Napoleon

It was the early 1800s on a day that was bright, sunny, and absolutely gorgeous.  I sat at a large, grand piano on a green lawn right at the edge of the woods – the beautiful backyard of some wealthy family.  I played the piano, my fingers running along the keys, and as I did so, I was aware of the scent and shape of blossoming flowers.  It was such a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere.  My audience was only several people who were not overly attentive, but just casually listening or wandering about – the ladies dressed in their elaborate nineteenth-century gowns, flapping their fans and politely chatting, a few children running across the grass, and just one or two gentlemen strolling here and there in their black suits with coat-tails.

I was approaching the last line of my piece – a left-hand run across the keyboard – when I heard loud thumping noises interjecting into my music.  It sounded like the marching of a whole troop of soldiers.  I wanted to look up to assess the oncoming threat, but even more so, I wanted to finish playing the piece.  However, the urgency I felt towards the oncoming danger was too strong to resist and I dashed off the run in a blundered hurry.

Looking up at a trail that twisted into the serene […] woods, I saw an army marching straight towards us – in the uniform style – rifles, boots, and coats – typical of that time.  “It’s Napoleon’s army!” I cried in a panic.  “Napoleon’s army’s come to invade us!”  I ran from the piano to a group of women who sat on a stone garden bench.  Sitting down with them, I saw that one of my stuffed animals – an Easter bunny I named Jellybean – sat at my right.  I hugged her close to me, and all of a sudden, in a strange way, she became like the children.

The next thing I remember was everything was chaos and people were being slaughtered everywhere.  We were all running across gently sloping hills of that same green-lawn grass bordered by the delicate, whispering beauty of those same woods.  But the presence of the house, the patio, the backyard feel, and definitely the piano – were all gone.  It was just wide open space – seemingly a giant field of trim lawn across which we ran hectically, in every direction, in a panic for our lives.  We no longer wore our fancy clothes, but only the dullest, most typical things of the blandest colors – brown shirts, gray pants, tan colors – peasant clothes.  In front of me, I saw vividly, a soldier stab a man in the lower back, the sword sliding straight through the man’s body, emerging from his belly in a bloody burst as his eyes bulged and his mouth gaped open in pain.

Suddenly, the soldiers began to shoot arrows, and these arrows rained down upon us.  I caught one in my lower back but I kept running – the thing jutting out behind me.  Lucky it missed my spine, I thought.  It was a long and painful thing sticking out of my back, and it hindered me as I ran.  I reached behind me and broke off the arrow above my flesh, but a larger part of it was still inside of me.  Lucky I can still run, I thought […].

Then I noticed that it wasn’t arrows the soldiers were firing anymore, but giant, wooden javelins […].  There was a female commander wearing peasant[] clothes, and at her command, the soldiers behind her launched their javelins into the air.  I found myself running with a group of about a dozen others, all scrambling about in a confused frenzy – not knowing what to do.  I don’t quite remember what happened – there was a mistake – an accident […].  But suddenly, I saw a javelin mistakenly pierce through the female commander’s body – the head of the weapon slicing through her heart from behind and piercing through her chest.  The soldiers gasped and blamed us for their mistake, seeking vengeance by firing [a] […] torrent of wooden spears upon us.

We screamed […] [and] we turned and fled towards the edge of the woods.  For some reason, I did not turn like the others.  I ran backwards, facing the onslaught of javelins that flew just inches from my body until I reached the woods with the others.  There, I turned and fled into the forest, the great trees surrounding me.  Everywhere, people were scattering among the trees, dodging into the darkness.  I could still feel the arrow in my back and the presence of the javelins chasing us into the woods.

All the while, throughout all this, the sun was shining brilliantly, the sky was a clear blue, and the weather was perfect.

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Pitch Black

I was watching the news when one of the two news anchors reported that the monsters from the latest movie Pitch Black had escaped and would be up and around come sunset.  The anchors talked about this situation as though it were no big deal – a daily occurrence – and they nodded and smiled casually.

“Yes,” said the other anchor.  “Apparently something went wrong with the monsters they were making for that film – a [glitch].”

“Yes, apparently,” responded the first anchor.  “So just keep your lights burning and don’t wander outside by yourself at night – they tend to pick off the stray ones.”

I was a bit frightened but not panicked.

