It’s funny, really, how vulnerable people are despite all their attempts at security. Firewalls, passwords, metal detectors, security cameras, background checks… all useless if you want to get past ’em bad enough. Like this, right now; see how easy it is to fall in step with a little crowd and blend right in through the slidin’ doors, past the cameras and the sleepy security guard? Everyone figures if you’re at a hospital this early in the morning, you must belong here. And anyway, no one ever watches for a girl hunched in her trench coat, skin like a candle’s wick and dark messy hair, they take one look and assume she’s visitin’ a sick relative. No need for suspicion, though I could be carryin’ anything under this coat, maybe somethin’ faster and deadlier than the handgun in my right pocket. But see, I walk right in and go left down a hallway and no one stops me, no one asks where I’m goin’ or if I need help. No one sees me, really, not even the mother and teenage daughter waitin’ by the elevator – I could shoot ’em both in the back of the head right now and they’d never know a thing. But I don’t, of course; instead I take the elevator with ’em, back against the wall and hands in my pockets, all innocent ‘cept for my martial stance.

After a few seconds the elevator comes to a jerkin’ stop on the wrong floor and a voice over the intercom commands, “Put your hands on the walls!” and when the duo look around in fright it repeats, “Now!” They both do as commanded and of course I don’t, my hands are in my pockets and I’m prob’ly smilin’, I can’t help it, I just love when things go so smoothly. The elevator door has glass panels and beyond them we all watch, they in terror and me, well, still grinnin’ like the cat that ate the canary, as what looks like a whole damn SWAT team surrounds the elevator. The guy in the lead approaches, points his big fancy gun at me, and demands in the same voice from the intercom, “JewelThief, put your hands on the wall or we fire!” That’s not my name, of course, just one of my handles. Booker Shaw, that’s not my name either, but it’s what I go by when I feel like going by somethin’. Anyway, so I take my hands out of my pockets, empty, the boys don’t seem to expect that, and lift ’em in the air, still smilin’. “On the wall!” he yells again and I obey, I can play nice when it suits me. The elevator door opens and they gesture for me to walk out nice and slow. This is my favorite part, where they think they’ve caught me all on their own, that I didn’t plan this down to the second. Sometimes you have to go deep inside in order to get past some of those security measures, break ’em from the inside out, so why not have ’em open the front door for you to do so?


Muddled dreams; your fingers, the knife, the needle, fear and exhilaration; strange you’d choose these forms (yes, I know it’s you), suiting masks but so many meanings; lovers and enemies and one never without the other, by blood building a world to suit you both (or neither); so whose mask should I wear? the daughter, surrogate born in her own blood, so precious she should be sacrificed rather than set free (as if you allow a trinity); or the broken one reborn as avenging angel, she who managed to capture the Devil and would have held him until the end? (as if he can truly be held, ever); the dreams don’t tell me what role I should play; in them your masks are mine; in them the knife is dear to me, and I submit (you enjoy this, don’t you); but if I write about blood and feed you dark anthems the dreams recede for a time at least.


They say dreams of pursuit are all about stress. You’re running from subconscious fears or worries or duties, things you can’t accept, things you won’t face, things you don’t even know are plaguing you. Here they are in hyperreal dream form as zombies, wolves, velociraptors; serial killers, vengeful ghosts, a shadowy pursuer you never quite glimpse. It’s your mind trying to tell you something about facing your fears, making your stand, something like that.

But what about when you enjoy the pursuit? What is your mind trying to tell you when you feel exhilaration as you jump across roofs, crash through doors, climb the sides of buildings, run so swift the wind of your passing snatches the laughter from your lips? What does it mean when you tear through the fabric of the dream universe, drop through the floor, the ground, the core of the earth and jump out in another world? Or when you lead a merry chase through the skies, across the seas, past the atmosphere and into the vacuum of space?

What does it mean when you dream of pursuit because you’re┬áthe monster, the traitor, the gleeful villain? I’m not afraid when I’m running. I’m in control. I’m in the lead. I’m a fox skipping before clumsy hounds. What are you telling me, subconscious?


In my dream I stood in a square room, close by an open doorway beyond which a hallway ran perpendicular to the room. Behind me I could feel someone standing, watching me to see what I would do. Though I did not see Her, I knew the figure behind me to be Aset, mother of gods, and I felt humbled by Her presence. On the wall before me a mural stretched from one end of the wall to the other; though I couldn’t make out the image, I could see the mural was covered in metal charms of different shapes and sizes. I raised my hand up and pressed my ring finger to the charm in the shape of a moon; my pointer finger to a charm in the shape of a sun; and my index knuckle to a charm in the shape of an ankh.

And then I began to pray. I don’t remember the words of the prayer, only that it was a prayer of protection and strength to all the Netjeru. As I prayed a procession walked past me down the hallway, more gods than for whom I had names. I recognized a few, like Anup with His jackal head, but there were too many, dozens, a never-ending stream. I was praying to them, for them, for their safe passage somewhere. When the prayer came to a close, I felt an immense exhaustion wash over me and collapsed to the floor. I was too weary to move or even speak. Someone knelt down to check on me. I thought it was Aset, but out of the corner of my eye I saw a hand resting on me with skin a pale green. Osiris. I tried to say His name but couldn’t move my lips. There the dream ended.


You’re haunting my dreams – why? Punishing lover, unattainable father, breaker of teacups and chooser of cliffs, why do you seek me? I’m not sure if you’re a snake or a hunting cat; I’m not sure if you have something to tell me or if your presence alone is the message. If so, who sent you? What am I supposed to glean from dreams of love and loss and jealousy all mixed together and tidal strong? You could be either of Them, your love burning hot as the sun and mind calculating cold as the moon – or perhaps both in one tailored human skin. Is that it, then? Have They chosen you as messenger and metaphor? Do They enjoy the parallels between Their story and yours? Speak to me, monster, messenger. I do not fear you. I know you as I know Them, and I am not afraid to drop the teacup and see if it will put itself back together.