The Maniacal Mind
A Strange Time
I've always been interested in dreams. Since I was a little kid my imagination would roam free and conjure up the wildest of times, strangest of days and most random adventures imaginable. Something right out of Neverending Story on a nightly basis. As I got older the dreams got different and more surreal at times. Sometimes it involved Madonna and a pickup truck. Sometimes it was jumping off a bridge to avoid Nazi's and then swimming down the Colorado to safety. Sometimes it involved smashing zombies with a bat with such feverishness anxiety I'd wake up sweating and breathing hard as if I was actually just exiting such a nightmare.
I've read that what you watch at night has no effect on your upcoming dreams but instead it has more to do with your life, your suppressed feelings you've never dealt with, challenges you're facing in your personal life or work life that manifest themselves in your dreams. I really have no idea myself. Most of this I got from the lady I always see in the alley next to the Circle K at work. But in the end, a vivid dream stays with you all morning and you find yourself thinking back at what happened, try hard to even fall back asleep into that dream and finish it even. But you can't and you won't. It's not meant to work like that and you'll move on with your day and forget all about it.
Except I never forgot these dreams and after coming across these files on my computer I remembered just how strange and unique they really were.
These five dreams are all written by me back in 2008. At the time I was about to start a new job while living with some guys in a house in north Scottsdale. I was single and hadn't quite met my wife yet and was about to embark on a trip north to Alaska for the first time since 1995. Aside from that...not much was different than today.
Except these dreams...
I had each of these within a 10 day period and while most dreams disappear from your mind by the time you are done brushing your teeth in the morning, these lingered vividly throughout the day to the point that the following day I could put the entire thing down on a keyboard and record it. Days later I'd have another one, equally as vivid, and in just typing it out from my mind, I'd have to turn the lights on, close my bedroom door and pull my feet up from the floor while typing.
It was creeping me out.
Yet I plugged away and it all came out. I saved it and all these years it sat on my hard drive on my lap top. For two years the lap top laid dead under a shelf in my house. I kept moving it until our current house when I finally went and got it fixed. In booting it up I saw it:
"I Am 5 Years Old"
Still there, still sitting there waiting to be read.
Still creeping me out.
So while I don't know what they mean they certainly are entertaining and intriguing.
If anyone knows anything about dreams, I'd love to know what you think in the comments. I recently had another dream as vivid as these probably three weeks ago. I could probably recant the entire thing right now on a keyboard. It was a wickedly fast paced race up Mt. Marathon in Alaska (common theme here...) but through snow tunnels and with random odd conversations with elves. I don't know. I can't explain it but it as bizarre through and through.
So take a peek at the below dreams. Turn the lights on, pull your feet up off the chair and let me know what you think. It's quite difficult to write a story recapping a dream in detail so the writing style is a little off from what I might normally but you'll get the idea.
Dream #1 - I Am 5 Years Old
I am but 5 years old.
I am riding my bicycle down a small slope with a pine forest on my left and corn fields on my right. It is really tall corn, past harvest time and all dried out and brittle. The pine forest is very tall, thick and deep green. I'm riding up the hill now as fast as I can. I'm peddling faster and faster because I feel something chasing me. I look back and see them racing after me. Bears. Lots of bears.
I'm wailing away on my BMX and my little legs are not pumping fast enough. I see the corn field on my left but am afraid there are bears in there waiting for me. Almost like the bears chasing me are setting me up for an ambush. I finally decide to race into the corn field. I ditch the bike and race through the corn. The corn stalks, brittle as they are, slice my arms and face as I dash though. I run and run, hearing the bears right behind me, crashing through the corn stalks. I emerge from the edge of the field and look down the hill and see a farm. I run through the muddy field of chopped corn and race through a small stream. I run over to this old, abandoned farm and see the milk house door standing wide open. The bears are right behind me, just at my feet, getting closer and closer. I'm screaming for help and nobody is there, there are no people anywhere. Just me, the farm, the field and the bears. There is a road just past the farm and I look for a car, a light, anything. There is nothing but this door. I am running as fast as I can, pushing my little legs hard to get to this door before the bears reach me. I jump through the door and slam it tight.
The bears are gone.
I do not see them, they have disappeared. I look all over the yard, towards the field, down the road. I cannot seem them anywhere. I do not hear them.
I have escaped.
I turn around to look at the milk house. It is in ruins. There are holes in the concrete all over the place. Patch work on the walls, and machinery all broken or missing. I look closer and see it is the old milking parlor from our farm. It is the one and the same. I walk around the corner and am amazed to see a woman. She is standing there with a shovel. Wide eyed and covered with dust and sweat, she stands up straight and looks at me. She does not say anything but simply smiles wryly. I do not know what to say and stand there as she mixes concrete with her shovel and continues on with her work. I walk right past her and see a man. He is doing the same as the woman and does not say anything to me. He is just standing there in the corner, shovel in hand, in the shadows. Not talking, not really working, just standing. I walk out the side door towards the road. I open the door into the dark alley and see a building across the alley. It was not there when I looked out the window but there it is. Tall, maybe 5 stories, dark red brick building with glass windows and bars on the outside of each and every window. I walk towards the building and see people standing behind some bushes. Two people. One adult woman in shabby clothing and a young child, maybe 10. They stand there staring at me. Staring at me in disbelief of my existence. I do not know what they stare at me for and I walk past them.
Suddenly I hear a shot.
