THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 1979
I’m tingling all over. This is amazing! I’ve followed that alluring voice to this room and I find not a beautiful woman, but an enigmatic mirror. When I view myself in its singular surface, the image changed. It dissolved and revealed a view of a dark stone staircase leading down. Moist gray-green lichen covers the stonewalls and steps. Where this place is, I’ve no idea. The sensation of encountering the Unknown causes my mind and body, to tremble in mild ecstasy.
I reach out my hand to touch the mirror, to try and get a grasp onto something solid. I’m feeling a bit of vertigo from all of these encounters with the unexpected and the unknown. The silver and black jade of the frame is warm to my touch. My fingers drift onto the surface of the mirror. To my surprise, my fingertips go beyond the mirror’s surface, like slipping into a pool of cool water; my fingers cause the image to ripple. I pull back, startled at my discovery. My curiosity takes over. I reach out and watch as my whole arm goes beyond the mirror’s surface. I feel the emptiness of warm air of some place beyond the mirror’s strange singular surface.
Tingling with trepidation and wonder, I imprudently step through the mirror, making my way downward, surrounded completely by ebony and silence. Since I can’t see, the only method by which I can discern the way ahead with safety is by feeling for the staircase’s stone steps with the soles of my shoes. My shoes sink into a moist softness, which covers the stone’s surface. My feet are the only sensory reference point in my interminable black descent. Somewhere after midnight, an odd tingling sensation occurs simultaneously over every pore of my body.
“Not again! What in Heaven’s name is going on now? Damn it! Why can’t they leave my dreams alone?”
My own voice echoes off into the unresponsive blackness. Well Lamont, what now? Go back or...? Oh hell. I’ve come this far. Besides, I won’t be able to sleep not knowing where this is leading. Therefore, ever onward.
Time slips by on unseen wings. From beyond the stairs end, a chlorotic green light pushes back the darkness. With the aid of this light source, I realize that from my neck down to my toes I am clothed in some kind of mousy gray, seamless leotard, which feels like it’s made of nylon, only tougher. Odd. I stride downwards into the light, and soon stand in wonderment within a cavern lit by a strange pillar of fire.
In the cavern’s center, green marble blocks encircle a pool of scarlet sand. A ten-foot tall pillar of putrid green colored flames flickers in the pool’s center. Beside the pool and the pillar, stands an austere and frightening figure. The woman is Hispanic with a feathered headdress made from a dazzling white skull with jade green gemstones for eyes. She wears a jaguar cape and a skirt of human skin. A mane of long white hair flows down her back; her large breasts hang down on her bare chest exhausted from their battle with gravity. The style of her attire evokes a time of an ancient empire in either Mexico or Central America. Her posture and demeanor evoke an image of a parent who had been up all night waiting for an explanation of a teenager’s night exploits. She fixes her vision upon my soul.
"Corazon we are Mictlantecuhtli. We are the Lord of Mictlan, the realm of the Underworld.”
My mouth must have dropped to my knees from astonishment.
“We are the Master and the Guardian of the realm upon whose threshold you now stand.” Her sonorous tone resonates in the air around me. “We have served here since mortal humans first came to this realm, when first they learned to form dreams, in the time of the first long winter which did not end.”
Her obvious solemnity and self-importance gets to me. I can’t help but try to deflate her pontifical tone of voice.
“That’s interesting.” I flippantly remark, “Can you tell me what it is you’re guarding?”
“This realm was named by its human visitors as Dreamland. Beyond this brief statement, we will not say more at this time. We confront all Dreamers who manage to find the Stairs of Dreams and arrive at this Cavern of Flames. We guard this gateway leading to Dreamland.”
“Do I pass inspection?”
“If you had not, you would not find yourself here at all.”
“Is that so?”
“Lamont Corazon, you have successfully come to the threshold of the Realm of Dreams. Here in this plane of existence, everything that you experience will be a result of directed thought, desire, and the effort of one’s will. In venturing forth, you must learn to practice this art of focusing and channeling your thoughts.”
“Crowley.” I mutter.
