Tuesday, June 4, 2013

3rd June, 2013 - Fever dream

It was a 'Hunger Games' death match and we were being choppered in over a map mostly laid out in grids. Various quadrants would move and overlap over the course of the game, forcing combatants into contact. We would be unable to hide - at least not for very long.

It started out with three of us, some guy, a small black girl (based off Rue, I guess) and me. I was Katniss in this set-up but I was also myself in that way dreams have. We were camped in the top of a gum tree. The little girl had caught a fairy and attaching a match to its butt, sent it to an outer branch to start a fire for us. We settled in to sleep. The game would begin tomorrow.

We were on a train with compartments made into cramped dormitories holding two bunk beds each. Between the pillows, blankets, luggage and storage containers, there wasn't much room for anybody. This was where we were starting and trapped in this tiny room, we were already at a disadvantage. We had no weapons and no way of knowing if the coast was clear outside unless we wanted to risk our necks.

Other teams of people had already been through the dormitories ahead of us and they were coming our way. I had a flash-forward vision the future that awaited: with nothing to do but hide behind pillows, we were sitting ducks as heavily-armed men sprayed the room with bullets. Some of my team-mates, the smaller girls for instance, would be able to hide in the storage space up in the ceiling and down under the bunks. We could move the boxes and containers around them to shield them from view - but not the bullets. Even so, it was better than nothing. As for myself, there was no room for me anywhere. I'd be the one cowering behind the pillows while the kids hid. I wondered if this was how the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary felt before they died. There was no time left. The counter on the door was ticking down. At zero, the others would arrive with their guns. It reached zero and the door opened.

The people who came into the room were not the one armed with the automatic weapons and they did not spray the room with bullets. They did, however, have at least one revolver with them and a bunch of knives. Still weaponless, I'd have to wrest something useful from one of them if I was to have any chance. I managed to get hold of a revolver. It only had one bullet but it was special, with an explosive tip. It might only have one shot, but it would be guaranteed lethal and that's what I was going need if I wanted to survive. The ticker started to count down to zero again. Enemies incoming! I fumbled with the chamber but got it loaded just in time.

The door opened and I fired. The gun jammed.


Further back in the train there was a great, big warehouse area filled with old pieces of machinery, painted woodwork, old film sets and stage props, giant cogs and spools, and all manner of strange, dusty things.

With my gun having failed me - now more than once - and having already witnessed the brutality of the game, I was anxious to find a weapon that I could use to survive. There were some knives on a bench and I took one. It was a long, very old boning knife, the same as my dad is keeping for me in the waking world. It would do for now. I used it to pierce the corpse of Mrs Benson, who'd been trussed up on the broken-tree-altar of Catholic suffering. My first use of the blade, I was relieved at how easy it was as opposed to the malfunctioning gun, but  relief changed to revulsion at the sight of the viscous black sludge seeping from the wound - and the smell. She looked twisted and abject, like a torture victim in Silent Hill. As the designated effigy of Catholicism, she'd been forced to continue having babies until she died. So it goes.

I moved away from the strange and dark forest growing around the now ex Mrs Benson, and back down into the warehouse proper. Enemies were approaching and I could hear the sound of gunfire. Somehow my boning knife seemed insufficient but as I put it down, I was attacked by two women. They were not looking so good - torn black mini-dresses, lank hair and bare, bloodstained arms. I looked to the table where I'd first taken my knife and grabbed the only I could - a wobbly saw blade with long jagged teeth. I hoped it would be enough. I slashed at one of the women and managed to cut her thigh. She pulled back, shrieking. I hated this, recoiling from the sight of her splitting flesh. I extended my arm and flicked my wrist, sending the blade out like a bullwhip. It caught the other woman around the neck. I yanked it back and it came, serrated edge slicing her throat as it returned to me. Again, the wound I'd inflicted was sickening. The scene seemed to replay in my mind's eye. My stomach roiled.

I can't remember what happened next; if the seas boiled and the world changed, or if we just went on killing each other while trying not to die. I can't even remember if the train was going anywhere.

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