But on the night of my bizarre fantasy, I was transported to a time and place I’d never personally experienced. I found myself in—and there was no mistaking it—a scene in the WWII novel I’m currently working on. It’s a scene I haven’t even written yet, but one I’ve been crafting in my mind for quite some time now.
I found myself, perhaps as a representation of my protagonist, plopped down in 1944 in a remote location called Urumchi (now Ürümqi) in far northwest China. It’s a place sandwiched between Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Good grief. The closest I’ve ever been to China is the take-out joint down the street.
But I knew why I was in Urumchi—to attempt to establish a weather observation station for the U. S. Army Air Forces planes flying over “the Hump.” I worked out of a primitive building, kind of a stucco structure as I recall, with no fans to combat the stifling heat. (Urumchi is surrounded by deserts.)
In the dream, I remember my boss, Colonel Richard Ellsworth—who really was the commander of the 10th Weather Squadron (headquartered in India) during WWII—showing up to see how things were progressing.
At about the same time, a trio of fierce looking Kazakhs showed up, too. They apparently were not happy to see how things were progressing, in other words not happy to see Americans trying to set up shop so close to their territory. Maybe they thought we looked too much like Russians, who were in the process of colonizing their land.
I noticed one of the Kazakhs, a guy with a thick black mustache and dark eyes, carried a huge, broad-bladed sword about the size of Rhode Island. I decided it was time to wake up. So I did.
Of course, I won’t have that option when I actually write the scene. But I’ll figure something out. I can’t have my hero, who’s on assignment from India, bumped off by a Kazakh in China.