Thursday, December 15, 2011
My End-Of-The-World Dream
I'm standing on the sidewalk in front of a church in Fresno, why I was there I had no idea, when I see a huge black cloud, pregnant with possibility. Low and impossibly dark, void of light, like I'd seen on TV a hundred times. Would I be lucky this time?
Yes! As if by my will, a funnel cloud appears and spins slowly off to my right, throwing debris through the air: a tin roof shed, the side of a mobile home, lumber torn from a structure... It's moving away, which is what I want, but I can see it! At last I've seen a tornado in person!
Another small twister spins out of the black cloud, which continues bearing down on the church, and me. It twists and turns as it moves down its destructive path, smaller than the first and further away, so far away it doesn't hold my attention for long.
I look at the black cloud again; it's almost directly overhead and now that it's close, I see it: a twister a block wide heading straight for the church! Lethal debris flies around my head, spinning and hurdling through the air, driven by the powerful winds.
I've always wanted to see a tornado, but I've never wanted to be killed by one.
I wait until the last second. When I'm sure I'm about to be sucked into the twister's deadly vortex I dash into the church. Heavy doors swing shut behind me with a satisfying thud so I'm sure I'll be safe. There are people in the church, but they don't seem to be aware the building they're worshiping in is about to be slammed by a tornado, so I tell them. I shout "Hey! There's a tornado coming!" But they don't believe me. Fresno has never seen a tornado. Ever.
Then it hits and the walls shake and windows shatter and people dive for cover and there's screaming and cries of shock and terror and the sun hides its face and the wind howls to be let in but the church is solid and withstand the twister's onslaught... I'm in heaven!
But the black cloud is hiding something far more sinister than three twisters: dark gleaming metallic flying ships of some kind appear, several of them, spinning and twisting into view. They're huge, impossibly big. One lands, or docks, onto an enormous steel structure adjacent to the church and I think, "Where did that come from?"
Then I remember: the steel structures have always been there, yet no one could ever explain how they got there or what purpose they served. They were just there. The flying machine docked onto the structure and turned it, like a gigantic key turning a monstrous lock. There was a tremendous screeching, the sound of ancient metal, being pushed through rusted hinges and frozen joints.
It's difficult to recall exactly what happened next, but I became aware that the Earth was being invaded by aliens, like in that War of the Worlds movie with Tom Cruise. Except this wasn't a movie, it was real. Vividly real.
I sense the aliens had already been among us, we'd been infiltrated because they looked just like us. We were rounded up and made to enter the steel structures, which became a prison as well as a cafeteria. To distinguish humans from aliens, they placed a dab of green pasted on our upper lips. We didn't have to be told we weren't allowed to wipe the paste off.
Humans were pulled out of the prison and roasted alive, their bones blackened in a hot oven. The aliens feasted on the blackened flesh. Some of their kind, the weak ones, were also roasted and devoured. (We knew they were aliens because there was no green paste on their upper lip.)
Beginning to comprehend that they meant to eat us all, I cast my eyes out of the structure, looking for some sign of hope, and saw that it was being guarded by a smaller flying machine. It was fitted with machine guns, which I thought wasn't very alien-like, and was piloted by Japanese soldiers from World War II, which also wasn't very alien-like.
There didn't seem to be any way to get out, to get away from the roasting and feasting aliens who looked like us. As more humans were plucked up and throw into the oven, it dawned on me that, sooner or later, I was going to be eaten, and if I wanted it to be later rather than sooner, I'd better stay away from the edge of the crowd of humans. And I'd better not give the aliens any reason to look at me.
I worked my way into the mass of cowering fellow beings, the panic working its way out of my stomach into my throat. What could I do? How could I escape? Escape seemed impossible, but I didn't want to be roasted and eaten.
I was losing hope...
...until I realized I was caught in a dream, and since it was a dream, I was in control. I could shake things up.
But it felt so real! I WAS in an alien prison, about to be roasted and eaten!
I wiped the green paste off my lip, then felt terrified. What if they saw me do that? They'd grab me next and toss me into the oven!
But this was my dream and I had control! How could I get rid of the aliens?
The aliens began turning into dust. As a wave of relief filled my sleep-addled brain, I didn't care whether they were being killed off by a virus or a bacteria, like in War of the Worlds, I just knew they were dying and that I wouldn't be roasted and eaten.
The dream was so vivid that it stayed with me the following day, and even until today. Most of my dreams are vaporized by the morning light, but not this one.
I tell you what though: I no longer want to see a tornado, from any distance.