19 October 2011
Although the song is about nine-elven-and one of the more profound tunes upon the subject-it's being playing within the walls of my skull since waking, and I found it to be in context...
I am looking out at the sweeping vista of a cyberpunk cityscape. The monoliths of downtown gleam in the soft afternoon light. Outside is warm and the sky is clear. I really wish I could be outside to enjoy the day. Maybe even have some ice cream. It is just a day or two before Americans mark their independence by detonating low-grade explosives. Occasionally, the whistle or pop of a firecracker echoes through the streets.
But then there is one whistle that doesn't sound like any firecracker I have ever heard. My eyes are drawn to the window and the sky above the monoliths. I didn't notice the fighter escort or the...bomber...before. It would be cliche the describe the sudden chill running down my twisted spine or the sinking feeling of dread in my belly.
First there is a bright flash, then, the boom!, which rattles me down to the marrow. And then, I see it...a column of smoke and fire and brimstone raising up like a great serpent from bowels of the earth. A mushroom cloud. The monoliths are blasted to shrapnel and ash in the blink of an eye. There is a marching wall of fire advancing beyond the initial blast-point.
"Holy fuck..." I somehow manage to say, my eyes riveted to unspeakable carnage I'm witnessing.
And I'm running. I can feel the heat at my back. A gale that sucks the air from my lungs. I Skid behind a pillar and curl into a ball, moving on pure instinct of fight or flight. With what's coming, this might be the one safe place.
The building around me disappears. Stripped away in the rapist tearing of sound and fury of violated steel, concrete, and glass. I can hear screaming, but whether it's me, the other victims of this firestorm, or the fire and shockwave itself, ripping by at supersonic speeds, I don't know.
... All Hell's a'comin'...
My eyes fly open. It's dark. The small hours. There's soft breathing next me, the warmth of another body in the bed. I stare into the darkness for what feels like forever, trying to get my bearings. Trying to figure out which is the waking and which was the dream.
I sit up, still shaking. Whistles, explosions, and screams still echo in my ears. I can still feel inferno heat. My eyes flit to the clock, and I see it'll still be a few hours before the dawn.
So I get up. My, naked form chilled by sweat and autumnal atmosphere, and go to the loo, splashing some water on my face. It's been a few years since I've had this dream; but it's shown up every-so-often for as long as I can remember.
Sometimes, when I've had the dream, I've had to go find someone. Usually a family member, friend, or lover. Sometimes, I'm just looking up at an inferno sky, feeling the supernatural heat whilst poison snowflakes rain down. I wonder if I'll be able to make it to some place safe, or if such a place even exists anymore.
One ten pence dream analysis I once came across suggested such visions are harbingers of chaos. I've had the dream during stable periods in my life, and no great chaos came to tear it asunder, casting doubt on that theory. Besides, I've learned to accept chaos, if not sometimes embrace it like a phantasmal lover. I wonder if it's a byproduct of the environment; I grew up during the tail end of that ice, ideology, and phallus-waving war-that-was-not-a-war between the American Empire and Soviet Union. It seemed there was almost always the pall of an exchange of fire and brimstone between the two powers. Even nowadays, doomsayers might bring it up, but from other nation-states or even shadowy fringe groups. Maybe it doesn't matter, because the dream is always terrifying.
I come back to bed, taking a liberal gulp of water from the glass I keep by my side of the bed. An effort to wash away the dry sensation and the cobwebs in my throat that prevented me from screaming in my sleep. The sights, sounds, and smells of the dream have faded a little, but are still there, like residual hauntings at the edge of consciousness. Phantasmal demons waiting for me behind the wall of sleep.
Still, I lay back down. I get as comfortable as I can, given the circumstances. My joints ache as though I was curled into a ball. I close my eyes, but I realize the futility of it. I had the dream. It's rather doubtful I'm going to sleeping again any time soon. In fact, it may be days before I sleep once more.