Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Dream of Fire

Sometimes in my dreams I’m myself or some variant of myself. And whatever happens to that character is happening to me. Sometimes, though, I seem very much an observer watching a character who is not me. The latter is usually a warning, I think.

Last night I observed a battle. An army was on the march and a group of older and injured warriors were moving with and guarding the baggage train, where there were also many women and children. One of these warriors was near a giant, probably 6’ 5” or so, with iron gray hair braided in the Viking fashion. He limped slightly on his left leg and carried a strange axe that he worked to fix. He was definitely not me, but I could tell from his actions that he was angry about missing the main battle. Angry, and a bit depressed because he knew that his advancing age would soon keep him out of all battles.

His axe deserves mention. It was two axes fitted together, the haft of one inserted into the head of the other, but the two had come lose and were held together only by a thin silverish chain. He had gotten the second axe reinserted but was cursing it because it wouldn’t stay fitted. That was when the attack came.

A horde of enemy raiders, mounted on horseback, had found-—either through accident or design—-the pack train, and they descended in a cloud to the slaughter. The guards ran forward but were badly outnumbered and not in the best of shape because of age or injuries. The big warrior that I’ve mentioned cursed again as he realized his broken axe was going to be useless. He used one of the two chained axes to hack through the chain, then leaped forward to battle with the bigger of the axes locked tight in both hands.

The enemy came at him and he sheared through the first attackers, sundering armor and hacking through bodies in a berserk rage that carried him straight into the heart of the horde. The momentum of the enemy charge broke. Horses milled. Men lunged with lances and curved blades toward the big warrior as he lashed and beat around him wildly.

Some of the enemy began to back away, but one man rode forward and threw a container of liquid onto the warrior. In an instant the big axe man was on fire, was an inferno. I heard him roaring, but he charged the man who had set him aflame. The man’s horse reared back from the fire, throwing his rider, and the big gray warrior smashed that rider’s head open with his axe.

Wheeling about, the burning soldier leaped into the melee of his enemies. Horses screamed and reared. Warriors were thrown and trampled; others caught a bit of flame on their leathers and began to burn themselves. Within a moment the enemy attack had broken completely and the horde was retreating madly, leaving the burning man standing with legs braced upon the field.

The other warriors who had been guarding the baggage train rushed forward. Someone was screaming to “put him out, put him out.” The burning man fell to his knees. And in that very instant the flames snuffed themselves, as if their fuel had been exhausted. I could see the old warrior plainly then. He was horribly burned, with nothing but tufts of his gray hair left. But his left eye was open and it was a perfect blue within whorls of charred flesh.

Somebody rushed forward with a blanket but there was no need. The man fell face forward but with his head turned to the left on the churned soil. I knew he was dead, but his eye did not close, and in it there was no terror or pain, only a quiet satisfaction that he had not died the straw death.


Shauna Roberts said...

Wow! You have the coolest dreams! I hope you write the book that goes with this dream because I'm eager to read it.

Steve Malley said...

Man, how cool is that? My dreams are *never* that interesting!

That axe-thing kind of reminds me of Singer's famous dream of being chased by men with oddly-shaped spears. In the morning he woke up and knew to put the hole at the front of the needle, and the first sewing machine was born.

Maybe the dream's telling you to snap off/discard any useless little extras and get in there swinging!

Charles Gramlich said...

Shauna, it's been a while since I had one so neat and tidy. Had it right as I woke up this morning and recorded it immediately.

Steve Malley, I didn't know that story about Singer. Cool. I'm going to have a beer or two on the ceck and figure out what I can invent from this dream. lol.

Donnetta said...

Your writing/rendition of the dream is tantalizing. The interpretation is in the telling of the dream. Hmm. I may have to read the Tarot cards for you.

Anonymous said...

Now, that's a dream. That's pretty powerful. I couldn't dream of having a dream like that.

Anndi said...

And I thought my dream of kids clearing the snow from the street in a Busby Berkeley number was strange...

What did you eat before going to bed?

writtenwyrdd said...

What a dramatic scene! I think you can use that to good effect in a story at some point. In terms of dissecting its meaning, that's pretty individual. It certainly seems relevant that the warrior was aging and didn't want to be left out of the fighting.

the walking man said...

If you were an observer of this dream sequence Charles, if I were you I would duck.



SzélsőFa said...

What a dream!
I can't recal ever having dreamt of fights, but I'm not sure I'd like to, either. These must be frightening as well.
I like the quiet acceptance in the dying man's eyes.

virtual nexus said...

I get dreams like that when I've eaten too much Danish Blue.

Nice one. Epic trilogy at least, all the guys battle scarred pre-history ??

Greg said...

Wow, cool dream! If you turn it into a story I'd love to read it.

Chris Eldin said...

It's a good thing you recorded this right away. You captured so many details. This is a great outline for a short story or even a book, if you wish to pursue it (which I think you should!!!)

