I don’t remember how this dream started, only that it was serious enough for me to leave home.
In fact, I was so far away from home I was on another planet. I remember walking up these huge, silver stairs and walking out to a balcony. I looked out into the darkness, gripped the railing, and felt my stomach drop below my feet. I started shaking and trembling. Then I started crying.
But not the kind of crying where tears are silently rolling down your cheeks. The kind of crying where your whole body crumples into itself, and your heart clenches, and you try to gasp for air but you can’t, your mouth just hangs open in a silent scream.
As I was crying and wailing, “I need my boyfriend, I need to be with him,” all the creatures of the city turned up and stared at me sympathetically. They weren’t frightening, in fact they were kind of fantastic looking. All they could do was stare.
The god of the planet came to me and told me there was only one way I would be able to return to my boyfriend again. I could either stay on this planet, or I could go back in time to my first year of high school, with all the memories that I have, and re-live my life. I chose going back in time in hopes of finding him and starting our relationship again.
Then I woke up.
I was walking across a bridge that was one miles long and 30,000ft tall. My dad and Baxter, my dog, were there too. I wasn’t aware that the rails were so short before—they only came up to my ankle. I looked to my left just as Baxter slipped between the rails and fell. Panicked, I looked at Dad who waved at Baxter, saying, “Well, there he goes.” Then he proceeded to stand on top of the rail, clinging only by his toes. Dad said, “You didn’t used to be so afraid of this. You could just walk right across it in one go.” He was laughing. I was on my belly now, frightened. “Dad, please,” I begged. He jumped.
I crawled on my belly away from the bridge as fast as I could. I reached the land and sprinted down a steep hill into a home. Just as I stepped inside rain began pouring down outside, sheets upon sheets hitting the house. I was concerned, but I knew this house was elevated enough to withstand rainstorms. Except this one was different. This was not just a rainstorm, it was a flood.
I shut all of the doors and windows, carrying towels around the nice wooden house and mopping any spills. I found Baxter, wet as a rag, huddled in a corner and obviously frightened. I picked him up and carried him with me. My aunt’s dogs were there and wanted to be let out. In the patio it wasn’t raining as hard. I let them out and had difficulty getting them both back inside.
Back in the front room some water had sprawled across the tile floor from outside. We shoved it back with towels and I peered from the door, watching as the water level remained stagnant at the steps. I ran to the back of the house where my parents and some other relatives were. “The water’s coming in quick! We need to move to higher ground!” My warning was only met with laughs as someone said, “No it’s not. Don’t worry about it.”
I ran outside and opened the door to another building that was connected with ours. I was on a balcony overlooking a room. Something caught my attention at the back of the room, and I saw a stocky redheaded man with a massive gun pointed straight at me. I sprinted away and through another door which submerged me into a giant room filled with grand pianos that was completely underwater. I swam away from the door and hid around a corner. Three of my teammates met me there, speaking loudly and boisterously, as if nothing was wrong. I hushed them and took a long inhale of the breathable water. The man came into the door, holding his gun, but he couldn’t shoot. We swam away.
There was a contest happening just below us. Reaching air, we floated down and walked around to see what was going on. “Cornel-ello-ello-ello-nell” was the name of the project. It was something in space. A big thug came up to me and made a remark to me. I nodded and said, “Yeah. Whoever these assholes are, they’ve got to stop chasing me.” I held out a shirt of one of the thugs I had just killed. The young man turned his palm outward and analyzed the markings, looking back at the shirt I was cutting up. “Us assholes, huh?” he said threateningly. I struggled to remain calm, “Well not you of course. Not the whole group. Just this guy.” The thug seemed to buy it. He walked away.
Dusk was starting to settle in all around us. The desert was cooling down, and the house was growing dark. It was a large house, one that I guessed had served as a town hall or some sort of Lord or Lady’s vacation home in a place that had once been lush with vegetation and water. But now it was desolate, with creaky stairs and some missing floorboards. We had come to hide here, but it was too late. They knew where we had gone.
“Jasey?” someone asked me. “What’s in that room?”
I followed the direction of their pointing finger until I got to a room at the end of the first floor, a room that was completely in shadow. “Stay here,” I warned.
