Saturday, August 1, 2009

Just A Dream.....

I keep telling myself that. It was just a dream.

Usually, I usually awaken in the morning with no recollection of having dreamed anything. It is extremely unusual for me to even have fleeting glimpses of the previous night's gifts from Morpheus and Hypnos.

Not so with last night's adventure in the lands held by the Oneiroi.

I think I must credit the book "One Second After" by William Forstchen with having shaped some of what I lived through while Hemera waited to dispel the mists of Nyx that lay upon my World.

I do say that I lived through the events of the night.

There is no other way to explain the condition in which I awoke this morning. I was tired and sore, my legs aching as they did when I was in high school. When I was on the track team, we were forced to run up "The Monster", a towering hill beside the high school. The hill had an 80% grade, and more than one kid came rolling down the hill when he slipped.

If you were good, or lucky, and were the first to the top you didn't have to climb "The Monster" for the rest of the practice. If you were second, or even lower in rank, you ran it until you were the first to the top. Even if that meant you were the only one running to the top.

Many found the best way to the top was to run on all fours.

My body feels as if it had been running "The Monster" all night.

I have to tell you, the dream disturbed me on several levels. I found myself engaged in activities that were aberrant to my norm. I seemed to be numb to things that would normally outrage me, and I don't think I will describe in too much detail some of the really horrendous things I witnessed while wrapped in the embrace of Night.

Some of you know that I have a wife and daughter. I have no idea where they were during this dream, and I never even gave thought to them while in the dream. I also have a veritable Noah's Ark here with all the critters we care for. They did not make an appearance in my dream. I have no idea what this means, but then perhaps it was after all just a dream and nothing more.

Now, the odd thing is the dream switched back and forth between a first person (looking through my own eyes) and a third person perspective (like watching a movie). This is unusual, in past dreams that I have remembered, it was usually one or the other, not both.

It all started here: I was at work repairing a CCTV system in a large mall about forty miles from where I live. The time of the year appeared to be late fall / early winter because of the way people were dressed. I could tell it was late in the day because the skylights were already darkening to a deep gray.

The lights in the mall grew in brightness very briefly and then went out. In fact, everything went dead in the mall. I don't know how many of you have had the opportunity to be in a large mall when nothing is running, not even the air handling equipment. The silence can be unnerving.

All of the people went silent when the lights went out, and a few moments later, the cries of people who had fallen down the escalators began. When an escalator shuts off, Newton First Law Of Motion still applies. Falling down sharp, unyielding steel steps isn't a prospect I relish.

I reached for my cell phone and found the comforting glow of the screen did not greet my eyes when I flipped it open. I pressed the power button, and nothing happened. I fumbled around for my LED Maglite that I carry on my belt and found to my surprise that it worked. I was already suspecting an EMP attack, but was confused by the fact that my light still worked. Perhaps something else had happened.

The number of people milling about in the mall was growing at an alarming rate. They were being forced out of stores as the employees worked to secure their premises as policy dictated in the event of a sustained power outage.

A security guard shouted to another on a different level that none of the radios were working and the engineer couldn't get the generator started. There were reports of people trapped in elevators but mall management was unable to call the fire department because the phones were down.

Immediately one could feel a shift in the mood of the crowd in the mall. It rippled outward through the masses. Panic was looking for someone to seize hold of.

I closed up the camera I was working on, and threw my tools in the riggers bag and headed for the nearest service corridor. I knew people would be clogging the mall entrances as they attempted to exit into the gathering darkness.

The service corridors in many malls are as familiar to me as the hallways of my home. Battery powered emergency lights had not come on-line immediately after the power failure, and the mall's generator was still silent. Navigating the corridors in the dark proved easy. A woman's voice called from a freight elevator stuck between floors, and the information of her position confirmed the exit was near.

A brief flick of my Maglite showed that the crash bar of the door was directly ahead. My hand rested upon it, and then shoved it open.

What greeted me was a murmur of voices and a parking lot filled with cars, nearly all of them with their hoods up. Some people were wandering around carrying jumper cables while the sounds of a few engines endlessly cranking carried into the gathering gloom.