Sorry you're having unsettling dreams though. I hope at some point you are getting needed rest.

Michelle's Spell said...

That's cool that your dreams are so specific. I'm more like, I was kind of in a weird place and umm, it was weird . . .

Charles Gramlich said...

Donnetta, there may be some influence from books I've read about a character named Druss the Legend.

Jack, it makes nighttime fun.

Anndi, it's the holidays. I ate everything.

Writtenwyrd, yes the most significant part is how the warrior did not want to die ill in his bed.

Mark, or run the other way.

Szelsofa, I do have frightening dreams at times but this one wasn't frightening since I was primarily an observer.

Julie, like I mentioned above, there is quite likely some influence from a David Gemmell character named Druss the legend.

Greg, thanks Greg. It'll probably become part and parcel of something over time.

Church lady, I am grateful to divine providence for every unsettling dream I have. I always told Lana, never wake me up if you think I'm having a nightmare.

Michelle, I have a lot of the vague kind as well, but some are just almost perfect story lines and those I enjoy the most.

ivan said...

Sure gets the Art Bell-George Noory
chucks going.

Armies are gathering; a warrior with a double axe.
A warrior "falls from the sky".

I think I listen to "Coast to Coast" too much.

Unrest all over and the double axe of fascism.

Actually, it's kind of right-on.

I sincerely hope this is going to be a good new year.

Lisa said...

What a dream! I never, ever have dreams like that, but Scott frequently has dreams with fighting and knives -- I wonder why that is?

Lana Gramlich said...

Cool dream, baby. Would that everyone had dreams more like this & less like a mirror of daily mundania (i.e.; mine.)

Shauna Roberts said...

LISA, I wonder sometimes about the difference between men's and women's dreams. (As a psychologist, maybe Charles can tell us.) My husband has nightmares that he has to protect me from monsters or giant spiders or something. In my nightmares, I've left my baby or my pet somewhere dangerous or forgotten to feed them for days on end. Those are such primitive, probably hard-wired fears for men and women--Neanderthals probably had similar nightmares.

Erik Donald France said...

Wow, impressive, almost like a past life memory or damn close. Very cool. Me, I dreamt lately about a lot of Chinese people in buildings, God knows why.

Travis Cody said...

I really enjoyed that.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ivan, I'm afraid I don't get all the references but I'm not always as up on things as I should be.

Lisa, Shauna, it's true that males dream more about violence than females, and I suspect it's biological and has to do with testosterone and some genetic qualities. Men also tend to dream more about people they don't know while women dream more about people they know, have known, or have relationships with.

Lana, you know how I enjoy these kinds of dreams.

Erik, I'd like to believe it was from a past life. That would be kind of cool.

Travis, so did I.

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Wow! that was AWESOME!!! LIke a movie scene! That should have been in a movie script! I have had battle scenes in my dreams too. I would love to write them down in that great detail because you did that so well! You gotta keep that sequence for a future book!

Travis Erwin said...

Dang, In the last vivid dream I had all my teeth feel out. yours is so much better.

eric1313 said...

That's a pretty vivid dream! I've participated in a few battles like that, but they always took place on a game mat in one friend or another's basement on a Saturday night gaming session.

The last battle dream I had, I was piloting a bomber (I don't know the first thing about flying) over a huge city in flames and all the other planes on my side were going down. I was the only one left.

Before the dream ended, i was somehow hanging onto the wing of my bomber as it crash landed. Very strange.
I think Ivan is referring to late night AM radio. Art Bell did all the shows about alien encounters, government conspiracies and the like. Fun listening.

eric1313 said...

Fun listening, especially when Art Bell took callers. He was always like, "I believe you..." or "I've heard this before, you're not alone" and never laughed at anyone no matter how cracked they were. He's retired now and somebody else took over, I think the other guy Ivan mentioned.

Ironically, we would listen to it after playing DnD...

Danette Haworth said...

Wonderful! Definitely good material. (Gives you an excuse to take naps, too--"But I'm working!")

Jo said...

Good grief, that is amazing! What was in that eggnog?

I have had bizarre, detailed dreams, but I would never have been able to write them down like that the next morning.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ello, yes, I love when dreams go that way for me. I'm fooling with a "storization" of it now.

Travis Erwin, considering your penchant for meats losing your teeth would be a definite problem.

Eric1313, ah yes, that's who Art Bell was. I thought I recognized hearing the name. Kind of a cool "bomber" dream, though.

Dannette, lol. Yes, I'll tell Lana, "darn it, gotta go to work now." Then have a nap.

Josie, whatever it was was pretty good stuff.

Miladysa said...

I love your dream and the way you tell it here. It is surprising how much we can remember when we wake.

My father had a theory that as well as inheriting our characters and looks from our ancestors we could also inherit memory. When I was a child I would often dream of events from his life which of course he had never spoken to me about and I could not have overheard the telling of.

Thank you for sharing your dream with us :)