Last night I dreamt that it was 100 years after the time of Harry Potter, and I was gathered in a castle den with Andrew K, Dan, Finn, and a dozen other coworkers to discuss a sudden resurgence in evil deeds.
It was early evening, 9pm. We sat on couches and on a rug around the coffee table, and video conferenced with coworkers in a faraway part of the castle. The topic was a dead animal we recently found, the corpse mutilated with evil symbols.
Someone I didn't recognize suggested, "Maybe there's an evil virus that is contagious." I immediately eyed the little monkey (someone's pet) that I could see through the video conference display. It jumped merrily from surface to surface, acting monkey-ish.
We bandied about a few ideas, but most people were distracted, eager to go home to their families. We adjourned shortly thereafter.
The following day, news quickly spread that one member of our castle, again a person I didn't recognize, was found lying in a coma. We gathered again that evening, the tone somber this time. I wondered whether one amongst us was a traitor, and responsible for these deeds, but I didn't say it aloud. Why bother, when everyone else surely thought it too.
One person suggested surveillance equipment. Another proposed establishing a nightly guard.
Then Andrew K interjected in his efficient way, "This is all documented in Dumbledore's instructions that he left behind -- what happens if you perform spell X or use method Y."
The conversation dragged on and splintered into several. I was staring off into space, thinking, "Dumbledore would've known what to do." And for a moment, I was overcome with yearning that I had been born 100 years ago, when history was being written, and all the big players were in effect -- Dumbledore, Voldemort.
Then I realized that all those people probably hated living in their time, filled with fear of Voldemort killing their loved ones. They surely yearned to live 100 years later, when peace ruled the land and life was boring.
I thought of Frodo carrying the Ring. It was a dirty and unglamourous job. He's hungry, covered in dirt, scrambling over rocks. But when it's over, he's the big hero, and everyone wishes they had been him or had lived through his time to become heroes too.
I snapped back to the den. We were still debating, the group fragmented.
Then time became hazy, and when the dream continued, it was a few nights later.
I was in the den again, facing the video conference screen, but this time I was the only one in the room. On the display I watched a hysterical mass screaming, running away from others who were stabbing members of the crowd. Above the commotion, I saw one tall young man standing on top of a platform, watching, his face stony. Then his eyes flashed red, and I knew he was one of the taken ones. He smiled, and ran down off the platform to join the mayhem.
Distantly from another part of my castle, I heard the screaming begin.