Arm

[Alice] and I were part of our school’s musical groups which decided to take a field trip to perform at a very beautiful place, by the looks of which I took to be […] Washington D.C.  It was nighttime when I was scheduled to perform with the orchestra but my right arm was feeling sore.  [Alice’s] father’s arm had recently been amputated and she had it with her, for some reason.  Since my arm was sore, I asked [Alice] if I could borrow her father’s and she consented.  Thus I played through the concert using [his] arm.

Afterwards, I think it was (I’m not sure of the chronology here), I walked from the concert hall around the building until I saw [Alice] standing next to a set of windows, staring outside amongst rows of seats […].  [I] asked her what it was she was looking at out there in the night. […] she said to me, drawing away from the window […], “My father has a job interview today and I’m afraid he’s not going to make it through.  I’m afraid he’s going to show up drunk and he’s not going to make it through, you know, the counting part.”

“Is he here?” I asked, looking out the window.  I saw that the view contained a building with several men gathered around in their suits and ties, holding onto cocktails as they clustered around […].  It seemed to be a business meeting of sorts.  I scanned the men, looking for [Alice’s] father.

“You can’t see him from here […]!” she said to me.  In other words, he wasn’t here in D.C.  I think that I gave [Alice] her father’s arm back and she put it in a refrigerator.  All the while, I held for her a soft drink which had words on the lid saying something along the lines of “He will lend his arm,” or perhaps it was, “He who is strong, kind, nurturing… will lend a helping arm” – some saying such as that.

The next thing I remember was that [Alice] and I were outside, walking through the night air among those white, pillared buildings which were lit with fluorescent, glowing lights that shone a soft illumination in the gentle evening darkness.  There were other students strolling outside after the concert.  We were all walking around a giant, rectangular pool whose calm surface reflected the quiet darkness of the sky above. […]  I said to [Alice] earnestly, “I have to tell you something important, but I have to hurry, because this dream is about to end.”

I can’t remember what it was I meant to tell her. […] But my alarm clock was ringing and I struggled for a moment there between the waking world and the dream world before finally giving in to the world of dreams.

I awoke in my dream because [Alice’s] parents were calling me on the telephone.  It was dark when I sat up in bed to talk to [them] on the other end of the line.  They told me that [Alice] had forgotten where she had left the arm back at D.C. and they were wondering if I remembered.  “Yeah, I remember,” I told them, and resurrected a memory of the beautiful building with all the great, white pillars lit up in night lights – the place where we had left the arm.  My memory scanned through the area – across the wide, glowing steps that led to buildings resembling those of ancient Greece – all glowing in a peaceful, starry night.  “It was in the third house all the way back,” I finished, referring to the arm and its location.  They were going to come to pick me up so that I could give them directions as to where that arm was.  They were planning on driving all the way back down to Washington with me.

I hung up the phone and just sort of [lay] there in bed for a good long while before I remembered they were coming to get me and thus I should get dressed.  I got up but couldn’t seem to find anything to wear, so I threw on a whole jumble of shirts and a pair of cotton shorts that made me feel as though I’d be cold if I went outside.  That’s alright, I figured to myself.  I’d only be out there for a short period of time.  As I was fumbling around, getting dressed, I opened a drawer at the head of my bed and there, encased in ice, sat [Alice’s] father’s arm.  I must have taken it out of the drawer and set it on my bed, on top of all my sheets, for that was where I remembered seeing it next.  It didn’t even look like an arm at all – it seemed more like an odd-looking, clear cup filled with ice, ice-cream, and mint-chocolate chips.  Still though, I was a bit disgusted and taken-aback at what I knew that icy package contained within.  “C’mon, Theresa,” I told myself, “it’s just an arm.”  Looking out the window, I saw that [Alice’s family] had already pulled into my driveway in a silver, sporty car and apparently had already been waiting for me for quite some time.  I did take my time, I thought, and wondered why they hadn’t come to ring my doorbell and hurry me along.  But at least I had the arm and now we didn’t have to drive all the way to Washington to get it.

I picked it up off the bed and carefully brought it down the stairs, stepping outside barefooted onto a ground covered by a thin layer of snow.  I was aware that my parents were sleeping inside the house and that they didn’t know I was awake and out here.  But I’ll only be a second, I thought.  They don’t need to know.  I opened the back door of the car and sat down next to [Alice].  Her younger brother sat on the other side of her while her parents occupied the two front seats, her father at the driver’s seat.  They all turned and greeted me in a most friendly, cheerful manner as I entered the car and handed the arm to the parents.  They were most happy and pleased to have the arm back and they thanked me generously – her father even offering to pay me, taking out a little bag of coins and throwing some money my way.  I refused it, of course – after[ ]all, it was I who had borrowed it in the first place and if anybody paid anybody, it should be [me] […].

“Well, why don’t we drive Theresa to our house,” [Alice’s] mother suggested.  Thus, they did.  It seemed like a rather long drive over.  All I remember was that the parents spoke to each other in a strange, foreign language – exactly the way my parents spoke to each other.  [Alice] leaned forward in her seat and said something to her parents in that same, odd language – the words of which I actually did understand, somewhat.

“[Alice], what language are you speaking!” I asked.

She paused and looked at me out of the corner of her eye as if offended by my half-question half-exclamation.  “Romanian,” she said, as though the answer was obvious.

“Really?” I responded.  ” ‘Cause that’s exactly how my parents talk to each other […] and the funny thing is that I actually understood some of the words!”  I sat back and wondered how this could be, picturing a map of Eastern Europe in my head.  Well, I figured, Romania is very close to where my parents come from (Taiwan), so there would logically be similarities in the language.  I was quite satisfied with my reasoning […].

