After a high speed unicorn ride that was thoroughly enjoyed by all (albeit reluctantly and with great embarrassment for one of them), Jake Friendly the Unicorn pulled up in front of the Very Sexy Sex Club For Doing Sexy Things with Sex and tilted Bumper and Eric onto the sidewalk with such finesse and skil that it took them a few seconds to realize they were there.
“So this is it. ” said Eric, for lack of anything better to say.
“Yup!” said Jake, with an air of pride and sophistication. “This is the place!”
To call the club’s exteriot “garish” would be an understatement akin to calling a black hole heavy. There was so much neon that it made your eyes cross when you tried to look right at it. No less than five maquees, no two of them running in the same direction, boldly proclaimed how sexy the sexy sex inside would be. At the center of it all, a huge TV screen played various clips of people in revealing clothing playing sports or chatting urbanely at a bar. Burlesque music blared from a dozen speakers.
“I’m frightened and I don’t know why. ” said Eric.
“Me too. Hold me. ” said Bumper.
The two embraced side-to-side, neither of them able to tear their eyes away from the hypnotic display, no matter how hard they tried.
“Aww now, don’t tell me you guys are afraid of a little sex. ” said Jake. “And here I thought you two were a pair of sophisticated grownup adults like me. ”
“You got us there, Jake. We’re just a couple of rubes compared to you. ” said Eric as he elbowed Bumper, who was stifling a laugh.
Bumper pushed back playfully. “Yeah, Jake. Why don’t you show us the ropes?”.
“What ropes?” said Jake. “Anyhow, seeing as you two are my guests and it’s your first time here. I guess I can show you around. But you two have to be cool, okay? No gawking at people like you never seen a nekkid body before. ”
“There’s nudity in there?” said Eric incredulously.
“As in, people wearing wearing nothing on their underwear parts?” added Bumper.
“Why sure!” said Jake in a “this should be obvious to anyone who is not an idiot” tone of voice. ” Everyone knows that you got to be at least partways nekked in order to get sexy! Now let’s go inside so I can introduce you around. ”
Bumper and Eric followed Jake’s butt through the maze of visual cacophony into the club and up to the ticket window.
“Oh hey there Jake!” said the llama behind the counter. “About time you showed up. Everyone’s been asking around about you. We were just about ready to get a search party together. We all just assumed you musta fallen into the ditch again or somethin.”
“Heya Coot! Nah, I was just showing these two rubes the sights. You know how it is… tourists have to look at every damn fool thing and take their picture with it too. So it takes a while to git anywhere. ” said Jake.
“Don’t I know it. ” said Coot. “Had a couple of otters straight off the bus from Hickville in here earlier. Boy, did their eyes go wide. You’d think they’d never seen a nekkid person before! Not even themselves!”
Jake and Coot laughed heartily at that, with Eric and Bumper hesitantly joining in after a few seconds in order to blend in.
“Thanks to damn God that we aren’t like that!” said Coot.
“Ayup!” said Jake. “It sure is good to be grown up sophisticated type adults!”.
“Is this creeping you out as bad as it is me?” whispered Eric to Bumper.
“Yes!” Bumper whispered back emphatically. “Just what the hell is going on here? I’ve been to seances that were less creepy. ”
“Anyhoo, so all’s I need tonight, Coot ol buddy, is a member ticket for me and a couple of visitor passes for my friends here. ” said Jake.
The llama peered over Jake’s shoulder at Eric and Bumper. “Gods, not another bunny. We get so many bunnies in here. ”
“Well you know what they say about rabbits!” said Jake.
Jake and Coot laughed uproriously again.
“Do you know what they say about rabbits? ” whispered Eric to Bumper.
“I thought I did. ” said Bumper. “Now I am not so sure. ”
“Same here. ” said Eric.
Coot peered once more. This time, he gasped then snorted in outrage.
“Jake, you know humans ain’ allowed in here! They get all weird about it!” said Coot.
“Oh, I know. I know… ” said Jake. “But I will personally vouch for this one. He might not be as grown up as we are, but he’s cool. He’ll keep his hands to himself AND treat everyone with dignity and respect. Ain’t that right, Eric?”.
Eric gulped. “Uh, yeah, sure. I’ll be the perfect gentleman. ”
Coot glared dubiously at Eric. Then, to Jake, he said “You know that I got to put his name down in your permanent record, right old buddy? Just in case?”.
“That’s fine by me. ” said Jake, a little too quickly.
Coot shrugged. “Oh well. It’s your membership on the line, not mine. ” He performed some magic with a ledger, two different official stamps, and a file folder, then handed one blue and two green tickets to Jake. “You boys enjoy yourselves now!”.
They headed deeper into the club through a dark hallway. Jake paused in the hallway, and gave Eric and Bumper a stern look.
“Now you heard what the man said. It’s my big horsey butt on the line if you boys mess up tonight. So remember, look but don’t stare, admire but don’t touch, and for goddamn’s sake, don’t do nothing with nobody until you check with me. You got that?”
Eric and Bumper nodded solemnly.
“All right. Then hold on to your bits, fellas, because this is gonna knock your socks off. ”
And with that, the trio entered the club, with Jake leading the way and Eric and Bumper trailing meekly behind.
