You Can’t Go Home Again

I elected not to change the title of this piece even though I just deleted all the text that had been here.
Recently I returned to my old college town to see old friends and try to reconnect with someone special to me. It didn’t go as I has hoped. Almost nothing about the people or the place remained as it was when I was a student there previously, and it wasn’t that long ago.
I left feeling a mixture of things. I was sad that so many things had changed, but I enjoyed seeing old friends again. I found there were more people there that I remembered than I would have expected. And at the end of it all, I left with hope for a future with meaningful connections. My friendships had changed because I have changed, and the people with whom I interact that have not changed with me are slowly being phased out of my life.
I always heard “home is where your heart is” as a child. My heart was with my closest friends. And if the friends are no longer there, than neither is home. Home is elsewhere, in new hearts among new people.



Part I: A Possible Prologue

Not all dream stories come in complete “episodes.” While thinking of a dream that has revisited me recently, I recall now a fragment of a dream from years previous that may be in some way related.

It is hot outside and the sun is blazing brightly overhead. There is an unnatural quality to both the light and the air, as though some calamitous event has damaged the fabric of the world. I am standing in a grassy field slowly being trampled by the number of people being assembled; assembled to fight for our freedom. A powerful faction, bent on domination over us, is coming our way and we are preparing for war. The future looks grim. The likelihood of victory is scant. We are given orders by our commanders and we march off toward the confrontation. The fragment ends.

Such a dream could have been the beginning to any number of stories, but I think it may have something to do with a multi-night dream story that returned to me only last night.

Part II: The Story So Far

The war fought after the conclusion of the fragment above has long ago ended. A superficially benign, all-powerful government now controls the state in which I live. Officially, I am merely an ordinary citizen going about a productive but ordinary existence. I cause no trouble, and no trouble comes to me. Unofficially, I am a member of a resistance seeking to overturn the ruling regime.

To that end, I and others, including my wife, lead forays into government-controlled buildings and secret bases to gather intelligence to use against our supreme leader; a mysterious woman who leads the cult of Oneness. The details of the dreams thus far and the missions we have gone on are not all clear. I even wonder if some of the missions were never actually in their own dreams, but were memories of previous events in the life of my dream avatar.

Above all other things, when we go on our missions the greatest imperative is secrecy. We go to painstaking effort to make no lingering alterations to the spaces we reconnoiter. Any documents searched are re-filed, any object moved is replaced exactly as it had been and we can never be seen by government operatives.

There have been close encounters, but we have thus far avoided detection and gathered information on operations and procedures we hope to use against “One” and her minions.

Part III: The Most Recent Installment

The very night before I wrote this piece, I again dreamt of my efforts with the resistance. We were hitting a big target this time: the personal abode of “One.” We bypassed security and gained entrance to the house. It was disheveled, as though those that dwelt there were in the process of relocating.

As we were searching the house for information we could use against the regime, taking, as always, great care not to leave any trace of our presence there, we received word that “One’s” advance guard were approaching and that She would soon be there. Knowing we could neither sneak our way past such a force nor risk a direct confrontation without further preparations, we began pulling out. It took time. We had to be absolutely certain every item, regardless of seeming insignificance, was replaced exactly and every trace of our intrusion, down to tracks in the dust, was swept away.

We had finally made it out of the building and were heading for the woods, as we had done in previous raids on bases in similar settings. While crossing the back yard, my wife called from behind me and said she had to go back in. She had left some object that she had brought behind, and it would be a dead giveaway that we had been there. The advance guard was nearly on the property and we had no time to spare as she went back into the house. I stood there torn between the imperative of secrecy and the desire to go back and help my beloved. The dream ended in that moment of indecision.


I firmly believe that this dream-story is not yet concluded. The trouble with dreams is that it could be days, months or even years before the rest of the story comes to me, and there is no way of knowing what parts may be left out. I could try to speculate as to how the events will progress, though in my experience there is no better way to shut oneself off from a dream-story than to imagine the next chapter while awake.

