Pools

I was with a few friends whom I don’t recognize in […] reality.  We were inside a shop, or perhaps it was a restaurant, that had large, glass windows set inside of light tan, almost peach, walls.  We clustered close together beneath these windows, for outside, sniffing the ground right on the other side of the wall, was a brown retriever dog that was evil and mean-spirited[…].  It had a face that seemed all red, with blood-shot eyes, and when it growled, it displayed fangs like hundreds of tiny, white daggers.  It was a face that stood in stark contrast to its warm, furry body.

Suddenly, someone from the store ran up to us and informed us in a hurried, half-amazed, half-panicked way that Darth Vader […] was here.  […] [M]y friends and I were walking from the store [when] I said to them, “I don’t care if […] [Darth Vader] is reformed.  Personally, I’ll never forgive him for what he’s done.  Maybe his dog [the brown retriever] but never him.”  We passed Darth Vader as I was saying this.  He was in his usual attire – dark cape, dark mask […] – but I was surprised that he looked that way in public.  I expected him to wear something different.  He was sitting at a small table right outside the door that we left through and he seemed to be having tea and exchanging idle conversation with a simple, ordinary male citizen sitting across from him.  The day was warm and the roads weren’t paved […] – but the streets weren’t exactly dirt, either.  They were more like a strange sort of gravel and stones – like white concrete rubble […] crushed and scattered […].  The small houses were built of white plaster and hardened mud.  The entire place had an odd, Mexico feel to it.

We made our way […] to a very large truck that was quite tall but stout – like a strange, steel hayride carriage except without the hay and horse […].  We sat on top of it […] and looked down as Darth Vader approached and asked if he could join our team.  “Take off your mask!” [o]ne of my friends shouted down to him.  He obeyed and revealed a face red and badly scarred as if from a fire.  We looked upon him […], seemingly so naked and vulnerable without his mask, and my friends relented, letting him join.

At some point, […] my friends ceased to be human but became, instead, these giant turtles that talk and walk on their hind legs.  They were crime fighters – exactly like those from the cartoon […] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  There was a young, teenage girl that was with them.  She was their friend and also a crime fighter – human with average height and average build and hair that was blond[e] and cut around her ears.  She wasn’t ever ugly – just average looking most of the time – although sometimes, at certain angles, she would become fascinatingly beautiful.  I think she was me, or who I became.  Although the now maskless Darth Vader was still with the Turtles, he became, at the same time, a dark and evil enchantress inside a castle ruin – a separate entity from Vader and yet, not really so separate.

[…] The girl […] [was] within the enchantress’ castle[,] standing on a platform made of stone.  The enchantress was beside her, wearing a dark robe and addressing a few of her subjects who gathered at the foot of the platform.  I remember thinking of the girl, She’s switched sides! [b]ecause she resented the fact that Darth Vader had joined the Turtles.  She wanted nothing to do with Vader and was angry and upset – looking to get back at her friends for allowing him to join.  Thus she came to be on the enchantress’ side – this dark woman who was also a queen and who was tall and thin with pale skin, black eyes, and long, straight black hair.  The girl had become this queen’s most prized advisor […].  The two of them stood on that platform within that dark and ruined castle as the queen announced her plans for moving into a new hiding place – a new castle.

“No!” the girl suddenly interrupted.  “Not that castle, Your Highness!”  […] I saw that she was very beautiful, with long, golden hair tied back in a medieval fashion.  She was tall and thin and wearing a light blue, almost silver dress whose sleeves exposed her forearms.  She proceeded to show her queen a better alternative – a better castle to choose – and as she did so, a great pool of water opened […] above her head surrounded by a stone rim.  An identical pool opened […] near her waist and shimmering there beyond the dark ripples of the watery surface was an image of a stone castle – an image in each pool, like mirrors reflecting off of each other.  “You see, Your Highness?” she said, and reached up a hand to touch the image above her head.  As her fingers brushed across the cold surface of the pool, the image swirled away in white wisps – twisting into the darkness at her command.

“It’s the perfect castle!” [t]he enchantress queen responded, quite pleased.