Apocalypse, earthquake, flood, buildings, sun, gamma, burn, survivors, death of a loved one.
Two vacation houses sat somewhere with green grass, a canopy of trees, an overcast sky, and scattered ponds. Everything felt cool.
My parents told me to go outside to check on our animal, a bear, and to see if it needed any food. I ran down the oak stars and trotted up to the back doors. My boyfriend was standing there, expressionless, and asking me what to do. My eyes immediately darted to the back door, where I saw a white wooden frame without any glass. Both of the doors had no glass, and they were starting to let the water inside.
It wasn’t raining, and I couldn’t hear the hiss and crash of the ocean, but there was dark gray salt water rushing over the brick walkway and through the open doorway. I stepped outside to see if I could find the bear, but the pair of black beady eyes staring back at me were not a bear’s. A massive, black seal popped its head up from a small pool of water and bared its teeth at me. Frightened, I shouted for my boyfriend to help me close the doors to keep the seal away. We struggled through the rushing water, but we finally closed both doors and bolted upstairs.
I wanted to see how our other house, the guest house next door, was doing with all the water. I went over and found no water. Just as I was about to leave I glanced out of a window and watched a small walkway lamp, lit with a flame, set a patch of golden dead grass on fire. I panicked, watching it start to set the entire lawn aflame, and ran back over to the main house. Just as I got to the dining room on the second floor it began raining, wetting everything just enough for the fire to disappear.
Everyone stood back-to-back with their hands raised, holding guns and daggers, looking at each of the windows that led to the opaque world outside. I stood at the opposite side of the room, occasionally glancing down to my bare feet at the polished wood floor and listening to the rumbles and groans beneath the floorboards.
The house was large and with a mainly white interior. There were two floors that I had explored—a basement and a main floor—but we all stayed on the main floor for fear of our creation, snarling and screeching below us, snatching one of us away and tearing us apart. It was our fault it existed, and now we had to contain it and stop it from doing any real damage.
I looked across the room at my best friend, a girl in a peculiar outfit and cropped dark hair. She was clutching a pistol between her fingers, staring back at me with frightened eyes. I remember her telling me that something was very wrong.
Not a moment later we dashed into the kitchen, wheeling around a corner and pressing ourselves against the wall. My friend stayed completely still and I took a few steps back to keep watch on the other doors. Suddenly, massive green tentacles exploded from the floor, ripped the doors of the room off and wildly flailed around, grabbing anything that it could find. I ran outside, calling back to my friends to keep it contained for just a few minutes longer while I got help.
I ran to an old, abandoned high school baseball field. The only light in the hungry darkness of the night was a single orange streetlight, dim and flickering, that lead me to a dirt pathway near peeling crowd stands. I reached into my shorts for my phone, flipped it open and searched for someone’s name. They could help us.
I rolled over in my bed, blinking lazily from the late morning light bouncing off the dark moss coloured blankets I laid beneath. My boyfriend got up from the bed and walked out of the room. I turned onto my side, sighed, and readied myself for a few extra minutes of sleep.
Something rustled in front of me. I opened my eyes and froze. The initial shock of someone else in the bed was soon covered with fear. Where had he come from? The boy who stared back at me was a classmate that I had only ever exchanged a few words with prior to this moment.
He wasn’t supposed to be here. He wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me closer to him, trying to slip his hands below my belt. I grabbed his broad shoulders, shaking my head furiously ‘No!’, but unable to speak. He wasn’t here out of mal-intent, but he still had no idea what he was doing; he only wanted me. I didn’t want to return his affections. He persisted, and still I resisted. He looked confused after a few moments, and stopped, looking at me curiously.
“You have to go, right now!” I hissed at him. I was terrified my boyfriend would stroll back in to find us. The accusations would destroy our relationship. Without a word of reply, the other nodded. I rolled back over, my back facing him, and shut my eyes tight.
I woke up.
I stepped into a part of the house, a sunroom, that faced the backyard. The backyard was an emerald green field surrounded by a mountain ridge. In the distance straight ahead of me was a large, deep lake that glittered sapphire blue. It didn’t look like it had an end to it. Inside the lake were three identical mountain peaks that didn’t attach to anything other than the still surface of the waters. The sky was a dim off-white, and everything else was saturated, cold tones of green and blue.