A gun was fired and the bullet slams into the ground right in front of me. It skips off the asphalt and punctures the wall of the barn. I dart for the bushes and jump over a short wooden fence onto the other side. I land in the weeds sticking through the old cracks in the concrete. My shoulder slams against the ground with bruising force as I hear another bullet smash into the fence in front of my face. Wooden shards cut into my face, my eyes are filled with dust and wood chips. I lay down low and tight against the wooden wall, not knowing where the shots are coming from. I crawl a few inches and see a crack in the wood. I peer though cautiously trying to see what I am dealing with, what I can expect. I take one quick look and gasp at the sight. I look through and see the woman and the child, still standing there, still staring at exactly where I am. They are not moving, they are not talking but simply staring. At that very moment I hear a thrashing sound. It is coming from the door to the milking parlor, it is coming fast and loud. I know instantly what it is.
The bears have returned.
I get up and run. I run away from the women and hear bullets crashing around me. I get to the corner of the barn and start to round the corner and as I do I get hit from behind and fall to my face, smashing my face hard into the concrete, the taste of dirt, mud and cow manure fresh in my face. I reach around to my shoulder and feel my wet shirt. I have been shot in the shoulder. I'm laying on the ground, face down with a bullet hole in my shoulder.
The bears. I hear them.
I get up and run again, now out of the range of the shooter. I realize that I am not 5 years old anymore. I am older now, in my 20's, long legged and running very fast now. My adrenaline is pumping, my heart racing. I hear the bears thrashing again, ferocious and persistent. They will not give up. I jump over a fence and fall again to the ground. I get back up and look straight ahead. The corn field. I somehow have come full circle. I see the field and race towards it. I know I have to get to the field and find that bike. I come to the stream and find it is bigger than before. MUCH bigger. The water is no longer warm and clear and slow moving. It is murky, ice cold and impossible to pass. I look behind me and see them. 50 meters away, 30 meters away. I hesitant at the decision I have to make. I look behind me one last time and the farm is gone, the building is gone. We are in the woods now, deep in the mountains and I have to cross this river or these bears are going to kill me. I have no choice and jump into the river. My heart drops and I gasp at the freezing cold water as it covers my skin. The water takes me and throws me down the river. I have no choice, it is too fast and too wide. I cannot fight it. I look over my shoulder and see the bears lining the river. They start to get into the water but instead start running along the bank, following me down the river. I gasp for air and swallow water, then more water. My muscles are seizing up. My arms do not work, my legs feel like lead. My breathing is slowing. I have to make it to the other side of the river. I have to work myself over there and get out. I try and swim to my left, away from my doom. I try and try and finally get a foot on the river bottom. I take another step through the current and then another. I get to the river bank, one hand on the side then another. I collapse and fall on my stomach.
I have escaped.
I have beaten them.
I have raced, and ran, and been shot in the shoulder, then raced and ran. I made it down this freezing river. Alive. I have made it. I lay there in the hard frozen dirt on the river bank. Face down, freezing but happy to have made it out alive. I start to think about making a fire, getting these clothes off and fighting off the inevitable hypothermia. I push my body up slowly, my muscles freezing cold, my left shoulder worthless. I raise my heavy head and look up into the wilderness before me. I don't even lift my head up two inches before my heart sinks into a feeling of helplessness and defeat.
I have not eluded anything.
I have not escaped anything.
The bears are there.
The bears are waiting. The bears are waiting for me. Everything was for nothing. As the bears mouths widen, I hear their roar inches from my hopeless face. I can do nothing. I have lost. The bears mouth widens even more, his gigantic body casts a shadow over me, my vision goes dark and I hear no more.
A warmth comes over me and I hear a voice. It is a soothing voice, a voice coming from an older man. He is speaking but I cannot tell what he is talking about. I feel movement next to me where I lay but cannot tell what it is. I hear the voice again and still cannot tell what it is exactly. He is speaking and I hear the word, "Iraq", then again another word, "Roger", and again, a third "Traffic". Confused, I cannot find myself, I cannot get myself centered, figure out where I am. I feel lost. I panic.
I am in my room. My own bedroom. The popcorn ceiling above me, the morning heat penetrating my single pane glass window, the fan blowing cool air over the bed. My dog laying next to me moaning and groaning in his old age and the sound of a news reporter talking about the morning news on the clock radio. I hear him speak of Iraq, a tennis player named Roger and traffic congestion on the 101 freeway this morning.
Yet nothing about bears...
Dream #2 - The Road - (Two days after "I Am Five Years Old"
It is freezing outside.
You can see it on the windows, frosted over and impenetrable. The defroster is barely working, forcing me to lean forward and peer through the small opening on the windshield. My friend is beside me talking. I can't tell what he is saying, he is just talking, inaudible sounds coming from his mouth, his hot breath showing in the frigid air inside the car. He just sits, older than me and a larger man with a full dark beard. We are driving on a mountain pass, swearing back and forth on hairpin turns. One right after another up against huge, majestic mountains blocking out the sun. The road is covered with snow and ice making the drive a gut wrenching task, white knuckled at the wheel. Driving slow and cautious for hours I start to feel my eyes get heavy, slowly close. I drift off immediately and see myself sitting in the back seat of the car watching myself sitting there sleeping at the wheel. Ripped awake by my passenger I steer us clear from the cliff and continue on down the road. We follow the unmarked road until the road ends at a trail. I look around trying to find the road we were just on but this trail is all that remains. A small, narrow trail leading to nowhere. We take trail on foot in the blistering cold, realizing we have no shoes for either of us. They were there before but now are gone. Trenching through the icy snow hoping for somewhere warm. We walk and walk, our feet becoming numb, then painful and then black with frostbite. We are lost and do not know where to go. We have wintered peaks all around us. High in the mountains with no towns anywhere nearby. We stumble upon a beat up building up against the mountain. No lights on, no signs of life. Just a small shack tucked against the side of a mountain. Giant pines hover over its head, windows black with snow covering half the window. Not much more than the size of an outhouse yet it remains. Snow up to the door handle, nobody has been here in a long time. We press against the door and push hard, throwing the door open and the cold follows us inside.
