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Shortly after seeing River lose the Oscar to Kevin Klein, I began having this dream.
In the dream I am young, maybe eight years old. River looks to be fourteen or fifteen years old, and I call him Olahu. There are at least two other children with us, younger than me but at least five years old. We run through back streets, Olahu carrying the youngest on his shoulders. I hold the hand of a little girl in a dress and with long hair in ribbons. We run in darkness through puddles of black water. Chains clink in the shadows, the howl of an injured cat echoes through the alley.
All doors are closed to us. I know we are being chased, but who or why escapes me. They are close and they search on foot and by air and by the mind. Our little fleeing group comes upon a warehouse fenced all around by chain-link and barbwire. We approach the gate, locked with heavy chain. Olahu touches the padlock and it melts away like quicksilver; the gates open and we run through into the paved yard. Behind us the gates crash closed.
By the time we have reached the door to the warehouse, he has already opened them; and the heavy corrugated steel door rattles and scrapes on its track and clamors shut. There are helicopters overhead, and the thrumming sound of the blades resounds in the hollow warehouse. We stop as Olahu orients himself, and then he moves us toward an enclosed office. It smells of cigarettes and cigars and old paper. Boxes fill one corner, and they pile up against one wall at the top of which is a small rectangular window with a wire mesh covering it. The girl who held my hand is now hiding under a metal desk with the other child who Olahu had carried on his shoulders.
The helicopters are louder now and the voices of men shout beyond the door. The voices are hard to understand, and I am not at all sure if I understand them at all, if I speak the same language. He searches the room, his eyes desperate and streaming. I catch glimmers of his thoughts and his emotions hit me like the force of wind and rain. I am crying.
Suddenly everything is quiet. Olahu waits, listening with his head poised, smelling and tasting the air.
Then there is an explosion as the men destroy the warehouse door and troop over the twisted metal into the cavernous building. They fix immediately on our hiding place. I can almost see them with eyes beyond my own as I know Olahu is doing. A thought breaks the glass of the small window. In a second, he has ripped off his shirt and he is dusting away the shards of glass. The metal grate is gone, blown out and fused to the outside of the building. The window leads out of the warehouse into the side yard. I can see the fence and barbwire beyond the pavement. Olahu calls the children to him. He rips a piece of the girl's dress and catches onto a tine of the metal grate. He opens a box. Books, old and worm-eaten. I feel him gather in his concentration and attention. Suddenly the books are gone. Not destroyed, but simply gone. He packs the three of us in the box, shuts the lid and speaks to us in a language that is not English. With my other eyes I can seem him standing now on the floor, hiding us beneath another box.
The men batter the door, flashlights blaze beyond in the dark, guns click and rattle. His eyes are not his own - crazed and full of hate. They scare me. A hale of bullets burst the locks on the door and a black-booted foot batters it down. There is quiet again for a moment as Olahu gathers his thoughts again. I see him, naked from the waste up, a fiery being and full of rage, giving off a light of his own. He springs through the door into the sound of thunder.
I awaken then, always at the same place, not knowing the fate of Olahu but knowing that the name means "brother".