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 […].

. rese

Die Twice

It was the wee hours just before the break of dawn when I woke […] and sat up in bed in that transparent darkness that fills one’s room in the early mornings.  It was exactly the way I wake up every morning – to that exact same lighting (or lack thereof) – before getting ready […].  I got out of bed and saw that my body was still lying down beneath the covers.  I felt […] light and weightless as I floated to the guest room where I saw my mother sitting on the bed, crying.  I was floating above the ground in front of her, but she didn’t see me.  I called out to her several times before she turned to me – finally seeing me hovering in the air – and gasped.

And then it was as if I was being sucked into the dawning sky – through the ceiling and through the roof – and I felt free but, oddly […] hindered as I flew amongst the gray and deep blue clouds.  I remember liking […] flying through the air, but then I became sad because I never got to do all the things that I had wanted […].

And then I had a […] passing thought that this must all be just a dream and I woke up, sitting up in bed in that familiar darkness just before dawn […].  I was so relieved that it was all just a dream – that, in fact, I hadn’t really died.  I got out of bed, glad to see that I hadn’t left my body behind, and proceeded with my morning routine.  I noticed that the light in my bathroom was on and as I walked in, I saw that my mother was in my bathroom, standing at the sink counter.  My makeup was spread […] in a mess in front of her.

“I’m sorry […],” she said to me, her face expressionless as she stared straight ahead into the mirror.  “But I’m going to have to kill you.”

I pretended like I was okay with it, coming forward cheerfully and putting the makeup away.  But deep down I was crushed and afraid. […]

My mom walked out of the bathroom and into her bedroom where she sat down in the darkness at the edge of her bed.  “I’m sorry,” she said […].  “But I have to do it.  You have to die.”

And I had a sinking feeling […] before I woke […] and sat up in bed, my eyes meeting once again, for the third time, that familiar, translucent darkness just before dawn.  I […] wondered whether or not I was really awake this time.  I turned around to make sure I couldn’t see myself still lying in bed.  I walked out into the hallway and saw that my bathroom light was thankfully off. […] It wasn’t until I finally reached school that I became convinced that this time I really was awake.

. rese

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.

[…]

. rese