Dream Sequence, Revised
Van Turner, 1987

Amanda Sterling came home from school looking tired to the point of collapse. She walked into the bathroom to look in the mirror. The sight that met her was a sorry one.

Ordinarily, Amanda was an attractive girl, but who said there was anything ordinary about Mondays. If there was one thing that everybody seemed to agree on it was that nobody likes Mondays. Cut and dried.

Amanda looked at her mussed auburn hair and into her own soft brown eyes. The mirror didn't lie about anything right down to the slight dark rings under her eyes. This did nothing for her fair complexion.

She looked at her shallow cheeks which were usually cherubic. There was a large purple bruise on her right cheek bone. Amanda had gotten into a fight with her two-timing boyfriend's new girlfriend. Amanda had won, surprisingly, considering she'd never been in a fight before. There had been no one to break it up and few witnesses, thankfully.

Amanda splashed water on her face. It didn't help, so she removed her make up. She then made for her bedroom, set her books on her desk and lay down on her bed.

Amanda's head had hardly settled on the pillow when she was in a deep sleep. And as she slept she dreamt. But this dream was unusual in many aspects. She was perfectly conscious she was dreaming in her dream, but it was a matter of coincidence, unimportant.
Another difference she was perfectly aware of was that, unlike most dreams, which were in black and white, this dream was in full color. She could also she perfectly; no hazy edges. And it was all three dimensional, not flat.

There were several differences in the landscape. The big one was the sky. It was red. Other differences between the real world and her dream world were pink clouds, two blue suns, brown pine needles on green oak trees and brown grass. One not-so-unusual difference was that the rocks in the road she was standing in were multicolored. But one thing remained the same. On close inspection, the dirt was still cold and gray.

"Awful cold for two suns," Amanda said to herself nonchalantly -- more to her a sound other than the wind, which blew coolly across the brown moor land.

Amanda reached into her rough blue denim coverall pants pocket and pulled out a quarter. She looked at both sides and made up her mind. Head we go left, tails we go right. Then she flipped the coin high into the air watching as it spun. There was no glint on sunlight on the silver coin she noticed as she caught it.

"Heads," she said to herself as she turned it over onto the back over her other hand. She uncovered the coin to reveal the "tails" side. Mondays just weren't her days, she decided. She couldn't even win in a dream.

Amanda turned on her heal and started for the end of the road she designated as right. Then she stopped, made an about face and headed left.

After about a half hour of walking, she began to hear sounds she was sure she'd never heard before but were oddly familiar. And something was burning; the smell of it was sickening, like the cooking of raw meat gone bad. Amanda retched and kept going.

The noises, apart from the strange birds that wheeled overhead, sounded to Amanda like the noises made when you hit a power line with a stick. Sort of a "t-tewhk" sound. Almost every time the sound occurred there was a flash of green light sometimes followed by a scream of pain.

There was a steep high hill between Amanda and the sounds. She lay down and looked cautiously over the hill top. The sight that meet her was a horrible one. It was a battle. The combatants weren't human. Neither of the two sides were human, though the larger force looked more human. The defeated side didn't even attempt it.

The members of the larger side were tall, averaging about six feet and well-muscled, the lot of them. They wore leather jerkins and helmets similar to those of the Trojan uniforms.

Amanda could see the pointed ears and slanted eyes from the hill. She could also see the three fingered hands holding guns similar to M-16's. From these came the odd green light. The victim struck by the beam of light would scream and fall down -- stunned.

"Lasers?" Amanda wondered.

She watched the smaller group. They were shorter, in the lower end of the five foot range. They were also visibly weaker. They were more catlike, having fur, retractable claws, and huge teeth. They looked ferocious, wicked.

Amanda hoped the larger group was the police taking the smaller group -- obviously criminals -- to prison. The smaller ones frightened her.

"You're wrong you know," said a soft voice in her ear causing her to jump back, stifling a scream with the heal of her hand at the sight that met her eyes.

One of the smaller of the two groups was less than three feet away from Amanda, staring intently into her eyes.

"Who," she began weakly, then stronger as some primeval instinct sensed this creature didn't mean to hurt her: "Who are you?" she asked.

"I am Herbek, leader of the resistance you just saw crushed. We are Mystics. Welcome to Exodus," he said in a sibilant voice.

"Who are the others?"

"They are Overlords, Amanda."

Amanda was instantly frightened. How did he know her name?

"I'm telepathic. All Mystics are."

"You can read minds?" Amanda asked, who wasn't so nervous now she'd heard the simple explanation.

"And some of us are even telekinetic."

"You said the Overlords were breaking up a resistance. What are you resisting?"

"The Overlords tyrannical rule."

Amanda suddenly noticed something odd about this Mystic.

"I know," said Herbek. "I'm larger than other Mystics. I am a mixed breed between our races, completely accidental I assure you. My father, Torbek, was an Overlord and my mother, Hertof, was a Mystic. That's why I'm so big and it's also where I got my name. H-E-R from Hertof and B-E-K from Torbek."

"Are the Overlords telepathic?"

"Only their leader, Son-Dar, seems to have the right alignment of synapses and dendrites in the motor circuits and the 'thought' areas of the brain for telepathy and tele- or psychokinesis."

Amanda decided to go back to her original subject.