“Was that comment addressed to me?”
“No, I was muttering about what you said. It’s very similar to how Aleister Crowley defined ‘Magick’, spelt with a ‘k’, to distinguish it from the magic, ending with a ‘c’, the sleight of hand tricks that stage magicians do. Magick, Crowley says, is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.
Though, others have attributed the saying to Ms. Dion Fortune.” I say with genuine enthusiasm, as I’m caught up in the flow of ideas. “Who will teach me this skill that you describe?”
“You must find someone to teach you in the lands beyond. Once you have been to this cavern and gone beyond, you can return to this plane of existence whenever you so choose. In this realm, you will encounter Dreamers such as yourself and - others. Beyond this cavern are the Steps of Deeper Dreams, which lead you to the Primordial Forest. This is the sum of what we will now instruct.”
“That’s what you said just a moment ago. Is there anything else that you’re not going to tell me before you tell me one more time that you have finished telling me all that you will?”
“You may venture on, if you so desire.”
“Wow. Great speech. Very impressive. What an amazing imagination I have. This is the best lucid dream I ever had.”
“Mortal human you speak with the tone of doubt. Dare you imply that we do not exist? Dare you imply that we have not spoken the truth?”
“Of course you have. You’re reading from my unconscious mind’s dream script.”
“You dare to suggest we are shadows of your small mind?”
“What else could you be? This is my dream isn’t it?”
“You are trapped within your own small sensory world. We are products of no human’s imaginings.”
“This is what a well behaved dream being should say.”
“The truth is all around you Lamont Corazon. You need only to accept it. You have left your tiny mind of dreams and have ventured into a new and larger world. Whether you accept this fact or not, you must now depart, unbeliever.”
“Okay, I’ll leave, but before I do, has anyone recently passed through here? Say a white young man, about 18, maybe, wearing a denim jacket, denim pants, sneakers, black hoodie? I don’t think he came here intentionally. I think he was abducted. Have you seen him?”
“No other young being has passed through to here of late. What mean you by not intentionally?”
“There was a strange light and he fell through it and then was gone. It would be nice if he ended up here?”
“Gates such as you are describing can open up to many worlds. Only great beings of power and might can do such a thing. Their affairs should be of no concern of yours. This is as much as we can tell you. You must venture on.” She motions to an opening behind the pool of scarlet sands and the pillar of strange green fire. Dream or not, I mind my manners and bow to the stuffy old priestess-guardian, deciding to politely take my leave of her. I descend the polished wooden step, which curves around and goes ever downward. Time passes with an odd quickness and subjectively speaking, within a few minutes; I step onto the floor of the Primordial Forest.
. From Aleister Crowley’s book Magix in Theory and Practice, published in 1929. [Drury’s Dictionary of Mysticism and The Occult gives this citation as the source, no page number is provided. This phrase has also been attributed to Dion Fortune by Starhawk in her book The Spiral Dance, pg. 7 of the 1989 edition. She does not provide any bibliographic citation as the source of this attribution.
KEYWORDS: Lovecraft, Lovecraft Dreamland, Lovecraft Dream Cycle, Through the Gate of Dreams
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1979
I’m clueless. I can’t get beyond the door and I have no idea how it could possibly have anything to do with helping Lana. I’m still only half convinced that this weird dream means anything besides my own self-delusions of comic book heroism.
The school day is a normal one. I try to focus on my teachers but I’m anxious to return to my dreams. At lunchtime, I decide to search the local papers for any mention of the missing Jon or of the strange storm, Lana and I saw. I didn’t really expect to find anything and I wasn’t disappointed. Then, when I leave the library, there she is. There’s Lana. She’s with a couple of her friends. She still appears awfully sad. Maybe I should go to her and tell her…tell her what, Lamont? Tell her I’ve been hearing voices when I dream and when I’m awake voices tell me
I’ve been chosen to help you? Yeah, right. I’m sure that will go over like some lead balloon. She’ll laugh at me and call me some kind of a loony. No way am I going to do something that stupid. Which means all I’m going to do is just stand here and do nothing as she walks away. Damn.