The building is alive. We are in a shop and there are people filling the store. Very small place. Very real with very real people. Music is playing over the loudspeaker, attendants behind the checkout counter. A woman is nursing her child on a seat in the corner, a couple standing in the center checking out golf shirts, a group of men looking at magazines. Teenagers fill the side of the store with laughter. Until they notice the two of us. Everyone is standing there in the store staring at us. Nobody says a word. The music stops. We ask for help but nothing comes from anyone’s mouth. They are all frozen. The room has an eerie feel of awkwardness. We ask again for help yet nothing. The people are not real, the store is not real. I walk around the store, taking in the warmth when I stop in my tracks at what I see. An old rocking chair sits in the corner. Old, broken and beaten. It sits in the corner unused, worthless and out of place yet there it is. I have seen this chair before somewhere. It sends shivers down my skin that have nothing to do with the weather. I immediately feel I have to leave. Now. We see a set of shoes on the stand to our right, grab a pair for each and dart back out the door into the cold.
It is not cold. There is no snow. We are in a forest in the summer. Our feet are fine again. It is light out and sunny, the rays coming though the pine trees over our heads. We can see a lake in the distance as we look down the mountains. Quiet, serene, and safe. We see a road, a highway of sorts working its way down to the river leading to the lake. We start our way down the forest towards that lake, darting through the trees, jumping over logs, around bushes. I look back to see my friend but he is gone. He has disappeared. I stop and yell for him. Nothing. I hear a noise and yell once again. The noise becomes louder and louder, a thrashing sound of something far larger than my friend. My heart begins to quicken, I fear what is coming. I crouch down and try and hide behind a mossy, wet log beside a tree. I’m hidden from view. Around the corner from the shadows comes this lumbering, slobbering beast. A filthy, fat beast. Long, wet hair covering its back, giant head on its shoulders, jaws so big it would tear my head right off. It rears on its hind legs to stand twice my height and I run. I don't know why I ran but I did. I got up from the wet earth and ran. I turned and darted though the trees, running as fast as I have ever ran before. The animal slams back down and tears off after me. Tree branches splinter against my body as I crash through the forest, branches and bushes tearing at my skin. I suddenly come out of the trees and reach a clearing in the forest. I see my friend standing in the middle of the forest. Alone. He is standing there facing me a few hundred meters away. He is holding something in his arms but it is too far away to see what it is. I hear the beast thrashing behind me quickly catching up to me. I have no chance to escape. I feel it getting closer and closer. I feel it coming up on me, the noise of it getting louder and louder. I never should have ran. I am nearly upon my friend and see him smile wryly as he raises up his arms. Slowly, deliberately he pulls his arms level and fires the rifle in his arms right at me. The sound of the bullet echo’s in my ears and screams past my head, barely missing me yet burning my shoulder as the bullet passes by me. The bullet slams into the animals chest, blood pours out causing big wet stain on its chest. It moans loudly and crashes into the grass and dirt. The beast has been felled. I stop running and stare at this monster, still breathing, blood gurgling out onto the meadow. Slowly my fear is recognized and the beast begins to rise back up. It starts swinging its gigantic head back and forth, its mouth widening, baring its ferocious teeth and roars. My body shakes at the sound. I look for my friend and he is gone. I must run.
I sprint once again back into the forest, peering back to see if my friend can be seen. He is not in the clearing and I can only see the beast slowly getting on all four feet and begin to run after me. Sweat is pouring down my face, my legs are tired, exhausted, spent. I am cut and scratched all over my body and my mind is racing for an exit. A way out of some kind. Suddenly I am in view of the highway leading to the lake below. It meanders along the side of the mountain, not far from where I was before. I see the road but no cars. Snow capped mountains look down upon the road, casting shadows upon the road as the sun begins to set. No cars on the road at all. Only people. Hundreds and hundreds of people walking down the middle of the road, the middle of the freeway. They are walking the same direction, up the mountain away from the lake with blank faces, not talking. Just walking. They are covered with dirt, grim, caked blood on their clothes and bodies. No explanation, no reason given. Nobody answers my questions. They just plod on, away from the lake, towards the mountains. I run among them, away from the racing beast. I push my way through the people, shoving them to the side. I have to get away, I can’t let it catch me.
I feel like I have been running forever. I don’t know how much longer I can make it. My legs are beyond exhausted, my lungs are about to burst, I feel myself close to vomiting. There are so many people. What happened to them? Why are they leaving? I cannot worry myself with these things. I have to concentrate on getting away and finding someplace safe. I see a trail off the road leading down the valley. It is steep and covered with loose rock. I jump the guardrail and start down the path. I look back to see my nightmare following me. Instead I see something else. The people, all the people from the road all now line the guardrail. They stand there silent staring at me. I stop on the trail and look back up at them. Pressed up against the railing, hundreds and thousands of people staring right at me. I do not see the animal chasing me. I do not see my friend anywhere. I only see the people looking at me. No words. No sounds.