A Journey Seeking Evil

Foreword: A Bit of Context

It has been nearly six years since I had this dream, but I can still recall the general storyline and some of the events in detail. I am not the man I was when I had this dream. For starters, I have stopped considering myself a Christian.

I have heard it said that dreams are sometimes a subconscious reflection of events in our real lives, and this dream would seem to corroborate that theory. I had it shortly after finishing reading The Inferno by Dante for a school paper. The correlation between the book and the dream are unmistakable.

Every man is said to have his own personal Hell, and I am no exception. Though what I consider ‘evil’ has changed over the years, and since I have taken to praying to God in different forms, perhaps a glimpse at where I’ve been can help me to determine where to go from here.

Part I: Sent

Having been raised a Christian, I believed in my youth in the inherent sinfulness of humans and in the need for redemption. This dream came to me at a time when my perception was starting to change from believing that I needed to be saved by another into thinking that it was possible to earn forgiveness from wrong by one’s own power. In this dream, I was sent on such a journey of redemption.

In a wooded place of no great significance, I was walking down a gravel road with a woman clad in military camouflage. I did not ever see her face, but I believe I knew her. She spoke not in words that I can recall, but with impressions and she imparted to me the need to go on a journey into the depths of Hell for the redemption of my soul. She would not be with me, she was needed elsewhere, and I would have no guide with me. I could not stray from my purpose, or I would become forever lost in damnation. She left me to my journey.

Part II: An Eventful Journey

I never saw exactly how I came to be in Hell, but perhaps it is better that way. The first place in which I found myself greatly resembled a contemporary dance club. Uncountable numbers of people were loosely gathered or tightly packed around the inside of a massive building, barely lit, and filled with loud music. A huge television screen filled the only interior wall distinguishable in the darkness. I recalled that I had been instructed not to look at the screen or I would become hypnotized by it. I could still hear it, though. A male figure was giving orders to the multitudes in a loud voice. I do not recall his words, but the masses seemed entranced by what he was saying to them. I threaded my way through the crowd and eventually left the massive chamber.

The next incident I recall with clarity was brief, but no less poignant. I had passed out of the massive dark room and found myself in a wasteland walking along the edge of a cliff. There I encountered the likeness of a young man I went to school with tempting me into acts of depravity. The conversation was brief. He eventually set himself on a rock at the top of a chute carved into the cliff face and slid down to the base, calling all the while for me to join him. I turned away and resumed my journey down.

There may have been other trials that I faced, but time has buried my memories of them. The final stage of the journey took me to a place which, strangely enough, resembled my neighbor’s basement, except that it was larger and more sinister-looking. Within this place were the likenesses of people that I knew, possibly even some of my relations, engaged in acts of torture and other evils. I slunk from room to room avoiding direct contact with them before coming to what I somehow knew was the reason I had been sent here.

Part III: A Confrontation

In my neighbor’s basement, standing in for the depths of Hell, I entered a small, dark room which contained only a table holding a smallish wooden crate. I approached the crate, somehow knowing instinctively that what it contained was pure evil. Inside, set on a bed of straw, was a small wooden figurine of roughly human likeness. The figure spoke to me in words I could not understand, and as it spoke our location changed to that of a grassy meadow under bright sunshine. I believe, in retrospect, that it may have been meant to be the Devil tempting me with a vision of tranquility and beauty.

Unfortunately, before this encounter could progress any further, my alarm clock rang and I was awakened to go to class. This dream has not returned to me in part or in whole at any time since. At times when I recall this dream, I will sometimes wonder how I would have fared in my confrontation with this manifestation of evil.

Dragon Slaying

Foreword: Purpose

As I am sure many of you can relate, I occasionally experience dreams that tell stories. These stories can be frightful, arousing, inspiring, confusing or a myriad of other emotions and mixed sensations. One thing is common to most of them: they were powerful enough to stick with me, in part or in whole, in the waking world. Some of the stories retold in wakefulness will be incomplete or vague in detail, both because I cannot always recall them in their totality and because some of the stories go unfinished.