The rest of school goes by without note. Well, almost. Basha smiles at me when we meet at our lockers. She’s talking with a friend of hers, but she takes the time to smile at me! Ahh. Sweet bliss. Now I really have a hard time focusing. I go home and deal with my homework, eat dinner with my folks, read and go to sleep.
This night it’s a little different. I don’t even catch a glimpse of the temple. I come out of the dream mists and find myself in the icy fog, in the middle of that familiar damp cold jungle. I hear that seductive and sinister laughter.
My female adversary, or confidant, I don’t know which, whispers in threatening, yet seductive, sibilant tones.
Corazon, you must learn that you cannot defy us. You will in the end, come to us. We are your fate.
I plead back, “Please leave me alone.”
I hear the jaguars as they appear out of the fog. I turn to run. I run on and on. The jungle goes on and on. The jaguars don’t seem to tire, but I do. I can’t keep this up. I collapse in exhaustion. I watch as the leader leaps through the air at me. His black fur glistens from the moisture of the fog. White wisps of hot air stream out of his open mouth. His sharp white teeth seem huge. His eyes glow with the thought of feasting on my flesh. I can smell his foul breath, when only the lengths of his whiskers separate us.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1979
...I’m sitting up in my own night-darkened bedroom with my
heart in my throat, gagging on fear. It takes at least an hour before I can get the image of the jaguar out of my mind and calm myself enough to return to sleep. Rather than dream of returning to the jungle temple, I choose to dream an old, safe familiar dream of a palace of shells beneath the sea.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 1979
I have regained my courage and my anger. I refuse to be driven out of my own dreams! Besides, I have to find out what’s behind that door. So, I return with determination, mixed with a heavy dose of trepidation, to the obsidian temple dream.
The dream fades into view. I stand within the threshold of the temple. The full moon nestles like a pearl in its shell, in this clear, cloudless star-filled evening sky. I catch the scent of blooming exotic wild flowers from the temple’s courtyard. Tonight the halls are lit by torches, which cast playful shadows everywhere.
From deep within the temple’s interior, I hear the faint, familiar, distant, and incredible feminine voice, singing. I follow her melodious tones through the torch lit corridors of stone, toward the source of the singing. I’m led to the carved wooden door. The honey and vanilla scent wafts around me. The door now opens wider than before, seeming to invite my hands to slide into the space between. From beyond the door, I can clearly hear the divine songstress. I reach out and with gentle, but firm pressure, I spread open the entrance to the mysterious chamber. Finally, whatever barrier was there I’ve torn through it.
I take in the scent of a wood fire. The circular room contains only a bizarre full length-dressing mirror. Rather than silvery glass, in its place is polished obsidian in a frame of silver and black jade.
The frame has the same mysterious geometric design as the door, with images of bones and skulls woven intricately together. The eyes of the skulls are set with black onyx. The scent of the smoldering fire comes from the wisps of serpentine smoke drifting off the dark surface of the mirror. With the opening of the door, the songstress has ceased her singing.
I step before the mirror and gaze upon my reflection. Slowly my image dissolves like the morning mist. In its place are stone steps leading down into depths beyond light.
Keywords: Lovecraft, H P Lovecraft, Dreamland, Dream quest, Dream cycle, Dark Fantasy, H. P. Lovecraft, Dreamquest of the Unknown Kadath
SPREADING WIDE THE ENTRANCEWAY INTO MYSTERIOUS CHAMBERS
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 1979
Night cannot have come soon enough for me. I rush into sleep and dreams. I focus my concentration. I try to recall the prior night’s dreamscape. At first, darkness swirls unfocused. I stop the swirling motion and force the darkness to disperse. The prior image of the rain forest jungle coalesces into solidity.
Suddenly, I’m blasted by cold air. I sense a powerful malevolent presence watching over me. The malevolent presence then whispers in my ear with a sultry and seductive feminine voice.
Corazon, dear Corazon.
“Damnation! It’s that voice again. Why do you have to sneak up on me like that? You almost scared me half to death.”