And then these two women stole away to their new hiding place on a gondola that sailed silently across the night waters as it delivered them to that castle which sat in the middle of an island.  It was here that the Turtles discovered them and fought to break through the convoluted castle walls […].  They were already inside the castle, but couldn’t manage to break all the way in to the very heart of it where the enchantress resided.  The girl, who was average-looking once more and wearing only a shirt and pants (no fancy dress) [,] raced up through the layers of twisted walls to fight against the Turtles and to protect her queen.  She was able to ambush one Turtle, leaping off a ledge onto her opponent below.  They wrestled with each other […] on top of the stone walls before the Turtle said, “So, it’s you!”  He must have lost the struggle, for the girl then went on to a lower section of this complex wall to where four other Turtles were attempting to scale it with ropes.  They hung there next to each other when the girl struck one of them, who in turn swung sideways and struck the Turtle beside him unintentionally – it was like a domino effect of swinging Turtles.

Somehow, they were able to talk to the girl and persuade her to forgive Darth Vader and accept him for his reformed self.  She was able to do so and thus switched back to being on their side – no longer angry with them.  They were a team again, and that was the feeling I came away with when I [woke] from [this] dream.

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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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The Eskimo and the Stars

I remember seeing a lot of My Little Ponies dancing […] animated and full of color.  It was like I had fallen straight into a cartoon of My Little Pony.  There was one that […] was white with a purple mane and just one silver hoof in front, while all her other hooves were white.  When she dug this silver hoof into the cartoon dirt, the hoof sparkled […].

At some point, [I found myself in] a cold, wintry landscape covered with a thick layer of snow and ice.  Cutting through the middle of this frozen landscape was a great chasm bridged by a […] little wooden bridge that was old, rickety, and worn down by the ice that clung to its surface .  All this was beneath a sky that was pale blue and grayish – stark […].

I saw an Eskimo girl riding through the snow […] on a great wooden sled that was not like a sled at all.  It was huge […] – much larger than the girl – composed seemingly of a loose, shaky bunch of wooden crates and wooden boards that shook violently as this odd sled skimmed across the snow at a dangerously fast pace.  A large chunk broke off the back of her sled and […] I remember wondering whether she was able to handle the sled by herself […].  This small girl took the leather reins in her hands and pulled on them […] – and for an instant I thought that she would be okay.  But then [the] […] towering sled skidded across the ice and tipped over, sending the girl plunging into the abyss […].  She clung to the edge of the other side of the rift, her brown gloves gripping at the ice. […]

The next I remember, I was running beneath a clear night sky […].  I had a feeling that I was running towards the stars and if I reached them, I could be free, and it felt like I was getting closer […].  I sang to the stars as I ran […].  I knew that there were a few trees scattered among several modest houses behind me – that I shouldn’t be running from these things – but I had to run – the stars drew me out.  I was also aware that there was a little girl running behind me, trying to keep up.  She was small and afraid and she didn’t want to run.  It was hard to run, the houses and the trees drew me back, but I pushed forward […].

It felt like I was getting closer to where the sky arched over the earth and the closer I got to the stars the more vivid their constellations became to me.  They formed […] sparkling shapes […].  Silver lines connected the stars across the night sky, defining the constellations […].  A few of these silver lines became flashes of brilliant scarlet that streaked across the blackness – thin, red lines that seemed to rain onto the earth.  I watched as these constellations shifted before my eyes as if I was standing inside a kaleidoscope of stars.

A red streak flashed in the sky and […] an identical streak flashed beside me.  I heard the little girl behind me call my name frantically.  “We’ve gone beyond the bounds!” she cried.  […] Perhaps she was the Eskimo girl […].  I knew she was my friend and that she was telling me we had to go back.

And so we went back […] to the trees and the little wooden shacks.  Inside one of the shacks was a pair of bunkbeds […] directly after one passes through the front screen door.  It was a dirty place.  I sat down on one of the bunkbeds – the lower bunk – while the girl sat in the other lower bunk.  Instead of mattresses, there were those Japanese bamboo mats – “ta ta mis.”  The blanket was made out of wood too, as was the house and the […] bunkbeds.  As I sat down,  I remember thinking about torture and punishment, but I was more annoyed than afraid.  I […] knock[ed] a China bowl filled with dead insects onto the floor […], where it tipped over and spilled its contents out.  Those things had been on my bamboo bunkbed and they were used to torture us.

It wasn’t long before two men burst into the room and screamed, “You’ve been out of bounds!” […].  They talked with each other to decide who would administer the torture.  But then they didn’t seem to care anymore.  They seemed more like friends or acquaintances than captors.  I pointed at something out the window to distract them and they […] left.

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