Visiting Cousin

I take my infant son Gaius to visit his cousin, who was born around the same time but suffered tragic complications at birth, which resulted in severe deformities (this I dimly recognise this as the sequel to some previous dream).

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As I enter his house, I negotiate the many bright toys strews across the floor, which given the layers of dust on them seem to have been undisturbed for some time. I accidentally kick some ball or other which clatters into some others and causes a commotion that draws a number of strange, horned purple insects which scuttle around between hiding places. This in turn causes what can only be called a mass migration of hundreds of grey spiders from beneath the TV stand to under the sofa, their hair-thin legs almost invisible against the grubby, faded, shag-carpet Serengeti. As I walk deeper into the house, static faces of relatives blur past me, their presence distant, like so many over-edited social media photos.  

The cousin, whose name I don’t know, sits in a teal medical chair in the corner, his face a knot of scar tissue atop a ruffed collar of coloured pencils held together with epoxy resin, seemingly there to hide enormous gory chasms in his neck. A small fleshy sack hangs around his neck like a medallion, weakly inflating and deflating at irregular intervals. He stares out, blankly from one sickly amber eye, a tube or tendon trailing from the other ruined socket to disappear over his shoulder. All around us is silence. 

“Say hello to your cousin” I say to Gaius enthusiastically, as I bounce him on my knee. 

Cousin responds in a remarkably clear and articulate voice and reflects stoically and at great length on his troubled birth and the subsequent surgeries as if a POW recounting his captivity and torture. It is all very tragic, but as the monologue continues it becomes more and more self-absorbed and cousin preoccupied with his own bravery. I respond something along the lines as I’m meant to; 

“You're very brave” I nod.  

He continues for a while more in the same manner of self-congratulatory auto-mythology. Suddenly, he appears to us as if he were a man untouched by these tragedies, handsome and clean-cut with and with a dashing 5-o-clock shadow.

“If I can overcome this” he continues again “...what are the rest of you all doing?? Hmm? Do I not inspire the rest of them to try harder? To be better?”

Eventually, I make my excuses, collect the boy, and begin the ritual of leaving, but get lost and accidentally enter a room-sized jacuzzi lazed with glamorous bodies. I try to navigate the hedonistic terrain and achieve nothing other than getting my shoes damp.  

Two Fish

I drift in space, my consciousness inhabiting a volume of water containing two fish. It fills a black, human-shaped containment suit scored with geometrical patterns, with areas of translucent plastic - such as the gauntlet-like hands - through which I see the cosmos refracted through my aquatic form. I wonder if I am the water, or I am the fish, as I spiral into the void. 

Zome

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It's the latest TV craze; Zome. An inverted skyscraper built a mile into the Martian soil, at the bottom of which crooks and vagabonds and other undesirables are thrown, to battle it out over several seasons of scheming, bloodshed and violent surprises. Forming ad-hoc allegiances to scour for weapons and supplies, only to betray one another as they reach the summit and dream of seeing the shimmer of distant earth from the planet's surface. Four seasons in, and nobody has yet done so. 

It's an old format, but timeless. Knowing their audience hunger for futurism cloaked in the warm certainties of the past, the producers recycle once again the ancient aesthetic of neon and wireframe kitsch.

The Dragon of London

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The mechanical embryo hung in the sky like a distant satellite, benevolently contemplating the social computations of the city below. I watched as it grew and evolved before me, its metallic hide glistening in the golden hour of the bright blue sky. As its reptilian form became apparent, it seemed to notice me standing on the rooftop, and uncoiled as it gracefully rippled in slow motion towards me. It wove through the muddle of glass towers, churches and Georgian tenements gracefully, its skin a shimmering landscape of silver panels in enigmatic arrangements. It turned to a woman next to me to ask what it was. "Its the Dragon of London," she said as if I was a tourist. 

The dragon continued to seek me, eventually settling on the rooftop before me and inviting me into its maw. Inside, a woman with red eyes and deep green skin flecked with golden freckles spoke in an ethereal voice. 

"Some years ago Jamie, you wrote something of profound importance to future generations. "Really," I said, thinking of my scribblings on history or psychology or some such. 

"Yes", she said. "It was about some kind of savings account, a - how you say - ISA? We must know more of this thing."

My heart sank as I assumed she was referring to the documentation of a financial services apps I'd worked on a few years. I left the Dragon of London, disappointed. 

Old Folks Home

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A centenarian sits foetus-like in a hospital chair, his face on the verge of implosion. Suddenly, a yawn so vast and expansive that his face prolapses and turns completely inside-out. A nurse walks over and nonchalantly folds in back the right way before carrying on with her business. Elsewhere, in perspex tubs like those for holding sickly infants, even older humans sit, devlolved into little more than shrunken heads with ribbed manifolds of bone and flesh prodruding from the sides of thier face.  

