Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dream 1, Part 4

Everything is crystal clear tonight; I see Otis’s face floating above me, high above me. I realize I’m in a pool of liquid green water, well beneath the surface, all around me are shifting shadows, watching me with a thousand eyes. I hear mumbled words and hissing. Suddenly the shadows reach out to my body, I try to twist, but my body is solid stone. Pain erupts where ever the shadow touches, my arms, legs, sides, head. The shadows move around my body, touching, searing my flesh. When they come away I see the skin is black and blue, with minute holes peppered everywhere. I feel myself being to ooze out of the tiny openings. I try to scream, but when I open my mouth water rushes in. I involuntarily breathe, feeling water enter my lungs, bursting their insides.
I awake with a start and sit up in bed. Morning sun streams through my window. Beyond the streams of sun, silhouetted awkwardly is the largest tank I have ever seen in my life, with its muzzle point right over the top of the bus. I jump out of bed, stumbling over my still weak legs. Otis isn’t in the front seat, I call his name, but no one answers. I look at his chair, noticing a case of water bottles open behind his seat. Some empty bottle sit on the floor, point down the stairs. Following their advice I step down the stairs and push open the folding doors.
I’m greeted with a cacophony of sound and sight. Soldiers bustle around the bus, like worker bees in a giant armored hive. Jeeps and trucks I don’t even know the names of are parked helter skelter. Around me stand three huge buildings, squat square thing that have no windows, naked trees stick out around the buildings, probably once looking elegant. Dead grass mashed into dirt and broken cement paths crisscross around them, like shattered smiles. I cling to the door handle, swaying dangerously, so much to take in.
But there is something missing from the whole scene, and I finally realize what I’ve been missing. I cannot smell a thing. All thoughts of finding Otis are gone, I take a huge sniff, catching the eye of a guard walking by he just shakes his head and moves on. Good worker bee. I feel panic rising within me. I cannot smell. I smack my mouth experimentally, but taste nothing. Its almost like not being able to breath and I fall back inside onto the stairs, gasping.
Somehow I find myself back next to my bed. There’s another tray of food, just like yesterday. I reach out and tentatively grab a piece of bread. I put it up to my nose and sniff. Nothing. I lick the bread, nothing. Shivering with panic, I shove the whole piece in my mouth. How could I not notice this before? Was I just too caught up in what was going on around me? My throat is closing around the piece of bread, I need water. Stepping quickly over to the water cooler, I automatically grab a cup from its shelf. Then something catches my eye for the second time: the opened case of water bottles.
Why would Otis drink out of water bottles if he had a perfectly good sink, and water cooler? My choking momentarily forgotten, I swallow and step towards the bottles on the floor. I’m the only one that has been drinking from the cooler, why? Maybe Otis drinks from it when I’m asleep, I haven’t been the most alert person . . . wait. Asleep.
I feel again, the sense of someone watching me, its faint, but I can still feel it. Outside the bus soldiers march relentlessly by. I can hear a thundering somewhere.
A memory, foggy as it is, flashes through my mine. A syringe, in Otis’s hand, a proffered cup of water just before I fell into unconsciousness, the offer of the water cooler and refusal by him.
“Otis is drugging me!” Out loud, the words seem small, but I say it again. And again. And again, until I’m almost shouting them, “ HE’S DRUGGING ME!” I look down at the close I’m wearing, standard gray pants and a long sleeve shirt. I rip off the shirt to look at my arms, huge black and blue bruises are all over my arms, the nook of my elbows, the tops of the arms, even my wrists. I look at my chest; several white scars lace my sides.
I scream, an anguished scream, but it’s swallowed up in a terrific blast of engine as a huge flying machine swoops over the assemblage, rattling me to the core. I am a prisoner here.
Why? Why am I so scared? What is going on? Where is Otis? I’ve fallen onto the bed, face up. Sitting up I look out the window, there a white lab coat among the green gray uniforms. It’s Otis.
Quickly I put my shirt back on. I run over to the case of water bottles and grab one. Hurrying back to my bed I slip it under my pillow, just in time to hear the folding doors slip open, and footsteps. Casually I turn to Otis, as he pushes through the plastic. He smiles quickly at me, and then drops into a serious tone, “It’s good to see your awake and alright. Sorry I was gone.”
In a mock tone I reply, “I was getting worried, where were you?”
“I had to speak to command; they needed to know what my status was. I haven’t been in contact with anyone since I found you. But we need to be quick, the commander of the Stockade is coming, he’s going to inspect our equipment. I’ve come up with a name for you, seeing that it would look strange that you have no clue who you are.”
I have serious misgivings about everything that Otis is saying to me, but comply with a simple nod. Why a Commander of an Army would think that is beyond me, but who’s to say, I can’t trust anyone now.
Otis continues, suddenly picking things up and rearranging them, “I need you to listen closely, you are my son K.C. you are here on this expedition to help me with catching a Night-Crawler. If you aren’t blood related they’ll ship you off to the orphanage here, then who knows what else will happen to you.”
I nodded, that’s all I could do, but questions burned beneath my skin, what is this guy thinking? A question broke through, “Why not let me go? Won’t that be the best thing?”
Otis looked pained for a second, behind his eyes something flashed, was it fear?
“I can’t let you go."