Scare you? No. Challenge you. Do you not remember? We are the way to your destiny. You must try to help that girl. This is part of your destiny. And why you must come to us. If you dare.
The laughter slithering into my mind is like serpent’s tongues. The ravenous dark night suddenly swallows up the sun. The sky is dark with clouds and is bereft of the moon. Off in the distance I hear the calling of hungry jaguars getting closer.
I see on the top of the ridge ahead of me a road. I approach its hopeful safety. I run down the road, terror, frustration, and anger give impetus to my feet. I fear that the jaguars have my scent and they’re coming after me. I run in desperation, not knowing what else to do.
After a while, I have to stop to catch my breath. I get up the courage and check out what’s behind me. Off in the distance I see their glowing yellow eyes. There are at least four of them. They have stopped their pursuit, and they are simply sitting and watching me. I can feel their hunger and their hunter’s confidence that, I, their chosen prey, cannot elude them.
Each of my fear-filled breaths takes in icy cold air that burns my throat and lungs. If I stand still much longer, I won’t be able to do anything except shiver, either from the cold or from the sensation of dread. I must move to keep warm and to keep the hope of survival alive.
Over the haggard sound of my own breathing, and the pounding of both my pumping heart and my adrenaline-filled legs, I hear from behind the pursuing rhythmic sounds of approaching doom. I slip, stumble, and fall. I scramble to get up. I hear the jaguars closing in on me. I try to increase my pace. The dirt road I’m running on, goes on and on, to nowhere.
A voice inside me tells me that I’ve slowed down. It tells me I must go faster, but I can’t. I don’t have the energy. I plod forward as fast as I’m able.
Hmm. As my speed lessens, so have the jaguars. They’re allowing me to set the pace. They’ve been keeping the same distance from me for all this time. They must know that I can’t out run them, and they have no interest in ending the hunt so soon. I go on with them relentless in their pursuit, waiting for me to simply drop from exhaustion.
Then there’s a remarkable new sound. The magic of the sound soothes my fears and lifts the feelings of doom. It’s a women’s voice singing softly. She calls to me. Beckoning and enticing me. She sounds like a sultry angelic siren. Her voice causes my heart to pound, in ways very different from moments earlier. I want to follow that alluring voice, wherever it leads me. Hopefully away from all this, and quickly, to safety.
I follow her voice back into the darkness of the jungle, realizing that I’m traveling a circuitous route, into the hills behind the temple. I have to keep my arms up in front of my face, to protect it from the low hanging branches, while I mechanically trudge onward, following the voice’s lead.
Ahead of me is a very high hill. I don’t know if I can make it up and over. This could be the end. I’m certain that I haven’t the strength to get up that incline. I should just collapse and let the jaguars have me. In response to my despair the siren’s voice comes from somewhere behind the dense and curling growth of vines and vegetation that covers the hillside, urging me on to greater efforts. While the jaguars start to close in, I consider my options. The voice is coming from inside the hill, which means, there must be a cave entrance somewhere! I must find it, soon - or all will be over. I frantically probe amongst the berry laden and thorn covered vines. My hands get stained and cut up, but I ignore that irritation. Its minor compared to the fate that awaits me from the hungry hunters that are getting ever closer.
Then I see it! I see a thin vertical opening. The voice echoes outwards from within the interior of a cave! How will I be able to get through that narrow cavity? I slide my hands between the moist sides of the opening, which surprisingly yields, to my touch. I carefully, and gently, spread the entrance wider. There’s a momentary resistance and then it’s gone. As if, there was some barrier that I tore through. I slip into this dark and mysterious passage.
I turn and expect the jaguars to leap through the vines and be at my throat. But, it doesn’t happen. I hear their muffled roaring of frustration as they pace in front of the cave’s covered entrance. Their howling once terrifying, now only adds to the dream’s ambiance. They know I’m here, yet they can’t get through. I don’t bother to even consider why or what has happened; I’m simply glad to have gotten to safety. I try to catch my breath and wait for my body to stop shaking from fear and exhaustion.
