Dream April 2013
This is a dream. It don’t make no sense. And I fill in the gaps.
I stood in an enormous hangar under a roof so high I knew was there only because I couldn’t see the sunlight directly above that was cascading through vast windows along the building. It was loud and boisterous in there, hundreds of people and vehicles and machines carrying weapons, food and supplies, crisscrossing layered paths to work, work, work towards something of which I was oblivious.
A horrible stench saturated the air, like a chocolate bar dipped in roadkill jelly.
A curtain door opened out into the daylight a few hundred meters ahead of me to the right, and I decided I had to exit. I stepped carefully over and around a scatter of abandoned, rusted horsecarts - trying to avoid staring at the source of the stench.
“Ohhhhhhhhhhh - Ohhhhhhhhh - Gooooooooo!”
Two ancient women - one dark brown and one yellow - sat in one of the unhitched horsecarts. Each was naked except for the garment of greasy hair falling from the scalp and circling their bodies like a filthy cocoon. I couldn’t help gawking at the ebony woman on the right; her reddish eyes were unfocused on anything but a tremendous agony somewhere deep within. As I walked by, she paid me no attention - just rustled her arms beneath the hair and opened her mouth, empty of teeth and groaned in unison with the other woman.
“Ohhhhhhhhhhhh - Ohhhhhhhhhh - Goooooooooo!”
Their groans produced the horrendous smell, so I hurried past, holding my breath. Between them floated a grapefruit-sized sphere - pocked and scarred by dead canyons like a tiny satellite of some invisible planet. It BULGED - which scared the shit out of me - so I ran to the curtain door and into the daylight.
My foot caught on the line where light and shadow met, tripping me and I fell into about two feet of water - face first. I rose to my hands and knees in the water, coughing and spitting, and discovered that the hangar was gone and I was surrounded by two tractor trailers. The fronts of the truckless cargo trailers were beached on land that rose gently up into a huge field that stretched away to the edge of a tremendous forest.
I walked out of the water onto the beach when I heard the collaged neighing of a hundred horses, loud and deep and frightening. A speck emerged from the trees across the field, racing towards the beach and growing at a terrible rate.
Someone yelled to me from my right. A small figure stood high and alone in a stand of bleachers about half a football field away from me. He made frantic gestures with his hands, shouting, “Come here!” The bleachers were attached to the side of a mountain by roller coaster tracks, and the man was next to one of the cars.
The figure in the distance was joined by others, all of which multiplied in size as they crossed the field. I suddenly tasted my blood, the blood they wanted to spill. I sprinted to the right as the foremost figure coalesced into a form I could recognize - a man in robes upon a colossal black horse, holding a staff tipped with blue fire.
He pointed the staff at me - and like a typical fantasy RPG - spiraling blue spark bombs exploded from its tip. I dodged the fire and they hit the trailers and bounced back and forth while I ran to the bleachers and hopeful safety. The cliche dreamwizard paralleled my escape, continually shooting at me and missing. His horse was nightmarishly (yes) gigantic, its hooves leaving divots in the field the size of baseball diamonds.
Somehow I managed to outrun this creature.
At the base of the bleachers, the man who had called to me reached down with an arm like a giraffe’s neck and hauled me to the top.
“Good,” he said, and his arm retracted back into its socket to normal length. His face was a featureless gray oval, and he wore a red cap, shirt and shorts. His arms and legs were thick, gray lines.
The wizard and horse were small now. They looked up at me with little interest. The crowd from the forest had become a slow flood, passing the bleachers and heading to the hangar, which had reappeared beyond the shallow water. A tall woman stopped by the wizard, nodding her horned head toward the hangar. The horns ended in revolving satellites. Woman and horse and man left.
Grabbing my shoulder, the man behind me said, “The ride is starting, and I want to be in the front row. You can sit in any of the other seats.”
The roller-coaster car rumbled at the other end of the grandstand, situated on a track that rose up into a ragged hole in the mountain; serrated stalactites lined the mouth of the hole, uncomfortably close to the track.
“That doesn’t look safe,” I said.
“Of course it’s safe!” he said. “You wouldn’t see it if it wasn’t safe. Let’s go.”
He jumped into the front seat. Staring at the razor rocks, I climbed into the shuttle behind him. He rattled the safety bar in his lap and made ZOOOOOM! ZOOOOOM!
