I have vivid dreams from time to time…
I had a pack of Now-and-Laters in my pocket that I had picked up somewhere at the day’s event. It was the five-pack like they give out for Halloween. Jenni, the boy, and I were in a church sanctuary. The woodwork was white. The walls, the pews, and even the ceiling were painted white. The carpet was red. There were a lot of people present, but there was no sermon or service going on yet. The crowd was waiting for an event. I was in the second row, our son was in the row behind me, and Jenni was two rows behind him. Everyone was starting to settle down for what we were expecting.
That’s when there was a terrible crash from the back of the auditorium. Wind blew through my short hair, and made me squint my eyes. “Get down!” I shouted at my family. As I hit the floor under the pew, I could see my wife and son on the red carpet, under the white pews. The wind increased in intensity, and the heat grew as some kind of jet or rocket entered the room.
The sound of automatic fire filled the room, booming in my ears. I vainly tried to cover my ears with my hands, while holding myself up under the pew. I heard the cries and screams of victims and prayed that my family was not among them. It seemed like an eternity as the automatic bursts gave way to wailing and crying. Then, as soon as it started, I heard the rocket engines settle into a space directly overhead and begin to cool down. The backs of several pews cracked off and the benches creaked under the weight of the pod as the craft thumped heavily on several pews directly overhead. Turbines whirred down, and the machine came to a rest.
I heard servos whir as a hatch opened, and an artificial atmosphere was released. The air that escaped from the pod was far dryer and cooler than the ambient air, causing coils of mist to form even where I was in hiding. I saw a boot clomp from a ladder to the floor only feet in front of my face on the red carpet. I struggled to not audibly breathe. I could hear my wife and child breathing behind me, and I wanted to scream for them to shut up, but I knew that would be suicide for the three of us.
I could hear the faint moaning and groaning of the survivors of the attack. Apparently, we were the lucky ones. I saw the attacker run from his craft to a doorway at the front corner of the sanctuary. He paused in the doorway and pulled up his sleeve. He spoke into a device strapped to his wrist. From this distance, I could not tell what he was saying, but I could see his face.
Just then, I heard the whine of a large capacitor charging up from within the pod, as the attacker ran away through the doorway. “Run, run, run!” I screamed to anyone that could hear, as I scrambled under the pew for open ground. Just as I reunited with my family in the aisle, the pod exploded. I threw my body down under the cover of the sides of the pews over them. The wood splintered and was consumed by fire and steel shrapnel. I felt the heat against my back as I tried my best to shield them with my body and arms.
When I regained consciousness, I was being questioned. When I realized what the authorities were asking for, I happily complied and answered all their questions. I saw my wife and son, across the room from me, giving their own accounts of the attack. I had never seen weapons like this before. I have never even heard of some of them! The police didn’t seem interested in hearing my description of the suspect.
Before I knew it, I was sitting on a bench in the foyer of the church. My family was still inside some classroom, talking to the authorities. I carelessly lit up a cigarette and felt an uncomfortable lump in my pocket. I reached into my pocket and rediscovered the package of Now-and-Laters. I nervously worked the package between my fingers, trying to take my mind off the current stress.
A young man walking past paused and addressed me, “It’s you!’
“What’s me?” I said.
“You’re the one, you bastard!” he snatched the pack of candy from my hand and threw it at my chest. It fell to the floor as I stared at him. “You DID this!” he cried.
I stood up, and he rushed me. I put my right hand at his throat and walked him straight back through the wide room. I pushed him through the “Men’s” door and put him on his back. His hat fell off and locks of long hair cascaded onto the floor from underneath. He continued to struggle and ghasp accusations at me. I was in no mood for such idiocity. I quickly wrapped my left hand into his long hair and told him to shut up. He did not comply. He kept shouting insults and accusations. I mashed my right fist into his crotch to silence him. It worked. He doubled over reasonably quietly and I was able to say, “It wasn’t me, you idiot!” I left him in the restroom to collect himself, and returned to my bench to finish my cigarette.
Eventually, the police released us, and we went home. Life went on like usual for the next few days. There was work, school, and house work. We tried to ignore the news, and TV altogether, as our bizarre encounter was all over the waves. Several days later, we had the opportunity to go to a local festival. It was a traveling carnival that teamed up with a local group of retailers. There were rides and games and all kinds of great things to do. The parking was terrible, and our car was several blocks away.
After an exhausting evening of entertainment, the three of us headed out from the park towards our car. We cleared the park and walked along the dark city streets. We passed a closed store that had stacked screens in the display window. There were cameras overhead that alternated a view of the street ahead of us and the view behind us. When the monitors flashed to the street behind us as we passed, I saw the image of a figure. It was the man who had attacked the church only days before.
“Phe, phe, phe,” I quietly tried the attract the attention of my wife, “He’s behind us.” Jenni whirled around to look, knowing exactly who I was talking about. The man rushed us. I did my best to come between him and my family.
He addressed my wife, “‘phe, phe?’ What does that mean?”
As the words escaped his mouth, two older women mysteriously rushed to his side from nowhere to stop him. “We traced vocal patterns. That wasn’t her!” one of them said emphatically.
“What’s going on here?” I played dumb, “Who are you, and what do you want?”
The woman continued, “The vocal signature sounds like him,” she pointed at me.
The strange man pulled a strange gun from his belt. It looked like some kind of nondescript, slab-sided, European, semi-auto, but it had some kind of hand-guard from the butt that met the trigger-guard, and the slide was extremely long. The top of the gun must have been at least a foot long! The two odd women were gone as quickly as they had appeared. I reached down to grab the slide of his gun before he got it pointed. My wife had grabbed my son’s arm and they were running away. Good girl.
I wrenched down on the attacker’s gun, and his grip released. He shoved his palms against my shoulders and rushed past me towards my family. I spun around and assessed the situation. Anyone with this level of technology was certain to be wearing body armor. I drew my right-hand revolver and took aim at his neck as he rushed toward my wife and son. At about shot three, I had the left-hand revolver drawn in low-ready. After the seventh shot, I brought the second revolver to target and emptied it as well.
After fourteen shots of 158-grain lead, my target collapsed in the dark streets, the thunder still echoing through the night. I’m not sure which shot killed him, or how long it had taken to empty both, but it seemed like an eternity before he hit the cold pavement. I breathed a sigh of relief that it was over.
That’s when I woke up and needed to pee. For several nights in a row, I’ve had vivid dreams. Try to imagine this all in a Frank Miller production. That just about sums it up. I imagine that if I had failed to fell the enemy, Jenni would have pulled her 9mm and shot him through the armpit, under the same assumption that I was under, that he was wearing a vest under his clothing. If I had missed, I’m confident that she would have finished the job. That’s just the way we work.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy my little narrative on my dream.