The cave is surprisingly warm and both the walls and floor are soft and moist. I hear the enticing voice softly calling to me and, leaving behind my thwarted hunters, I follow it into the darkness. I realize I’ve arrived. I’ve managed to make my way back into the obsidian temple. The dark stones of the temple have a blood-red tinge. I hope this disconcerting coloration is only the effect of the setting sun’s scarlet twilight.
Eventually I come upon a spiral stairway carved into the rock. As I go up, I feel a warm breeze coming from some secret source ahead of me and once again, I smell that honey and vanilla orchids. I arrive at the hallway where I’ve been so many times before, outside of the strangely carved wooden door.
This time, the door is open a crack. Yet, when I go to open it wider, my efforts are frustrated by a strong counter force. It prevents me from going beyond. I definitely feel that someone is taunting me. The warmth and the trail of perfume led me on, and yet I’m refused entry. I wonder once more if the secret to the way in is to be found in the cryptic carvings. If I can decipher them, maybe I will discover the way beyond.
The image of the burning letters on the door seems to be familiar now, but the haze of heat still keeps me from seeing clearly. The secret of the carvings teases my mind. Somehow, she, who led me here, allows me to catch only quick fleeting glimpses of understanding, but then the knowledge is coyly covered up.
The rising dawn’s light finds me angry and burning with curiosity still pondering the door’s secrets. I’m exhausted and frustrated from all the thinking, which has not brought me any closer to opening the entranceway. Then shafts of daylight carry me out of my sleep.
KEYWORDS: H P LOVECRAFT, LOVECRAFT, DREAMLAND, DARK FANTASY, FANTASY NOVEL
“Great. Well, I got to be going. I have to check in with some of the other places he hung out at,” Lana says.
Once she’s gone, Miriam focuses on me. I must look like I got ants in my pants, from how I’m dying to tell her about my dream. Our dream.
“Oy, such tsuris, Nu, Lamont? So tell me already what it is that has you acting like a dab of schmaltz on a hot frying pan?” Miriam asks.
“I was there.”
“There? There where?”
“I saw Jon disappear.”
“She didn’t mention seeing anyone else.”
“I wasn’t actually there,” I try to explain, “but I saw it all.”
“Stop with the riddles and speak straight.”
”I had a fever-induced dream. Maybe, it was exactly at the time Lana was describing. In my dream, I saw everything. Only it wasn’t as she described it. I had forgotten that part of the dream, which is odd. I don’t usually forget to jot down any really unusual dreams in my journal. Hmmm? Anyway, I saw it all. It was as if I were her.”
“Nu? How was your dream different than how she told it?”
“She got it all jumbled up. Jon didn’t walk away from her, he just faded away.”
“You’re talking nonsense again.”
“This is exactly why she doesn’t recall it clearly. She is trying to cope with an event outside of the ordinary. You see first, there were these strange storm clouds gathering overhead. Then there was this foreboding funnel of light coming down from the sky. Jon walked up to it and he was sort of trapped like a bug in amber. Lana tried to go to him. He was only a few feet away but she couldn’t move. All around us there was a feeling of malevolence. Jon was taken up in this purple pulsating cone of energy.
Then poof, instant normality. Jon, the clouds, the purple funnel, all gone. Way too weird to believe! This is presumably why Lana can’t describe clearly what happened.”
“Oh but, you Mr. Hot Shot, can.”
“Yeah. Maybe, my mind has already been warped by all the science fiction and fantasy stuff I’ve read. I’m already attuned to weird stuff.”
“So, in your dream you saw Jon being taken up in this funnel of light.”
“Yeah, and what goes up must come down. The question is where? And possibly, when? He theoretically could be anywhere.”
“If what you’re saying is true, you only have this dream of yours as proof of your version of the story. Whatever the case, this is a dream of significance. Of what, I’m not sure. But, it is clear as steamed glass. It means something, mark my words, the least of which is that you must help her.”
“Is there someone else in this store that I’m talking to? You had the dream. You have been chosen. You must now do what you can to right this ill.”
“Chosen? Hey, I remember now, another part of my dream. Somebody told me I was chosen to help Lana and Jon. I was chosen for greatness. But, how?”
