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Friday, April 22, 2011

Still yet another nightmare

I went to bed around 12:30 last night.  Maybe a little later.  I spent most of the last two years working an all-night shift from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM, and my body still hasn't resumed a "normal" sleep pattern.  I don't know if I've gone to bed before 12:30 once since I lost my job in December.  I finally fell asleep sometime after 1:00 AM.

By 2:15 AM I was awake.  Wide awake.  I wanted to get up, do stuff, maybe call someone.  I didn't want to go back to sleep.

I had had a nightmare.  It didn't start out as one.  It started as a weird science-fiction social commentary.  Aliens had come to Earth.  Only they weren't menacing or technologically superior or anything.  They were just - weird. They looked like Fleshy the cat from the comic strip Monty: big eyes, long muzzles, spindly limbs, bad posture.  They took up residence in the attics of abandoned houses.  Nanticoke sports plenty of these, and there were some living in the attic of the house across the street from my mom (which, curiously, is not abandoned in real life.)

The aliens had apparently been on Earth long enough that they were barely considered a curiosity, more a sort of nuisance.  Some neighborhoods have houses that become infested with bats, and the bats will fly around the neighborhood near the house.  This was something like that.  People would be like, "Oh, yeah, there are aliens in the attic of that house, they must have a nest or something."  But no one gave them much more thought.

Then the pink slime came.

At work, in a department I worked in when I first started, we had a water fountain.  This was back before every department had its own water cooler.  One day we noticed a pink slime around the business end of the water fountain, stretching toward the drain.  I asked what this was.  Nobody knew.  I pressed the issue.  Could this be a safety issue?  Somebody looked into it and came back with an answer: amoebas.  Could be cleaned up with bleach.  Probably not a safety issue, but, whatever.

That's what this was like.  A thin pink slime that began to appear on windows, around window seals, on doorways, every outside surface.  It was thin and slightly sticky, and no one knew what it was, but everyone assumed it was harmless.  Only there seemed to be more of it each day.  After a while it seemed to be raining down, softly, gently.  Then people noticed it seemed to be especially concentrated on the houses where the aliens had taken up residence.

After a while people began to get concerned.  The sky was developing a pinkish cast.  The alien houses were now surrounded by puddles of this stuff, and the puddles were flowing out onto the streets and into the yards of neighboring houses.  Everything had a film of pink slime, and now it was seeping in around the edges of windows. 

Then the roads started to disappear. Where the pink slime touched them they crumbled and started to show patches of dirt and grass between the broken asphalt.  By the time people started to think about evacuating many roads were gone, replaced by tracks of dirt and grass and pebbles of asphalt.

Everybody decided to evacuate.  But where to?  The pink slime was everywhere at once.  Highways were jammed with cars going both ways, with everybody trying to get to somewhere other than where they were.  My mom wanted to evacuate to a building not far from us, but the road there was gone, and the car couldn't navigate what the road had become.

(UPDATE, 7/28/2011: Last night I remembered a detail I must have forgotten about previously...or decided not to mention. The morning of the day that my mom and I were planning to evacuate, I went to her room and found her dead in bed. I didn't know what to do. There was no one to call, of course, and I felt if I took her outside to bury her I would just be giving her over to the pink slime. But I didn't want to just leave her there to...you know, rot. So I found every blanket in her room, and every blanket in the house, and buried her in her bed, under dozens of blankets and sheets and quilts and beach towels, in a stack two feet thick at least and sealed against the air. And then I set out on my own, with no direction or purpose in mind, and no particular reason to go on.

I also remember that somehow my mom had a long-range plan to get to Mount Airy Lodge. This was a big honeymoon resort in the Poconos in the 50's and 60's, fell into decay and disuse in the 80's and 90's, and was only reborn recently as a gambling resort. She remembered it as a happy place, and wanted to get there. It seemed like as good a destination as any.)

I woke up about then, filled with a sense of dread and hopelessness.  I tried to listen to the sounds of the night through my open bedroom window, but Nanticoke was unusually silent; even the neighborhood wind chime symphony was taking a break.

I did eventually mange to get back to bed.  The nightmare did not return.

1 comment:

MM Coalition said...

Dude: Stay away from the Kielbasa.

Don