I press on down the trail, twisting its way down the mountain, working its way to the valley below. Bright wildflowers in yellow, red, blue, and purple cover the mountainside. Moss covered logs and rocks cross the trail. High bush are along the sides of the small trail, trees overhanging from above. The temperature gets warmer as I descend the mountain and I feel myself beginning to sweat once again. Mosquitoes bite at every part of my skin. Buzzing around my ears, nipping at my neck, landing on my arms, living on my legs. The forest thickens ahead, a dark mass of vegetation. The sun is almost set and I have yet to reach the lake. I hesitate entering the black forest at night, not knowing what may be inside, what may be waiting for me.
I am near the forest edge and panic sets in. I feel like I have been here before. I feel like this has already happened to me. This place, this feeling. The air feels the same, the trees look the same. I know what is coming. I know what to expect. Yet I freeze. I do not move. I cannot move…Then it appears. It is right in front of me, not twenty feet away. The ferocious beast. The bear of my thoughts has reappeared. On all four legs facing me, staring at me. Waiting for me to make my move. Waiting for me to run once again. I feel my heart pumping hard, my eyes blink in disbelief. My hands start to sweat, my legs begin to twitch. I don’t know what I can do. I cannot run now. Not back up the mountain. Not right at the bear. I am done. I am finished. I close my eyes and breathe one last breath.
When I open my eyes the bear is still there yet everything has changed. We are in the snow. The surroundings are different, no trail, no forest. Flat, quiet, desolate. Pure blinding white dominates the landscape. In front of me the bear waits. Standing in anticipation, hot, steamy puffs of air escaping from his slobbering giant of a mouth. My fear mounts as my options disappear. The snow blinding and the air is blistering cold. Freezing cold and numbing my body of all feeling. My legs begin to cramp and I fear the worst. I hope for help, I wish for a weapon of some kind. I have no options, no chance against this animal.
It is coming. Hard, and fast straight at me. I have no choice, nowhere to turn. I run at the bear. I grit my teeth and run hard through the snow. My adrenaline is in full force, blood rushing through me, gearing me up for what is to come. The bear is racing, snow flying into the air with every step of every giant foot. It looks like a cloud coming towards me, white flurries surrounding its movement. We close in on each other, thoughts of the animals force rushing through me. Thoughts of how I will attack this beast, how I will protect myself cross my mind. My arms pump, my fists clench, my teeth close together. I am ready. I leap into the air in defiance of my fate, the bears mouth widens. Its mouth gaps open as it rises to its hind legs to meet my advance, its giant paw rears back, claws bearing in anticipation. I meet its eyes in mid air. Time is suspended as I hold its gaze. Cold, calculated eyes, black as anything I’ve ever seen. No life in them, no hope in them.
Dream #3 - Yellow Dress (3 days after "I am five days old"
Walking along that dark, dirty street. The faint, yellow light from the street lights above fading through the darkness. I kept walking along, not sure exactly where I was going. I've been doing this for some time now. Just walking. One step over the other, never stepping on a crack in the sidewalk. The same pace every step, never a longer stride, never a shorter one. I did this until I suddenly came to a stop. I had to stop. I was made to stop.
A car flew by, skipping up on the curb and onto the sidewalk. Came so fast it nearly killed me, me just walking along there. I caught my breath and took another step onto the road. I take another, then another until I am across the road. I see no more cars. No more lights. There are no more street lights. Everything is dark. I stop to look around, to see if anything is visible. Not a sound is made, not a noise is heard. I take another step into the darkness and hear a voice. The voice of a small child, a small girl. The sound is faint and in the distance in front of me. I listen again to hear it. It is still there, still faint and indiscernible. I start in that direction, into the vast darkness and towards the sound I heard. I reach around in the dark with my arms as I walk, hoping to stand erect, to stand tall in the darkness.
It is light. All is light around me. The street lights are on, no longer yellow but a radiant white. The heat from the bulbs above me pouring down on my head. The lights from all the buildings are on. Stores lights read a neon, "OPEN", and car lights lining the street are shining bright, red tail lights glowing freely. There are no people. Nobody to be seen, nothing to be heard. I do not know where everyone has gone. I walk ahead, confused, alert and cautious. I look around with paranoia of the unknown. Confusion of the how and why. The girls voice! I hear it again. This time nearer, closer to me. Still I cannot find where the voice is coming from so I continue ahead. I walk faster now, brisker, quicker. My heart begins to quicken. The girls voice is there. I hear it in front of me. No. Behind me. Across the street. I spin around. I look around. I see nothing and hear the voice no more.
I start to run. I start to run as fast as I can straight ahead. Huge strides covering the ground below me, trying to get as far away as I can from this place. I sprint past the stores, the shops, the restaurants. I do not know where I am going. I feel the cold sweat drip down my temple, my arms pumping fast, my legs pummeling the ground. I feel myself getting tired but push on. I cannot stop. I must not stop.
There she is. She is there. She has found me. I turn to run back. She is there standing before me. I cannot escape, there is nowhere to run. I stand there panting, sweating. Exhausted. The girl stands in front of me. Her hair a scraggly blond, covering her eyes and ears. Her face is marked with dirt and dust, her clothes ragged and torn, an old yellow dress barely still covering her body. Her arms by her side, hands closed at her waist. She is barefoot, her feet bloody. Her head is down but now begins to raise, the hair separating to show her eyes, narrowly set against her head. She looks right at me, raises her left arm. I take a step back, cautious. She points and turns her arm to the left, across the street and to what seems an old, defeated building. I follow her outstretched arm to the building. Large, maybe five stories, brick, faded red brick. The windows are all bared shut, every one of them. I take a step into the road and cross.