One of my best friends came running up behind me as I was staring at the scenery from behind the glass walls, embracing my waist and hugging me tightly. I laughed and turned, our squeals and giggles of rejoice the only sound in my ears. The soft, navy hoodie that she wore still smelled like I remember.
“Your place is so beautiful!” I grinned, pressing my face into her shoulder affectionately.
“I know! I can’t wait for you to stay!” she replied, whipping her long dark hair out her face to beam back at me. We cooed and giggled for a little while longer, reminiscing about old times and making plans for the new.
A massive dark shape caught my eye just behind my friend’s head, and I stared at it with amazement. It was walking away from us up a gravel path that led into the mountain pass. I couldn’t tell what it was at first, but as it swiveled its broad head around, I saw that it was the largest bear I had ever seen. I grew excited.
I decided that I needed to tell my other dear friend about this bear, so I called for her. She was in the house, but she didn’t answer. The bear stood on its back two legs, sniffed the air, stomped its giant front paws back on the gravel, and began walking towards us. I was suddenly very afraid—I knew what the bear was doing, and I knew that I couldn’t control it.
I ran towards the glass walls and pulled a thick handle on the sides of each one, sliding an iron curtain over the glass as protection. “We need to lock up the entire house,” I told my panicked friend, who then vanished into one of the many rooms.
The house was built into a steep, grassy slope, with brush and foliage scattered around the front and sides of the property. The house was taller than it was wide, and had more staircases than I could count. I dashed around the back, frantically closing doors and locking them to prevent the bear from coming inside. As I came to a deck on the fourth floor, I scrambled around the corner and shouted into the window where my older sister was, sitting idly on her bed. I told her to grab my younger sister and tell our parents that we had to leave.
The bear had surrounded the house and was following my every move from the outside. I thought I was done for. Panting and exhausted, I glanced around for any kind of escape. There it was, just to my left—a long staircase that ran the entire height of the house, from top-to-bottom, and outside to the driveway. The bear hadn’t come here, yet.
I woke up.
We had just been released into the town. It was where they were putting the last of us—the last survivors. The town had nothing around it except a river on one side and a massive factory that had been converted into a school. It covered the entire 5x5-mile area. Windows were broken and cracked, and were ominous when we got too close to them.
Our mission was to survive, and not everyone would succeed.
I jogged down the midway of the conjoined factory buildings, cold cement quietly patted beneath my shoes. My team broke off behind me, leaving one guy with me as we split into pairs. There was no way to get to the other side from our route, so we had no choice but to go into the building. That was where the zombies were.
Upon entering the building we heard a shout and a huff, and one of our teammates sprang past us with a pipe in his hand. I looked to my teammate and he told me to grab something wide, flat, and tall. He lifted me up and put me on top of his shoulders, and I peeled a part of the wall off and stuck it in front of us as we moved down the hallway.
We heard nothing, but I could see two of them huddled in a corner. We moved towards them, both knowing that the zombies needed to be exterminated but not having any tool or weapon at hand to help us. With the wall still in front of us, the zombie turned his head, pink and shriveled like an apple, and stared at the wall for a few seconds. We got closer and closer; zombies could not see you if they could not distinguish you from their surroundings, and sight was their most heightened sense.
My teammate buckled from beneath me, and I fell onto the snarling zombie in front of us. I looked back and saw that my teammate was being taken on by one, and turned around again to see the other one was clawing at the air, trying to stand. I hopped on top of it, straddling the zombie by its waist, and swung at its head with my fists. The impacts were soft, like hitting a pillow filled with beans, and my hands became instantly numb. Yet still I pounded away at the deflated peach until it fell limp.
Now I was alone, and without a weapon—two severe detriments to my survival.
I continued pushing forward, as it was the only direction that I could go without being swarmed by the cannibalistic predators that lurked around every corner. It was late afternoon and the daylight was diminishing fast. I had gone outside and in the open where I was safer. I heard footsteps behind me and wheeled around, spotting five other survivors following me. They each had a rifle.
We all ran to the edge of the town where a long river separated the joined factories from yellow gravel and abandoned train tracks. The zombies could not swim as fast as we could, and they would be swept away by the current. The other side was the goal of the experiment, the whole point of the game.