 

In darkness something scuttles in the screams

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My friend Jessica Ballantyne is hard on cash and decides to sign up for a program to have genetic tests conducted on her, by a company called Cybius Technology. As the weeks go on she becomes distant and withdrawn, and so do the others in her group that submitted to the genetic editing. Later, Cybius hires a gym hall to set up challenges between a purely human group with their own group with enhancements. Unexpectedly, Jessica and the Enchanced lie face down on the floor and begin to move across the hall by wriggling like snakes. In unison, they bounce back and forth between the walls like lightwaves, and move through and around the humans as if water. The behaviour surprised even those at Cybius who set up the experiment. Later, Jessica tells me that they experienced a form of hive-mind unity during the episode, which she described as a form of divine transcendence. 

But there is a sense of foreboding in the unfolding of events. While we contemplate whether we have witnessed some new form of step in human evolution, I look back to some of Cybius' other scandals. Like when they sold lifelike, humanoid robotic servants that were found to be using actual human brains. As it was illegal to fix them yourself, when they "broke" (lost their minds) and were sent in for repair, the brains were destroyed and swapped for new ones harvested by some illegal means, such as by from prisons, or kidnap victims.

Somewhere in Cybius basement, in darkness something scuttles in the screams. 

Later, in a medieval street, a giant lobster speedily climbs up the bricks with the speed of a ferret, and weaves through the streets to escape capture. When this becomes inevitable, it launched itself at someone, plunging its neon yellow claws deep into his heart.

Unexpected Twist

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It is the finale of the new season of Game of Thrones and Cerci is attempting black magic to spawn a new child. To do so, she merges with a pulsating Cronenberg-esque mass of flesh, and as she does so, a baby's face begins to appear from her shoulder. The Queen is pleased.  

Then, something goes horribly wrong. Unable to control herself, she grabs a dagger and begins repeatedly stabbing the child in the face. As she does so her face turns white and ridges begin to appear on her forehead. The sorcery has unknowingly unleashed the eldritch forces of evil!

She tears herself from the fleshy mass, transformed; resembling something between an albino version of Terrahawks monster "Sram", and a lame neon mid-90s GI Joe. The dramatic reveal was meant to be a series cliffhanger; the arrival of another new menacing army! But all I could think was "Hmm, this isn't really working, is it."

Demon Temple

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I look across a landscape composed of decayed prehistoric animals, turtles, dinosaurs and extinct sea monsters. Rather than being fossilised, flesh still hung from their bones in gory undulations that stretched off into the horizon. Discovered in China in this remarkable state, the whole area was now in the process of being turned into a theme park. 

Later, I’m in an ancient temple architecturally similar to Angkor Watt but with hints of renaissance style. It is centred around an enormous, elaborate stone statue that depicts a human sacrifice. Bodies entwine and contort in emotive Bernini-esque tangles, with lovingly carved entrails torn from bodies by horrors someway between medieval demons and sea anemones. Sheets of rain lash against the structure as I go inside to try and find the gift shop, and eventually, the loo.

May :'(

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Dreamt that Teressa May topped herself, and everyone was sending me text messages and such like "may :'(", even the people who were prone to rants about "tory scum". It was incredibly bleak. Later I am in a gigantic aquarium where half-human-dolphins flap about amidst the visitors, thier skin was torn down to the muscle by repeated clawings by other animals. 

Insect

I am in a 1970s bar, complete with faded film grain and loudmouth bigots around a pool table spouting earsplitting sexism. I see a small green creature and try to photograph it with my camera, it is fragile and similar to a preying mantis. I turn to look at the drunken oafs and when I look back the small creature has folded itself into a protective, spherical pod, like a pea, with two adorable green eye peeking out the middle. When I look again it has become a green cylinder, that then stretches out into something resembling a latticed slinky, to mouth at the wall. 

Giant Rik Mayall

I am riding around on the shoulder of a giant Rik Mayall, shooting a Beano style catapult at assorted monsters that had come for us. I fall from his shoulders and land in the Swamp of James Bond, a grey slop bubbling with sphincter-like geysers. As I run across the mud to escape the chaos it glows like nebulae, and the horizon lights up with cultural epicycles.

Evolution of the Thing

I am in the sequel to The Thing, which is set in the ancient Indian city of Varanasi. Its dark, warren-like streets provides a stark but suitably surreal alternative to the isolation of Antarctica.

The creature has absorbed so many people that it was beginning to show next stages of its evolution. At one point I walked in on three or four imitations seeming to be uniting into the folds of massive cerebrum in the corner of a darkened room. I run. 

Fish Bird

A mighty river flows down what was once Easter Road in Edinburgh. As I stand at its banks near on the edge of London Road Gardens, a fish leaps out of the water and two legs unfold from its undercarriage and a hideous beak emerges from its mouth. It lands on a rock that in some more ancient time was a kerbstone, and hisses at me before flying away.

Space Dogs

There has been an alien invasion of Abbeyhill Primary School by biomechanical quadrupeds with grotesque heads; humanoid faces sandwiched between two mechanical disks. Men walked around the playground like postcard hawkers at the Taj Mahal selling Fireworks and knives to fight off the horde. The aliens talked in code as the world ended around them.