I eat a lot of hot sauce. I used to put it on everything and get the really spicy ones so that I could be that guy, but I’ve calmed it down a little in recent years. I also used to specifically eat something spicy right before bed, because I noticed doing so gave me really vivid, really strange and surreal dreams.
Now I’ve stopped doing that entirely, but I guess I conditioned my brain enough to think it’s alright to give me strange dreams most nights. One such was just the other night…
Oh! I should put here that I’ve been playing a lot of Deep Rock Galactic recently, and I only say that because it’ll soon become obvious the ways that game influenced the dream. (If you haven’t heard of it and you don’t feel like following the link, in short, it’s a game where you play as a space dwarf mining crystals and minerals out of a giant asteroid-planet-thing.)
Anyway, the other night…
Like most dreams, I don’t remember how I got to the start, but I knew I was being hunted by the Italian mafia. Somehow, at the beginning of the dream, that meant I GUESS that I was in a motel outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico while on the run from them. Of course, one of their hitmen finds me and I’m sure you can guess who it is.
That’s right, Danny Trejo.
So Danny Trejo shows up going full Machete on me, showering the motel in bullets while I run, duck, and dodge behind cover.
Eventually, he runs out of ammo and hops in an old car, trying to run me down. Now my memory gets kind of spotty around this point in the story, but the end point is that I successfully kill him in self-defense. (I think I trick him into crashing the car, or something. Let’s just assume it was something clever.)
That dramatic scene winds up placing me in Witness Protection. I remember they handed me a special form to fill out for, like, my preferences of what kind of Witness Protection I would prefer, and in the special comments section I just wrote “No Italians, please.” Which is several shades of stupid, but made sense in the moment since I was on the run from the Italian mafia.
It doesn’t wind up working.
So Witness Protection places me in a sort of special boarding house that looks like an old Victorian manor out in New England. (Heh, I just noticed the dream keeps taking place in “New” places. New Mexico to New England. Weird.) The boarding house is run by a kindly old woman with red hair and she shows me to my room toward the back of the manor. My paranoia sets in, and on one of the first nights, I remove a couple panels from the floor and I start digging.
The logic at work is that I’m going to construct a series of tunnels to really live in, or at least have as a getaway in case the mob ever finds me. I think I distantly remember reading about or hearing about an either Roman or Chinese emperor who did the same thing with their palace, filling it with a hundred rooms and sleeping in a different one every night to confuse would-be assassins.
Which is basically what I did.
I dug a whole bunch of tunnels into the ground beneath the mansion, and I filled those tunnels with a bunch of dummy routes, dead ends, tunnels that looped back in on themselves. I dug enough dirt to last eleven lifetimes to make sure the mob would never find me.
Along the way, I met another resident of the house, a young girl named Alyssa, who found my series of tunnels and asked to help me dig more because she thought it was cool. At first I said no, wary of outsiders and not wanting to share my masterpiece with another, but ultimately relented.
I also found this awesome, green, furry mole-ferret creature while digging. I never really thought of a name for him, but he was adorable, helped me dig, and loved to snuggle while making this soft purring noise. He was great.
At this point, there’s a bit of a time skip, or a fast-forwarding. I met Alyssa, found my giant ferret creature, at one point we struck ground water and essentially dug out a massive underground grotto or lake. We brought in bamboo from the Overworld (just the regular world, but we’d become underground people) to build scaffolding and walking pathways around this body of water. It was a good time.
But nothing good lasts forever.
One day while I’m hanging out on the big wrap-around porch of the house, I see a car with tinted windows drive slowly by. The window rolls down and a bald man with a scar on his cheek stares me down for a moment, before rolling the window back up and driving away. (No idea why, but I name him Spencer.
My God. I’ve been found.
I have a discussion with the headmaster lady of the house, and she gives me a sort of “Ah, alas. I feared this day would come” sort of monologue, and says she’ll prep the house for battle – or something of the sort. Eventually, it falls to dusk, and a train of twelve cars pulls up in front of the place. Out of each one, a uniquely dressed, themed, and deadly hitman steps out with an intent to kill. They charge the house, and I kung-fu fight with about four or five of them around the house, killing or incapacitating them mightily before I begin to tire and worry for the worse. All around the house, the headmaster lady and other residents are doing their own righteous battle with these (apparently still supposed to be Italian mafia) hitmen.
I’m wounded, and the headmaster lady tells me to fall back, and that they have it from here. So I do, and retreat into my tunnel system. While down there, Alyssa finds me and tells me that our ferret isn’t doing so good, she thinks he’s sick. So I pick up the little guy, he purrs against my chest and neck while I carry him down one of the tunnels, across our underground lake (taking up the bamboo walkways behind us), and into the deepest tunnel that is my Sanctuary. For extra security, I lay a couple of satchel charges in the dirt (which I apparently have) and lie in wait with my ferret creature.
I woke up at that point, but I assume that Spencer the Hitman followed my trail down the tunnels and would have fallen upon me and my ferret, but got blown up by my booby traps. That’s my head canon and I’m sticking to it.
Anyway, if you’ve stuck with it this far or just skipped down until you saw “The End”, either way: The News!
I’ve stopped announcing these sorts of things with any regularity, both because life is busy and because I’m not sure who’s listening with bated breath on this, my tiny, eensy weensy slice of the internet, but we’ve got another publication in the books! (lol Pun.)
Flame Tree Publishing is coming out with their Gothic Fantasy ‘Alternate History’ anthology early next year and are including a reprint of one of my first ever stories, “The Sixth-Gun Conspiracy Letters”, wherein we learn the tragic, twisted truth behind the cloak-and-dagger game which shadowed the American Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
It’s an oldie, but a goodie, and I’m extra stoked about this one because Flame Tree is based out of London, UK, which means ya boi has gone international! And I think that’s worth a nod. -cheers- (<– the polite gesture at a dinner party, not a crowd erupting with applause)
Anyhoo, that’s all for now. Thanks for sticking around. Ciao, everybody.