Dream of Us
I stroll down a straight path through the forest, the sun peaks through the leaves and branches, leaving sun-stained blotches on the forest floor. The birds sing a spritely tune, the leaves scream with joy as they hug their not-so-distant relatives whenever the winds bring them bring them together. The sweet smell of honey fills the air from a distant beehive, far off enough that I don’t worry about being stung. Lastly a giant pink whale with four silver wings floats through the plains just outside of the forest, looking like a low hanging pink cloud. All completely normal things that happen in the forest surrounding the holy city.
“Yes, completely normal. Completely normal. Completely nor-. Completely. Completely. Comp- “, my voice trails off as I repeat the words, my brain was skipping like a record. The forest trail shoots out passed the forest and up into the sky. The new stalagmite reaches up and pierces the floating whale. The stalagmite recedes back into the earth in an instant without a notice, while the bleeding whale gently falls into the earth until its impact ruptures the sound barrier. A massive dust cloud rolls out from the impact zone, shredding the grass and leaves. Nothing remains but dirt, rocks, and dead twigs where great oak trees once reigned.
I walk out of the dead forest and toward the point of impact. The carcass of the dead whale grows exponentially with every step I take. I start to notice the feint sparkles near the head and an ominous pink smoke emanating from the tail. The silver wings decay rapidly and plummet to the ground with a greater impact than the whale itself. A dust storm rolls out once more, I had to bury my hands into the dirt, so I didn’t get blown away. The dirt I cling to turns into a low viscous mud puddle before my very eyes. I slip into the puddle, headfirst. I was under for only a moment; then I shot through and out onto the other side. Once my eyes stopped spinning from the sudden shift in orientation, I was able to see a blurry image of a tall horned figure standing over me.
“Are we dreaming?” The horned figure muffled.
Although his voice wasn’t covered, my head was still wrapped in a heavy layer of mud like the rest of me. I couldn’t feel my legs and I couldn’t pull my hands from this trick mud, or portal, or whatever it was. I began to flail violently, fearing I would drown in thick mud. I was sinking further, though not back into the other side I came from but sinking deeper toward death. I screamed for help, hoping the horned figure would do something besides stand there.
My chin reached the mud, tears followed next. As my tears disappeared into the mud, I felt something grasp my hands. The horned figure had reached into the mud and grabbed hold of me. The horned figure easily pulled me from the mud, making as though he splashed in this stuff for fun and happened to find a duckling wandering into its own death by mistake. Once the horn figured pulled me onto solid land all the mud shot off my body and retreated into the puddle. Now that my vision was clear and limbs were free, I was able to stand up and get a better look at my savior; a seven-foot-tall, short horned, purple & black skinned demon, with red eyes. Xaghck, the Demon Lord. He was supposed to be sealed inside of my mind still, but here he was, plain as day, physically in front of me.
Xaghck asks, “Did you hear me earlier? I asked if we were dreaming, Arthur?”
I responded, “That may explain the floating whale, the carnivorous mud, and more importantly; you- being outside of my head. But if I’m dreaming, why are you here?”
Xaghck replies, “Oh, I’m always in your dreams. Though I’m usually having my own fun, so I don’t invite you.”
“Thanks for that. But if this is a dream, then where are all the cute, shy, goth girls that only show their true feeling to me?”
Xaghck takes a step back and dawns look of disgust, “What the fuck? You have an oddly specific kink, Arthur.”
I take a quick look around the wasteland, then ask Xaghck what we should do now? I figured he should know more about dreams being the Demon Lord and all. Before I could turn back to look at Xaghck, a boney, leathery object slammed into the side of my face, knocking me into the dirt. The culprit was Xaghck and his still balled up fist. He was laughing quietly too himself but couldn’t hold it in for more than a few seconds and was soon howling like a hyena. Xaghck had already decided what he was going to do next in the dream world.
“This may be a dream but, I’m going to have some revenge. Revenge for being sealed inside that damn head of yours!” Shouted Xaghck.
He slammed his foot into the ground and an enormous pillar erupted from the dirt beneath Xaghck’s feet. Elevating him to the height of his ego. Wasting no time, Xaghck conjures flaming rocks around the pillar and shoots them at me. I had no time to react, all I could do was cover my face, hoping to magically shield myself. But lucky me, that is exactly what happened. The rocks turned into stuffed animals before striking me. One managed to hit my head, sending my skull down to the earth, but it hurt a lot less than it was about to.