“I see it!” I shouted to them, skidding to a halt by the rocky banks. “Hurry up, or they’ll see us crossing!”
The others came up to me and shook their heads. “No,” one of them said, “we should go inside first. There are other people there.”
Despite thinking that he was choosing suicide, I followed them back into the infested town. We stopped inside of a bus terminal where the survivors were regrouping and planning on staying the night. My boyfriend was there, which was both distressing and enormously comforting, and I wanted to talk to him. He came up and hugged me, but I wriggled myself out of his grasp and tried to face him. Again and again he came up behind me, wrapping his arms around me and holding me fiercely to his chest. I had to tell him that we could leave now and still survive and escape, but he was too busy treating me like a teddy bear. I couldn’t be angry with him, in fact I felt warmer every time he pulled me close, but we kind of needed to get going.
“You have to get out of here.”
I looked down at myself and saw that I was wearing a white cotton dress. There were some purple stains on it, probably from some kind of creature I had slain in the earlier hours. There was also a Colt next to my pinky toe. I looked back to the man speaking to me.
“What for? I can do it just fine,” I replied. He scowled and disappeared behind a corner of the hallway.
I heard screaming and screeching from outside the house. It was bright daylight, but I knew that the time of day made no difference—either way I would be torn apart if I ventured out on my own right now. There were too many of them.
Who “they” were, I didn’t know. I couldn’t see them, because they were so fast that they were invisible to the human eye. That, and they made distractions by banging on windows and doors and roofs and floors while they got inside by other means, so you could never see them.
A few of my comrades were standing behind me, all of them holding whatever they could find as a weapon. I was glad my good friend had a shotgun. Suddenly, a loud ker-THUD! came from the front door, making us all leap up and sprint to the back of the house.
We ran towards a room with a queen-sized bed and glass doors. The windows outside showed that it had fallen to nighttime. Everything was lit in artificial yellow light from shaded lamps on either side of the white bed. The air felt close and cold. The Colt was heavy in my hands as I neared the room.
Just before I stepped inside, a man shot out from the other side of the room, standing and staring at me. He had short dreadlocks and milky blue pupils, and he was wearing ragged jeans and a blue-and-yellow striped long sleeve shirt. There was something very wrong with him, something distinctly evil, but he did not attack me. Instead he informed me that there were more of them coming, and that we would have to outlast the night.
The others flocked behind me as I raised the nose of the Colt to the empty air, listening to the clawing at the front door. A screech came from the side of the house. I was not frightened, but I was trembling with adrenaline. I was worried about what was going to happen to us, and especially worried about my friends.
I woke up.
The building was old and endless. It was like a log-cabin mansion had been converted into an apartment complex as big as a hospital. I was running up a long, sloping corridor that led to a room I needed to be in. Not my room, but my father’s.
I entered the L-shaped room and ran into my boyfriend. He grabbed me by the shoulders and whipped me around, telling me that my dad would be here soon. He said that he’d meet me again later. Laughing, I ran towards the door and snatched a jacket colored like a wilting pink rose. The moment I reached the door my dad appeared. He was an old man with fuzzy white hair and a dark blue lumberjack flannel shirt.
I jerked around him and sprinted down the long hallway. I glanced over my shoulder and saw that he was following me and had started calling to others for help. I looked ahead and saw the square gray light of a window. It was my only exit.
To my great relief the window was open; the only issue was that I was at least twenty stories above the ground. In the blink of an eye I landed, crouching, on top of another apartment building. Its roof was about sixteen square feet and had cement blocks which made it a plus sign. Where there wasn’t any cement there was a dark purple onion lightly dusted in dirt. There was no exit and no floor close enough for me to jump onto. I was trapped like a fish in a puddle.
For one reason or another, as I was leaning over the edge and tapping wildly at a closed window to an empty room below me, I knew that I had been up here before. I remembered choosing between starvation and suicide, and the hour before I starved to death, I jumped off the roof. I also remembered not feeling the rush of falling. That was why I didn’t jump this time, because I wanted to feel something.