Finally, we turned into a beautiful housing development that paralleled the Kennewyck development near my house in reality.  We pulled up to [Alice’s] house in her driveway and everyone got out of the car except for her father – he was going to take me back directly and it made me greatly upset […].  I watched as [Alice] walked […] towards her house with her family.

Then, all of a sudden, I was with them, standing on the front porch.  [Alice’s] father gave her mother the keys and told her not to forget to ask me the “big question.”  I remember feeling as though they were going to ask permission to borrow money from my family.  But my family’s poor, I remember thinking.  We wouldn’t be able to give you anything.

Somehow, there came to be a change of plans.  They invited me in to stay for a[]while and I saw that their house was beautiful – filled with all sorts of lovely furniture and lit with a warm, glowing light.  I sat on a stool in the middle of all this and spun around on it to take in all the rooms of the house.  I saw that [Alice’s] mom was holding a new baby and that [Alice] was preparing a bottle for it.  […] – the furniture was new, expensive, and abstract, of all colors, shapes, and sizes, filling the house in such a way that it should have made it cluttered but did not.  It had a real familiar feel to it […].  I spun around on my stool when it hit me.  “Oh my god!  This is [Natalie’s] house!” I exclaimed. […] “Wow, I dunno what’s wrong with me,” I continued, laughing.  “I’m just slow.  I mean, I thought this place looked familiar.”  Of course, [Natalie’s] family had sold their house and [Alice’s family] had first dibs [on] buying it.  With a house like this, I thought, no wonder they’re having financial problems.

I spun around some more on my stool, quite pleased to be where I was.  Once, I glanced down at my legs and was briefly surprised to find myself wearing a warm pair of blue speedos […] instead of the shorts I thought I had put on earlier.

One last thing I’d like to add about this dream.  I remember, when [Alice] and I were in Washington, we were […] outside with a group of other people my age and we all held hands in a single row of about six or seven.  It was in the middle of a large courtyard that we stood, there on the lawn with several trees[,] and parked in front of us was a psychedelic van whose colors were dulled by the night.  We ran towards that van, all holding hands in a row […].  I talked about the concert as I ran forward with the others.  “I mean, it didn’t even feel like I was playing [violin] with someone else’s arm,” I said to the group.  “It’s kind of disgusting if you think about it.”  And then we ran up the side of the van – all of us, in a great rush, just up and over.

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A Pentagon of Stars

I was outside of my school on a clear night with a group of friends – well, acquaintances, actually – that I don’t recognize […] but whom I knew in my dream.

We were […] looking up at the beautiful, dark sky spread over our heads – a rich, elegant canopy studded with diamonds.  As the sky arched nearer the horizon line, the stars became more numerous and clustered closer together like thousands of tiny, white jewels […] surrounding us in a tremendous circle – for, if I spun around, I could see the entire sky covering us like a great dome and where this dome touched the ground in the distance, all the stars gathered in a breathtaking, shimmering strip that encircled us in its wide embrace.  Overhead, the stars were fewer and more widely scattered, but their beauty was no less mesmerizing.

[…] I was more awed and excited than anyone around me.  I noticed that some stars were clustered together in groups of two and I pointed out these dual stars to a boy who was my friend and about my age.  He was counting the stars – perhaps that was what we were doing outside – and he said to me that we should count the overhead stars first but I was more interested in simply star-gazing.

There was a short girl standing to my right […] who told me what I should do in order to see the stars.  I did what she said and I saw them – behind a distant house.  I saw through the house and there the stars were – only about five of them connected by glistening silver lines in the shape of a pentagon.  And then the area within the pentagon became filled with bright, shimmering light with a warm orange lining the center.  This light burst forth, glowing through the night and through the house, making it look as though the house was on fire – but instead of flames, it was brilliant light.  And then my concentration broke and the house became solid once more and I could no longer see through it to the stars.

The short girl told me to touch my fingers to the corners of my eyes and as I did so, that distant house faded away to reveal once again the stars behind it – no longer filled with that fiery brilliance but bare in their humble radiance, still connected with those silver lines – just the five of them.  “It’s just like those two recurring dreams I had,” I told the small girl next to me.

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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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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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Gargoyles

It was nighttime and the entire town was dark.  There was just enough light to see the area around the church – perhaps, this faint, eerie light was from a pale moon or from the distant glow of a streetlamp.  I either saw them, or I was one of them – a dark, powerful creature that rode in on the shadows with silent [leather] wings […].  This creature flew up and circled one of the spirals of the cathedral, followed by another and yet another.  Then they entered the church […], flying through one of the windows like bats […] [but] more silent and graceful […].

There was a gargoyle or two already inside, perched high […] on one of the ridges near the ceiling.  […] [There was] a battle over this territory […] as the three new gargoyles swooped in, materializing out of the darkness to face their rivals […].  Their fight was […] silent […], interweaving through the black air […].

One of them said something to the other […].  And then I was outside again, watching as one of these […] creatures flew […] away from the cathedral […], disappearing into the night sky […].

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Bats

The sky was a dark, angry color – with black and red swirled together over the top of a volcano.  Suddenly, there appeared, perhaps from this strange sky […] thousands upon thousands of bats – all swarming into the mouth of the volcano. […]

[…] a great monster […] rose from this volcano – a giant, dark creature, like a deep shadow with Satan’s horns and yellow, glowing eyes.  His black body was muscular, like that of a man’s, and all the bats flew around him, twisting around his body and swirling across his arms as he roared to […] life.

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