The door is open. Barely. It is all dark but the light of the moon shining into the windows. Lines of shadow fall upon the bold wood floor boards from the bared windows. Half the windows are smashed out, debris lines the floor. A broken rocking chair sits in the corner, a couple car tires lay against the wall. The walls have old plaster lining them, barely still on, with holes throughout. Brick showing behind the holes. I see no more rooms. There are no more doors. Stairs line the far side leading up the stairs. I hold my arm against the wall and feel my way over. I reach the stairs and start my way up. Old wooden planks, creaking with every step, echoing in the ever still darkness. I ache at the very sound. I work my way up slowly, not sure why I continue, why I am here, why I came. I reach the second floor. It is the same. Old wooden floor boards, the moon casting dreary shadows along the floor. A broken rocking chair lays helpless in the corner and old car tires lay against the wall. Again, more stairs. I continue up to the third floor, one step at a time. Carefully, slowly. Placing each step gently in the darkness. I kick something at the top of the steps, it is soft, yet hard. It feels almost warm and moist maybe. It makes no noise yet I dare not reach and touch it. I look to my right and try and search out the floor. It is the same again. The shadow's, the debris, the rocking chair, the tires. The silence is deafening. I hear everything yet nothing. I am alert yet cloudy. I push myself up the next floor. I do not want to go. I do not know why I go but I go.
My left arm along the wall I continue up the stairs. I reach the top step and pause. I heard something. It was not from me. It was below me, where I just was. I was a quick, short noise. My heart quickens. I think back to what was there, what could be following me. The girl? I do not know. I do not know anything. I take a deep breath and try to calm myself. It does not work and I feel myself start to lose my calm. I stare down the steps I just came from with fear. Heart stopping fear. Heart crashing fear. My heart is about to jump out of my chest as I peer through the darkness, trying to glimpse anything, any movement to explain the noise. I take a step back down the steps, crouch down and look. I lean forward and try to focus in the darkness. I hold there...staring...half afraid something is going to jump out at me…but nothing comes. My heart takes a break and I begin to relax.
I turn back around to the new floor. I look again to see the same floor arrangement. No, not the same. Almost but there is a difference in this one. There are the windows, the broken rocking chair, the tires, the debris along the floor. There is a box. It is not a big box. It is an old box just sitting there on the floor, sitting in the shadows between the windows and the shadows. I walk over to the moonlight and to the box and pull it into the light. It is a green colored box, the paint chipped and nearly faded off years ago. A handle on each side for lifting I suppose. I give it a quick lift. Heavy. There is a lock on the front. I lift the box to search for a key. It is too dark. I cannot see. I put the box down and stand back up. I stand there in the window and look out through the bars. They give an eerie feeling to a situation, a feeling of obvious confinement but also your possible impending fate. I peer through the bars out into the countryside. The moon carries over the outskirts of town, over the rooftops, off the windows, the treetops, glistens off the river below and the fields beyond. I lift my shaky hand to my head and run my hand through my hair, thinking about my next step, my next move. It feels soothing, my hand through my hair and I relax a little and begin to take stock of the situation. I take one last look out into the dark, moon covered outdoors and turn around.
It was small. Barely noticed it but in the dark it stood out just enough. A cigarette. In the corner, sitting in the rocking chair. My heart stops, my breathing ceases. My hands cover with sweat and my mind races. Was he there the entire time and I did not notice? It could not be? I do not move, I cannot move. I look back at the light. It radiates in the darkness, glowing brighter and brighter before receding back into the cigarette. I'm frozen. I cannot make my body move. The chair begins to rock. The floor crunches under the legs and the sound creaks throughout the building. The rocking stops. He abruptly he stands up, reaches behind the chair and grabs something. He turns towards me, standing in pure darkness, and stares straight at me. The cigarette burning in his mouth, glowing in my face. He throws the butt to the ground turns sharply to his right to the window. He slams down on the ground and I see a rifle in his hand. I step back against the wall as he points it out the window and immediately fires.
The sound rang through my head. Bouncing back and forth from one side to the next, going nowhere, not leaving my head. My eyes are closed for what feels like an eternity. My mind is black. I hear nothing but the sound of the rifle shot screaming through my mind. My eyes open.
I can see. It is light outside. The moon is gone and it is morning. The room is not the same. The chair is gone, the tires are missing, the floor is clean. I walk around the room, thinking about the man in the corner. I step on something and stop. I lift my foot. Cigarette butt. I look out the window and see the town below, no people, no sounds. It is the same as before. Where are all the people? I look around again. The box is gone. Beyond the windows are the stairs. There looked to be five floors. I start up the stairs to the top floor. I take my first step up the stairs and hear a noise below. A thrashing sound that sent me clinging to the wall. Louder and louder. It sounds to be slamming into a wall. It is getting closer, nearer and louder. It is coming up the stairs fast. Then nothing.