Then there was a bark. I looked behind me and saw a long-legged dog standing on a zigzag structure that was carpeted like a mini golf course. The dog was dark gray and had flecks of black like pepper. I ran to the edge and leapt, landing on the platform where he was standing. Immediately I ran down the switchbacks, flight after flight, until I reached the bottom. When I looked back to thank the dark dog I also saw a white one. He had a reputation of being vicious. I waved and ran off.
I was in my boyfriend’s apartment, and the night had fallen quiet. He pulled me close and kissed me. It only lasted for a short while, though. Without warning he pushed me away and told me to hide. Thinking of the closest place, I crawled behind a table. I looked behind myself to see if my legs were sticking out—I was only in my underwear.
The light in the room flickered on and his mother came in. She had wiry, reddish hair and a thick Brooklyn accent. He strolled in after her, saying that she had wanted to tell me something. She stared at me and then said, “I forgot to tell you, Happy Birthday!”
my family and i were flying to bangladesh for our vacation. as our plane was landing i kept thinking, “this plane will sink right into the water! that floating runway isn’t big enough to hold us.” and yet we landed safe and sound.
everything was floating, or at least surrounded by, water. i kept gazing intently at the little houses that had brightly colored roofs. the exterior, except for the windows and roofs, was all the same kind of sandy-color. they were like adobe huts.
we got to the house we were staying at, which had a bright purple roof. as soon as we stepped inside our floating home it began to pour outside. i felt the floors beneath me creak and slide as the water beneath us became rough. i looked at my mother and said, “i can’t wait to tell everyone about this!”
i ran outside in the downpour and jumped onto a small bamboo raft. i felt it sink and start to fill with water, so i rolled out of it and onto our deck. mom was laughing at me.
“we’re right next to japan,” dad remarked.
“really? that means we can stop by tokyo for dinner!” i exclaimed, very excited to practice my japanese language skills.
i was standing on the edge of a large cliff shaped like an anvil. the rock and dirt beneath my toes was red, like colorado’s sand. there was a samurai in front of me, a very tall and wise old man with long white hair that billowed in the wind. he glanced back at me, grinned, and stood up. i was about to say something to him when he leapt off of the cliff’s edge and descended through the clouds.
i woke up.
i was driving my mother’s car through dark precipitation. the air was heavy, and it was still sinking. i rounded a bend, pulled into a large driveway, and froze. pain overtook me, an inescapable cold pierced through my skin and bones. i could not scream.
and then it was gone. i made myself get out of the car and entered the main building to the huge estate—an entire neighborhood was part of someone’s fifty-acre property.
i ran up the wide, old oak stairs to the attic where i was told my room was. the attic was massive and had four beds, each on a level that was one step down from the floor level. the beds were queen sized and had yellow sheets on all of them. lamps poking out of the walls gave the attic a calm yellow glow. the cream carpet covered the floor, but i could not feel it. after the cold had caused my nerves so much distress, i did not physically feel anything anymore. nothing but the agonizing cold.
a friend of mine ran up to me, grinning, stating that she wanted the bed that i was currently looking at. i smiled, because i had not chosen that one, i was only sizing up the windows. i turned to a bed at the corner of the room, lower than the rest, that had tall windows for a wall. i decided it would be mine.
another friend, a very dear past friend, asked me to come to their place to visit her and two others. i agreed hastily, for i had not seen them in years. i ran over, not wearing shoes, re-playing a forewarning that the temperatures outside were low enough to kill. i swiftly made my way over there, my heart racing, knowing that if i had spent any more time in the cold i would have been dead.
my dear friend and i shared a long embrace. she looked older somehow, as if she had matured to an age that her body did not fully suit. “everyone says they like it better this way,” she remarked, meaning her hair cut. i agreed.
i was informed that i was at this place to be part of a study that was being conducted in one of the buildings. newsflashes and headlines from the paper blinked in front of me. there was an experiment on human beings going on here.
i walked through a gigantic refrigerator. above me, beside me, all around me, emaciated human bodies hung from the ceiling, their stringy skin stretched on hooks. i could see muscle and tendon from their ripped open bellies and chests.
then there was ben. he was an eastern man who had died, but was now being kept alive through various tubes and hoses entering the stretched pieces of skin. his eyes were wide, lidless, and staring blankly at nothing. everyone that was staying on the estate disagreed strongly with what the scientists were doing to him. we wanted benny to be treated as humanely as possible—we wanted him to stay dead.
