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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Stars

I saw the stars again not too long ago.  I was walking to my friend’s house […]. He lived with his mother and younger sister in a one-story house with a pink roof and candy decorations.  It reminded me of a gingerbread house.

On my way over, I looked up into the night sky and saw those […] stars […] above the rooftops and trees.  I […] stared at those […] pinpoint stars in their clear-cut constellations, with […] silver lines connecting them together to outline the star formations.  I remember seeing the [Big Dipper] distinctly […].  Some of the silver lines turned to flashes of crimson that streaked across the darkness.

[…] I remember thinking, It’s just like what I saw in my dream […] The Eskimo and the Stars.

Then I ran up to that gingerbread house and knocked hurriedly on the door.  My friend’s mother and younger sister appeared and I told them to look at the sky […].

And we […] stood there along with some of the neighbors who had come out onto their doorsteps to marvel at […] the stars.

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House of White

There were about twenty or thirty of my classmates […] riding in a yellow school bus.  We were running short on oxygen so we […] had to try not to breathe too deeply.  […] we were lost […].

Then an old man stopped our bus and said […], “You can come to my house.”  We were […] relieved and thought that we were saved.

[We] […] journeyed together across a wide open field of yellow, withered cornstalks before reaching a very white house.  […]

Upon entering […], I was struck [by] how large [the house] was – but also, at how bare and empty […] – the […] starkness of it, like a new house whose owners [hadn’t] moved in yet.  There was a huge, empty room in the back – the walls bare and white – with a shiny hardwood floor.  The only furniture was a black grand piano in the middle […] [where] the old man sat, playing classical pieces.  […] the people from my class – were wandering […] through the house.  The entire place was filled with a white light that illuminated every empty, naked corner.

I remember trying to [leave] […], but I couldn’t find the door out.  I led [Alice] to one of the doors […] [which opened] to a series of white staircases that intersected […].  Quickly, I closed the door, somewhat scared.  Then I led [Alice] to another door that was […] black.  I had the most […] ominous feeling as I opened it – but, for some reason, I felt I had to open it anyway.  Behind it was […] an endless hole in the ground.  [Alice] pressed against me, telling me to go ahead.  “No, [Alice,]” I said, shutting the door.  “We’re not going down there.”

The house was strange in that its rooms and staircases always seemed to be shifting.  We came upon a rectangular room [that was] bare except for a couch […].  There was a heap of [dark] coats lying over the couch covering something horrifying […].  I couldn’t see what it was […], but I just knew it was something frightening.  […] I quickly led [Alice] away so that she wouldn’t have to see [it] […].  I remember thinking that it might have been a dead body lying under there.

[…] I realized that this was a house about […] overcoming our fears.  Only then could we get out.  […] I led [Alice] up a flight of white stairs.  I knew that the stairs didn’t lead anywhere […].  At the top, the stairs just stopped.  But there, at the small landing, next to a white door, stood a strange woman[,] […] erect with a fixed grin on her face.  [Blood-red] lipstick […] outlined that joker’s grin […].  She reminded me of a mannequin but she was real and she frightened me.  It was like she was laughing at me.  I punched her across the face.

The next thing I knew, I was falling […] from the flight of stairs until I hit a mattress […].  I rolled to the side […] as [Alice] fell from above and hit the mattress beside me.  […]

Then […] we were back in the room with the couch. […]  I was so afraid of lifting off the coats, but I knew I had to in order to get out […].  I had a cane in my hand and I used it to lift the covers up a little so that [Alice] and I could just peek [under].  We couldn’t see anything.  “There,” I said, hastily.  “There’s nothing.” […]

The next thing I remember, I [had escaped] the house and [was] running down the street in a neighborhood that was typical and yet strange – like […] The Twilight Zone. […] [Alice] was with me, but at the same time she wasn’t.  I could feel her presence […], but I didn’t see her.  I was frantic and horrified […].  I felt like I was trapped and I screamed, “How do I get out of this place!”

A man in a […] soldier’s uniform stepped up to one of the houses […] to deliver the newspaper.  I ran […] to him and cried, […] “Please!  Just let me see the newspaper!”  I caught a glimpse of the date and it read:  March 18, 2000 in big bold print across the top.

I thought, What!  This isn’t the future!

A woman appeared […].  She was dressed in a white blouse and a brown skirt […].  She had on heels and a large overcoat, with brown hair curled around her made-up face.  She looked like she was from the forties or fifties.  The soldier said something to her and she began to talk […] mechanically, […] her eyes staring straight ahead, “This neighborhood must get ready for the Nazis… Nazis… Nazis…”

I ran away […], sprinting down the street in a panic, [and thought], “The war lasted fifty years here?!”

[…]

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