I found myself a young child again. I was sitting inside a treehouse in this colossal, beautiful oak tree. Surrounding me were two others: my best friend (another young girl my age) and a giant, silver wolf. The wolf was, of course, magical; he spoke, shapeshifted, and most importantly, he traveled across the dimensions, taking me and my friend on otherworldly adventures. We journeyed through outer space on his back, the wolf in the form of a lion made of stars. We trekked through a cold tundra under the northern lights, the wolf now our polar bear companion. The sceneries served to calm my thoughts from the reality we were escaping from, pushing aside the memories of my broken home.
Now I was leading a secret double life in a dystopian society. My parents were always working to make ends meet, so I often had to take care of the food at home and make sure my siblings got safely to and from school. Sometimes I found myself taking care of the kids of other families, as well. But more remarkably, I was infiltrating the inner workings of a corrupt government organization using my ability to adeptly assume different identities and my exceptional agility. I masqueraded as a radio actor’s young daughter after discovering he was to be captured and interrogated. I had a vision that I would be spared and escape, but I stayed to defend him. We both made it out alive, but not without a clear threat of return. Another time, I went on a mission to deliver a package to the CEO of the organization and tried to befriend him, all the while stealthily investigating every corner of his mansion and the corporate office, eavesdropping on conversations and looking for important documents. I did get caught once: I was walking out of a restricted area, calmly and coolly, but the guards didn’t fall for the ruse and began chasing me. I got away in the end; though when I was filling the trunk of my car with important evidence, I turned away for a split second, and it mysteriously disappeared. I had thought that my facade was impeccable, but they were on to me, weren’t they?
This time, my friends and I were thrown into a dungeon after attempting to steal the treasure of a powerful villain. They put me in a different cell, which I managed to escape pretty easily as the cell door had rusted. I wandered around, looking for context, and discovered that the best way to escape the dungeon would be to defeat the villain’s main henchman before I took on the leader herself. I found this henchman in a large, empty room, appropriately video-game-boss style. Despite his formidable frame, I somehow managed the resolve to take the guy on by myself. To my surprise, though, he thought it’d be more amusing to battle him in a virtual reality game of sorts. It involved us running through a parkour course with falling platforms. My strategy was to run as fast as I could, jumping randomly, and surprisingly, it worked, though I changed my strategy up at the end to grabbing escalating platforms with my hands and doing that monkey climb that I love to do in dreams. I succeeded enough to end us in a tie. The henchman argued childishly, “But you didn’t win the game, so I say you failed, and now you must die,” except this time, his voice was coming out of my body. Recognizing that I was now him, I used his gauntlet (which looked like a pool arm floaty but with some buttons that increased and decreased the pressure that my hand was able to apply) to knock him/me unconscious (without shattering my skull of course, I’d need that back later). Imprisoning my body in a balloon that was meant to look like my head, I strolled to his room, right past the leader who seemed pleased with my work, and put the “head” in a safe in his room. I did some planning and investigating before confronting the leader directly, giving generic answers to her questions so as not to blow my cover. Eventually I just kept talking to her, and to my surprise, she seemed like a nice lady. She asked me to run a few errands for her son because he was starting school, and she genuinely loved him. And this whole time I had just been waiting to jump her; to surprise her by bashing her head in with a glass and cranking the pressure up on my gauntlet until she exploded. But the more I spoke to her, the more I didn’t want to. Not that I wanted to kill anyone in the first place, I just thought it was the only way. But I changed tactics. I wrapped her in an embrace and said, “I’m sure those prisoners out there have families. People that love them. I’m tired of fighting. Of killing. Why don’t we just let this all go and live a normal life?” But she pushed me away and retorted, “These people are trying to take away everything I have worked so hard for!” I continued trying to convince her and she kept resisting until she snapped, sending a magical bolt of lightning at me. I defensively swung the glass to crack over her head to incapacitate her, but she deflected it, and it broke over my head. I collapsed to the floor. Stubbornly determined, she screamed, “I will NEVER give up!” Afraid of losing my resolve, I muttered, “I’m sorry about this,” before shooting her with the strongest setting of the pressure gauntlet. I somehow knew it would reroute her way of thinking, because after screaming in agony for a bit, she conceded. It was as if her eyes were opened, and she began crying and hugging me and her son and setting everyone free. Yet I still felt a tinge of guilt for coercing her into changing the way she felt. I wondered if it would wear off. For now, I went back to the room of the man whose body I was currently occupying to free him and return to my own body. I didn’t know how he would react when he woke up, but I didn’t want to stay and find out. I reunited with my companions, thanked the leader for not killing us, and we went on our way. Or did we?
We’ll never know for sure. These stories never continue. But every night, I get to experience something new. And I’m okay with that.