So from the dream described in "dreamscaping" comes this story.
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I stumbled into Marrakech half blind from the burning sun and wandered down thin cobblestone alleys lined with whitewashed walls. Robed figures ducked in and out of doorways peering out curiously at me. Brightly coloured fabrics hung from poles and lines crisscrossed above the alley, which suddenly crowded with turbaned figures carrying rolled up tapestries of maroon and blue.
As I came out into the glare of the sun again I saw a bustling market place in the centre of the Town Square. Off to one side the camel traders did their business and a few of these ships of the desert were there now, some standing, one kneeling.
There was a commotion behind me and I saw a basket of fruit go flying and the glint of a thin long blade. I heard a woman scream and something smashed. The sounds of heavy boots on the stones caused me to sink back into the shadows and I found myself in a small archway that served as an entrance door. Down a broad spiral set of stone steps that led to some sort of establishment below. I was badly dehydrated and the stairway was cool. The sounds of heavy boots receded now, having passed by. A haunting melody drifted up. I lingered before deciding to investigate further.
At the base of the steps there was another archway which I entered and found myself in a large tavern. There was a long wooden bar directly opposite where three belly dancers wearing flowing robes of purple, blue and green watched me over their veiled faces. Dark faces eyed me suspiciously from the shadowy figures seated at wooden tables around the dimly lit tavern interior. I didn't care. My thirst was too great and I approached the bar and called the bartender over. He had the longest handlebar moustache I had ever seen.
"Gimme a beer and a water." I said dragging some coins from my pocket. They rattled on the wooden bench.
"One beer." The barkeep slapped down a meaty palm. "No water." With his other hand, he reached under the counter and brought up a brown unmarked bottle. I grabbed for it and raised the bottle to my burning lips. The amber liquid was cool and spread though my mouth but as it passed down my throat I started to gag and cough
I wiped away the tears and took another swig feeling it filter down all the way to my belly. Someone was playing a tune on a horn or flute. I blinked. Sitting cross-legged and garbed in rich azure robes and a large white turban, the musician played upon an ornate blue and gold horn of the like I had never laid eyes upon.
"Are you American?" One of three veiled women, the one clothed in the green dress said stepping into my field of vision. Her eyes were dark and brown. I could smell lavender and peach.
"Something like that." I said turning back to the bar.
The flute player stopped abruptly. I glanced back. The entrance to the tavern was now filled with uniformed guards. They had revolvers tucked into their pockets but were brandishing their long lethal swords.
"Mr Tuck." A deep voice informed me as I took a long swig to finish the remains of the awful but thirst-quenching brown ale. The voice, which could only be Captain Zahaar of the Royal Guards continued.
"You will hand the Blue Sirocco over to me or else."
"Or else what?"
"Or else I will cut your throat and take it from your corpse."
There didn't seem to be any other exit, but somehow most of the other patrons seemed to have disappeared. The three dancers were still there and the musician but even the handlebar-moustached bartender was nowhere either. They might be a way out yet.
I still had hold of the brown bottle and smashed it on the counter edge. The women screamed and I quickly grabbed the woman in green in front of me and held the broken edge of the bottle close to her throat. I could feel her body heaving and convulsing in fear but I held her hair tight. She cried out and dug an elbow into me.
"Stay where you are or I'll cut her." I yelled to the soldiers.
"Let me go you son-of-a-bitch." The brown-eyed woman tried to struggle free but I managed to edge us along the bar as the Captain and his men hesitated. Then he shrugged and started to advance.
"What do I care?" He said raising his sword hand and aiming a blow at my head. "She's just a worthless whore. Kill her. Go on."
I heard the dancer gasp and then a thud and a groan as her shin connected with his groin. His sword twisted and fell in his hand and I took the chance to snatch his pistol clear of its holster and held it aimed at his head while keeping one hand locked on the belly dancers arm.
"Is there another way out of here?" I whispered to her.
She nodded and started pulling harder against me.
"Don't anybody come any closer or the Captain goes bye bye." I could see the Guardsmen were in two minds as their Captain sunk to his knees clutching his groin. "Put the weapons down and turn around real slow."
Once the first one started the others soon followed.
"Okay now lie down. NO Peeking." I said yanking on the trigger to fire a shot into the wall above their heads.
The explosion of the pistol reverberated around the tavern chamber and I took the opportunity to usher the veiled woman forward. She disappeared behind a fake wall and then re-appeared to wave me on. I came to the wall and pressed and as it swung away I stepped through into a narrow corridor. A cool hand grabbed mine and as the door closed we were left in absolute darkness. The walls were rough and jagged and I tried to avoid them as the pull of the woman drew me up the corridor. Ahead I could see a faint light and as we approached steps leading up to the outside world.