I believe that dreams are oftentimes links to other places or times, even other worlds where alternate versions of our Self may be found. I, of course, have no proof of any of that, but I am not alone in most of those theories. Another theory often given credence is that dreams reflect our subconscious mind’s attempt to process events in our waking lives. Not wishing to color your experience with this dream, I will not relate the context of my life at the time. I shall simply say that it occurred over the course of multiple nights within the past year. Should a dream such as this come to me again in the future, you may expect a Dragon Slaying Part II, but I believe that is unlikely.

With the formalities out of the way, let us proceed to the story. Come, friend. Walk with me in my dreams.

Part I: The First Dragon

Some time ago, a dream came to me. I saw all of these events as though through my own eyes.

I stood within a massive metal structure, the exact size of which was unknown to me. I was there on a mission, sent by another, to kill dragons. I walked through the structure until I came upon the dragons’ lair: it was a pool of some liquid surrounding a raised dais on which sat a power source of some kind, I believe it was electrical. I was there to kill the dragons and to gain access to that power source.

Three dragons came to contest me. They dwelled within the liquid pool. The dragons were roughly a meter in length, predominantly silver-colored. They had no limbs that I can recall, but had a dorsal and ventral fin that ran most of the length of their bodies, ending in a vertical tail. Their heads, in contrast, were not as streamlined. With elongated snouts, two horns sweeping back from the crown of the head, and whiskery tendrils extending from the corners of their mouths. The heads were touched with gold and a deep purple the same shade as a dark stripe down their spines. Within their mouths were serpentine fangs; tapered and curved back and powerfully venomous.

I was unarmed and unarmored in this contest. The first of the dragons attacked me for my intrusion, biting me with its venomous fangs. Once it had latched on to me, I was able to catch hold of it and kill it by breaking its neck. I then left the structure altogether for a place to heal my wounds. This was the conclusion to the first dream.

Part II: The Second Dragon

On another night, I returned to this battle. The surroundings were the same as before, and my mission had gone unchanged: kill the dragons, access the power source.

I returned to the dragons’ lair and found it as I remembered. I could not tell how much time had passed since my last foray. Such a detail seemed unimportant in either event.

Once more, I was to do battle with these water-dwelling dragons with neither weapons nor armor, only my bare hands. The second dragon attacked me, both to prevent me from getting at the source, but also to avenge the death of its fellow. Again, I was wounded initially. I found that this second dragon fought harder, and was harder to kill. I had to strike blows to its head multiple times to kill it. I was ultimately victorious. As had happened previously, I retreated from the battle after laying down my foe and sought refuge elsewhere to heal from the dragon’s venom. This was the conclusion of the second dream.

Part III: The Final Dragon

Sometime later, how long I was not certain, I returned to the metal structure to face the final dragon. Again, with neither weapon nor shield I was sent to the pool.

The third dragon, perhaps enraged by the deaths of its fellows, was by far the hardest to defeat. It struck multiple times, biting with each strike, and wounded me more grievously then either of the others. It moved faster than the others and possessed greater strength. Somehow, I knew that this was their leader. After taking multiple bites, exactly how many I can no longer recall, I was able to capture the creature and strangle it to death.

Finally, seriously wounded and unsure of whether I would survive but ultimately victorious, I retreated for the last time from the dragons’ lair and the structure which housed it to seek healing. This time, however, I had sustained enough damage and had taken so long to defeat my enemy that I did not know if the cure would come in time.

This sequence of dreams ended here: the dragons were slain and the power source for which I had fought and bled was out of their control, though not securely in mine either. I did not know if I would live, or what would eventually become of that which I sought. That sense of uncertainty, as well as tremors from the great and terrible thing I had just done, were what carried the most clearly into the waking world with me after the final dream. I and others have speculated on the possible significance of this dream and its imagery. I welcome your thoughts.