The next thing I knew, my parents and I were trying desperately to find a hiding place in our house – but we had no fire.  Light from a lightbulb would only hinder the monsters.  We were sitting on our family room floor and I was punching telephone numbers into a cellphone to try and reach friends to see whether they had fire and if so, whether we could drive over and hide with them.  But all the numbers I dialed were busy.  Outside the windows, I could see the sun going down and the gray back of one of the monsters as it walked along just outside the windows.

“Oh!  We’re running out of time!” [m]y mother said to me in Taiwanese.

We could hear people being eaten alive out on the streets.

Suddenly, my dad dashed out the front door.

“Dad!” I cried.  “Don’t go outside!”

But he ran back in, through an adjacent door – right next to the front door – the very next instant with what looked like misshapen cardboard boxes in his hands.  One of them was a distinct red.

I thought, when I looked at them, Oh!  E-mail equipment!  We could try to e-mail our friends and contact them that way!

[…] [A]t a computer, [we] work[ed] on the Internet.  But that didn’t work, either.  We still were not able to contact anyone with a fireplace or torches […].

[…] [O]n the floor, [I] peel[ed] back the carpeting.  I knew there was a hidden door underneath – leading to a cellar where we could possibly hide.  I ripped away at the carpeting until I revealed the door – an old, wooden thing with a black, metal ring […].  I opened it to find a pitifully small space […] that looked like a ripped hole, as if someone had pushed a pencil straight through a sheet of paper, leaving behind a hole with tattered edges – only, it was big enough so that I could’ve [lay] down within it […].

Then I became aware that a group of mailmen were inside our house delivering mail.  They were standing behind the couch, the back of which faces the kitchen – so, in fact, they stood in our kitchen, milling about.  I leapt onto the sofa and spoke to one of them.  “Excuse me, Sir.  But would you happen to have a few torches you could lend us?”

“Of course!” he said.  He was a round, jovial man with a bald head, wearing blue mailmen attire.  He pulled from his pocket two unused torches that looked like rolled up sheets of paper ripped from magazines.  These men had to travel the streets because of their job and so […] they knew how to […] keep the monsters at bay.  “You could travel with us!” [t]he jovial man said.

I knew that I would be safe traveling with them, but for some reason I was reluctant to go.

Then they left and all of a sudden our house was filled with people needing a place to hide. […]

“We’ll hide in the basement!” I told them, since the cellar was far too small.  I remember being a bit apprehensive since the basement was a dark place, but we had no choice.  I glanced furtively at the front door, knowing that the monsters could break it down with ease.  Then I herded them […] down into the basement and turned on all the bare light bulbs – but it […] wasn’t enough light.

I ran back up the basement stairs and turned on the kitchen lights, since the monsters would have to pass through the kitchen before reaching the basement entrance.  Then I saw, filling the entire kitchen floor and extending into the family room, a large number of […] people kneeling in prayer.  They were frightened and praying for their lives – mothers, fathers, children – crouching on the floor.

I closed the basement door as I went back down the basement steps.  I could feel that time was running out – the monsters were going to come any second.  Scrambling down the twisting staircase, I closed door after door behind me – three thin, wooden doors in all, built at regular intervals on the stairs – hoping to slow the monsters as they came.  I thought about the helpless people praying on my kitchen floor, […] Good.  The monsters will eat them first and it’ll buy us more time to get to safety.

I was getting more and more frightened […].  A boy I knew – [Nate] – thirteen years of age in real life but a couple of years younger in my dream – he approached me at the bottom of the basement stairs.  He was with a few children around three years old and they all wanted to go upstairs to find people they knew.

“No, [Nate]!” I cried, roughly seizing his sleeve and pulling him back.  “You can’t go upstairs!”  I was so frustrated because it seemed […] nobody was listening to me or helping […].  Everything was […] becoming hectic and chaotic – and the basement was getting dark.

Suddenly, there were terribly loud screeching sounds as a monster crashed through the first basement door.  I picked up two of the very young children, shouting for [Nate] to take the others to someplace safe – although where that was I [didn’t know].  I ran through the darkness of the basement to where my mother was, standing at a counter performing […] work that involved making some mechanical contraption.  “Where are the torches!” I screamed at her, for I remembered having given them to her.  But she didn’t know and was angry that I had expected something so much from her.

“Well, why don’t you do it, then!” she retorted.

I turned and saw that some of the people were fleeing through a door into a room connected [to] the basement – like a storage room.  But there was no light in the room […].  Even so, the storage room was better than nothing.  “C’mon!  They’ve found a place!” I told my mother.  But she ignored me and turned back to her work.

