The huge, bizarre creature atop the podium glared at me with its single eye. The several protuberances emanating from its body coiled and twirled ceaselessly. The smell, strongly reminiscent of rotten meat and — of all things — lemons, was overpowering.
The voice appeared to be inside my head. It spoke at length, though not in words, of centuries of oppression and malfeasance, of wrongs done without the slightest hint of cognisance or remorse.
As the voice continued, cataloguing collections of felonious acts, I began to realise that the accusations were not addressed to me personally, but were instead aimed squarely at the entire human race. It was not I who was on trial here; I was just a randomly chosen representative of my species.
The summing up was brief and to the point. Guilt was not in question. There could be no possibility of appeal. I sensed regret and resignation in the voice as it explained that the sentence in situations such as this was mandated.
One of the creature’s oily appendages snaked down and briefly touched my forehead.
I awoke in my bed in a cold sweat. But this had been no simple nightmare. That was yet to come.
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