“Am I you? No, so, I cannot say what you can do. You must decide. Just remember to come back and tell me all about it.”
“Hmmm? Miriam, I recall you having a few books by Charles Fort. Have you sold them yet?”
“Fort? No, I don’t think so.”
“Good. I recall that he mentions vanishing people. Maybe he has a theory. Somebody must.”
“Good. You search in books, but later. As for now, since you said that you had not remembered her dream, what dream was it that brought you in such a state to Miriam?”
As I tell her my dream about the temple and the flaming-door-that-does-not burn, her eyes widens and she smiles.
“This is good. Very good,” Miriam mutters, “You remember that I told you about that saint named Denny and the guiding of dreams?”
“Of course. You had me read Hervey de Saint-Deny’s old book, Dreams, and How to Guide Them. Saint-Deny wrote of how he had the experience of being aware that he was dreaming, while he was dreaming. He wrote that anyone could acquire this skill. You told me I should learn to apply his techniques. To deal with my nightmares. If I could do it, maybe I could guide my dreams away from and out of the nightmarish situation. I tried and tried for a long time to become an awake dreamer. Then I found and read other books on this type of dreaming. They called it Lucid Dreaming. After reading them, I was able to become a lucid dreamer.”
“This door in your dream is more than an ordinary door.”
“That’s obvious. Ordinary doors burn.”
“Stop with the Mr. Smart Mouth. The door is perhaps the gateway finally appearing to you.”
“What are you talking about?”
“There are dreaming beyond the lucid. To get to them you need to come upon the doorway. It will lead down deep. I can’t tell you much more. But, I can offer some advice, take that path.”
“It will change your life,” Miriam wistfully replies. “If you think you’re dealing with that which is weird now, beyond that door is a wyrdness you have not yet conceived. I also believe that the way to help Lana is to be found beyond that door.”
“My, aren’t we being eloquent and mysterious? No further hints or advice? Just open and go forth?”
“That’s all I will, say. To say more may misdirect you.”
“Okay. Hmmm? I think I hear the call of unruffled sheets of paper. Books are calling me. Since that’s all you’re going to tell me about my dream, I shall investigate the world according to Fort.”
KEYWORDS: H P LOVECRAFT, LOVECRAFT, DREAMLAND, DARK FANTASY, FANTASY NOVEL
My last stop takes me up Judah Street, which undergoes its daily conversion, from Judaism to Greek Orthodox Christianity, when it becomes Parnassus Street. I bike farther still, up Stanyon to the Haight. I travel up the Haight to the bookstore The Gifts of the Goddess. I feel and appear out of place; I am a stranger in a strange land. I’m way too normal compared to the Druggies, the street walkers, burnt out dreamers, revolutionaries, the nevus-Hippies in their tattered jeans, sandals and tee shirts, or the safety-pinned, leather clad and green, or purple-dyed hair of the Punks. The Haight collects all kinds, even the likes of me. Hmm? Maybe as a dreamer of a literal kind, coming to this street does mean I fit in. It’s only my outward appearance that sets me apart.
It was my dreams that first brought me to the Haight. I’ve always had vivid and colorful dreams. I thought everyone did. Since I had no one to confide in, how was I supposed to know differently? Anyway, it was after my dad burnt my books that I had this dream, which drove me to the Haight.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 1973
The dream was a frightening and horribly real experience of me
being captured by the Inquisition and being tortured. All day long, the horror of it stayed with me. I couldn’t escape it. My response to any problem, big or small, is to go off in search of a book for an answer. Someone, somewhere, or some-when, must have faced a similar situation and lived to write about it.
The school library and the nearby branch of the public library were no help. For the first time, Mr. Wells’ collection didn’t offer any satisfaction. He had books on dreams, but they were like Some Must Watch While Some Must Sleep by Dr. William C. Dement, books about the physiology of sleep and dreams. This was the first time that science, the Classical Quality approach to a problem, was not satisfactory. As for the “science” of Psychology, Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams and his follower’s writings were thick, heavy, presumptuous, and useless academic mud. It hurt my head to struggle to read the stuff. But for all the effort, it didn’t ring with the familiar sound of truth that I was accustomed to hearing when I read other works of science and philosophy.
