I was in a general store on the upper storey of a two storey town building. My dream intuition knew I was somewhere near the Mediterranean sea, proximate to Gaza but not necessarily in either Israel, Palestine or Egypt specifically. I worked in the general store with two other women and a man who were my friends or perhaps even family, the surrounds felt familiar but also had the uncertainty and edgy feeling of somewhere I was not completely familiar with. In the dream I was aware that this feeling could come from the greater social and political upheaval of the area, and I felt that the general store was a protected space amid a community that did not always enjoy the consistency and safety that all people have the right to live within.
I was walking between the shelves, looking at the products in the shop. Something on a lower shelf took my eye, a children’s toy packaged in a display box. I picked it up and examined it. It was a toy that was designed around the central concept of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, which completely took me by surprise, as it seemed wildly inappropriate and almost laughable in it’s tragic misconception. In the box were two toy dinosaurs, plush but with mechanical functions, a gold one and a green one. They both had prominent teeth and mechanical jaws. The box said something like ‘Have fun with Israel VS Palestine!’ Laughing disconcertedly I took it to the front counter where my friends, the two women and man, were standing talking. We exclaimed and laughed over the absurd and inappropriate toy, which was both humorous and tragic in it’s misplaced frivolity, but also seriously problematic because it was designed for children – which we all agreed was, well, pretty fucked up.
Then the dream shifted to me being alone in the general store. Everyone had gone and I knew they were nowhere nearby, I was left to look after things whilst they were out. Suddenly a young man and his brother, both in white t-shirts and jeans, came charging up the stairs from the street. They had a chaotic vibe to them, nervous and impulsive. The older brother was obviously the leader. He was an imposing figure with a muscled frame, huge arms and a stony, dangerous face with dark scowling brows and the sides of his head shaved close in the fashion of Lads. He walked right up to me without stopping and said ‘We’re taking you now. There’s nothing you can do, there’s no one around.’ His brother was standing at the top of the stairs keeping watch nervously. I knew that the streets were temporarily completely empty due to some sort of event or disturbance, and these young men were taking advantage of that. I knew that if I called out no-one would be able to hear me, so there was no point.
I considered my options without saying a word. I knew that if I resisted I would almost certainly be beat up, and there was no way I could even hope to physically resist these two large men. The older brother was more than twice my weight, and towering over me. If I was beat up now it would make it harder for me to make a break for it if I had the chance later down the track, so I just stood there in disbelief, looking at him like ‘Dude, what are doing? Is this really the kind of person you want to be?’ He picked me up quite roughly and put me over his shoulder, which was pretty uncomfortable. I didn’t resist at all, I just knew I was completely overpowered. I thought ahead that I would have to lull them with my passive behaviour and then make a run for it when they became complacent. Weirdly, I also remember thinking ‘You know, this guy is so messed up. He doesn’t know how to even begin talking to a woman. If he’d just come up to me and asked me on a date, I probably would have said ‘yes’. But now he’s become this terrible twisted version of himself and he might even rape and kill me. It’s just so misguided and sad.’ In my mind’s eye I saw a vision of the place they were planning to take me. It was just a patch of yellow sandy dirt by an old crumbling wall. I knew that wasn’t good. I knew I might die, but I just had to keep it together and be mindful enough to take any opportunity to survive that showed itself.
Just as he was about to carry me down the stairs, his brother called out from where he had been scouting the street. People were coming! The young man put me down and they both just ran away. I stood at the top of the stairs looking down at the bright opening to the street wondering what was going on down there, and trying to process just how lucky I was to still be standing in the general store.
And then I woke up.