in my dream became), though dead, worked to protect her lover from the demon Mercury, shouted counter-suggestions that he could not hear, though the demon could, at the top of her no-longer-lungs.

And Mercury, who had exceptionally sensitive hearing, asked, "What is that noise?"

And her lover said, "Nothing but the wind in the trees."

But he ended up by taking her suggestion, and not his, and thus was the demon Mercury defeated.

The demon Raka entered through a red handprint (where I got the slaprash idea for The Big Bah-Ha many years later), a rash that put the invalid into a feverish lethargy. Then he would enter through a tiny cut on the face. But it was really a cut all the way through to the soul. If you peered through the cut on the face, you could see inside to the soul. And it looked like the universe. Vast. Infinite. Unless you were infected. Then you could see the boundaries. The pus and crust creeping in at the edges of the furthest stars.

Raka's defeat was more spectacular, involving a small child, a doctor's office, a razor blade, but in the end it was the child's mother (occasionally myself in the first person, sometimes me looking on), who won back her daughter's soul, and in so doing wiped the demon Raka out in a blaze of white light.

Wits. My dream ladies, they got 'em.

Anyway. I won't dredge up any more of my demon dreams for you.

The serial killers I always killed with a knife or a sword of some sort. Don't ask me why. Often they had guns. Often they were physically more powerful. And... intent on playing cat-and-mouse. Almost to their detriment. And I would be so scared, so scared ALL THE TIME, sick to my stomach, but when it came down to survival, somehow I always found a knife. And the courage to use it.

Sometimes they laughed at me, even when I was cutting out their hearts.

All I could feel upon their deaths was relief. And sickness.

But killing the fantastic beasts? That just gave me sickness. They were always so beautiful, so wild. But so destructive. There was the silver beast Rak Finn Ak, which was like a wolf, but the size of a pony, with such enormous fangs they curved out of his mouth like tusks, and his mouth could not close all the way. There was also once a tall bird, striped like a zebra, with wings the color of fire.

Both beasts I killed with my bare hands. Almost out of respect. Mainly to protect my village. And somehow they trusted me to come near them. And I wept to do it. I broke their necks and saved other people's lives, but, oh, I wept.

***

So LAST night, having not murdered, executed, assassinated or outright DONE IN any creature in my dreams for a good, I would say, TEN YEARS, I not only had a demon clown (à la Pennywise) show up, THREE BAD GUYS (one of them a woman) as well.

I had both a community and some kid named Hallie I was trying to protect (Hallie was sometimes a boy, sometimes a girl, right around five or six years old). I worked as a librarian in a children's hospital, so there were a lot of kids around that needed protecting.

The hospital must've been a known haunt, because weird things kept happening. All the grown-ups knew the signs to look out for. Even the kids were vigilant. We had to be there, but we weren't terrified and alone (as I often was in my earlier dreams). We had each other's backs. We kept our eyes open.

Delia Sherman was there at one point, looking out a window to a trash heap. She said, "Isn't that the cake Ellen and I made you and Hallie last year?"

It had been left out in the rain. It should have disintegrated long ago. But there was the cake, white and gleaming, with big frosting letters saying, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HALLIE!" on top.

This was a demon sign. That cake just wasn't... RIGHT.

The kid Hallie was scared, and asked me if the clown could be killed.

And I knew that not ONLY did I have to answer in a way that would convince the child, because it would be the child's conviction that would TRULY kill the demon clown, but that it was the child who was making the demon manifest as a clown in the first place. Making it take that form. Sort of like in Ghostbusters with the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man.

So I said, "Yes. The clown can be killed with salt, with silver, and with green peppers."

Green peppers. I mean, really.

I ended up throwing salt in that demon clown's eyes when it showed up next, and stabbing it with a silver fork. I had to follow my own rules, even though I'd made them up. It worked. So that was okay.

Later, it was Hallie's birthday, and we were at the party, and a man in black showed up.

"I'm looking for Hallie," he said. "Grandma paid me to sing any song of your choice."

Hallie was about to answer, but I got a chill and said, "Don't say anything. Sita never did any such thing."

And the man's eyes grew cold, and he drew a gun.

Then there was another man, and a woman, both in black, both with guns, pointing at the crowd. The woman's hip holster was near to me. No gun there, but a knife.

I think I ended up stabbing one in the eye, one in the side, and slitting the woman's throat. All in a smooth, efficient series of gestures.

To protect the child.

I was quite calm about it all. Scared but also calm.

***

I wonder what it is in myself that I am killing in such an orderly fashion?

I wonder what it is in myself that I'm protecting?

The role of community seems to be key.

It's all very interesting.

I... haven't dreamed like that in a while.

***

Comments

Ok, your dreams are amazing. :D
Very rarely these days! But I was glad to remember this one!
Dearest Ki, I love your dreams! It's so fascinating how you've laid them together here; showing a progression from your earlier dreams to the dream you had last night. Much more community, less fear but still doing what must be done. So cool!
Sounds to me like you should be writing paranormal romance and thrillers. What exciting dreams you have! Lots more exciting than scones with clotted cream.
I should be writing ALL THE THINGS. But mostly I just sleep. And not so very much of that lately. Hopefully things will quiet down soon. And when I'm quiet, I will write again.
Of course, if the scones were SCONES OF BONES, with BLOOD-CLOTTED cream, it would be a DIFFERENT MATTER!
I am a WARRIOR! When it comes to demon cakes and grinning clowns anyway...
Wow, that last scenario (not the last dream, but the last type of scenario, with the beasts) is so emotionally complicated! With the others it seems like about mustering bravery, but with the beast one, there seems to be a real sacrifice involved, because of having to kill this wild and beautiful (but destructive) thing. Somehow I'm seeing it all as having to do with creativity and expression and getting yourself to the place to write the stuff you want to write, because that's HARD. But peeling back from interpretation on that level, wow, the images and stories in the dreams are intense.

Edited at 2014-02-17 07:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, I was always sorry to murder a beautiful thing. Especially since they seemed to like ME. They just ate everyone else.
See, if it were my dream, and me, I'd be thinking it had to do w/ my own sense of fear/necessity/ whatever about controlling elements of myself that I think are threatening but that I care about very much. I wonder if it's something like that for you?
Very possibly. There are dream interpretation exercises that beginning, "In my dreaming place, I..." and then you fill in the blanks, only you strip out all detail. "I destroyed a thing that was hurting my community..." Etc.

But me, I'm interested in the silver fur and ivory tusks. Though I find the exercise useful occasionally, to see if I need to know something about myself I've been avoiding.
The story elements are *definitely* worthwhile as story elements, and as things that will become stories--wasn't trying to deny or undercut that by any means!
Did not take it as any undercut at all! Two different kinds of usefulness, I think, to be had from dreams. Possibly more! What you MINE for story, and what you strip of story to understand yourself. I love them both!!!