Dream of: 16 January 1996 "Voice Of America"

My mother and I were in capacious bare room, with gray concrete walls, devoid of furniture. When someone knocked at the door and my mother walked over to open it, I suddenly realized who was probably outside and I tried to stop her from opening the door. But I was too late; before I could reach her, she opened the door and three burly men dressed in brown rushed in.

As two of the men walked around the room, one (probably in his late 40s) quickly came up to me and began talking. He looked exactly like the actor James Woods. I now had a basic grasp of what was happening: my mother and I were being held as prisoners in a prison in Russia. Periodically members of the KGB, such as these three, would come and visit us.

The Russians had never treated us badly, although our lodgings were extremely austere. I had spoken before with the man who looked like Woods, and he had always been civil with me. Today, however,  I quickly saw we were going to have a problem. As the other two Russians had explored our quarters, they had gone into a second room behind the first room, and there, sitting on a counter, they had found some kind of machine, like a computer or a fax machine. I recalled that earlier in the day my mother had let someone else into our quarters, and the other person had left the machine there. I had known at the time that the machine might cause us problems, but I hadn't done anything about it.

When the two other Russians told the man who looked like Woods about the machine, he and I walked into the other room and looked at it. The machine itself wasn't such a problem, but a sticker about the size of a bumper sticker which was pasted across the side of the machine which said, "Voice of America."

The man who looked like Woods became immediately concerned about the poster. He couldn't overlook it, especially since the other two Russians had seen it, and it was obvious I would be held accountable. I knew the situation was serious, and I could possibly even be put to death. I turned to the man who looked like Woods and began pleading with him. I had found him to be a completely ruthless fellow, almost psychotic, yet someone who could be reasoned with if he could be shown that his self-interest could be involved.

I only had one hope. I sensed that we were in the time before the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, and that I had some knowledge of the future. I told him that the government would soon fall and that when that happened, I would be in a position to help him. To myself I knew I would be making a deal with a demon if I agreed to later help the man. But given the present situation, I was definitely willing to do that.

The man who looked like Woods seemed to be considering what I was saying. He indicated he was concerned about me, although I knew that his concern was just a facade and that he had no feeling for anyone except himself. I could only hope I had reached that feeling of self-interest. He told me he had had similar offers from other prisoners, and he named a couple. One of the other prisoners was the author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who was also being held in the same prison complex in another cell. I heard this news with sinking heart. I knew if the man who looked like Woods didn't even help someone as important as Solzhenitsyn, then I had no chance.

In the meantime the other two Russians had begun rounding up some other prisoners who had also been staying in the same cell as my mother and I. It began to become clear that the other prisoners would be taken and punished for the poster and that my mother and I would escape punishment, at least for the moment.

It also appeared one prisoner was going to be killed immediately. The prisoner was a tall, handsome, black-haired man (about 30 years old). He was led to a back door of the back room. The back door was opened and we all stepped outside and saw before us a panoramic view of a beautiful valley with a river flowing through it. Apparently the prison was perched atop a high hill and the valley was below us. I immediately knew the river was the Rhine. Since I knew the Rhine was in Germany, I began thinking we might actually be in Germany instead of Russia.

A long wire cable stretched from where we were to a hill on the faraway other side of the river. Attached to the cable was a metal box big enough for one person to stand in. When the prisoner who was to be killed was told to get into the box, he did so. The prisoner wasn't told he was going to be killed, although everyone else knew it. The prisoner was simply told he was going to be transported to the other side of the river. However I knew when the box was half way across, it would be tipped over and the prisoner would fall to his death.

After the prisoner was in the box, it was set in motion. To everyone's surprise, when the box had only gone about a meter, the prisoner suddenly leaped out, and began running down the side of the hill toward the banks of the Rhine. The Russians were so surprised, it took them a moment to recover themselves. One gave chase; but the prisoner had such a lead, he easily made it to the river. He jumped in and I lost sight of him.

Would he make it? Would he escape? It looked as if he would. I wondered where the Rhine flowed to and where the prisoner would end up.

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