Mr. Wells mentioned the works of Carl Jung, but he didn’t carry such stuff. I asked him why not, and I ran into Mr. Wells’ own philosophical blind spot. Mr. Wells dismissed the work of Jung as religious nonsense and superstition. I yearned for answers. So, I had left the store for the first time still feeling the hunger for knowledge and understanding. I allowed myself to roam the streets blindly in search of another bookstore. Meandering, as I would do occasionally, amongst the book stacks. I realized I had traveled far, when I came to the otherworldly Haight district. I stopped and walked this exotic place in culture shock. I was surrounded by the irrational. I wandered in what I thought was aimlessness.
I came upon a display window with a gray calico cat sleeping in it. When I took my gaze off the cat, I saw these mysterious picture cards and exotic statues of women. They were images of the Goddess from around the world. The picture cards were Tarot decks. That first day I barely noticed the nearly naked or completely naked statues. I was instead mesmerized by the cards. I had no idea that cards like that really existed. I had only read about such stuff in the sci-fi novel by Samuel R. Delany: Nova. I thought Delany had made the whole Tarot card thing up. I had no idea that they really existed.
The store was called: The Gifts of the Goddess. The owner, Miriam, greeted me in such a warm manner when I first stepped into her store. I had a feeling of déjà vu. She was a large curvaceous bountiful woman, like an ethnic version of Dolly Parton and Mae West, in one body. She filled the store with her physical being and joyful presence.
She had red and gray wavy hair, which cascaded over her shoulders and down her back. Her hair had wildness about it. A daring sense of freedom, as if the displaying of her hair was the flaunting of some taboo. Her long autumn leaf-patterned dress had a wide neckline, which displayed her ripe melon-sized bosom. She had cleavage for which the phrase Grand Canyon seemed the only fitting description. They were such an amazing feature of Mother Nature. Her bare arms jiggled, as did the many bracelets she wore, as she gestured whenever she was speaking.
Miriam’s open demeanor encouraged and overcame my usual reluctance to approach strangers. After asking her about the cards in the window, and being told and shown the dozens of differently designed decks, I saw all the shelves of books and asked if she had any books on
dreams. She asked me why? For some reason, I found myself telling her my dream. This was not to be the last time either that I would recount the description of a dream of mine with her.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 1979
I came back to her store many times in trying to understand my dreams. Here I discovered the realm of shadows, a world of ancient Gods and Goddesses, shamans, magicians, witches, the occult, ghosts, and other things left outside the searching lights of science. Now, once again I travel to Miriam’s bookstore, seeking to share my concern with her about my strange jungle-temple dream.
I walk into the store and sense anguish and agitation.
The emotions emanate from the store’s only other customer. Odd? The sight of a lithe Filipino young woman causes the hairs on the back of my neck to tingle. I have that déjà vu feeling. Hmm?
The Filipina is probably 17 or 18 years old, a simple deduction, given that she has my high school emblem on one of her notebooks, which juts, out of her backpack. She’s very pretty, with straight ebony hair falling below the shoulder. She wears tiny black and white cow earrings, an oversized gray sweater, designer jeans, and black running shoes. A gray-blue backpack slings jauntily over her shoulder. She has the poise of a dancer. She’s crying and Miriam is comforting her.
I go up to the gray calico. According to her, he owns the store. I start to play with him, trying not to be obvious as I eavesdrop on her conversation with Miriam.
“Jon is missing. Gone,” she says with complete despair.
“Oy. Do you mind telling me how this happened?” Miriam asks.
“I don’t know. I mean...” she starts to cry again.
“Now,” Miriam says in a soothing voice says, “Take this advice: ‘Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’”
The young woman takes a deep breath and settles down onto the stool next to the counter. I feel that she has told this story many times hoping that it would do some good and, so far, it hasn’t.