i dropped down to my knees and roared at the scientists who stood at the entrance of the experiment building. a friend of mine joined me. i felt a crowd of people behind me, growing in voice and number, and as the sun began to cast its pale shadows against the ivory victorian buildings, we chased the scientists back into their lab.
my father was looking at me, leaning over in his gray long-sleeved shirt and staring through his glasses. i felt as if i were being vivisected. he turned around and walked out of the room. i stood in the middle of the room and listened to an emergency broadcast. i began listening too late, because all i heard was, “stay inside. do not go outside. stay inside. stay inside.”
now it was nighttime at our house and my parents were asleep or somewhere else—either way, they were not present. i was standing at the top of a flight of stairs, looking down the three stories to the bottom. a window at my level shielded everything in a dull, glowing silver light.
i suddenly felt a rush of hot energy that began from my middle and pulsed just below my stomach. without knowing until i was already in the air, i had jumped from the third story and was leaping down the walls. i could feel that i was not in my true body anymore, and that i was not in total control. somehow i had become a werewolf, and even though i could not see myself, i could feel that it was true. i felt new, wild, and unstoppable.
the next afternoon was when the news broke out of people being bitten. i did not know if i had done it singlehandedly, because i could not remember, but i wasn’t the first to speak up about it. all of the townspeople had gathered in a large football field and were being told to stick together. i climbed up on a metal rod and tried looking for whoever was speaking, but i could not see them. the group was getting restless, so i decided it was best to get out of the area.
back at my house a group of friends and i were claiming rooms to sleep in. there were maybe fifteen of us, and my house had plenty of room to accommodate everyone. i claimed my own room, the largest attic bedroom, and fixed the other bed for someone else to sleep there. i got up and walked out into the hallway where a boy stood, leaning against the top railing post, grinning at me. i grinned back and walked up to him. he swiftly grabbed my waist and pressed my back against the wall, our kissing growing more and more passionate. i slid my hand to the small of his back and pressed his hips against mine, arching my back away so that i could get a brief look at him. it was someone that i knew, but not very well.
i ran back down the stairs to where the rest of my friends were gathered, and i felt the hot energy boiling up in my middle again. i snapped my jaw together and howled, quieting them down. i was a werewolf again, their leader, and watched as they transformed into bundled balls of muscle wrapped in snarling wiry fur.
“there are many more of us than i expected,” i said, standing straight. “we will need a big hunt tonight to feed everyone.” their snarls and barks were all that i needed for confirmation. we waited until dusk fell upon us again to begin.
it was wintertime, and everything was lit in blue. i was watching one of my friends ride through the snowstorm on her scooter, grinning and laughing at me in the posed manner that’s only used for film and television. she had large goggles to protect her eyes from the nonexistent sun, and the tips of the handles of her scooter was light blue. i told her it was odd that she would choose blue.
i was driving down winding roads, bathed in glittering sunlight just after rain, going much too fast. i turned a corner, feeling the force and lag as my speedometer lurched up over 120mph. i kept driving.
i trod along the worn path of the forest, looking to my right and seeing my friend trotting not too far ahead of me. all four of us were wolves. i kept a close eye on her; the forest and the mission we were on was dangerous.
we climbed over a patch of thick roots and came to the top of a small cliff on the mountain. the soil beneath me was as soft as sod wet with fresh rain. a man in a suit walked up behind me.
“how can you be water if the only ability you have is to smell the salt of the ocean?” he accused me.
i turned to my three companions. one of them, the girl on the scooter, bowed her head down and took a deep breath of the earth. her fur, crimson like the rest of us, began to soak up the green of the earth. she had become what she was chosen to be, the wolf spirit of the earth.
frustrated that i was not accomplishing what i had set out to do, i huffed out a growl and rested my jaw against the forehead of my other companion. she looked up at me with concern and said, “your spearspeak is hurting me.”
“i’m sorry,” i sighed, stepping away from her. i looked over her fur, picturing the colour that it would soon take. she would be air, a light gold with silver accents. another one would be fire, and keep the crimson colour with yellow and orange flares. i was left, water, and would be shades of blue. if only i could acquire my powers like they all had.