Nightmares

The bat is eating my brother in the attic of our house. I’m begging myself to wake up, but I cannot. Soon, my brother is only a mass of flesh, held to a corner of the ceiling by flapping wings. I am standing at the door, tears falling down my face, completely helpless. The bat and I know that he’s dead, but it won’t stop chewing at him, and I start to scream.

The street outside my father’s house has been turned into an open-air parking lot, and it is filled with black SUVs. I am crouched behind one of the cars, terrified but thrilled, because I feel exactly like I have always imagined I would feel, if I were a cop on a dangerous assignment. Suddenly, I notice that there is a pack of Dobermans in the parking lot, and that they’re looking for me.

I’m in the Hunger Games. We’re at a little beach, in the final phase of the games. I recognise a competitor as a nerdy boy from school. We both seem to be swimming to the same wall, to escape each other, and suddenly I realise that one of us doesn’t have legs, but I can’t tell which one of us it is. Then I am in the forest on the beach, and I realise that there are only two of us left, a senior of mine that I never liked, and I. The trees are tall and lanky, like the boy, and I find that if I push down on my knees, I can jump till the canopy. I know that I’m going to have to kill him, but I feel no fear. I tear him apart, limb by limb. I don’t feel guilty, only proud.

We’re standing on a thin strip of land in the middle of the ocean. There’s no way to escape, only time. Suddenly, there’s bright green grass all around me. I’m running from the waves, but they’re too powerful. I know that I’m going to drown. I have never felt like terror like this before. I am safe, but only till the waves crash over me.

It is only a second. I am walking down the corridor in my grandparents’ house, and a banshee flies out of the last room as I am going to pass by it. Her movement isn’t smooth. It is like her feet drag the floor with them as they move, and she scratches her way out. But it is so fast. I am facing her now, and her screeches so assertively, that for a minute I am aware that all the people who are downstairs, who would protect me from her, are probably also terrified.

I’m dying. I am in my grandparents’ neighbourhood, near the park we used to play in, lying slumped on the street. I feel my soul leave my body, but I’m not ready to die. I’m going higher and higher, and I turn to an orange speck in the sky and beg it to let me live. It says okay, but we both know that we’re only fooling ourselves.

We’re all on an island. There are swimming pools everywhere, with huge water-slides. There are too many people in the pool, and the slides are all vertical. I’m clinging to the side of one. People are throwing water balloons at each other from either ends of the slide. Everyone’s dying, people are falling onto each other. Suddenly, there’s no water at the bottom in the pool. I can see the cement floor.

I’m in a canoe, in an underground passageway. There are familiar strangers in the boat with me. Everything is a rusty red, including ourselves. When we reach the place the boat must dock, they all get up, and have somewhere to go. I don’t know what I’m doing there, so I begin to walk around. There are rooms everywhere, connected by strings of wood. As I walk by the rooms, I can see people sitting on the floor, talking, people having sex, people looking at a lamp, and the long hair of a woman, as it falls down her back. Then I’m back in the canoe, and it’s full of marbles, and again it’s moving toward the place with hanging rooms, that I have just left. The water level in the passage is rising, and I’m scared we’re going to drown, because the canal is too narrow, and my head’s almost touching the roof. I jump out of the canoe, and swim towards the ledge where I got off the first time. I know then that everyone else has drowned.

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