The freeway one block over was silent. The drone of tires on pavement was gone from the air. At this point I knew it was an EMP attack. My service truck squatted in the deepening shadow beneath an Elm tree and I stated making my way towards it.

Switch to third person view:

Two kids messing around with a Honda. One was saying to the other, "Maybe it's not getting any fuel." He pulls the fuel line loose while holding a Zippo lighter and tells the other kid to crank the engine. Fuel sprays everywhere and there's a fireball. Women and children are screaming. People are running away from the kid on fire as he runs a random zig zag course through the parking lot. He collapses to the ground. The car is fully engulfed. I don't see the other kid.

Back to first person:

The truck unlocks easily, as does the big steel box that is bolted to the floor between the seats. It's too dark to see into the box, but I dare not turn on the Maglite as it seems to be one of the few electric devices still functional. Fishing around in the box results in me pulling out spare batteries for the Maglite, and a folding knife I keep there. There's also a knife and hatchet pair in a sheath that I keep in there since the company said we could no longer carry firearms with us. Last I find the spare Maglite I have.

After unpacking it, batteries are inserted. The light is held deep in the cavernous box and a hand is placed over the lens. The switch is thrown, and my hand glows a comforting red. It is turned off and placed on the floor along with the other goodies.

People are trying to extinguish the car fire and it looks as if some people are fooling around with their cells phones in a futile attempt to get them to turn on.

My bug out bag is retrieved from the rear of the truck, and an empty ditty bag is popped open. The large steel first aid box is pulled from beneath the passengers seat. The contents are emptied into the ditty bag. The ditty bag disappears into the bug out bag. In the cup holder is a one liter bottle of water. It is nearly full, and it is emptied into the Camel Bak. Another bottle is poured into the Camel Bak, and two more secured inside Marmot Garmsal pack. I don't want anyone to see them.

I consider changing into the black BDUs inside the pack and decide against it. No point in looking too different and attracting attention. I stay in my jeans, composite toed Magnum boots, and work shirt. (A note about those boots. The toe and shank are as hard as those in steel toed boots, but they don't set off metal detectors. Just in case you find that info useful.) A machete is fixed to the frame of the pack.

I pull the stuff out of my riggers bag that I think I'll need and put them into the bug out bag. The goodies on the floor are stuffed into the bag as well. My tie off rope, and anti-fall harness are tied to the bug out bag with bungees retrieved from the back of the truck. A black field jacket is lashed across the pack to hide the shiny fittings of the harness.

The truck is locked up and the trek home begins.

The dream jumps at this point, and I'm near Livermore, California. It's completely dark at this point, and I'm aware of people walking along the side of 580. Some are headed west, others east along with me. Most trudge on in silence, but there are angry voices and arguing going on in the dark. There are cries of children as well.

Up ahead a loud argument is taking place. There seem to be as many as ten to fifteen people involved. In the darkness, the muzzle flashes momentarily blind me as I drop to the ground. The reports sound ten times louder than normal in the unnatural silence. I roll up between two cars as panicked people run blindly through the darkness. I hear some of them running into each other and vehicles. After the initial rush of people, I head off at 90 degrees to the road and into the trees of the golf course that borders the freeway. Good thing the fences are low at this point.

The dream jumps again. I'm crossing Altamont Pass the hard way. The road and the barely discernible line of people walking along the freeway are below me. The moon has made an appearance just above the horizon, and I make note that I will make silhouette as I cross the top of the ridge. Crawling up and over the last twenty feet of the hill irritates me. Once safely below the crest, the moon illuminates the valley below.

It is the only illumination I see other than what appear to be fires in the distance.

The dream jumps again. It's daylight and I'm walking through the orchards near my home. The smell of smoke is strong. The view of my street from the edge of the orchard shows only a few things amiss. Several cars are parked at awkward angles along the street. Evidence that someone had pushed them out of the roadway.

