Till the World Ends

While I am afflicted with a broad spectrum of vivid, disturbing, and unique dream experiences (and the curse of being able to remember entirely too many of them upon waking), I don’t share them very often.

One of the ones I had today/tonight (ah, the tangled nomenclature of the night shifter), however, I feel the desire to write down here. Perhaps because it was so gorgeous. Perhaps because it seems to correlate to another dream I had almost three years ago.

In that previous dream… well, I’m actually not going to outline it completely. We’ll just skip to the end, where I leave a gathering to get some fresh air. And I’m standing on this overgrown hillock in the field in the middle of the trailer park where my grandparents used to live. I’m looking up at the drive-in movie theater that used to stand adjacent.

Ben walks up beside me, having also abandoned the gathering. I tell him the theater was scheduled to be destroyed soon. He just makes a non-committal noise. I can feel the warmth of his body on my right side, he’s standing so close. His fingers brush my hand.

On the movie screen, the actress’s face collapses as the ground shakes and rips apart. The sky becomes a magenta and yellow haze as rocks and debris tumble upward. Ben and I stand on our small hill, watching everything trembling and tearing asunder, and we slowly reach out and clasp hands.

That dream was one of those gorgeous, cinematic moments that still haunts me. The sharp smell of marigold-like ozone, the rich colors of the apocalyptic sky, the earth fragmenting and the laws of physics splintering, the warmth of his fingers in mine. Sometimes, I still find myself thinking about it.

Anyway, last night’s nocturnal adventure. I’m at a bar with Ben, Sean, and some female friend of Sean’s I don’t know (which is an unsurprising turn of events, seeing as I no longer know everyone they associate with). The boys had wanted to come for karaoke, but there was nobody there. Frustrated, we decide to leave.

Walking along the balcony of a condominium, the wind starts to pick up. I grab Sean’s arm to stop myself from toppling over the side. Ben gives me one of those judgmental looks he’s so good at, then I point at a tree across the street. It’s a strange, yellowish shade, and it’s filled to the brim with parrots. Confused, we exchange a glance. Then, the tree erupts into a whirlwind of birds. The sky blackens with their outstretched wings. Color seems to leech from everything until we are in a black-and-white reality, the sky just a seething storm of dark birds. They start pelting toward us, trying to rip at our scalps and arms.

Shrieking like a woman, I throw my arms out, gripping the back of Ben’s shirt as we race toward an open window farther along the balcony. I’ve pulled myself tight against him, trying to present a smaller target, and he eventually pulls my tangled, flailing limbs around him and carries me (piggy-back style) to the window.

Inside, window shut tight behind us, we are a shaking mess, our breath shuddering from our lungs in fear. Quietly, I make a joke about being in a Hitchcock flick, but none of us really feels like laughing. I’m standing now, but my arms are still around Ben’s neck. He scoots me around so that we are facing each other, one hand around my waist, and we just lean our foreheads together.

Sometimes, when everything falls apart, all you need is the comfort of another solid form next to you.

So, now we’re all barricaded in this empty condo. Looking around, we can see the place has been abandoned for quite some time. Sean sits in a chair, causing a puff of whitish dust to billow up around him. We can hear the wind (and birds?) still buffeting the building.

Time passes. I eventually go to the door, opening it and peering outside. The sky is a leaden gray shot through with purple and black. The purple and black (vivid, intense purple and black) are centered in this swirling miasma in the distance. There’s this glint of silver, a streak through the clouds, then this delicate metal contraption falls out of the sky. More and more of then start tumbling down, and I realize what they are at the same time Ben (who has come to stand next to me) says it.

“Satellites.”

We stand there for a few minutes, watching them fall. They are gorgeous, these fragile silver sculptures that look more at home in an art museum than as surveillance equipment. Time seems to slow, and they fall at reduced speed, arcing through the air and leaving gleaming trails in their wake. The sky is dangerous, the color of the end, but these falling satellites are a piece of perfection. Somehow, even now, there is still beauty.

Ben takes my arm and steers me back inside just as the maelstrom explodes outward, ripping through buildings and trees, closing in on us. We walk to the couch and sit down, a cloud of white billowing up around us from the dusty cushions. Slowly, I curl up next to him, my head on his shoulder. He puts his arm around me, pulling me tight against him, as the roof of the condo rips off. For a moment, I can see the pale strands of my hair dancing in front of my face, the hem of my skirt lifting upward, feel the winds pulling us apart.

So, I close my eyes. And I cling tighter.

***

Haunting. That’s what those dreams are. The strange emotions, the vibrant colors, the images of beauty and destruction. I know this one will stick with me just like the first did. Leaving me feeling the same:

Unsettled.

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