It starts with me wandering around my apartment, alone. My roommate has gone out. The air around me is just milky enough to indicate I’m dreaming, but as always, I don’t realize that it’s any different than normal. I walk through the rooms, dragging my fingertips over things as I go. Things feel solid and real.
After a time I find myself in the bathroom and it’s nighttime. I start brushing my teeth but stop abruptly when I realize that something is wrong. I scrape my tongue over my top teeth, and then my bottom teeth. They feel all wrong. Looking in the mirror, I see that my teeth are cracked and pitted. The bottom teeth have a groove running through them, like a canal. I close my eyes and run my tongue over them again, thinking that maybe I was only imagining it. I wait, feeling my teeth crumble.
And then everything changes. . .
I’m in a forest clearing, surrounded by trees. Sunlight is streaking through breaks in the canopy of leaves overhead. I’m sitting on the ground and a man in front of me (my mentor) is instructing me in the use of a sword. I’m only half paying attention to him, and he stops his lesson to snap at me.
"Don’t you realize how important this is," he says.
I watch him some more, but the warmth of the air and the woods is making me sleepy. He stops, shrugs, and beckons to me to follow him. I stand up, and then we’re on horseback, fully armed, riding around Central Park. I am curious that no one seems to notice our strange outfits and the fact that we are loaded with archaic weaponry. My mentor, riding next to me, sighs.
"How many times do I have to explain this?" he asks.
And then we’re attacked by goblins, with pointy noses and mouths of sharp teeth. They grin as they surround us, and I unsheathe my sword. We battle, and I am bitten. In the end, we win, but the fight itself is not much more than images and blurs and noises.
Apparently, goblin bites are poisonous, and we go to a free clinic, where the nurse tells me I’ll have to have blood-work done. She and my mentor run through the whole 'this won’t hurt a bit' scam, but I’m having none of it. Even my mother comes, and I put my arms around her while they pierce me and I cry into her neck.
That done, we ride our horses back to Central Park, and we see the king walking with another knight. We follow them at a lazy pace, and then the knight turns to us, but he’s not a knight at all. He’s another grinning goblin.
"Does the king know he’s walking with an enemy?" I ask.
"Can you keep a thought in your head? Ok. Again. No one sees this. They see two people walking though the park following two other people walking through the park. There are levels. To the people around there is no king. To the king, there is no goblin. We can see both, and they can’t see either. That’s what the knights are. The ones born without tunnel-vision."
He prepares for battle and I do the same, and then the goblins rush out onto the path. And then I woke up.