Last night I visited a future Morocco. A friend and I, wearing dusters and face wraps against the wind and sand, stood in a bazaar while movement foamed around us. There had been a war. Somehow I knew this. A war against non-human forces that had nearly wiped out the human race. My friend and I had fought in it.
The human population was just starting to bounce back. Conditions for survival were harsh. I saw a family waiting to board a white hovercraft. Mother, father, two children. They were escaping north to safer lands. The father held a boy child of maybe two while a daughter of eight or so stood beside them.
There was no ladder into the hovercraft. The mother and father climbed over the side with the boy but the daughter could not reach high enough. She cried out, holding up her hands, but neither her father nor mother helped her, though they had tears in their eyes. I understood they were leaving her behind, that they felt they had to make a choice to save one of their children and the boy was more important to them than the girl.
The hovercraft began to move. The girl ran beside it, the swirling sand spraying her, making her blink and stumble. I couldn’t stand it. To one side of us two traders were bargaining with a merchant at a stall, their mounts tethered beside them. Those mounts were dragonflies the size of horses.
I ran to one of the giant insects, yanked its reins free and leaped onto its back. Together we tore upward into the brazen air, the creature’s wings humming, then swung back and down and the dragonfly scooped up the fallen girl in its front legs. We caught the hovercraft only a short distance away and deposited the girl on board. She ran to her mother, who hugged her desperately.
I leaped off the dragonfly into the craft, saw that other families were huddled in the bottom of the ship. I knew that some of them had also left loved ones behind. I shouted at them. “They’re human beings. You can’t leave them. They’re human!”
A young mother burst into tears. I awoke.