Monday, October 18, 2010
Dream 1, Part 2
Dark waters wash around my ears, I know my eyes are open, but I see nothing. Just dark sloshing all around to me, then a sudden blinding white fills my vision, senses, everything.
I’m awake, my eyes snap open, it takes me a second to see I’m staring at a chemistry set, with a counter, sink and garbage can. Everything on it is rattling slightly. I roll over, feeling woozy, I’m now looking up at a curving ceiling, that has a sign for “-TRANSIT AUTHOR-“ under it is a picture of what looks like the front of a bus. My eyes are draw to what I thought was a wall, it’s a sheet of thick glass, and beyond it. . .
I gasp as colors, objects, things whirl by me: trees, bushes, and what I can only take as rubble, lots of rubble. There are broken things everywhere. I tear myself away from the window and look down past my feet, there’s no door, like my hallucination the night before, but a sheet of plastic, with a makeshift door slit into it, a flap swinging slightly.
I put my arms behind me and raise myself to a sitting position. I’m on a bus, well if you can call it that. All the regularly cramped and uncomfortable seats have been stripped out. And in their place, is equipment, tons and tons of equipment that I can’t even begin to describe, let’s leave it at lots of lights, screens and buttons. I realize that my bed has the only window; every other wall is covered with technology.
I can move my legs, so I slowly poke one, then the other out of the sheets. I feel rough carpet under my bare toes as I touch them to the ground. Then I slide my whole weight onto them.
I’m a bit shaky, but can hold my own. There’s a strut to my right, and before I know it, I’ve moved down the walk way, to the plastic door. I feel dizzy, like just having ran a mile sprint, but I put that aside. The plastic is cool, and easy to lift aside. What greets me, is the man, sitting behind the wheel, gazing out over a vast stretch of field. The road in front of us is like a solid black arrow pointing us in a direction.
The man notices me, “Well it’s good to see you’re up and walking. How do you feel?”
“Fine,” I mumble, looking out the windshield, “Where are we?”
He says the name of a place, but it doesn’t ring a bell, besides I’m not listening, something catches my eye, the burnt out hulk of a car. We pass it in a flash, but just as quickly as it disappears behind us, another one comes into view, then another and another.
I hear the man mumble, but I’m too engrossed, the cars seem to be pilling up, some are on the road, causing our to bus veer left and right. The fields around the road are nothing but burnt stubble, the same as the cars. I can’t believe how many.
I feel the bus moving up hill, and look to the horizon, the road is rising above the ground, and huge mountains seem to grow to our left. All around us are hundreds of rusted and burnt frames. We reach the top of the hill, and both of us gasp.
The horizon is a huge smoking mass. Plumes rise up everywhere. It’s a sight to behold, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it, and our road points to the middle of it all. The mountains disappear behind their smoky veil.
“You might want to strap yourself in, this could get pretty bumpy.” I look to my right, there’s a stairwell to the folding door, above and behind it is a bench with seatbelts. I buckle myself in.
“What happened here?” I ask, taking in the devastation.
“You mean to tell me you don’t know?” The man’s looking incredulous out the corner of his eye, “You don’t remember anything at all, what’s been happening for the past six months, where I found you, how you ended up like this?”
“Coma remember?” I’m irritated. For some reason his surprise scares me and I hug myself tightly.
The man hesitates, “I thought it was bad, but not that bad. Well where do I begin?”
“Six months ago.”
His hesitation is again irritating and for some reason, my insides burns. I want to know everything, now. It’s a strange feeling, I’m not even sure of who I am right now, but I need to know what is going on around me. Oh I’m missing it.
“- government ordered the whole country under attack, everyone was really scared. It started in Mexico then spread North and East. Leaving destruction everywhere, millions died within the first week. Before we knew it, the capitol fell and it had reached coast to coast.”
I interrupt, “What started, what did this?”
There’s an uncomfortable pause, as the bus swerves around the carcass of a similar looking bus.
“That’s just it, no one knows.” He’s distracted; we slide past the hulk of a tractor trailer, somehow looking forlornly burnt.
“What do you mean no one knows, something this big happens, the whole world should know.”
The man lets out a breath, I still don’t know his name, I don’t even remember my own. He starts to speak, but I interrupt, “What’s your name?”
“Otis, my names Otis, sorry I didn’t even bother to introduce myself. I work for the government. Like I was just about to say, I’m here trying to figure out what it is that is attacking everything. You see,” another pause, more debris, “whatever it is, it’s never been spotted because it only attacks at night.”
“And it took the entire country in one week?” I was a little more than incredulous.
“We’ll these things, we call them Night-Crawlers, have a strange effect over electricity and things run by it, we believe it has to do with-“
And he’s off onto technical stuff that I don’t’ understand, typical of a scientist. I’m letting him ramble on, seeing that the good stuff will come soon enough. The clouds of smoke are growing larger by the minute, along with our highway, it’s now four lanes one way. This road is probably going to lead right to the heart of this city. Gosh, there’s burning rubble on either side, as far as my eyes can see. Ash is falling lightly, and I can see smaller forms scattered around empty streets. I hope they’re not what I think they are. Something doesn’t feel right. Almost like I’m missing something, crap he’s wrapping up.
“So within those first few hours, security, communications, military, everything was down, and in total darkness. What’s left of the government has turned into stockades, heavily guarded sections of cities, with people held up inside, waiting for this war to end. That’s where we’re headed now.”
“Will the war ever end?” To me it sounds like something that will end once everyone runs out of food and guns, but I can’t really voice this to Otis, it might snuff out his hope.
My head shoots up at his next words, “My hope is that it could end within a few weeks.”
“But how? Whose going to do it, how many of them are out there, what kind of military do we have?” I want to say more but he waves me silent. Were driving over a cracked overpass, I can feel the ground shift slightly beneath us. I wonder how long it will take to get where were going.
There is still something I feel missing from my body, mental check shows everything is there, but still.
“I’m going to capture one of the Night-Crawlers.” It’s a fact, almost as if Otis has done it already. My mouth drops open.
“But no one’s even seen one.” My protest again is cut through by his hand, it’s kind of annoying, and something stirs in my gut.
“I have my way you’ll just have to see.” He looks up to the sky, “were going to have to spend the night here on the road, the sun is setting fast.’
I didn’t even notice. The sky is turning a brilliant shade of orange, tinted with the brown of smoke. Night is coming on, I suddenly feel too tired to keep my head up, I think Otis notices because I feel the bus slowing down, we pull behind yet another hulking frame of twisted and melted metal.
I un-strap myself and Otis guides me back through the plastic door to my bed. Lying down in my bed, I see Otis filling a cup of water for me.
“Here,” hands me the cup, “this will help you sleep.”
I think nothing of it and immediately feel myself slipping away, I voice one last question to him.
“Otis, how on earth are you going to capture something that’s turned entire cities into smoked marshmallows?”
There is an infinite amount of quiet, and my mind is surrendering itself to sleep, when Otis answers, “The night crawlers didn’t burn us out. We did.”