As I take each step up the final flight of stairs my heart drops further into my stomach. I do not know why yet it does. I can now peer along the floor boards of the final floor and see into the room. I stop. I fall against the wall, halfway up the steps. He is there. Standing alone. Rifle cradled in his arm, butt of the rifle leaning against his side. His right foot is standing on top of a box. The same box from below. The green box. I freeze yet again, not sure what to do. The man calmly lays the rifle against the wall, does not speak a word and begins to light a cigarette. He stands there motionless, staring contently in my direction, as his cigarette burns closer and closer to his pursed lips. Ash builds up until he flips the butt, and throws it to the ground. I take a step further up the stairs. One agonizing step, then another until I reach the top. The man is but twenty feet away. He stands there quietly. Waiting. Watching. Rifle by his side, within arms reach. I look to my right out the window. I see a street below, sun shining gently in the morning. A boy suddenly appears from across the road, from the opposite building. He looks around and turns to his right and starts to walk. He walks and leaves my sight from this window. I turn my attention back to the man. He is no longer looking at me. Rifle is in his hands, perched out the window. I walk up behind him slowly and to the window beside him. I see the boy yet again. He is walking and then stops. He can see something but I cannot see what. I am too far from the window to see below. He is a very small boy. He keeps walking as I creep closer to the window to see who or what he was looking at. I take a step closer and hear the rifle boom. The sound shatters the room with noise. Another shot, then another. I jump up to the window and see the tiny little boy jumping over the fence beside the building. Shots ring out against the fence by the boy. I look down to see what caught his attention. I look straight down to see a woman standing there in old clothes by a bush. She moves a step forward and I gasp. The girl. The girl in the yellow dress is standing there. Just as I see her she slowly turns her head. She turns it slowly and up at the building. Straight to the window I am in and stares right into my eyes…
I run. I turn and sprint down the stairs. Shots continue to ring out, I do not know if at me or the boy. I reach the stairs and fly down the first set. My mind is racing again, my heart pounding. I run down the stairs, skipping two, three, four steps at a time. I slam off the wall, sending plaster and dust to the ground as I round the corner to the next flight. I don't even look at the rooms as I go. I want out. I want away from this place. I want to be home, safe and free. These bars are holding me, they want me to stay. Down one flight, then another. I reach the third flight and speed down. I get to the landing and stop. I stop hard and fast but not quick enough. I trip and fall into a giant mass of hair and flesh. I jump up in fear and fall again. It is wet, thick and hairy. It has hold of me and I cannot get away. I lunge up and reach the steps. I send my body down the stairs and I am at the last flight. I speed up now even more, reach the bottom floor, my head covered with sweat, my shirt soaked through. I see the door to the outside. The door that leads me home. The door that leads me out of this house, away from these bars. I grab for the handle and pull hard and quick and lunge.
I’m alive. I walk out to a bright sunny day, the sun shining down on my face with a new warmth not felt before. Behind me there is nothing but a field. The brick building is gone. I can see the people of the town walking about, handling their business. I start to walk over to the center of the town, my breathing slowing, thinking over what I had just experienced. Trying to grasp what was real and what was not. I walk along the old sidewalk, cracks through nearly every step. Frost heaves busted up the concrete over the years causing it to become uneven over the years. Grass fighting through the cracks. I reach the intersection and begin to cross the street. I cross and look back across the street as a car pulls up on the curb of the restaurant. I found myself watching the car, not able to keep going but wanting to see who was in the vehicle. I stare anxiously as the passenger side door opens up and a woman slowly exits. Gracefully she slides her legs out and slides the seat forward for the person in the back. I can see a leg step out from behind the chair and onto the ground. The leg stretches for the ground and I could see that the person was wearing a yellow garment. A hand reaches for the woman’s hand and she exits the car and stands there in the sun. Sunlight shines directly onto this person, this little girl. This little girl in a yellow dress. My mouth gapes open in disbelief. It is the girl. Yet now the dress is like new, a bright, clean yellow dress. She stands there in the light and turns towards me and catches my eye. She lets out a grin and stands there and says nothing until she takes the hand of the woman and walks into the building in front of them. She disappears with the woman inside the building.
The building made of brick, old faded red brick.
Dream #4 - Clear Blue Sky - (5 days after "I am five days old"
I never really like him anyway. People might have thought we were friends but that’d be a lie. We just kind of got along better than most so it just kind of made sense. He was always just standing around though. Not talking, not doing anything. He understood me and I understood him. Most likely that was the problem though. Together, we were always getting in trouble, pushing each other farther than we should have gone.
It didn’t seem like it was going to be that big of deal. We had a simple plan of running in and running out. We had to get in there and there didn’t seem to be anything in there to stop us. Problem was this one kid. This one insignificant kid that had a way with us that did us all in. Looking back now I should have shot him the minute I saw him.
Jim started out a loner and ended a loner. Common name, common face. Never had much for friends. Never was much with the ladies. Just kind of wandered through his life, not really accomplishing anything but got by. Didn’t seem to have any dreams. Not that any of us every would have known what they were anyhow. Jim never did talk much being the loner he was. Just kept to himself. Always made me nervous how quiet he was. He had this uneasy look on his face, this perplexed look about him but a look that you could see he was thinking. Something was always running through his head. Worst thing about him was this way about him when something didn’t go his way. Hell, one time we was at a party and this guy spilt a might of beer on Jim’s sleeve. Purely accidental but nonetheless, Jim got this look on his face and I knew it was going to be a situation. His face got all twisted, contorted and full of anger. Now Jim ain’t no big guy, sitting ‘bout 5' 9" and 160 drenched in the heaviest water you ever saw. Jim just bent down, grabbed a beer off the table and smashed it straight over his head. Damn near knocked the guy out right there but Jim just kept on going. He took that broken bottle and cut that poor guy a half dozen times in the chest and arms before anyone could pull his crazy ass off the kid. Sent that poor boy to the hospital. Everyone stayed away from Jim after that. We were 14 that year. Not much changed after that.