"Before you ask your next question," Herbek began, "we need to get somewhere safer. It'll be dark soon." He stood up, then helped Amanda up.

"Come," he urged.

They ran down the hill to the road where the resistance had just been captured. The road was clear now except for the Mystic weapons. Amanda picked up one of the M-16 like guns.

"Hurry, Amanda, they'll be back to collect these. I doubt they'll miss that one so keep it. You may need it."

And they were on their way.

Later, after the blue suns had set and the orange moon had risen, Amanda and Herbek sat around the stone fireplace set into the floor of Herbek's stone house with its tar and thatch roof.

"You had a question forming in your mind before we left. What was it?" asked Herbek.

"If you Mystics are telepathic, can't you communicate?"

"You mean talk to each other in our minds? Of course. Why?"

"Have you ever tried to move objects with your mind?"

"Well, yes. Rocks too big to pick up, dead animals, things like that. What are you getting at?" Herbek was getting irritated, not being able to see clearly into Amanda's mind.

"Just a minute," said Amanda excitedly. "Where do they take the prisoners?"

"Back to the compound. They are forced to work in the mines."

"Could you send a message to someone inside," Amanda asked.

"Not at this distance," said Herbek.

"But could you?" Amanda insisted.

"Yes, but Amanda, please, get to the point."

"I want you to inform someone on the inside that you are going to form a gestalt."

Herbek's face went blank, confusion in his eyes. "A what?"

"A gestalt is where several telepathic minds are joined as one more powerful mind."

Herbek sat back in his chair. "I don't know that we can do that."

"Why not?" Just tell the others to concentrate on someone else's mind. That person would be the focus point," Amanda explained. "He would be the trigger of the gun and the others would be the ammo."

Herbek thought about it. Theoretically, it was possible. And to think it took the innocence of a child to think of it. Amanda didn't really realize what she was asking of him. But she made it sound so simple. Just do it.

"All we can do is try," he said after some consideration.

"That's the spirit!" Amanda shouted, jumping up and hugging Herbek around the neck, nearly knocking the chair over.

They turned in for the night. Herbek, in his room, slept uneasily knowing what he had to do. But Amanda hadn't told him why they should form a gestalt. He reached into Amanda's mind. She was trying to compare him with the smaller Mystics.

"Six feet four?" she asked herself. "And huge muscles. Quite handsome really. I wouldn't mind...," then she drifted off to sleep.

Herbek really didn't want to know more anyway. If Amanda liked him that way he wouldn't mind in the least that she was only sixteen and Human.

And so they slept until morning when they could get a message through. But the trip was unnecessary. The Overlords had the captured Mystics on their way to the mine when Amanda and Herbek arrived at the hill where they'd met.

"Ichtar," Herbek called out in his mind.

One of the prisoners looked up. "Herbek?" came the telepathic reply. "Where are you?"

"I had to get away. Listen, I have an idea and I think it will work."

"Let's hear it."

"You need to focus your minds on mine. I'll do the rest. Tell the others." The others were told by way of the telepathic grapevine. Suddenly Herbek felt the power of their minds focused on his. He sent out a psychic blast that to the guards and they fell flat, noses bleeding with the expansion of their sinuses.

A cheer went up as the Mystics realized they were free. They ran To Herbek but stopped short of Amanda.

"Don't worry, she's with us. This was her idea. It's called a gestalt."

"I'm Amanda. We still have one more fight. Death to Son-Dar," she rallied. Another cheer went up. And they were on their way to the compound to deal with Son-Dar. But he was waiting for them. He knew what they were doing and how. But he had a few tricks of his own.

Suddenly they were in his room.

"You dare try to oppose me," Son-Dar challenged.

"We dare," said Herbek. "I challenge you to a battle of wills."

"So many against so few," replied Son-Dar, mockingly, black eyes twinkling. "I wonder if it's fair."

"After the injustices done to us by you, it's more than fair. It's down right lenient."

The psychic blast from him sent all but two people to the floor, unconscious: Herbek and Amanda.

"You and I, Herbek," said Son-Dar.

"Very well."

And the battle was on. It was like a see-saw, the winning side going from Herbek to Son-Dar and vice versa. Meanwhile, Amanda checked on the other Mystics. Alive, all of them. A cry from the battle brought to it. Son-Dar had a gun. He was loosing but not by much by the strain on Herbek's face.

Amanda thought about kicking the gun out of Son-Dar's hand and suddenly it was on the floor in front of her. The impact caused the gun to fire and a wild blast hit Amanda in the shoulder. Son-Dar's astonishment was distraction enough for Herbek to take control. He sent out a huge psychic blast, killing Son-Dar instantly.

When the other Mystics woke, they found the Overlords had turned themselves over, seeing Son-Dar dead. And later back in Herbek's house, Amanda rested peacefully after getting the laser burn tended. In her mind she felt as though she were falling through space. She sat up in her bed and looked at her clock. Asleep ten minutes? That was all? With the dream still fresh in her mind, Amanda went to the bathroom again.

Again the mirror showed a gruesome sight. For one fleeting moment thought she saw dried blood on her upper lip and down the sides of her face from her ears. And was that a laser burn on her shoulder? It hurt bad enough. Amanda screamed and the image disappeared.

"It was just a dream," she told herself. Or was it...?