I didn’t try to persuade her further […].  Still clutching the children, I ran into the storage room where the people were hiding between giant mats lying on the floor.  [Nate] was lying there and I made him move over to make room for me and the kids.  I [lay] there in a fetal position between the mats, horrified that the monsters would find me.  I could feel them right outside the storage area – they had made it down to the basement […].

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Ice Castle

I was in another world […] that was tinted with the lightest shade of a mystical blue […].  The people here wore the most elaborate […] costumes – rich gowns of a silky, sparkling material that flowed […] past the ankles, with wide shoulder pieces and detailed [headsets].  There were either no men, or very few.  Their entire palace, or perhaps, the entire kingdom, was like an ice castle set in snow. […]

I entered a gigantic room with a tremendously high ceiling.  Floating […] within this room were numerous, glowing organisms – like dozens of jellyfish within a giant, aquatic tank.  This seemed like a place for dancing or for just relaxing […], for there were other people in bright shades of green and red, among other colors, walking around and doing nothing in particular.  I walked […] to the back […] and looked up […] I saw a cage hanging in the corner near the ceiling.  Something, or someone, was imprisoned inside – […] I hitched a ride on one of those glowing jellyfish, which were constantly rising towards the top, like bubbles in a soda bottle.  I rose […] above almost everything until I reached the cage to talk to its inhabitant.  I don’t remember who the prisoner was, or what we discussed, but I remember thinking the prisoner’s fate unfair.

I wasn’t the only one in this strange land.  I was with my friends, dressed in those elaborate outfits.  […] for some reason, we were trying to escape […] and it was difficult.  I remember being caught by the empress and her servants – four or five of them blocking our escape through a snowy passageway. […]

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Cave of Jewels

I was a […] young boy around ten or twelve years of age.  I escaped from my house and was running down the street, my arms stretched out at my sides like a bird.  […] I was free as I sprinted down that pavement.  I tried several times to fly, and after the third try […] I succeeded and rose into the sky, everything below me becoming tiny like toys.

I flew on, as though I were Superman – I might even have had a cape.  I flew over a place of great mountains […] that were studded with jewels and whose earth sparkled with tiny diamonds.  Some of these mountains had caves that also glowed with multi-colored gems, lighting their interiors with an ethereal glow.  One of these caves was very shallow – almost like a large dent on the side of a mountain.  This cave was very high, set in one of the largest, tallest mountain peaks.  Despite how shallow it was, it contained a lot of jewels – its floor was covered with stones that [..] shone […] and its stalagmites and stalactites were studded with rubies and diamonds.

It was here […] that a princess was imprisoned, tied to the sparkling cave walls.  It was odd, because I think she might have been me, since it was through her eyes that I saw the interior of the cave and beyond the mouth of the cave to the jeweled mountains outside.  At the same time, I was still the young boy, and I was so happy as I flew on to save this young princess who was no older than I – a princess that I knew was my true love.

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Execution

It was as if we were all part of some strange society living under a dictatorship.  There was a […] building […] that I lived in or worked in […].  It was a huge, expansive building that was built with a lot of white and […] glass – quite sleek and modern […].  There was another part of the building – an extension – that was just the opposite.  It was a tremendous outdoor ring that resembled the ones the Romans used […] to entertain themselves with gladiators and fights – and executions.

[…] this strange government ordered the execution of a large group of mostly women […].  I was among the ones to be executed […] in the ring by a firing squad.  It was the night before our execution and we were […] crowded in a corner of the ring musing over our fate.  They were […] talking and I shouted, “Wait a minute!  Why do we have to be executed?  Just because we’re women?”  But they looked at me like I was a lunatic and ignored me.  I kept trying to make them listen, but they wouldn’t.

My parents quickly accepted that I had to be killed.  They were the ones that took me down to the ring.  They started to sell my belongings out on the streets […].

The next day there was a huge line that twisted through the halls of the strange building – a line of people waiting to be shot to death.  I was standing in line, quivering over my fate […].  I saw several of my friends who weren’t going to be killed passing […] by me without even stopping to offer their sympathies.  “Help me!” I cried out to them.  “I’m going to be executed!”  But they just ignored me and kept right on walking. […].

Then [Ana] appeared beside me and she laughed […] and said something that didn’t quite make sense.  “Your mother works in the institution,” I said to her, because I remembered seeing her mother.  “Surely, you can help me.”

[Ana] wasn’t acting very logically, but she did help me.  She led me out of the line and […] through a hidden door in the wall.  And thus I made my escape.

[…]

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