Nightmare at Mindo (February 2012)


There were three of us.We were being hunted by giant men-like machines or machine-like men. They wanted to exterminate us, but we had to tell the others, if there were others left. We couldn´t just let humanity die.

Just then the tall man who knew the land came screaming, “They´re coming! They´re right behind me! Run!” I outpace the other two, flying into the trees. Sometimes my feet hardly touch the ground. I reach the precipice and dive, down into the thicket, down into the pitch black darkness.

I hear my companions crying out to one another, then the robotic voice in my head. It reads a serial number and, “assassinated,” then another serial number and “assassinated.” My heart sinks. I´m alone. They´re searching for me and everywhere my arms and legs are cradled and hemmed in by the brush and vines. I begin to be lifted into wakefulness by the finality of the situation. But I want to stay! I don´t know how I´ll wait them out here in this brier patch or escape to another land, but I want to stay in this dream! I want to save myself (which would mean to give myself away) before I go.

I woke sometime in the middle of the night, alone here in my cabin in the cloud forest trying to think of the Spanish word for nightmare, but I couldn´t. I forget. And there are reasons why I should simply forget about this dream: Since there´s a truck arriving at six to take me out of this place, and I haven´t any clock, it´s not surprising I was woken by machine-like monsters. My mind always startles me awake in such cases. Plus, my digestion hasn´t been right for weeks, and when it´s in poor shape my dreams usually follow suit.

But I can´t go to sleep because I have no sense of how far along in the night it is. And regardless, this dream feels—in a somatic sense—prophetic. I think of Noah and my brother, and sit down to write what you´re reading now.

Before the above-described part of my dream, I´d been with a group of children. All children, of all different races, and we were all somehow without families. We were on a walk through darkness and autumnal trees when we enter the house and go up to the attic of a certain boy. This is where he keeps his mother´s things, which is vitally important because his mother is dead and has been since he was very young, so in a sense these things are his mother for this boy.

He tries at the attic door but can´t open it and becomes dismayed. I try to comfort him though, saying it´s hard fitting keys in keyholes in the dark. I ask to see his key, open the door, return it to him, and we all go inside.

In the attic we all sit down while he gets his most prized inheritance from his mother. It´s a movie. He puts it on, explaining that it´s the third in a sextology, the turning point. To me this means the darkest point before dawn.

As the movie begins a strange thing occurs. We hear a man interviewing some kind of expert on the films. He asks, “But the man-like machines, heartless as they are, never kill a child. Is it true they can´t?”

“That´s true,” the expert replies. “Something about the way a child sees them makes them forget themselves—makes them forget their way. Yet strangely, when the child is gone again they lose memory of precisely him or her! They have complete amnesia of their human encounter and return to being relentless man-like machines. Lying awake in bed, I thought about the key and the keyhole and how the child´s way of seeing was the new way in a metaphysical sense. This could be right for several “reasons,” but I distinctly remember that in my dream I felt the child LOVED the machine-like men. The child loves, and encountered with this love the men-like machines forget themselves and thus are open to the future, which belongs in part to the forgotten, willfully forgotten past. I felt overwhelmingly in my dream that this was the key, and it was then that my reality melted into the movie and I became its protagonist.

But when the moment of truth arrived I´d already forgotten. I ran. I could have saved my companions if I´d looked on the machine-like men with love, but I forgot and grew afraid and ran. And perhaps this is all just running…

I woke in the night and wrote all this down, and when I was done I went outside. I walked to look on the darkness where the valley would soon be—la selva nublada—and didn´t know whether the sunlight would spread across things before the truck could roar up the hill to take me away. And the truck came, but not before the first hints of light, and I hoped this might be prohetic too.

But now, after a day and night spent in various buses, stations, and towns, I see that seeing such prophecies in things is empty—that it will all be empty unless I learn to love. There are child´s eyes in the machine-like men. Who sees the stars above a cloud forest as burning balls of gas millions of miles away, and only as these? Who is incapable of her own destiny, her own most prized inheritance and freedom, if she is reassured about the key she holds? I must finally not be afraid to love, and in this, stop running.


One comment on “Nightmare at Mindo (February 2012)

  1. Debra says:

    I read this twice and really enjoyed it. You inspire me to make the effort to write down my dreams. The answers to what we think we don’t know can be found there.

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