Jim and I cruised around together for a couple years after high school. After all those years together I figure I was the only one that could understand Jim’s moods and get along with his irritabilities. It took us a while to get up the courage to wake up that morning. There was a lot riding on that one day, that long awaited day. We woke up though. We got our boots on and got marching. Started right out over the ridge and straight to the house. Found them sitting there. All four of them, right on the porch, rocking away in the wind. Sitting there all quiet in the early morning sun. Damn hot out already that morning. Sun coming up and just burning our skin, pulling the energy right out of us. We got might closer and Jim starts getting this look on his face. That crazed, tortured look that I seen before a few times and never a time did something good come out of it. We get within sight of the folks we were headed after. Awful lot of flies round here I thought. I take a closer look at the folks. Four of them sitting there rotting in their chairs. Must have been dead for days now. Their skin all pulled tight in the heat, eyes, hands and face bloodied from the scavengers. Blood dried against their skin. Didn’t have much stomach to get a closer look. I steal a look at Jim. He can’t believe it. He’d been waiting for months for this day. Waiting to see these folks, to talk to these folks and give them their due. See, problem was, these same folks just near killed Jim not too long ago. Nearly drowned him in his own bathtub. Stabbed his dog on the way out the door even. You just don’t forget about something like that and Jim don’t forget. Took us nearly 4 months to track these folks down. So when we reach these folks to see them all long dead, still rocking in their rotting carcasses in chairs, it comes as quite the surprise.
We don’t bother to bury the bodies. They’re going to hell, no use wasting our energy shoveling in this devilish heat. We think about what to do now. We hiked for miles through the desert for these people only to find them already dead. We decide to hike out back to the truck. Long way back.
Didn’t get to the truck. Made it about two, three miles before we got a bit disorientated. Awfully hot outside and didn’t have the water we should have. Took a wrong turn in the wash and came across this small little ranch house. Not fancy. Real small, simple, basic. Just a door, two windows, corral out back within nothing in it but overgrown cacti and broken posts. Up against a sandstone ridge, shining a red glimmer off the house in this sun. Don’t appear to be anyone at home. No noise, no sounds at all. In this heat you don’t hear anything. Anyone with half a brain is holed up in the shade with a full canteen waiting for the sun to set a bit. We sat back in the rocks for a while, looking it over. We were fixing to head on in until we saw it. Small shadow coming from the back of the house. Real small, real quick, Something that didn’t want to be seen. Jim is tired. Jim is irritable. I know he won’t wait. He won’t wait a minute to figure out this situation. We need water though and if there is someone in there they have water. Jim decides we are going to go in that house, real fast, real quick and just deal with whatever is in there. Get in and get out. I have a drop in my stomach as he is talking. Knowing his mind is set. He’s going. He bolts from the rocks suddenly, surprisingly. He sprints toward the house, not fifty feet away. I dart after him in fear of what’s ahead. There is no cover from the rocks to the house and I am waiting for a shot, a sound of my impending death, that slam against my body as a bullet smashes into my flesh. I am a step behind Jim as he reaches the door, he grabs the handle, yanks it open. He is greeted by a boy, a young boy standing there in nothing but a pair of shorts. Couldn't be more than 12 years old. Just standing there waitin’ for us. Dark brown hair down over his black eyes. Can’t say I've seen something as unsettling as this boy. No expression on his face, no smile, no smirk. Nothing at all. Like there was no feeling in this boy. It was then my eyes settled on the shotgun in his hands. I watch the boy pull his finger in towards his body, sending the weapon to life. The noise is deafening, the sound was awakening. I watch Jim fall against the doorway, his chest opened up, his mouth wide in astonishment, wet with his own blood. He holds his chest, his own gun in hand. He can do nothing. He is already dead.
I think for a second how I could have reached this point. How quickly your life can change, how quickly you realize your mistakes. I do not think for long before I feel the fearless tear of bullets into my body. I feel the blood spill over my stomach and down my legs. I look down to see my life. My life that has left me and led me to this. I look over to see Jim lying in his own blood, dust collecting in the pool of blood, the sun already drying up the puddle. The boy walks out of the house now. Shotgun still in his tiny little hands. My own gun still lay weakly in my own hand, un-fired and helpless. I try as I might to raise my gun, to get one shot into that boy. I know it is not going to happen. I do not have the strength. I am dying here in front of a boy. A tiny, insignificant boy. He’s walking closer to me know. I drop to my knees weak under the sun. Blood running out of my side forming a giant pool of darkened dirt. I am helpless. I feel myself falling backwards, the earth is falling, my eyes lift towards the sky and I see the clear blue sky before me. I am staring straight up into the sky, waiting for the end to come. The cloudless sky couldn't be more perfect. Not a flaw to see, the sun clearing out any and all imperfections. Just blue. Clear blue sky. Suddenly the boy is standing over me. He is straddling my body, holding the shotgun in the cradle of his arm. He’s so young. What is he doing out here? Where are his clothes? Where is his family? I lay there waiting for the inevitable, waiting for the unknown. Waiting for the answers I know aren’t coming. I look up and meet the eyes of the boy. He looks right into my eyes, and I into his. We hold there for an anguished, miserable moment Then the boy smiles. I look up but do not see the clear blue sky. The sky is no longer blue. There is no sky. There is no me.
