I don’t often recall my dreams these days, blessed be the drugs. When I do, I haven’t slept well, and they’ve been exhausting. Since last night was unusually intact, even hours later, I guess I should release it, or what I can remember, in the order it seemed to be in…
Waking up, finding that I’m not quite person I thought I was. There is now a small chest of drawers between me and my other half’s beds. She looks disappointed that I am awake. I shamble, barely capable of walking, to the shower. I can hear her telephone conversation as I slump and drag myself across the floor tiles.
“He’s not what he used to be,” she says. I haul myself up to where I can see myself in the mirror, and I am a half-formed, or half-deformed version of myself, features spreading out, as if being averaged across my face.
We attempt breakfast, and take our plates to sit in the narrow corridor where everyone else has found a space to hunch and eat in near-silence. Inevitably, the plateful of gravy spills (despite my best efforts) and spatters my t-shirt and trousers. We head off back to the room, via the delivery warehouse. I complain that my section of ‘exclusives’ has been taken away, so we take some extra time to traipse up and down the endless aisles until we discover that it is in exactly the same place it always was, but the sign with my name on has fallen behind a shelf. There is a stack of new t-shirts with cute designs, a range of bookmarks and unopened boxes. I take a shirt.
Paris is exhausting. The roads slope steeply up and down. We’re trying to find a place to eat, but the maps app on my phone is constantly steering us off course. With a lurch the app takes hold of my mind and I’m compelled to follow its directions, while traveling at high speed. The world takes a sepia tone and is stretched taut in all dimensions; the world is almost spherical, balanced atop a pinnacle of rock. A whirlwind of motion is coming, drawing me up into it, smashing my body into other forms and shapes. I do not want this, and in a vast stormy cloud we disperse; below me the ruined shape of Thundercracker (yup, from Transformers) crashes to earth, and the immense warping shape of Devastator (yup, also Transformers) screams like a wave across a mirror, while I remain on the very edge of the curb.
I fight off the map’s influence and find myself in a backstreet, lined with ancient bricks and half-boarded windows. There is no exit to the alley, so I open the door at the top of a fire escape. Inside are tables in cabaret layout occupied by women in something very like beekeeper’s hats and veils. They are all knitting or crocheting tiny figures. They speak constantly in a hushed whisper so it sounds like the sea.
The map reasserts control, dragging me though a fancy restaurant pavilion where a man is threatening the crowd with a gun. The speed I’m moving at when I strike him hurls him through the brass and glass walls and into the adjoining train station. A blur of glass.
I climb out of the overturned double-decker bus which I’d commandeered and rammed through the streets. I descend into the cellar where my compatriots are carefully arranging their windows, each a different shape with complex frames, all giving different views of the bright and cheerful street outside.
We all sit before our windows and they slice away from the reality around them, and we fly outwards, this thin screen before us and nothing behind. We circle up into the sky and join thousands of others whose screens are slotting into the vast battle grid we’ll be using to assault the enemy.