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Excerpt from Songs of the Dead

The Director (p. 12)

From chapter "Places We Do Not See"

A couple of years ago I had a dream that wasn’t so much a dream as it was a visitation, a conjuration of the sort I’d somehow thought only happened in books and movies, in which you speak some demon’s name and the demon appears. I’ve since come to understand that these visitations—of demons and many others—are a part of life no more unusual, and normally no better perceived, than the stones on the ground, and the speaking of these stones.

In this dream that was and continues to be even more than a dream, I was fighting with rebels against corporations, against the forces I fight in waking reality, only this time I was using guns instead of words. In this dream we were losing horribly, just as we are in waking reality. We were, and the parallels continue, drastically outnumbered by the military and the police. Many on our side were being shot. I lay flat on my belly behind a lip of concrete. It was small cover, but with bullets ricocheting around me, it was far better than nothing. The firing of guns—mainly theirs, but a few of ours—merged into a constant roar. Then the roar lost its continuity, first to tiny gaps not yet filled with silence but still carrying echoes of the explosions, and then with silence in which I could hear my own gasping breaths. The firing became more and more sporadic, then stopped altogether.

I glanced to my right, to one of my fellow rebels, and I saw that the reason he no longer fired back was that he was dying. In this dream that is even more than a dream, that is a visitation or a conjuration, I saw a vampire fastened to the man’s neck sucking out his blood and his guts. The vampire dropped the husk, looked, found someone else, attached himself. Then I looked at the enemy and I saw that there was not one vampire, or even a hundred, but thousands, and more than thousands. I saw, in this dream that is more than a dream, that these vampires were killing every human they could find. They were sucking out their blood and their guts. They were having a feed. The vampires—or demons, or whatever other name we may wish to put on these others whose real name I don’t know—were neither angry nor evil nor in any way malevolent. They were famished, and they were eating. They began to chase me, as they were chasing everyone else. I evaded them, at least temporarily. I stopped. I looked through a glass window in a steel door. Thin metal mesh reinforced the window. Beyond the mesh, beyond the glass, beyond the steel, I saw a vampire who was not chasing, not feeding. He was standing. He was watching. He had pale skin, smooth scalp, grotesquely long fingers and a just as grotesquely long, curved nose. In this dream I knew he was the director. I did not and do not know what this means.

I woke up. I tried to convince myself that this dream was and is “no more” than a dream, and that these vampires represent those forces we are fighting against, that they represent those who are killing the planet, that they represent this culture as a whole, this culture of napalm, toxic wastes, deforestation, rape. No. I tried to convince myself that they represent something much more specific: the biotechnology industry, for example, and its creation of monsters. No. The dream, which really was and is even more than a dream, would not allow those interpretations. The vampires are vampires. And they’re hungry. And they’re waiting to be released, waiting to feed on humans.