T.J. Washington In “B Is For Basement” Pt. 3

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III. 3×7

“I’m not the devil,” the man stressed before taking a sip of his beer before continuing, “I’m a devil and I hear you’re a shaman.”

I guessed I was in a bar. I hadn’t looked around yet, but judging from what I already experienced, bar seemed a safe bet.

This would be pretty weird if it happened while I was awake, but was pretty standard for double dreams. People are always acting like this in double and triple dreams. I’ve never met anyone who’s been in a quadruple dream.

“C’mon now,” I said as I raised my palm and pushed him back with my eyes.

“Sorry, didn’t see your light.”

“Easy mistake, I tend to keep it covered or dimmed,” I said turning to leave.

“Understood, nice knowing ya.”

“Likewise,” I replied while going through the door.

Once through the doorway I found myself sitting across from an old man, obviously a widower judging from the decor. I was wearing a black suit, a red shirt with a black tie and a two-toned hat. One of the tones was black and the other was red. We were smoking pipes in silence, one of my favorite things to do on a cool fall evening, which a glance out the window confirmed it was.

After some time two little kids came through the door without guns. One was dressed like a witch but with a long gray beard and the other was in a wizard’s robe. Must be Halloween. They were holding a broom and staff respectfully. The items looked familiar for some reason unknown to me. Recognizing stuff you don’t isn’t anything that usually needs to be worried about in a dream. No telling where one’s mind pulls dream imagery from. It’s not a question I ponder much.

The kids seemed nice enough but it was too late for them to be coming in and they didn’t have any candy. Candy-less kids on a day like this is dirty pool, even for dreams. They were covered in what I intuitively knew to be monster guts. We had a pleasant enough conversation, I suppose. I decided to leave a few minutes after I was referred to as “Grand Magus” by the old man. I knew what one was, that I was one, and why I was dressed in the manner I was. I wasn’t happy about it though.

The imagery was indicative of some of the parts of my Self that I don’t put forward very often. The reasons I choose to put a bushel over my light, so to speak, are mine to keep. Exerting spiritual or magickial energy can be, and usually is, a nuisance wrapped in a hindrance. I prefer to remain invisible to the unseen universe as much as I possibly can. Easier for everyone that way.

I looked down at my Self and found it shaking hands with the diminutive witch and wizard who were giggling uncontrollably at my silly antics. I guess while my head was thinking about magick, the rest of me was being where I was, making sure I didn’t seem like a party crasher or mumbling weirdo. I said the rest of my goodbyes and left through the front door. As I was standing in the threshold, one foot outside and the other about to take a step to join it, I remembered why I was in that house, what those kids were up too, and a whole bunch of other stuff I could do without remembering at a time like this. (see Jimmy Jam & Sally Slam in “Halloween: Special Ops– ed.)

I reached the bottom of the steps and expected my feet to find the walkway. They, and by extension me, were not so lucky. Instead of a walkway there was nothing beneath me. I held on to my hat as I fell down what I assumed to be a bottomless pit that some how had a bottom. I suspected that when I got there, I’d know. It took what seemed to be awhile but I had no way of knowing. It was also pretty boring and I suspected that no matter how long this went on, it would feel longer that it was. Eventually, I didn’t so much as land on the ground as the ground re-formed beneath me. Before I could regain my composure or figure out if I was gaining it for the first time, a woman in a bridal gown approached me. Her face was covered by a veil and her feet were invisible under her skirts, giving her the impression she was floating.

I hoped it was just an impression, if she were floating that could mean she’s a ghost. Ghost brides and grooms are never pleasant. Something about the stress of having to spend eternity on the cusp of an important event, but never being able to attend it drives ghosts insane. At the very least they are unstable and annoying.

By the time she was standing in front of me I had a pretty good idea of who she was. I’d bet my last match on it being my Emily. She and I never wed. We never got the chance. A mummy ate her instead. It took me a long time to get over that, which is understandable. For years the undead bastard who ate her and myself were arch enemies. That is until Sam and I finally killed him a few weeks ago. I should have suspected that shedding years of hate and guilt while ridding myself of my arch nemesis would have lead to a few weird dreams. Now that I think about it, the weird thing is it took this long for something like this to happen. My soul was scrubbing my mind of any remaining attachments to my old feelings. Something like that is bound to be increasingly unpleasant.

“Hello, Thomas,” she said through her veil.

“Evening miss,” I responded.

“Do you know who I am?”

I smiled before answering, it wasn’t a happy smile though. It was the kind of smile that happens to you when you realize that standing in front of you is the thing you miss the most and it’s going to leave again. The smile comes right before the remembering of that special mixture of pain and helplessness that go hand in hand with loss, but after the initial euphoria of meeting someone long gone from your life, making it the cruelest of smiles.

“I know,” I said. My eyes began to fill with tears while my hands balled into fists as I answered.

She nodded at me and lifted her veil. It was Emily. She was every bit as I remembered her. She held both my hands as tears shamelessly ran down my face like they were trying to escape a burning building. She looked at me with a smile. Not a happy smile, the kind a person tries to put on instead of crying.

I wiped my eyes on my sleeve and said, “You’re just a memory.”

My gaze returned to hers just in time to see mummy bandages appearing from the nothingness we were in begin to wrap around her body. Her face was first to become obscured. She made no sound during the whole process. After she was totally mummified she crumbled to dust. Someone started laughing. I looked around but saw nothing.

The image of a giant mummy eating a properly proportionately sized Emily gradually formed from what I assumed to be smoke in what would be where the sky should have been.

“You’re just a memory too,” I said, “Go home.”

The vision listened and left. Faded into whatever it was that was surrounding me.

A tiny gnome like creature ran up to me holding a door and a box of tissues. It handed me the tissues and laid the door on the ground. The creature opened it, I peeped into the portal and saw a city that looked similar to New Orleans. I looked at the creature and it was frantically gesturing at me to go through the portal it had just opened for me.

That’s portal openers for you, always wanting you to step through what ever they open up.

I shrugged my shoulders and stepped through, nodding my head in appreciation at the gnome like thing. When I opened my eyes I was in the front seat of a car with another man, who I assumed I knew.

“Nope,” I said for some reason,”Not tonight Toli.”

“Why not?” Toli replied.

“I’m not chasing something that can walk through walls and put a slug in my gut. Be corporeal or incorporeal- not both. You gotta pick one.”

I pulled my hat down over my eyes and shut them tight. When I opened them again I was staring at my ceiling. I checked to see what time it was but I wasn’t wearing a watch. I even checked my other wrist and my ankles to be sure. I punched myself in the leg while pinching my arm for good measure. It hurt. Everything checked out and I went ahead and made the assumption that I had finished dreaming.

I took a walk through my apartment and found everything pretty consistent with being awake. That was a relief. I looked at the clock on my coffee maker while I was preparing a pot and was glad to see it was only 11 in the morning. I had about a half hour before Sam arrived. We were working a case today. A local law firm was having vampire issues.

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