I emerged into the sunlight in another part of town. I was in another part of the city now. Fewer people here. The veiled figure in the green dress had disappeared from sight and I was about to give up hope of seeing her again when I felt an arm grab me and pull me towards a dark doorway. It was the dancer in green.
"I know someone who can help you." She said through her veil. She removed it to show a broad-cheeked face with wide curvaceous lips. Well, except for the distended lower lip. Purple patches showed through the makeup.
"The same someone who gave you that?" I said pointing a finger at her fat lip before running my fingers through my sweat-soaked hair feeling the grit and sand amongst it. I glanced around but this street at least, was quiet.
"I am Kierra. and you gave me this when you grabbed me, American dog." She said accusingly. Her brown eyes flashed fire.
"Hey Hey. That's enough of your lip missie."
I followed her along a bewildering maze of alleys and tunnels until she told me to wait while she went ahead and knocked on small door at the base of three shallow steps. The green garbed dancer disappeared inside the doorway and I waited in the shade of an awning. My thirst began to grow again and I wondered how long this woman was going to take. A hot wind began to blow from the south and the Sahara. I licked my lips and looked around for anything that resembled a well or tap.
Just as I was about to leave the woman reappeared and waved me on. Hurrying across the street, the dancer smiled and ushered me inside the building. As I stepped inside I heard a loud crack and then darkness and falling.
I came to seconds later in painful throbbing waves. The floor was being pushed into my face, or the other way around. Strong hands held me down while others searched me.
"I have it." I heard someone cry and the hands let me go.
As I rolled up into a sitting position the robes of my assailants parted as they stood back and two women approached. One was Kierra the dancer in green, the other my previous employer, Empress Nia, dressed in a blue and gold robe and veil. Her grey eyes were bright and clear and fierce. Then one of the robed assistants passed the blue stone to the belly dancer who held it up to her eyes momentarily before passing it on to the Empress.
"How could you?" Now Empress Nia's grey eyes became uncertain and roamed around my face. "I.. I trusted you."
"Thirst!" I couldn't think of anything else to say.
Her stormy grey eyes hardened to liquid steel and she turned with a flourish and stormed out. Hands grabbed my clothes and arms and lifted me roughly to my feet. Instinctively I put my hand up to protect the back of my head and felt the warm blood matting in my hair already. The green robed dancer shimmied forward seductively and then lifting her arm blew an orange powered from her open palm straight into my face.
I coughed from the acrid powder in my parched nose and mouth and fell to my knees again as the dark veil of night fell prematurely once more.
I was lying on my back on hard wood, my head resounding from a throbbing headache. I tried to focus and feel my way. My arms were pressed to my sides by wooden sides. When I tried to lift my arms up they hit another barrier. Damn.
There was a thud on the wall above me. Then another. It sounded like gravel. My heart leapt to my throat and I tried to scream but my voice was just a horrible screech of air. I pounded on the roof of my crucible.
Screaming silent pleas I heard the steady rhythmic plop as the loading continued on top of the box that held me. My hands turned to claws and fingernails tore into the wood panel above me. A stabbing pain shot down my arm as a fingernail tore loose but I kept on clawing and scratching and then pushing upwards with all my might I heard a splintering and thought I spied a glint of light. Pushing against the top with both my hands and bracing my legs to push with my knees and strained with every fibre of my existence until with a terrific crunching the box spilt open and sunlight filled my sky. So bright I had to shut my eyes and shield my eyes from its intensity.
A gaunt figure, leaning on a shovel looked down at me. His tanned face wrinkled and he smiled gap-toothed at me as I sat up and tried to lift myself out of the hole I found myself in. A bony arm reached down and helped me up and out of the hole. I thanked him and started to dust myself off.
"I say." I said to the gaunt old man who obviously understood no English. "You haven't ever heard of the Jade Star have you? I suppose not. Supposed to be up north somewhere. Maybe we should just quit this humdrum lifestyle and hit the road." I put an arm around his shoulder and shook him gently. "Whattya say Ahmid. I hope you don't mind me calling you Ahmid. Now where can a man get a drink around here?"
The Honeycomb Hotel
Well since my queen bee buzzed me
I've found a new place to dwell
Itís down at the end of Busy Street
It's called the..... Honeycomb Hotel
You get me so dronely Queen Bee
You give me the hive,
You get me so dronely Queen Bee
Oh Queen Bee I could fly.
Like the grasses showing tender faces to each other, thus should we do, for this was the wish of the Grandfathers of the World.