Surprised his attack failed, Xaghck leans over the edge of the pillar and shouts, “How the hell did you do that!? I know you don’t know any magic; I’ve read all your memories while sealed in that stupid head of yours!”
I was shocked myself but quickly remembered where I was. I stood up and dusted myself off then yelled back, “It’s a dream dumbass! I can do whatever I want.” I quickly devised a plan and announced my counterattack, “I may not know any magic, but I’ve fought demons before, and I am damn good at adopting to chaotic environments.”
I conjure a spear and spin my body in a circle, the spear grows twenty feet longer halfway through my spin, then cuts through Xaghck’s pillar. The pillar crumbles to dust, sending Xaghck to the dirt next to me. I stand atop Xaghck in triumph, “You aren’t the only one that has pent up anger from the sealing ritual. I have had the worse headache ever since you were sealed inside my head. I want to dish out some pain too.”
I toss the spear aside then conjure a gigantic mallet of Ice, I lean forward to tip the weight and smash Xaghck further into his grave. I can hear his feint groan beneath the mallet, the sweet sound of revenge, it makes my shoulders feel all the lighter. Though only for a moment.
Xaghck’s, groans of pain turn into muffled laughter beneath the mallet. The ice begins to melt, then bursts like a relieved drainpipe. Now free, Xaghck scoops up a handful of water and tosses it at me. Instead of splashing on my face, it forms a sphere around my head. I claw at my watery prison, but my hands pass right through it. My breath quickly slips away from me, due to my recent exertions. With my last breath I decide to give Xaghck a final “Fuck you” and headbutt him. The water disperses and scorches Xaghck’s skin, I guess I blessed the water during my final moments, turning it into holy water.
Xaghck throws an empty hand at me like some pitiful attempt to slap me, then a wooden chair flies out from his open hand and crashes into my face. He laughs his victory, but I silence him by returning the favor, but with a beehive instead. The hive crashes into Xaghck’s stomach and a thousand bees burst from the remains and repeatedly sting his entire body. Annoyed and in throbbing pain, Xaghck musters the strength to ignite himself in a soft blue flame, incinerating all the bees.
Our game of pain continues for hours, with each object growing larger and more obscure than the last. We throw everything from furniture to animals to buildings, we even threw small islands at one another. Each object hurts more than the last, and yet we both stand tall after every attack. Our energy ran out before our lives, only with some scrapes and bruises to show, this is a dream after all.
Xaghck and I stood on opposite sides of the pit where the once floating whale crashed into the dream earth. We were panting and hardly moving. For a dream this was exhausting work. Thinking of objects to throw at each other and thinking of what to throw as our counterattack. Our imagination ran out, we could see the exhaustion on each other’s face and decided it had to end one way.
“When I get over there, I’m going to hit you so hard, it will make the pope feel dizzy!” Xaghck shouted, then collapsing to his knees after three steps.
“You couldn’t hit hard enough to make a girl scout cry!” I shouted back with the little breath I had left, then stumbling over my own two feet and finally planting my face into the dirt.
My feet may have stopped, but I could hear Xaghck’s begin to move again. His steps grew louder and heavier with every passing moment, while I only had enough strength to roll onto my back and face the pink sky.
The sound of mud being squished by bare feet paused once it was inches from my ears. My sight started to fade but I could still hear the tightening of leather skin as Xaghck bent down to look me in the eye. I could see the silhouette of that damned horned demon, his jaw moved to speak, but nothing came out. Instead, he slowly grew closer, inch by inch, until he abruptly plummeted into the dirt next to me. He had just enough energy after his fall to limp his hand up and smack my stomach with the back of his hand. I reverse choked on air, then rolled onto my side, just enough to kick him in the head.
“There, I win.” I whispered with labored breathing.
Xaghck mumbles into the dirt, “Mpff, you only pf-won because I let you win.”
I started to nod off in a drowsy victory, until I felt an acute pain in my stomach. It steadily crawled up to my chest and I began to gasp for air. Xaghck rolls over, wondering why I’m screaming in agony. The pain subsides suddenly but is quickly replaced with a suffocating muzzle, sapping my final breath.
I’m woken up from the extensive dream, only to find that same muzzle is on my face, albeit fuzzier than the one in the dream. I pull the fuzzy muzzle off my face to find it was my cat, Kira. She had decided to lay on my face in the middle of the night. Oddly enough, that was the normal part of my night.
I stayed up until dawn thinking about my dream, and all the weird stuff I did. Xaghck was still asleep and unable to annoy me. I had finally gotten some peace, for once.
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