Something popped and the coaster trembled up the steep track into the hole. The stalactite was too low! Redhat continued zoooooooooming, oblivious of the sharp tongue of rock directly in front of his gray head. The coaster stopped for a moment, then jerked forward, and his head resisted the rock for a millisecond. In that tiny window, Redhat began to wail like a demonbaby abandoned on some holy mountain. Then the granite peninsula sheared through his oval chin, spraying whiteout everywhere. His head fell on the seat beside me and the wail continued as the car proceeded. I tried to duck down, but knew I would share his gruesome death. Just as my brow tapped against the stone, the track shifted down and to the right, leaving a clear passage that would save my skull.
The car ascended a small hill, emerging into a small station, then came to a stop by a railed landing where a young woman with blonde hair was yelling at a group of teenage boys. She came toward my car, looking over her shoulder, still shouting at the boys.
“You have nothing to worry about if you stay on the right square! Quit crying, Whimpledick!” She opened a gate in the railing and bent down to grab the body and head of my dead hero and tossed them into a corner piled with other bizarre corpses. Looking at me, she said, “Alright, then. Get out. Where is your staff?”
I got out and stood beside her. Her face was square, every corner too sharp for me to see its point.
“You are another Whimpledick! You were supposed to pick up a staff at the beginning. They’re piled at the entrance!”
“I didn’t see any staffs.”
“Whatever. Follow me. Training is almost over, but there’s still time. Only step on the opaque squares. Obviously you’ll fall below if you step on the clear squares. Sometimes they switch.”
I looked down and felt dizzy. I stood on an opaque square about three feet by three, but the square before me was transparent, revealing a drop of several stories to a sandstone floor littered with exploded bodies and puddles of blood. Hideous beasts, with baboon heads, bodies of goats and cockroach legs ending in human hands darted about below, drinking from the pools of blood and gnawing on splattered remains. Occasionally they glanced upward in expectance.
Shuddering, I tiptoed onto a solid square diagonally adjacent, following the woman. One of the denizens ripped its muzzle from a carcass and watched my slow progress.
I made it to the group, which consisted of the woman and five chubby young men with terrible acne. The boys were sweating and horrified as the woman presented them with a fistful of straws. She looked at me. “Good, you made it. Training is over. Come over here and pick. Shortest straw has to offer and make the vialjuice.”
“Just pick. You first.”
I grabbed one of the straws and pulled. It grew from her clenched fingers like a magician’s scarf rope, finally ending at some foot and a half. The others made their choices, all of which were equally long except for the last. He was taller than his four companions; lean, and his facial features were obscured by cross-hatched scars.
“Why does it have to be me?” he said.
Ignoring him, the woman removed a small glass container from her clothes. She twisted off the cap and handed the vessel to me.
“Just hold it steady over the edge right by his face. Come on,” she said.
The boy was crying, and the tears caused his scars to glow red.
The woman clutched his hair in her fist and dragged him to the rim of an opaque square overlooking the pit. She dangled his body over the chasm while the monsters below shrieked in hunger. I held the container next to his weeping eyes.
The boy’s neck began to stretch, thinning at the center like taffy, until it snapped apart, and his body plummeted to the awaiting abominations. The woman dropped his head. Their riotous feasting produced an indigo fountain of blood and saliva that rose over our heads. I filled the vial in the collapsing plume and handed it to the woman. She put the cap back on and gave it to me.
“What is this for and why does it have to be me?”
“You’re not a teenager, so don’t ask that question. You’ll know when it’s time.” She pointed to the corner of the room at doors of an elevator, around which the other boys had gathered. “We are riding that elevator to heaven, and I’m worried that something will happen. Let’s go.”
Inside the elevator, the woman pushed the UP button and the carriage ascended. One wall was completely black and all of us faced this wall. After several minutes, the four teenagers and the woman froze, as if their bodies had been coated with a thin layer of transparent cement. I could see their eyelids pushing down, trying to close, but the shell forbade it. From around each of their left shoulders, the rim of a shadow appeared, growing like the thin line of red at dawn. The shadows bulged, ballooned into hideous shapes which overwhelmed their forms, slowly consuming them.
I took the vial from my pocket, opened it, and poured the liquid onto the boot of my shoe. Immediately, a horde of the loathsome creatures from the sandstone pit boiled out of the black wall and latched five to one on the possessed figures of my former companions. The noise was horrendous in the close space - overlapping growls and crunching and breaking and tearing sounds, along with wails of shredding ghosts. I closed my eyes and covered my eras until at last it was over.
The monsters were clumped together opposite me in the large elevator. Their eyes focused on me while they melted and merged, compounding and condensing until reaching the slender form of the woman. She looked revitalized and happy. Pointing at my shoe, she said, “You’ll have to get a new shoe.”
I looked down at my stained shoe. “I’ll probably get two.”
We went up.