“It all started out so wonderfully. I remember how on that day the air was filled with the moist cool scent of the trees. We were in the Park, checking out the top of Strawberry Hill. Jon was a little upset because of an argument we’d had. He must’ve gotten up and walked down the hill. I was watching him start to walk away when suddenly I noticed something was not right. The air became still, like how it gets before a lightning storm. I also remember the air smelled different.”
The hairs on the back of my arms are signaling a four-alarm fire! Oh, my God, I know this. That’s her. That’s the girl! Holy déjà vu! I saw this in my own weird dream! I can’t believe this. She’s real. I need to figure this out. Need more data to make this make sense.
“What was this smell? Describe it to me, Lana,” Miriam asked.
“It was a strong, vanilla sweet scent. Besides the smell, there was a cold breeze, icy cold. I stopped. I was very confused. Jon was ahead of me, I think. Maybe just behind some trees. I’m not sure. It’s sort of fuzzy. Then I heard him call my name. He sounded worried and very distant, like he was calling to me from the end of a long tunnel. I ran to catch up with him, but...” her voice starts to well up with emotion.
The hairs on the back of my neck feel like they are standing straight up.
“But what, Lana?” Miriam asks.
“He was gone.”
“Gone? Where?” I blurt out.
“I don’t know!” she whispers, sounding lost. “I searched around. I called out to him. He had been only ten-maybe twenty feet, away from me. He was in a clearing, I thought. But I didn’t see where he went. I spent the rest of the day wandering around the whole Park calling frantically for him. It was no good. I went to his apartment and he wasn’t there.”
She’s worn out. Miriam and I wait.
“There were some cops I met,” Lana regains her strength and continues, “They said he couldn’t have just vanished. They said he must have hid from me, met up with someone, and got a ride out of the park. I yelled at them. I wouldn’t believe them. Jon loved me. But I can’t explain it. Why would he leave me and not tell me where he was going? I thought he loved me. I don’t know what to do.”
“Lana,” Miriam asks, “have you ever dreamed about Jon after the disappearance?”
What an odd question for Miriam to ask.
“Yes! I can’t stop dreaming about him. Every night I fall asleep and dream about being with him. We are doing little things, shopping, doing laundry together, and getting the groceries. For a moment, everything feels right. Then it happens. I stretch out to him in my sleep and find nothing. I touch an empty pillow. The shock of it rouses me out of me sleep, frantic and disoriented. I expect him to be there and he’s not! Then it comes back to me. He’s gone. He left me! I try to go back to sleep. But I can’t stop thinking about him. Dreaming about him.”
She stops for a moment to wipe away a tear. She’s frustrated, fighting with herself to keep despair in check.
“The worst dream is the one when I do relive it all. I can see everything as it was on that day. I remember every leaf, every smell. I see him walk ahead of me, all in slow motion. I call out to him! I try to get to him. I try to stop him from walking toward something. I hear him call my name. Then it starts again. Those last few moments repeat. I’m with him. Then, all I’ve left is his voice calling to me. Why did he leave me? What did I do to make him so upset? I wake up crying. Exhaustion is the only reason I get any sleep. I almost wish I could stop dreaming about him.”
We silently try to take it in. Much earlier in her recounting I gave up the pretension of not listening, openly pulled up a stool, and sat down. Lana wipes away the remaining tears. Lana’s story gives me the shivers. How can this be? What does it mean? I dreamed I was she; now I am certain of it. Lana is embarrassed by her display of emotion and tries to make light of it.
“Well, I came here to ask if you’d seen or heard anything about him. If you could ask around for me, I’d appreciate it. Everyone comes here. So, maybe somebody has seen him or heard something about where he is.” Lana asks.
“Of course, Lana. As soon as I hear something I’ll give you a call,” Miriam replies.
“Great. Well, I got to be going. I have to check in with some of the other places he hung out at,” Lana says.
 Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, pg. 106, Oxford University Press, World's Classic Paperback Series, 1865, 1982
KEYWORDS: H P LOVECRAFT, LOVECRAFT, DREAMLAND, DARK FANTASY, FANTASY NOVEL