Somehow, the Dreamer knew that this would be its final incarnation.
Eventually, the transitions had slowed in pace and slackened in severity, allowing the Dreamer the time it needed to gathers its thoughts and regain a measure of control. Later the transitions became gentle and infrequent enough to be almost voluntary. The Dreamer could delay or invoke one as it pleased.
More importantly, as the scenes and lives flicked through its mind, a feeling of destiny and destination suffused the Dreamer. This was not some random journey inflicted by a sadistic force to it any more.
It was a natural extension of a long evolutionary process towards perfect consciousness. A journey, the Dreamer could now see, it had been on since the moment it had budded off its blind and stupid mother. All its searching for new emotions, new sensations, and new experiences had been unconsciously intended to prepare it for this final transformation.
For what was needed was understanding.
Not mere knowledge… knowledge was a dead and useless thing without true understanding, and that only came from surrendering your individuality in order to fully merge with the life of another and see through their eyes.
The recent rapid transitions had merely been an acceleration of the process. For what reason, the Dreamer neither knew nor cared. It had brought it here, to this place. at this time, in order that it might meet its destiny and achieve spiritual perfection.
And that was more than enough.
Now it stood, incarnate and whole, without any stress or strain. Body, mind, and soul were in perfect accord, and the Dreamer felt a kind of deep gentle serenity that made emotions like fear, anger, jealousy, and paranoia not merely impossible but absurd.
All was in balance, and it was content to wait.
Physically, the body it inhabited was enormous. Twenty feet tall, six feet wide at the shoulder, humanoid and strong and powerfully male. Every fiber of his being was filed with a sense of energy and vitality, but without any sense of urgency or demand.
It was power in abeyance(sp?), and it awaited the will of its master just as its master awaited the arrival of his final fate.
The Dreamer stood atop a plateau at the summit of a craggy mountain of deep black rock. Rivers of a pale red fluid slinked their way through the crags, and creatures that were little more than wings and feet flitted amongs the crags. From some of those crags, thick-rooted plants rose straight and true towards the heavens, and on the branches of these plants, pinhead-sized insects busily teemed over rubbery strong leaves in search of the plant’s briliant purple fruit.
From where the Dreamer stood, he could see for miles around. Before him stretched land that rose and fell with such subtlety that he was sure that it was almost impossible to perceive without his current Olympian perspective.
He thought of the local autochtones carefully squinting at a glass of water to see which way it tilted, and laughed.
The seeming crazy-quilt of crops that sprawled across the land like a lazy beast was, the Dreamer knew, actually a single crop called Fasmit, which was the result of a hundred years of carefully planned genetic engineering aimed at creating the perfect crop to meet all the Falsar’s needs.
For the Dreamer knew this place. He was on Fasar, home of the Falasari people. They were rodentlike bipeds with quick and agile minds and a deep connection with nature that made them superb horticulturalists. The entire planet functioned as a single organism, of which the Falasari were merely the thinking component.
As a species, they were easy to like. They had overcome a bloody past of constant war, unspeakable brutality, institutionalized rape, and savage cruelty in order to turn themselves into the peaceful and harmonious people they were today. A reformer named Kar had led the way to this transformation, and even thousands of years later, in an era where other forms of religious worship was almost unknown, temples of Kar were everywhere, and deeply integrated into the pith and marrow of their communities.
The end result was a civilization of highly enlightened beings that had turned their planet into an earthly paradise.
The Dreamer could think of no better place to achieve spiritual perfection.
A low rumbling drew the Dreamer’s attention to the skies. There, at the very apex of the dome of the heavens, a small red circle had appeared, and slowly grew in size.
As it grew, a rainbow spectrum of colors fanned out from its circumference, and flowed in rivulets across the sky like water on glass. These rivulets merged into luminous rivers, and before long, the sky over Fasar was a riot of shifting, shimmering hues.
And still, the red circle grew, its color shifting from wine red to blood red to neutral red to fire red and all the way to light pink, and this sparked a deep feeling of onrushing fate within the Dreamer’s great and mighty heart.
It wasn’t until the Dreamer felt the heat on his face that he began to truly comprehend what was happening. As the water in the crags dried up, the plants wilted, the pinhead bugs died a crackling death, and the bird-like creatures fell from the air like heavy raindrops, the Dreamer knew that its oncoming destiny would be neither gentle nor just.
His ears were filled with the high pitched scream of atmosphere protesting being so rudely shoved aside, and with a panic and rage unlike any it had felt before, the Dreamer reached out with its mind in order to knock this prismatic nightmare of a meteoroid back to whatever cosmic cataclysm birthed it, and save the people of Fasar from an utterly undeserved fate.
But it was no use. Within him, the Dreamer felt the power to raise mountains and command storms, but that power was as nothing compared to the horrible kinetic inevitability of the massive meteor’s momentum.
The sky’s screaming was a full and throaty roar now, and the Dreamer could do nothing but watch that now white-hot circle grow and grow above it, till the whole sky was nothing but a scorched and cloudless husk of its former self.
Right before impact, the Dreamer had time to think only two thoughts :
“This is so… wrong. ”
“Someone is going to… pay. ”
Then Armageddon came.