Dream #5 - Bullet to the Head (8 days after "I am 5 days old")
The bullet smashed into the head hard yet the man got right back up. Blood covering his shoulders, running down his neck, staining his shirt. The man with the gun is looking back in disbelief, staring at this man’s dismantled face. The sleigh sat in the snow surrounded by the grotesque men as the man climbed to his feet to the dismay of everyone. He was not someone that was beaten easily, not someone that could be kept down. They continued to stare as he started to move, to squirm and then rise to one knee. He stands back up. A small cliff leads to the right down into the light forest before leveling off onto a rocky maze of a plateau. A high cliff to the left made it a narrow trail along the ridge. This hideous men, if you could call them that, stared at the struggling man through their black dead eyes. They come at him quickly before he could stand and beat him without mercy. His right leg is snapped, the bone breaks through his pants and he blacks out from the pain.
I wake up to find my right knee with a bone sticking out. Blood slowly draining through the wound, filling my shoes and the snow around me with my own blood. Strangers surrounded me as they hold me down to cut the bone off. They cut at the protruding bone with a knife and I writhe in excruciating pain. Pain unimagined and unheard of by any man. Horrible, horrible pain. My thoughts left my leg and returned to revenge. I have to get my revenge. I hobble around with a splinted knee, barely walking, oblivious to the pain. Fury and rage encompass my body.
I huddle down under a rock as arrows and bullets fly. Mexican soldiers surround me as allies, talking in jibberish not Spanish. I struggle to understand them, to pick out a single word. They huddle around a low rock, Mexicans on horseback flying by in a gallop taking bullets and falling hard to the dry, unforgiving ground. The dead eyed men are on the mountain side with the advantage. Something has to be done. The knee is different now. It feels stronger, less vulnerable. There is a long slice where the bone was, an open would the width of a cd, not stitched or anything. The leg has more mobility, it is usable. I have a rifle and a box of shells. One by one the dead eyed men fall before the bullets are gone. Picking up a lone sword in the leaves the battle goes to hand to hand. Slicing and cutting my way through the vagrants, full of revenge and vengeance. Knowing not what to do but to get to the man that shot me. The man that nearly killed me. Sweat pouring off my body in buckets, my knee begins to pain and looking down I see blood pouring from the open wound. Suddenly I feel a searing pain in my side. Looking down I see the feathers sticking in my front side as the point is out my back. I fall hard to the ground on my knees, blood pouring off my body and covering the ground in a black, morbid red.
The toys were all there. The same rusty, broken trucks aligned with the dirt roads created years before. The sun shined through the maple leaves into the dirt pile, shining through the slated corn house bringing shadows upon the play surface. Noise from the yard filled the area, cars passing ominously and indifferently. I had been here before, this very spot, this very moment. Many times actually, with no recollection of how I got there and how I will get back to where I was. Just this moment again and again. Never placing who is with me, never placing what the noises are, and who is standing behind me.
I am on an elevated plane, a few feet above the sandbox of trucks. Sitting up on a tree branch looking down on the ground I used to play on as a kid. I look behind me to the house, the chipped white paint peeling from the old broken boards on the house. The slate roof falling apart, the porch bench broken and laying maligned on the concrete floor. No cars in the yard, just an empty driveway. Taking my attention back to the sand pile I look down to see it. Lumbering one giant step at a time, slobbering nose tight to the ground, coming out of the garden to the pile. It never looks up, never appears to see me. It’s hair is white but patches of brown and black grow through giving it a disheveled look. What would it possibly be doing here? Of all places? I have to get out of here without it seeing me. Wait! How am I moving??!! I’m moving closer to it! It’s going to see me!! I’ve got to get out of this tree and plunge to the ground and turn and sprint to the door of the house. The animal crashes after me, one step behind me. I can feel its breath behind me, gaining on me as I get within a foot of the door. I slam through and crash against the door and fasten the locks immediately. Its pushing its weight against this old door. Who knows how long it will hold against this animal. Suddenly it stops. Nothing. It’s gone.
I’m in the house. I’m in the kitchen. It’s old. Really old. Disheveled, messy, trashed. Whatever you want to call it. I wade through the junk and explore the home. Nobody seems to be living here but they certainly did. I walk down the hallway to the bathroom. The sink is running. Is someone here? I turn it off and walk into the living room. I call out, “Is anybody here?” Again. “Is anybody here?” Nothing. The old, wooden stairs creek and crack with each step I take. Beneath the carpet of each plank is a board that feels like it is ready to give and send me crashing through. Working my way up the stairs I hear the sound of a television. The sound of a television sitcom fit with the fake forced laughter of all sitcoms. The railing nearly gives on me when I reach for it. It bends towards me but never gives, its white paint new and sticky, covering my hands. I wipe the paint on my pants and the carpet of the stairs. Straight ahead is a bedroom. I go to the window and look out on the yard. Expecting to see the open driveway and sandbox I instead find a driveway with two cars and the ground covered in snow. I turn around. Someone is here………how did it snow? What?!
I stand and think. Where can I go? I can’t go outside, the animal is waiting for me. This is all too familiar. I have been here before. This scene, this fear, this house. I smell smoke.
It’s filling the house. The ceiling is covered with thick smoke and I drop to the floor and crawl out of the room towards the stairs. I creep down the stairs in panic, my lungs filling with smoke despite my attempts to breath through my shirt. My confusion increases ten fold when I reach the bottom of the stairs and turn the corner to leave and hear water running. From the sink. It is running again?? ….
Ignoring the sink I move to the front door. Smoke is enveloping the room, and the house. It’s going up in flames. The front door is open and the smoke is pouring outside, the flames alive and spreading across the ceiling, eating everything in its path. I scramble quickly on my knees and reach the front steps and collapse in the snow, gasping for clean air. Gasping for a sense of reality.