I hear the sputter of an engine which turns into a roar, and a whoop of joy. My neighbor Ernie flies down the road behind the wheel of a 1966 Chevy Flatbed he's been trying to sell. The "For Sale" sign is still in the window. He rounds the corner and disappears down the road.

I'm in my house, pissed off to find that no water flows from the tap.

I had no idea this was going to take so long, and I'm just doing a basic outline of the dream. Not even writing it like a story. I'm going to cut this short.

What happens next is that we find out that Canada has also been taken down by the EMP. Just the southern part of the country was hit, but the cascading failures of the electrical grid crashed the rest.

The world markets are in turmoil, and paper money, no matter who issued it has become worthless. Most of the electronic money went *poof* when New York went dark. Oil and other commodities are not moving unless it is by direct barter or use of precious metals.

Tensions are high all over the place and since the biggest kid on the block is unconscious, some of the other guys have decided to make a few power plays. Rumors coming across short wave radio state that nukes have been used in some restive provinces of China, and some republics of the former USSR.

Hostilities between Arab groups and the Israelis have escalated and suicide bombings occur multiple times each day in Israel. Israel has responded by using cluster bombs over "refugee camps" and napalm in cities controlled by Arab radicals.

Mexico is still largely intact as far as its electrical infrastructure and has made a play to take back the South Western US. Open fighting between the people of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California and the Mexican Military has resulted in high casualties on all sides. The Mexican military has access to functional vehicles, including helicopters, but they aren't prepared for the sheer tenacity of the defenders, not to mention all the "off the books" hardware which has made an appearance. The Mexicans also apparently miscalculated their supply lines erroneously believing they could salvage fuel, water and other necessities from captured American cities. The Mexicans have lost the initiative in the campaign and are being forced back south and consequently many vehicles and other assets have been taken by the American defenders. The defenders have loosely organized into a group called SWAF (SouthWest American Freemen) and have vowed to burn Mexico City....again.

American political leaders have denounced the "vigilante" style actions of SWAF, and have come under attack by other outraged Americans. They find themselves cornered in their DC enclave afraid to leave as several have already been assasinated by angry Americans who blame the existing leadership for the situation. Calls for the resignation of Obama and Congress have been met with silence.

Yeah, believe it or not, that is the jist of the dream. Like I said, this morning, when I awoke, it was like I had lived it. After the past few days at work, I slept for nearly fourteen hours straight. Maybe I'll try and write this out in a more story oriented version if you're interested.


zwick said...

That was some dream Catman. No more pickled eggs and pepperoni before bedtime for you, young man! Seriously, please do write that out as a write very well. I read "One Second After" in one night and not by design, as I couldn't put it down. The last book to have that effect on me was "The Shining" by Stephan King. One second after also had the effect of me modifying my preps slightly. By the way, I've visited Livermore often as my brother and his wife used to live there. That would be some trek over Altamont Pass.

Selous Scout said...

Sounds like a basis for a helluva story. I hope that it never becomes more than that. Please do write it out!

Ken said...,i got bumps of

...embellishing dreams leads to good storytelling,by all means write it out to it's conclusion...but don't forget to 'learn from the dream' first...

Unknown said...

Catman... I do believe you have dreamed the outline for a great book.

Hey... I'm just sayin.....

HermitJim said...

Wow...I have to say, brother, I am totally caught up in this! I say write it out, by all means! I don't want to be left hanging...I'm too old for that!

Excellent post, buddy!

Anonymous said...

Go for the story, Catman. I'm interested.

Felinae said...

Hey Honey,
I say write it out in story form too, it is good.


ErinAndBrad said...

YES - I concur!! Write this out - you rock!! I read One Second After and then Solar Storm - whoaaaa! But what better way to take us down by design cheaply than an EMP and yes, we have modified some of our preps as well.

Please do write it out!!!!!


idahobob said...

Ditto...write it out, heck, who knows, ya might even make some FRN's from it.

In actuality, your dream sound like a collage of books that I have read over the past couple of years.

But again....write it, I need more books!!!!


Catman said...

Okay, I'll write it out as best as I can. I still have to finish the redesign of this blog too ;-)