Photo by Anastasiia Polonikova on Unsplash

*Trigger Warning: Violence, Murder, Etc*

In our dreams, we visit many places. Some of us anyway. And dreams come in many forms. There are dreams we don’t realise we’re dreaming, and then lucid dreams. Dreams that we know are dreams. A subtype of lucid dreams are dreams we can control. Seems straightforward enough. Right? Would that things simply fit in their boxes so elegantly. Not every dream we control is one where we know that we are dreaming. And some dreams, we only partially control. Today you hear the tale of one such dream. A dream your host over the course of this story, once had in person.

I was on foot, centuries ago. On a wide, uphill, peaceful and sunlit cobblestoned path, much of it walled off at both sides, so that the road was somewhat lower than its waysides than is usual. A broad path, carved into higher ground of some sort…How much of that higher ground is manmade and how much natural…I do not know. Or was it mostly walled off only on the left side? One forgets you know. I am not an old man, but memories of dreams are notoriously elusive, whatever your age.

I do however remember that there was green. The sun was shining. The higher ground of the wayside had many trees, and the trees cast cool, slightly verdant shades on the side of this broad and pretty path. A little ahead of me, to my left, I could see a woman standing on some sort of wooden platform, partly in the shade of some of those beautiful trees. She was dressed in traditional Circassian clothes, though memory betrays me as to whether she had any headdress. I do not know what she was doing. I do not know if she was attempting to speak to those on the road or attempting to sell vegetables. Attempting to rally the people or attempting to earn her livelihood. I do not know. Perhaps her platform was only an upturned wooden crate on which she stood, as humble an object as any.

What I remember was how horrible it felt, when I saw an officer in an 18th century red coat and hat, trot up casually to her platform on a brown horse, draw a contemporary curved sabre with a round knuckle guard, and fatally cut her down with one stroke! Just like that, in broad daylight, on the open road! I couldn’t believe it!

Rage my friends! Anguish! Indescribable sorrow mixed with Fury! It felt so real! So real that my eyes still tear up to remember it! My blood boiled! I chased the officer, but it was now that he chose to gallop away on his horse, the coward! I chased, and I chased. It was useless. He got away. But my rage would not allow me to submit to impotence! Without knowing I was dreaming, I found myself re-winding the dream in my head! Again and again, I forced my subconscious to bring him back, again and again I chased him, seething with fury! I was weeping. I was howling with rage, and an insurmountable bloodlust and drive for vengeance! I would kill the bloodthirsty animal if I could get my hands on him!

I replayed that chase again, and again, but always I would be greeted by the sight of the horse’s rear, getting further and further away. I tracked him to a local inn. There, some older villagers had disarmed him and removed his hat, but he was otherwise unharmed. They were burly and strong, but older, wizened men, who seemed to be seeking “due process”. The innkeeper and some local village notables. But outside, a mob of other villagers had formed. And they were baying for his blood. The notables, in the spirit of justice, did their best to save the bastard from being lynched. I joined the mob, trying to force my way through the crowd and break his neck, or slit his throat, crush his skull, or take his life in any way that I possibly can.

Before I can do that, the officer’s subordinates arrive. A tiny force of unseasoned troops, arriving confused as to why they were sent for. The notables had likely sent for them to safely escort their commander away before the furious locals torched the inn, the notables, and the honourless officer all at once. They never stood a chance. The mob wheeled on the uniformed men outside like rabid wolves and tore them apart, limb from limb. But in the confusion, their dastardly commander escaped! He picked up the lesser sabre of a fallen subordinate, got on a horse, and galloped away again. Not content with having gotten his men killed, he seemed resolved on persisting in his wanton killing and triggering more strife and bloodletting in the world.

I woke up with tears in my eyes.

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